Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

December 12, 2006

Congress passes new biosecurity legislation

Filed under: Biosecurity,Congress and HLS — by Christian Beckner on December 12, 2006

Federal Times had a story yesterday that surveyed the one piece of homeland security-related legislation to emerge from the lame duck session of Congress this past month: the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act (S. 3678). From the article:

In its final days, the 109th Congress passed a bill creating a new $1 billion agency to fight bioterror threats.

Called the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), it 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 new agency, to be located in the Health and Human Services Department, is intended to centralize federal efforts against bioterrorism.

The legislation updates the Project Bioshield Act of 2004 (S.15), with the objective of making it easier to fund mid-stage research that bridges the gap between existing biodefense capabilities and long-term biodefense R&D.

The final bill also makes HHS the lead federal agency for medical response in emergencies, taking the National Disaster Medical System out of FEMA and bringing it over to HHS.

This story in Government Health IT provides additional info on the legislation, and the industry association BIO comments on the passage of the legislation in this press release.

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