Don't hold your breath too long folks, remember how much change happened when they took a look at immigration... Nevertheless, they say are going to put pen to paper and compromise and do the people's business and all that jazz that they're supposed to do -- here's what the Washington Times wrote:
"The U.S. Senate is set to take up a bioterrorism defense bill that has languished for more than a year and seen a new anthrax vaccine stalled.
The House passed its version in September, and now, The Washington Post reported Wednesday there is optimism the Senate version will also pass.
"From a policy standpoint, there is nobody shooting at it," said U.S. Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., one of the bill's sponsors.
The bill addresses the Bush administration's $5.6 billion Project BioShield, which called for the creation of an anthrax vaccine and other biological defenses.
However, the effort lost momentum when vaccine maker VaxGen was blocked from conducting tests on humans by the Food and Drug Administration after spending nearly $1 billion on an anthrax vaccine. The vaccine's fate remains uncertain.
Among other items the bill addresses is giving the government flexibility to provide cash infusions to the small companies doing most of the work, as many have run out of money before receiving a payment on completion, the report said."
So the VaxGen screw-up was largely due to the FDA!! I'm hardly surprised. The government gives a company money to make a vaccine, they make it, then the government tells them they can't run trials on it. Woooo! Slam dunk on that one, Government!!
Hopefully this new bill is a little more savvy towards what bioterrorism really is, the threats it poses, and how to prevent it. They should keep the name, though. Maybe change it to BioShield 2.o - I like that. They need to give things more names that sound like they came out of Command and Conquer. They should change the name of missile defense to the "Projectile Destruction Grid."
Here's my little wish list of what to put in a new bioterror bill:
- Mass distribution of a sleek report to ERs across the country on the signs and symptoms of bioterror agents. Homeland Security can do this, fancy reports are all they are good at.
- Smallpox vaccine stockpile -- along with an Anthrax vaccine stockpile (for reals this time).
- Cut the FDA out of drug stuff that involves national security - they are bumbling idiots and will cockblock all useful vaccines.
- Seek out and destroy any languishing samples of live smallpox/polio/etc kicking around in the US. Ft. Detrick I'm looking at you!
- Put more money into novel vaccine research.
- A Human H5N1 vaccine is probably 6 months away - I want it available, for free, across the country at the Health and Human Services departments for all who want it.
- Stockpile that new antiviral that BioCyst has when it gets approved. Stockpile the hell out of it! I want workers to find cases of it stuffed away in government basements 50 years from now like all the crap they find that we hoarded during the Cold War!
So, Congressmen and Senators: that would be a pretty good bill. Let's just hope whatever the current monstrosity that's headed to the Senate will get tabled until January. Oh please oh please oh please get tabled...