Here’s how we can defend ourselves against bioweapons

| | July 9, 2018
Image credit: AFP
This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

It may only be a matter of time before synthetic biology, such as weaponized pathogens, finds its way into a military’s or terrorist’s arsenal. In order to stay prepared, the [Department of Defense] commissioned the National Academy of Sciences to release a comprehensive report about the state of American biodefense.

[T]he DoD is most concerned that people might recreate known infectious viruses or enhance bacteria to become even more dangerous.

The solution that stood out the most is also perhaps the least concrete: invest and develop a robust public health system that could identify, prevent or counter, and respond to an epidemic or the use of a bioweapon.

With a solid, well-funded public health system in place, the DoD and National Academy of Sciences researchers argue, the country will be more resilient.

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[A] better public health system could help catch such an attack before it spreads out of control — if a doctor notes a bizarre case or symptom, then a strong national network would be able to flag that case and perhaps even identify a patient zero, creating treatments more quickly and quarantining that person to prevent others from getting sick.

This type of investment would improve many parts of American life, especially for the most vulnerable and underserved among us. If “national security” is the angle that makes it happen then, well, fine.

Read full, original post: Synthetic Biological Weapons May Be Coming. Here’s How To Fight Them

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