The Department of Defense (DOD) and the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) are talking over ways to combine resources in the new top-level bioterrorism research facilities each agency plans to build in Fort Detrick, Maryland. Details are expected in a few weeks, but the agencies are committed to joining forces at Fort Detrick.

"We thought it would not be good to have two different groups going down parallel paths, so they are now working together to see if resources could be pooled," said Anna Johnson-Winegar, deputy assistant to the secretary of defense for chemical and biological defense.

Both agencies are awaiting news on their stalled budget appropriations, and each has asked the government for millions to beef up biosafety level-four (BSL-4) laboratory capacity — space for researchers to study the most dangerous microbes, such as ebola and smallpox.

The President's proposed budget for fiscal year 2003 allots...

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