Monday, September 12, 2011
Ten years after 9/11 and the
subsequent anthrax attacks alerted America to the threat posed by bioterrorism,
progress in developing and procuring vaccines and drugs to protect the civilian
population has been frustratingly slow. An investment of over $20 billion has
yielded a few new medical countermeasures, but there is nothing for most of the
pathogens that top government threat lists.
of Homeland Security has identified a dozen pathogens as serious
bioterrorism threats. Of these, the U.S. has stockpiled sufficient smallpox
vaccine for the entire population and sufficient vaccine for post-exposure
anthrax protection for about 9.6 million civilians. The stockpile also includes
treatments for anthrax and botulinum toxin.