U.S. House Receives Bill to Renew Biodefense Programs

Legislation on Tuesday was filed in the House of Representatives that would reauthorize key federal biodefense programs including the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority and Project Bioshield (see GSN, June 15).

The bill, introduced by Representative Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), would extend the mandate of the 2006 Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act, which established the BARDA program under the umbrella of the Health and Human Services Department. The BARDA effort aims to move experimental medical countermeasures for biological weapons and other weapons of mass destruction past the initial research phase all the way to completion.

H.R. 2405 would also renew Project BioShield's Special Reserve Fund, which funds the purchase of medical treatments and vaccines for the Strategic National Stockpile.

Similar legislation has also been introduced in the Senate (see GSN, May 20).

"As we approach the 10th anniversary of September 11 and the anthrax attacks that followed, it is timely and necessary to reauthorize the federal government's role in protecting the country from attack," said Rogers, who sits on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, in written comments. "Pandemics and chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear weapons pose serious threats, and we need to work aggressively to prevent their use in another attack against the United States."

Rogers's bill would additionally renew key public health readiness initiatives, bolster the Food and Drug Administration's power in assessing new medical treatments and give new powers to the HHS assistant secretary for preparedness and response (U.S. Representative Mike Rogers release, June 28).

June 29, 2011
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Legislation on Tuesday was filed in the House of Representatives that would reauthorize key federal biodefense programs including the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority and Project Bioshield (see GSN, June 15).