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WMD Research Center Gives The Country's Biopreparedness Effort A "D" For Medical Countermeasures Development And Availability

ANNAPOLIS, Md., Oct. 12, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Today the Bipartisan WMD Terrorism Research Center (WMD Center) released its "Bio-Response Report Card" stating that the United States is not adequately prepared for the threat of a bioterrorism attack despite the attempts for improvements over the past decade.

During the 10 years since the initial anthrax attacks, the government has made great progress in certain areas but has failed to meet many of the bioterrorism preparedness objectives.  The WMD Center is giving the country a "D" for the development and availability of medical countermeasures for a large-scale attack.  While the current state of preparedness is unacceptable, the WMD Center also noted that investment in countermeasures would be among the most effective use of resources.  Among other benefits, investment in countermeasures would aid in the development of a more cost effective, faster-acting second-generation anthrax vaccine better suited to treating a large-scale attack.  A second-generation anthrax vaccine has the potential to greatly improve the United States' bioterrorism preparedness, but requires additional support and attention from the federal government to accelerate development of this necessary countermeasure.

"A second generation anthrax vaccine is vital considering the warnings from the US intelligence community of the imminent threat of bioterrorism.  We are pleased that the WMD Center has worked diligently to assess the status of the medical countermeasures arsenal and outline steps for improvement," said Eric Richman, President and CEO of PharmAthene.  "The anthrax attacks of 2001 are a harsh reminder of our vulnerability to this threat and PharmAthene looks forward to working with the federal government and other organizations to develop a strategic response to future bioterrorism threats."

The WMD Center is one of many organizations analyzing the attacks of 2001 to better prepare America for the future.  Tomorrow, October 13, at 9:00 a.m., the Center for American Progress (CAP) is holding a panel discussion on this subject, which will include high-level officials who coordinated the response to the attacks in 2001.  For more information about the CAP event visit: http://www.americanprogress.org/events/2011/10/anthraxrevisited.html

"I expect very compelling testimony tomorrow from these leaders who have first-hand experience responding to the threat of an anthrax attack," said Richman.  "Their concern about the current state of our nation's countermeasures should not be viewed lightly."

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