Biodefense takes hit in Obama's budget

President Obama's recent budget request for 2013 contains mixed news for the biodefense effort in the United States.

The effort for biodefense came under major criticism in 2011 for failing to deliver biodefense threat treatments despite spending approximately $60 billion in the previous decade, Nature reports.

Crystal Franco, a representative of the Center for Biosecurity of UPMC, said that winners for the budget proposal include the Department of Homeland Security, the National Institutes of Health, the Food and Drug Administration and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority.

The apparent losers include military biological-defense development efforts and public health programs for U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"It's good news that there is more money for BARDA, and no significant cuts to basic science at NIH or to regulatory science at FDA," Randall Larsen, the founding director of the WMD Center, said, according to Nature.

The DHS will get an $11 million boost for the BioWatch program, BARDA's budget would see an increase from $415 million to $547 million and the FDA would receive $346 million for biodefense, which is close to last year's budget. The CDC would experience a $47 million dip for the Strategic National Stockpile and the Department of Defense's biological-defense program would see a $257 million cut in the proposed budget.

"Taking money out of the military research budget and leaving NIH funded at $1.3 billion, even though it hasn't produced a single countermeasure, is pretty tragic," Phillip Russell, an advisor to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, said, Nature reports.

The budget also does not commit any funding to the construction of the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility in Manhattan, Kansas, which has yet to be constructed.

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