Biothreats Need to be Recognized as a Top National Security Concern

In-Q-Tel, Inc.

Both naturally occurring infectious disease outbreaks and deliberate biological weapons attacks present significant threats to US national security. Contagious disease knows no borders; fast-moving disease outbreaks can bring great suffering, and cause long-lasting social and economic damage, as well as political unrest and destabilization. Biological weapons, developed by several countries in the last century, including the US, could deliver sudden, catastrophic casualties on civilians, crops or agricultural animals. Advances in biology and biotechnologies offer opportunities for more effective epidemic response. The global rise of biotechnology has also created simpler ways of constructing powerful bioweapons and the needed materials and methods to do so serve many legitimate purposes and are widely available.

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