Statement of L. Garry Adams, DVM, PhD, DACVP Associate Dean for Research, Biodefense & Infectious Diseases College of Veterinary Medicine, Texas A&M University.Chairman Cox and Members of the Committee, thank you for inviting me as a representative of the veterinary profession and as a member of the public health community to present an experienced and informed perspective for enthusiastic support for the concept, principles and implementation of the "Project BioShield" initiative. I am Dr. Garry Adams, associate dean for research and graduate studies, professor of veterinary pathology and a member of the faculty of the College of Veterinary Medicine, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX. I am and have been actively engaged in biodefense and infectious disease research for over three decades, funded by the United States Department of Agriculture, National Institutes of Health, United States Agency for International Development and the Rockefeller Foundation. I am testifying based upon:
Thus, as stated above from my personal experience and knowledge of these pathogens and their associated risks and threats to our nation, I am fully convinced of their real potential for use as Bioterroist Threat weapons of mass destruction for 1) inflicting loss of life of man and animals, 2) eroding the national economy, 3) creating a massive psychological epidemic among US citizens, and 4) overwhelming regulatory and control capacities at local, state and national levels as well as 5) undermining the confidence of American citizens in government organizations whose responsibility to prevent, control, contain and eradicate these diseases.
The old axiom of an "ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" does not apply in the case of intentional, well planned Bioterrorism, because the short and long term effects on the US society could well be hundreds or even thousands of times greater unless prevented, thus concerted, pre-emptive and fully functional programs, e.g. Project Bioshield, are essential especially for prevention as well as for mitigation and recovery from small and large bioterrorist attacks. US scientists are especially well poised to address virtually all facets of malicious bioterrorism to produce 1) high quality, mass scale diagnostics, 2) large quantities of protective vaccines that avoid confusing diagnostic tests, and 3) new rationales of chemotherapies for treatment of these pathogens. Investment in US health-related research has paid great dividends to the US citizens in the form of improved health and longevity, safer food and water supplies, and prevention of many diseases causing high morbidity and mortality in other nations. Development of safe, effective countermeasures is obligatory for the prevention and recovery from bioterrorist attacks, but this will require large infusions of major resources, such as requested by Project BioShield, coupled with effective, transparent collaborations between and within academia, the biomedical industries and federal agencies, under rigorous scientific review and scrutiny to develop and produce the diagnostics, vaccines and treatments required to protect our citizenry and food resources. Importantly in the absence of bioterrorist attacks, the investment in Project Bioshield will have the greatest benefit that will be realized every day in the physician's and veterinarian's offices as well as in our super markets with improved health, safer foods, and confidence in the security, public health and well-being of our nation.
In summary, I sincerely thank the Chairman and all members of the Select Committee on Homeland Security for this opportunity to very enthusiastically encourage the appropriations essential for Project BioShield to protect the future of our nation's citizenry, livestock, public health, and economic viability as well applying the benefits of the Project BioShield in global populations. I strongly support the concept, principles and implementation of the "Project BioShield" initiative and urge that the necessary resources be made available soon to protect against not only the potentiality of bioterrorist attacks but also against new emerging diseases occurring globally, such as SARS, and mad cow disease (bovine spongioform encephalopathy). My profession has decades of experience with many of these diseases, and we look forward to becoming a full scientific partner in the development of improved diagnostics, vaccines and treatments as countermeasures for these devastating pathogens.
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