Project Bioshield was signed into law on July 23, 2004 by President George W. Bush which will provide new tools to improve medical responses to chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear attack.
The first mention of this project was in Bush's 2003 State of the Union Speech. Bioshield will be overseen by Secretary of Health and Human Services and the Secretary of Homeland Defense.
What exactly does the project call for? The first item is providing money and time for new research in "next-generation" medical countermeasures to protect America against CBRN weapons. This includes over $5.6 billion over 10 years for just two diseases, anthrax and smallpox. The FDA will also have the ability to make new treatments available faster in emergency situations, bypassing, or speeding up some of the current processes drugs go through.
The administration is working on, through this project, obtaining 75 million doses of anthrax vaccine which allow for stockpiling in case a need would arise. Also more research in dealing with different forms of anthrax.
A bonus of Project Bioshield is to speed up the process for obtaining a grant in relation to work on biodefense. This process will shrink from 24 months to just fewer than 6. Through more grants, new vaccines and new ways of biodefense will be discovered and added back to the Project. Also new hires into the National Institutes of Health, specifically its biological warfare section, will decrease from 12 to 18 months to just fewer than 6.
Along with more funding, there were be several new positions created in several departments; including the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, were a position of senior development of biological countermeasures. Also the National Institutes of Health will lead all research into Bioshield.
Bioshield has already had some "successes." (Note: some of these that were labeled as success stories were in process before Bioshield became law.) The biggest improvement is the growth of the Strategic National Stockpile five fold. This stockpile has enough smallpox to treat every US individual and also is increasing the anthrax vaccine supplies.
Another success is the Cities Readiness Iniative which is currently working with more then 21 metropolitan areas to increase the ability to provide these antibiotics. Through this program, stockpile materials can be anywhere in the United States within 12 hours and additional material can be made available within 36 hours. The avenue used for this distribution is through the ChemPack program.
Project Bioshield will be a part of the US's long term national defense plan throughout the war on terror. As the program grows it will integrate national, local, and state governmental programs to deal with biowarfare and biological countermeasures.
Sources used for this node include: http://tinyurl.com/3nbml, http://tinyurl.com/4jhzm, and also http://tinyurl.com/ywceg. A quick google search shows the project was covered in most major US newspapers.