Siringan: Philippines defenseless against bioterrorism

The Philippines is not able to detect or stop the spread of bioterrorism attacks, according to the head of the country's top microbiological research laboratory.

Maria Auxilia T. Siringan, the head of the Microbiological Research and Services Laboratory at the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City, discussed bioterrorism on Thursday in Tagbilaran. Siringan was asked to lecture at the Speakers' Bureau, a meeting put together by the local Department of Science and Technology, the Bohol Standard reports.

Siringan said that the nation is still in the conceptual stage of creating a biodefense system prepared to stop the intentional release of biological agents or toxins such as plague, smallpox, anthrax or the Ebola virus.

Experts have requested that national leaders examine the possibility of further developing the country's microbiological research facilities. That development could help scientists come up with a technological innovation to detect the spread of toxins or viruses.

Researchers say that early detection in bioterrorism matters such as anthrax infection can prevent severe infections and death, the Bohol Standard reports.

The National Academy for Science and Technology is also attempting to get local students more interested in studying technology, science, math and engineering to increase the number of microbiologists and other scientists in the country.