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Meeting Report

The State of Biopreparedness: Lessons from Leaders, Proposals for Progress PDF

Crystal Franco and Mary Beth Hansen

Biosecurity and Bioterrorism. Volume 8, Number 4, 2010. © Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. DOI: 10.1089/bsp.2010.1020

Introduction

The state of biopreparedness in the U.S. is improving, but many important challenges remain.

Since 2001, federal, state, and local governments and their private sector and NGO partners have collaborated across disciplines to cultivate working relationships and build systems for preparedness, response, and recovery from biological attacks and other public health threats. Experiences with SARS, West Nile virus, hurricanes Katrina and Rita, H5N1 influenza, the 2009 earthquake in Haiti, and the H1N1 pandemic tested U.S. response plans and systems and provided important lessons that have helped strengthen systems and capabilities.

With regard to biodefense specifically, the U.S. has grown stronger in the past 10 years, but there is work that remains to be done in many realms crucial to biopreparedness—including threat assessment, detection and surveillance, countermeasure development and distribution, public health and medical response, and national recovery—all steps in the chain of resilience described by Senator Bob Graham.

Senator Graham characterized the chain of resilience at the recent Center for Biosecurity conference, The State of Biopreparedness: Lessons from Leaders, Proposals for Progress (Washington, DC; September 23, 2010). The Center convened this national meeting to provide a forum for thought leaders from the public and private sectors to discuss ongoing challenges and priorities in biopreparedness and identify opportunities for improvement. Highlights are offered below.

The summary report provides a brief synopsis of panel discussions and individual presentations. To read full report—go to conference websitehe or download PDF.