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Protecting Americans from the Threat of Bio-Terrorism
A Key Initiative in the President's 2003 State of the Union Message

The possibility of the intentional use of biological or other dangerous agents represents a threat to our society. Unfortunately, the medical treatments available for some types of terrorist attacks have improved little in decades, while there has been tremendous and rapid progress in the treatment of many serious naturally-occurring diseases. The President believes that, by bringing researchers, medical experts, and the biomedical industry together in a new and focused way, our Nation can achieve the same kind of treatment breakthroughs for bio-terrorism and other threats that have significantly reduced the threat of heart disease, cancer, and many other serious illnesses.

In his State of the Union Address, President Bush proposed Project BioShield -- a comprehensive effort to develop and make available modern, effective countermeasures against biological and other dangerous agents. This major cooperative effort will be a joint activity of the new Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Health and Human Services. The President’s Project BioShield program will:

  • Ensure Resources to Develop Next-Generation Countermeasures: The President’s plan would create a special secure spending authority to pay for the delivery of “next-generation” medical countermeasures. Over the next 10 years, almost $6 billion will be available to purchase new countermeasures for smallpox, anthrax, and botulinum toxin. Additional funds will be available to produce and purchase countermeasures for other dangerous agents, such as Ebola and plague, once safe and effective treatments are developed.

  • Expand Research and Development: Project BioShield would expand the ability of the National Institutes of Health to speed research and development on medical countermeasures based on the most promising recent scientific discoveries.

  • Make Promising Treatments Available Quickly for Emergencies: Under Project BioShield, the Food and Drug Administration would have the ability to make new and promising treatments under development available quickly in emergency situations – potentially saving many more lives than treatments otherwise available today.