For the US government's fiscal year 2003, which begins Oct. 1 this year, President George W. Bush has requested a budget of $27.3 billion for the National Institutes of Health, a 15.7% increase of $3.7 billion, the largest single-year boost in history. With a supportive Congress, this will complete the goal of doubling the NIH budget over the five-year period beginning in 1998. About $1.5 billion, or 40%, of next year's increase is focused on bioterrorism-related research and infrastructure, bringing spending in that area to more than $1.7 billion, a fivefold increase over current levels.

"An effective biodefense will require a long-term strategy and significant new investment in the US health care system," Bush said in announcing the budget in February. "NIH will lead a partnership with industry, academia, and government agencies dedicated to understanding the pathogenesis of potential bioterrorism agents and to translating this knowledge into required medical products."...

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