The COBRA Archive

The Collection of Biothreat Risk Assessments (COBRA) was created by Georgetown University researchers studying the history and development of U.S. high-consequence biological agent regulations. In our work, we noticed that while many of these risk assessments existed, finding them was a difficult task. COBRA is the result of years of archival work spent collecting, organizing, and analyzing risk assessment documents. In this repository, we present the world's largest public collection of documents detailing risk assessment of high-consequence biological agents. We hope that this resource will inform important work in biosecurity for years to come, and will enable innovation in both domestic and international policy development. 

What is a Biothreat Risk Assessment?

Biological agents pose a variety of threats to public and global health security. At the foundation of this security is understanding the risks posed by biological agents to humans, animals, and the environment. These risk assessments are crucial to the development of procedures to both safely handle (biosafety) and secure (biosecurity) biological agents. 

This archive focuses on risk assessments that seek to understand the threats posed by high-consequence biological agents. In particular, we have focused on creating a collection of documents that has relevance to U.S. regulation of these as select agents. Thus, for a document to be included in this archive requires a focus on the most dangerous biological agents. This archive thus meets an important need for the biosecurity community by centralizing this type of information, which has importance for historical accounting and policy decision-making.

While there are many risk assessments that focus on global health, endemic agents, biosafety practices, and more, there are other resources available that have done excellent work to centralize documents on those topics. To provide the best and most targeted resource possible for the community, this archive will remain focused exclusively on high-consequence biological threat agent risk assessments.

Tips for Using the COBRA Archive

Users can browse our collection, keyword search metadata, and filter for tagged content. Tags are provided for your convenience to find documents that have particular topics relevant to biosecurity. Documents can be read online or downloaded locally. While we have provided full text optical character recognition and translations where possible, note that not all documents have this feature. Character recognition quality varies, and because of the scale of the archive, it has not been possible to fully transcribe all documents with high quality text output. It will be an ongoing process that would require more funding to more accurately capture full text character transcription. In addition, when we were unable to obtain copyright permissions for files, we have instead provided information on where to find the document outside of this site.

If you save content from this site, please review our Terms and Conditions, and make sure to cite us:

Catalog of Biothreat Risk Assessments (COBRA), accessed [Month, Day, Year],


Browse our archive here.

Submit your risk assessments to the archive here.

Questions? Comments? Contact us here.