Emergent BioSolutions, Inc., hosts international anthrax preparedness conference

Emergent BioSolutions, Inc., a vaccine developer and manufacturer, co-hosted a conference on Friday in Paris to discuss anthrax response and preparedness.
The conference, organized by the French High Committee for Civil Defense, was titled "Anthrax: Threat and Response," and brought together civilian and military representatives involved in biological threat management in France. It featured topics on threat detection, anthrax prevention through vaccination, global response strategies, research programs, hospital and medical chain preparedness, and decontamination of critical infrastructure.
"This is a very important conference, where France's experts discuss the issues and challenges of a terrorist anthrax attack," Dr. Nigel Lightfoot, the former director of the U.K.'s Health Protection Agency and the chair advisor of the Global Health Security Initiative, a part of the U.K. Department of Health, said. "They have shared their preparedness measures thus far and the research that supports their capability development. Other groups who are working towards anthrax preparedness could benefit from some of this research. It was also mentioned that France has made progress in its vaccine development utilizing protective antigen and killed spores, but it is years away from licensure. They recognize, and I strongly believe, that stockpiling of anthrax vaccines, as practiced by the U.S. and the U.K., is an essential component of the response."
Attendees of the conference included physicians, first responders, researchers and high level officials in charge of decontamination initiatives, medical countermeasures and deployment of detection.
"Emergent is pleased to co-host this conference as part of our efforts to raise global awareness of biopreparedness," Allen Shofe, the senior vice president of corporate affairs at Emergent BioSolutions, Inc., said. "In this dialogue and sharing of best practices, we hope to leverage our company's extensive experience in the development, manufacture, and delivery of medical countermeasures that are a critical component of the U.S. government's biodefense strategy for national security."
Representatives from the U.K. government and the European commission have also been involved in the exchange of experiences and best practices from the U.S., the U.K. and France.
"We have organized this conference on the anthrax threat and response that gathers experts in the field from France, the United States, and United Kingdom, to discuss the anthrax threat status and the response cycle ranging from detection to medical countermeasures and decontamination," Christian Sommade, the managing director of the French High Committee for Civil Defense, said. "We thank our public and private sponsors for their support."
The French High Committee for Civil Defense is an international non-profit organization composed of community leaders, state assemblies and stakeholders focused on issues related to national security.