In an era of increased globalization, public health and surveillance are playing an increased role in biosecurity. Whether novel pathogens are intentionally created bioweapons or naturally occurring emerging infectious diseases, recognizing the threat is a necessary prerequisite to countering it. This panel brings together representatives from Federal public health agencies, industry researchers, and representatives of NGO’s.
The BIO Biosecurity conference is underway, with an opening session featuring a number of senior Obama Administration officials. This event marks perhaps the highest profile Industry-sponsored look at biosecurity issues, and the Administration appears to be committed to making sure that the discussion gets off to a productive start.
A report in PLOS Pathogens last week has produced new details about an unusually virulent fungal infection caused by Cryptococcus gattii, which has emerged recently in the Northwest US and Canada.
A new report by the UPMC Center for Biosecurity suggests that the US remains unprepared for the task of decontaminating the site of a major biological weapon attack. Decontamination after the comparatively small-scale Anthrax attacks of 2001 is estimated to have cost hundreds of millions of dollars, while shuttering some facilities for as long as two years. By comparison, the costs of a larger scale attack on a major city could be staggering.