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Doctors discuss bioweapons

Possible threats and protection of sensitive research explored at medical meeting.

Eugene Russo(erusso@the-scientist.com)

WASHINGTON, D.C.—At its recent meeting, held October 2-5, the World Medical Association for the first time focused its scientific sessions on the growing threat of bioterrorism and biological weapons. The talks were intended to advise physicians attending from 27 nations on the state of the threat and to help national medical associations form their own policies regarding bioterrorism.

At a session titled, "Working Together Internationally for Bioweapons Prevention," speakers discussed the need to better define and control hazardous pathogens, and suggested ways to do so. John Steinbruner, a professor of public policy at the University of Maryland, reminded the audience that the same science that leads to better therapies can be used to craft pathogenic bioweapons—and that more rigorous regulations on such research are needed.

Echoing similar suggestions recently made to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) by the research community, Steinbruner proposed a conceptual scheme for...

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