drug targets, and requirements for immunity. It is clear that development of therapeutics and vaccines will require more research on pathogenesis and protective host responses, but financial incentives, indemnification, and regulatory changes may be needed to allow the pharmaceutical industry to pursue such efforts. Because markets are very limited for vaccines and drugs for countering potential bioterrorist agents, special institutes may have to be established for carrying out research on biohazards and producing drugs and vaccines. The Department of Health and Human Services and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) should investigate strategies—including the modification of regulatory procedures—to encourage the development of new drugs, vaccines, and devices to address bioterrorist threats.
Research efforts critical to deterrence, response, and recovery—particularly decontamination and bioterrorism forensics—should be strengthened. Appropriate scientific expertise should be integrated into the government agencies with principal responsibilities for emergency response and postevent investigations. Modeling tools for analyzing the health and economic impacts of bioterrorist attacks are needed in order to anticipate and prepare for these threats. Techniques for protection of individuals and buildings should be developed, together with methods of decontamination in the event that such defenses are breached. In addition, multidisciplinary research in bioterrorism forensics is necessary to enable attribution of a weapon to its source and the identification of persons involved in a bioterrorist act.
Preparedness for bioterrorist attacks should be improved by creating a public-health reserve system and by developing surge capacity to deal effectively with such terrorist attacks as well as with natural catastrophes. Additionally, new strategies must be developed and implemented for assuring the security, usability, and accurate documentation of existing stocks of supplies at research facilities, hospitals, veterinary facilities, and other host sites. The potential for a major infectious threat to kill and disable thousands of citizens requires a level of preparedness that we currently lack—a surge capacity to mobilize the public-health response and provide emergency care in a health system that has been somewhat downsized in an effort to cut costs. There are immediate needs and opportunities for training first responders, medical, nursing, and health professionals, and communities as a whole in how to respond to biological threats. Also needed is a well-trained, professional public-health reserve, including laboratories and health personnel, that can be mobilized. Standardized protocols for such purposes will be critically important.
The toxic, explosive, and flammable properties of some chemicals make them potential weapons in the hands of terrorists. Many such chemicals (e.g., chlorine, ammonium nitrate, and petroleum products) are produced, transported,