Bioterror defense and research bill passed by Congress
| 12.14.2006 | 07:06:37 | Views: 3108 | ID:
December 14 '06: Federal Times reported this week that the 109th Congress passed legislation creating a new federal agency designed to combat the threat of bioterror. The Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act was pushed by Senators Richard Burr (R-NC) and Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn) and it included language to create the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA).
BARDA, Federal Times reported, "will fund research into cures for infectious diseases and other biological threats, a field that has drawn limited research from pharmaceutical companies due to its low profit potential.""The legislation also gives BARDA expedited authority to award contracts and grants and to appoint scientists and professional from outside the civil service and pay them under terms established through the Defense Department's National Security Personnle System," Federal Times continued. The legislation also reestablishes the Health and Human Services Department as the head coordinator during biological emergencies or disasters; as well the National Disaster Medical system will become the purview of HHS, moving away from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The legislation creates a National Biodefense Science Board "to advise the secretary on biological and chemical threats; and it "establishes an assistant secretary of preparedness and response position within HHS," Federal Times reported. The legislation had been pushed for two years by the Republican senators. HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt said in a statement that the bill helps to "make the biodefense medical countermeasures development and procurement process more streamline, more transparent and more predictable ... [and it] supports much needed late-stage research and development funding."
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