Interview with Matthew Meselson

Questions for Matthew Meselson, Thomas Dudley Cabot professor of the natural sciences at Harvard University, who has been outspoken on the topic of bioterrorism and traveled to Sverdlosk, in the former Soviet Union, to study an anthrax outbreak there in 1979. 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 pa

John Dudley Miller
Apr 6, 2003

Questions for Matthew Meselson, Thomas Dudley Cabot professor of the natural sciences at Harvard University, who has been outspoken on the topic of bioterrorism and traveled to Sverdlosk, in the former Soviet Union, to study an anthrax outbreak there in 1979.

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?

Matthew Meselson: There are something like 30 pathogens on the NATO threat list. Why don't we just cure the common cold? [That's similar] in its baldness.

There are some vaccines that we've tried...