Project BioShield

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Project BioShield (which also appears as Project Bio Shield and Project Bio-Shield) is "a comprehensive effort to develop and make available modern, effective drugs and vaccines to protect against attack by biological and chemical weapons or other dangerous pathogens." [1]


Background

Project Bio-shield: "a 10-year, $6 billion plan under which the government would create and produce vaccines and treatments for anthrax, Ebola, the plague and other potential bio-terrorism agents." [2]

In his State of the Union 2003, President George W. Bush announced Project BioShield as a key initiative. In a February 3, 2003, news release, the White House published the Details of Project BioShield.

Secretary of Health and Human Services Tommy G. Thompson delivered a statement on Project BioShield on March 27, 2003, before the Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health & Committee on Homeland Security Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness and Response.

In an April 4, 2003, statement, Dr. Dale E. Klein, Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Nuclear, Chemical, and Biological Defense Programs informed the House Government Reform Committee, U.S. House of Representatives, about Project BioShield:

  • Project BioShield "initiative would increase the Food and Drug Administration's authority to approve needed medical products in response to declaration of an emergency issued by the Secretary of Health and Human Services that is based on findings by the Secretary, the Secretary of Homeland Security, or the Secretary of Defense."
  • Installation Protection ("because Service members and their families residing on or off military facilities"): "will include sensors to detect chemical, biological, and radiological threats. The equipment to be deployed will be integrated in the base operational command and control infrastructure. Bio-detection equipment will consist of automated Joint Biological Point Detection Systems and Portal Shield systems along with manual dry filter unit samplers. Support from laboratories will consist of tiered, multi-technology, confirmatory testing protocols. Chemical detection will be provided by an Automatic Chemical Agent Detector Alarm and the Joint Chemical Agent Detector integrated with base command and control systems. The program will procure initial detection agent consumables, new equipment training, spares, contractor logistics support and operators."
  • "We are working with DHHS and other federal agencies to develop a next generation anthrax vaccine for future use. Recent funding provided to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) has stimulated coordination and cooperation with the DoD medical biological defense research program."
  • Also see the Congressional Research Service report "Project BioShield" by Frank Gottron, Analyst in Science and Technology Policy Resources, Science, and Industry Division, April 28, 2003; Gottron's September 23, 2003, update; and Gottron's Talk of the Nation Science interview upon passage of the legislation.

In remarks at the Bio 2003 Convention Center and Exhibition, Washington Convention Center on June 23, 2003, President Bush urged Congress to pass BioShield legislation.

In an undated statement, Speaker of the House of Representatives Dennis Hastert said

H.R. 2122 - Project Bio Shield Act: H.R. 2122 is intended to enhance the research, development, procurement and use of biomedical responses to a national public health emergency. Biocontainment laboratories and streamlined countermeasures are available for research and development to the Department of Health and Human Services in the event of a public health emergency. The Department of Homeland Security must keep and maintain a current stockpile of medicine and vaccines under Project Bio Shield. If the President deems necessary, he may waive requirements of individuals to refuse any such vaccines if it is not in the interest of the individual solider or the national security. This bill was passed by the House of Representatives on July 16 and is awaiting action in the Senate."

Senate Approval

According to CNN's May 20, 2004, report "BioShield gets OK for chem attack prep":

"The discovery of sarin nerve agent/gas in Iraq and the use of anthrax and ricin against Congress spurred the Senate Wednesday to approve $5.6 billion to help prepare for possible germ or chemical attacks on American soil.
"The Senate, on a 99-0 vote, approved Project BioShield legislation to pay for research, production and stockpiling of vaccines and antidotes for bioterror agents.
"The House already has approved the legislation, and lawmakers on both sides say they hope to soon have it to President Bush for his signature."

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