Ned Shaw

US scientists have reason to feel both heady and scared. The federal government recently released unprecedented billions of dollars to fund bioterrorism research. Yet, the merits of this sudden shift in focus are being debated, and some worry that the money will be squandered or wasted. "I have been really very upset by the focus on bioterrorism," says Stanley Falkow, professor of microbiology and immunology and of medicine at Stanford University. "Everybody's talking about it, but there's really been no coordination. I'm really concerned."

Bioterrorism fears moved the Bush administration to propose spending $5.2 billion (US) over the next three years to fund research into bioterrorism through the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). Congress recently authorized the FY 2003 installment, $1.5 to $1.75 billion, depending on how the institute allocates it, up from $270 million in FY 2002. Congress also authorized roughly $600 million in...

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