Questions for Richard Ebright, a lab director at Rutgers University's Waksman Institute of Microbiology and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator who studies transcription in eukaryotes and prokaryotes.

The Scientist: The Bush Administration's program calls for spending $1.75 billion annually over the next three years to fund bioterrorism research through the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) alone. That part of the plan directs the Institute to discover and produce all necessary vaccines, medicines, and diagnostic tests to defeat bioterrorism, and NIAID Director Anthony Fauci has set a goal of 10 years to complete this work. What's your opinion of this strategy?

Richard Ebright: [The President's plan is] heavily focused into the basic biology of the organism, of the agent. I don't think that's appropriate at all...Studying the basic biology of the agents in order to develop new countermeasures, that's pie in the sky. Might happen, might not...

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