November 28, 2001 - Letter Supporting Passage of the Bioterrorism Preparedness Act of 2001

The American Society for Microbiology (ASM) supports passage of S 1715, the Bioterrorism Preparedness Act of 2001, and commends you and Senator Kennedy, and other members of the Senate, for developing and sponsoring this legislation which recognizes and strengthens the role of public health and research in the nation's efforts to respond to bioterrorism. The Bioterrorism Preparedness Act authorizes critically needed resources for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the lead federal public health agency responsible for bioterrorism preparedness and response. The Act will help upgrade the public health system for biodefense and biosecurity and ensure the availability of a national pharmaceutical stockpile of vaccines, therapies and other medical supplies, as well as improving infectious disease surveillance, epidemiology, communications systems and national preparedness planning and coordination.

The ASM particularly appreciates the opportunity to work with Senator Kennedy's office on section 216 which builds on the biological agent and toxin provision of the Antiterrorism Act of l996 and protects the dual interests of enhancing safeguards against bioterrorism without unduly inhibiting scientific research and clinical diagnostic testing. S1715 will enhance research and development of vaccines, pharmaceuticals and diagnostic capabilities to protect the nation's citizens and treat the victims of both natural infectious diseases and those from criminal bioterrorist attacks.

The American Society for Microbiology, the largest single life science society with over 40,000 members, stands ready to assist you, Senator Kennedy and members of Congress as this bill receives legislative attention.