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Daily News on Nuclear, Biological & Chemical Weapons, Terrorism and Related Issues

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Biodefense Panel Begins 2012 Work

A senior U.S. Health and Human Services Department official on Thursday requested that the National Biodefense Science Board begin preparing an update to the U.S. program for developing the strongest possible stockpile of vaccines and other medical treatments for WMD materials, the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy reported (see GSN, Oct. 26, 2011).

The 13-member panel of experts, which conducted its first meeting of 2012 on Thursday, was established through 2006 legislation "to provide expert advice and guidance to the secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on scientific, technical, and other matters of special interest to HHS regarding activities to prevent, prepare for, and respond to adverse health effects of public health emergencies resulting from chemical, biological, nuclear, and radiological events, whether naturally occurring, accidental, or deliberate."

It has been five years since the board last conducted a significant assessment of U.S. ambitions for its holdings of medical treatments against biological, chemical or other unconventional materials that could be used against the nation. Such examinations are usually conducted at intervals of five to seven years, according to Nicole Lurie, Health and Human Services assistant secretary for preparedness and response.

"We need a new strategy and implementation plan that takes advantage of what we have learned from experience," according to Lurie.(Lisa Schnirring, Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, Feb. 2).

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