Biodefense challenges

Published on August 30, 2018   41 min

A selection of talks on Infectious Diseases

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My name is Dave Franz. I'm a Former Commander of the US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases at Fort Detrick, Maryland. I served the last 11 years of my military career at that institute. It's often called USAMRIID. During the next 45 minutes, I will discuss some of the challenges that we face globally with regard to the misuse of biology.
When I began working in this field, before the end of the Cold War, we were focused on threats from the former Soviet Union. We expected our military forces to face aerosolized microbes in the folder gap in European war, or even worse, we might have faced attacks of smallpox virus or plague bacilli on our homeland. Since the end of the Cold War and with the advent of the biotechnology revolution, the interest in and concern regarding the worldwide threats of terrorism have changed significantly. But the science has changed even more.
I will provide a short history of Cold War biological weapons programs. Compare natural and intentional disease impact on society. Discuss the characteristics of threat agents. Talk briefly about new technologies and how they complicate the old challenges. Speak about our recent experience with biosecurity in the United States. Describe the complexities and interaction. Safety, security, and progress in our laboratories, and the importance of balance rational regulation of science. Finally, present some thoughts on the way ahead.