August 16, 2021

Countering Low Effort Biothreats from Toxins Workshop For Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines

From July 7th to July 16th, 2021, Health Security Partners (HSP) and the Indonesian Biorisk Association (IBA) collaboratively hosted a virtual workshop on Countering Low Effort Biothreats from Toxins. We convened 26 multi-sector biosecurity stakeholders from Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines to raise awareness and discuss how to prevent, detect and respond to threats from the misuse of toxins. 

During the workshop, law enforcement personnel discussed contemporary incidents of toxin misuse by terrorist groups and civilians to cause harm. The Indonesian National Police (POLRI) presented the 2019 abrin incident involving the Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD) terrorist group, while the FBI shared information concerning the isolation of ricin and subsequent attempted poisonings by Betty Miller in Vermont. 

Experts from the U.S. and the Southeast Asia region shared best practices for both law enforcement and medical personnel to investigate and respond to low effort toxin threats. Participants also concurred on the importance of engaging non-traditional stakeholders, such as producers and sellers of toxin source raw materials such as castor, jatropha and rosary pea seeds, particularly those operating online. 

Participants from each country identified national stakeholders who need to be engaged to address toxin threats and conducted gaps analyses of each stakeholder group's capacity. They subsequently worked together to develop interventions addressing key gaps in the prevention, detection and response to toxin misuse.

To support the implementation of these interventions, HSP will award up to 9 challenge grants to the workshop participants.