FDA counterterrorism expert speaks at Catholic University

A U.S. Food and Drug Administration counterterrorism expert recently spoke about the agency's efforts to prevent bioterrorism and protect against an emerging infectious disease.

Luciana Borio, the assistant commissioner for counterterrorism policy and the director of the Office of Counterterrorism and Emerging Threats at the FDA, gave her presentation at Catholic University in Washington, D.C., according to CUATower.com.

"Many people do not understand what the FDA does," Borio said, CUATower.com reports. "Our agency gets the most attention when the news is bad."

Borio focused on a number measures the agency takes to prevent bioterrorism and the threat of emerging infectious diseases, but focused predominantly on the FDA's Medical Countermeasures Initiative.

The MCI, according to Borio, supports the development of drugs, vaccines and equipment that will be needed to counter the health effects of a chemical, biological, nuclear, or radiological agent or emerging infectious disease threat.

Borio said that it remains a challenge for the FDA to adopt plans to counter diseases such as anthrax. Because it is both illegal and immoral to infect humans with an illness for the sole purpose of finding a treatment, the FDA has had to improvise new methods of experimentation to help keep the United States safe, CUATower.com reports.

Approximately 200 Catholic University students and faculty came to hear Borio's lecture, entitled "FDA's Role in Protecting National Health and Security." The presentation was sponsored by the university's biology department.