President Trump’s proposed fiscal year 2018 budget would eliminate a Department of Homeland Security laboratory dedicated to countering bioterrorism and providing the science behind response and recovery efforts should an attack occur.
The proposal to eliminate this lab without creating replacement capabilities elsewhere could place the U.S. at risk at a time when biotechnology proliferation is increasing access to the knowledge and capabilities for developing bioterror weapons. To further emphasize this point, consider that Bill Gates — who has given billions of dollars to global public health causes — recently said a bioterror attack could “wipe out 30 million people” and such an attack is becoming more likely.
The president’s proposed budget, if it were to be adopted by Congress, would zero out funding for the National Biodefense Analysis and Countermeasures Center (NBACC) at Fort Detrick, halting all science as of March 2018 and closing the facility by September 2018. NBACC was created in the aftermath of the anthrax attacks of October and November 2001 which sickened 22 people, five of whom died, and caused some 30,000 people exposed to the highly pathogenic anthrax to begin a regiment of high strength antibiotics. It also required the decontamination of several office buildings and postal handling facilities at a cost of approximately $320 million. http://thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog/healthcare/336565-cuts-to-us-bioterror-funds-risk-peril-in-event-of-attack