President of Biopolicy Institute warns of bioterror threat

"The release of anthrax is silent and making endless quantities is very easy," Barry Kellman, president of the International Security & Biopolicy Institute, told the Union League Club of Chicago last week during a lecture that warned that biopreparedness is the only means of fighting bioterror.

"I don't think terrorists can get their hands on a nuclear weapon and, if they did, they can only be used once," Kellman said. "Smallpox - humanity's greatest killer - can by synthesized, however, and spread. We don't know the level of casualty it would cause, though some estimate it would be as high as 180 million people worldwide."

Kellman said that terrorists know they're losing and that the only way they have to fight back and change U.S. policy is to use a contagious disease.

"This is the single greatest security threat we face. This is about the hundreds of cities worldwide that could be attacked. Targeting just a few of these cities would have global repercussions."

Fighting bioterrorism, Kellman said, is a global challenge as bioweapons do not stop at a nation's border and can freely pass from city to city.

"How do you even think about preventing and preparing for bioterrorism?" Kellman said. "Here, we have good news. There are teams, task forces and upgraded responder capabilities to detect and fight back."

Kellman said that protections and safeguards need to be put in place and threats need to be monitored to protect from a bioterror event happening but that cities and nations need to work harder to protect against such an event.