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October 30, 2005

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this is a public service announcement. ;-)

Just in time for this topic, yesterday's Lansing State Journal announced that:

"Michigan State University joins anti-terrorism battle", and continues on,
"and will be a linchpin of a national effort to fight bioterrorism threats, as well as to research infectious diseases such as bird flu. Researchers announced this week that MSU is getting a $10 million grant to create a Center For Advancing Microbial Risk Assessment."

Yesterdays Lansing State Journal announced:

"Michigan State University joins anti-terrorism battle", and continues on to say, "it will be the linchpin of a national effort to fight bioterrorism threats, as well as to research infectious diseases such as bird flu. Researchers announced this week MSU is getting a $10 million grant to create a Center For Advancing Microbial Risk Assessment."

Sorry for the double post! First time posting here, and I love your blog.

Welcome! If bird flu concerns become a vehicle for improving public health delivery, so be it.

here's the lansing state link.

I guess it comes down to the basic debate between prevention, and response and recovery. Prevention certainly sounds better -- "attack the problem before it reaches US soil" -- but not every disaster can be stopped this way.

I heard something interesting at a talk last week, about protecting against nuclear and radiological terrorism: apparently the US is focusing mainly on preventing attacks (e.g., securing ports and border crossings), while Canada is investing in response and recovery (e.g., treatment and cleanup capabilities).

Also, this is off-topic, but here's a fun example of science education: Polio: A Virus' Struggle. It's the history of polio, told by the virus.

One would hope that some of the money earmarked for this buildup would come from the obscene amount allocated to "lower-risk" bioterror threats, and focus on the clear and present danger, H5N1.

However, knowing these guys, they'll just continue to raid NIAID's budget even more, probably sacrificing HIV research to fund this (which, IMHO is a tough call, if this is going to be revenue neutral, I honestly don't know where I'd get the money from).

I also wonder how much of Frist's "Manhattan Project for viruses" will work its way into this plan. Or will it just focus on public health, and not research, infrastructure? Guess we'll see tomorrow.

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