New funds for bioterror research
Just before Congress adjourned this month, lawmakers applied what they hope will be a quick fix for much of what ails the controversial Project BioShield. By budgeting an extra billion dollars for research, they hope to speed development of the kind of effective therapies the country needs to protect itself.
Let's hope they're right. Let's also hope they've learned some lessons about bioresearch. The field is expensive, slow and rich with unexpected pitfalls. Today's bright pipeline hope is this evening's late-stage failure. And it takes more than the prospect of a few government contracts to get biotech companies to devote time and money for the field. Government support for this kind of cutting edge scientific work is absolutely essential.
Sadly, a billion dollars won't guarantee success. But let's hope it gets us much further down the road to new therapies that can eliminate a few of the nightmares that preoccupy the people in charge of Project BioShield. - John Carroll