Expert says viral ingredients should be made available to create vaccines

While speaking at the University of Missouri, U.S. government consultant and Stanford professor Dr. Steven Block recently discussed the threat of biological weapons to the United States.

Block said that when looking at bioterrorism, the United States cannot afford to simply follow the same methods it did when approaching nuclear weapons. For Block, this means less emphasis on potential offensive capabilities and more investment on the defensive, including vaccines, antibiotics and research, according to

Technology, according to Block, has grown to a point where any lab with a minimal amount of funding can reproduce deadly pathogens such as smallpox to be used as a biological weapon. This is a threat to the United States because instead of a few countries with nuclear weapons, there can be numerous entities with biological weapons.

Block said that to prevent other countries from being able to reproduce these viruses, the government has tried to hide their makeup, reports.

The Stanford professor said that it is a better idea to make the viral ingredients open to all researchers so that, hopefully, the viruses will become less harmful to the public through the creation of viable vaccines.

The aim of national policy should then become to take the power away from those countries that have their finger on the button as opposed to arming against them offensively, Block said, according to

In order to reach this point, Block said that there needs to be more investment in research, next generation vaccines and improved epidemiology.