Kathleen Sebelius to testify about nation's biopreparedness

The nation's bioterror attack preparations will be highlighted by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius this week in testimony given before the Senate Appropriations subcommittee.

The Hill reports that Sebelius' testimony is “part of a larger examination by the Senate Appropriations health subcommittee…into HHS’ strategy for developing treatments to tackle public-health threats, which also include things like pandemic flu."

Sebelius' testimony is part of a broader examination by the Senate Appropriations health subcommittee, which is chaired by Iowa's Sen. Tom Harkin.

Also scheduled to appear before the subcommittee are Eric Rose, co-chairman of the Alliance for Biosecurity; Randall Larsen, CEO of the Weapons of Mass Destruction Center; and Andrew Pavia, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Utah, The Hill reports.

This week, Sebelius also defended a move to overhaul the biodefense system because of outdated technology, ExecutiveGov.com reports, saying that chicken eggs were still being used to grow vaccines, ExecutiveGov.com reports.

The overhaul, which is expected to cost nearly $1.9 billion, will include initiatives meant to more efficiently and quickly create flu vaccine and to increase the regulatory powers of the Food and Drug Administration.

The HHS also recently announced contracts awarded to developed preventative steps to fight both man-made and natural biological threats. Sebelius issued a review of the HHS' approach to the development of those preventative steps that called for new, innovative methods that could alleviate steps that slow down the process.