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The vulnerability of the United States and the rest of the world to attacks of bioterrorism remains starkly exposed by the as-yet unsolved anthrax attacks immediately following the 11 September 2001 terrorist assault on the World Trade Center.

The biomedical community is now being looked upon to undertake research on defence against biological agents with energy, creativity and commitment. In this article, Anthony S. Fauci — director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) — describes how his organisation has accepted this new responsibility.

He says that the overriding objective of the NIH is now to support biodefence research in order to provide people with countermeasures in the form of diagnostics, therapies and vaccines.

Link to full Nature commentary article

Reference: Nature 421, 787 (2003)

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