The major regional centers, especially those with international airports, should have permanently operating infectious disease hospitals equipped to at least the P-3 biosafety level.
These hospitals must be amenable to continuously improving their methods for treating infectious diseases, up to and including being willing to participate in clinical trials of new drugs and actually doing so.
Regional clinical microbiological and immunological laboratories are also needed, and it is important that they be fully operational according to the highest modern standards. They should be associated with the infectious disease hospitals mentioned above and should be equipped to at least the P-3 biosafety level.
These laboratories must be open to new technologies and methods of identifying, diagnosing, and deactivating infectious agents, and in this regard, they must support close linkages with the relevant scientific research institutes working in the given field.
The following actions should be taken as part of the Federal Scientific Research Program on Combating Bioterrorism:
Develop new express immuno-enzyme and other test systems for detecting antigens and antibodies as markers for hemorrhagic fever viruses, smallpox, anthrax, tularemia, plague, legionellosis, malaria, and so forth.
Develop various types of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) diagnostic tests, including those using biochip technology, for express diagnosis and detection of pathogens within a few hours or even minutes.
Establish modern, well-equipped PCR laboratories in various regions of Russia.
Conduct additional research on the pathogenic characteristics of especially dangerous infectious agents and search for new medications for treatment and emergency prophylaxis of individuals infected with these agents.
Develop vaccines against infectious agents for which none yet exist or for which existing vaccines are inadequately effective or unsatisfactory for other reasons.
Provide specialized training for medical personnel and laboratory workers in safe methods for handling, analyzing, and detecting such agents in research centers and clinics with real experience in this area.
Efforts in these areas will not only bring real results in the struggle against bioterrorism but will also improve the health care situation in general.