U.S. Not Prepared for Bio-Terrorism, Disease Outbreak
The United States is not equipped to deal with a large-scale bio-terrorism attack or deadly disease outbreak, according to a report released by the Bipartisan WMD Terrorism Research Center.
The “Bio-Response Report Card” stated that terrorists have been given a greater level of widespread access to biological weapons in the past 10 years, The Hill reports. However, the U.S. is under-prepared to combat such attacks, despite spending $65 million in the past decade on bio-defense.
The report states that:
- Naturally occurring disease remains a serious biological threat; however, a thinking enemy armed with these same pathogens — or with multi-drug-resistant or synthetically engineered pathogens — could produce catastrophic consequences.
- A small team of individuals with graduate training in several key disciplines, using equipment readily available for purchase on the Internet could produce the type of bioweapons created by nation-states in the 1960s.
- Even more troubling, the rapid advances in biotechnology, such as synthetic biology, will allow nonstate actors to produce increasingly powerful bioweapons in the future.
The report recommends that the United States focus on creating preparedness plans for large-scale events by setting clear priorities, mobilizing “whole of nation” response planning and making a sustained investment in purpose-driven science.
The report measured detection and diagnosis, attribution, communication, the availability of a medical countermeasure, medical management and environmental cleanup.