Prez Trump ready for bio war; New strategy in place
Washington, Sep 18: US President Donald Trump on Tuesday (Sep 18) released a new strategy to protect against the increasing biological threats, which he said has great potential to disrupt the economy and cause lasting damage to the people's health and the country.
The National Biodefence Strategy builds on lessons learned from the past biological incidents, such as the 2001 anthrax attacks, the 2009 influenza pandemic and the 2014 West Africa Ebola epidemic to develop a more resilient and effective biodefense enterprise, Trump said. Biological threats emanate from many sources, and they know no borders, he said.
"They have great potential to disrupt the economy, exact a toll on human life, and tear at the very fabric of society," Trump said, asserting that his administration will take steps to improve the understanding of the risks posed by biological threats and to respond to them effectively and efficiently.
As per the new strategy, Secretary of Health and Human Services serves as the Federal lead in its coordination and implementation. It also establishes a Cabinet-level Biodefence Steering Committee to support the transformation of America's biodefence enterprise and to protect Americans from bioterrorism and natural outbreaks of deadly diseases. "Our National Biodefence Strategy will address the full range of biological threats, including those that are naturally occurring, deliberate and accidental - a first for the United States Government. We will comprehensively evaluate our national biodefence needs and monitor implementation of our strategy on an ongoing basis in order to prioritize effectively the Government's biodefence resources and actions," Trump said.
National Security Advisor John Bolton told reporters at a White House news conference that while the focus is on nuclear weapons, biological weapons and chemical weapons are very dangerous. "Bio and chem are often referred to as "the poor man's nuclear weapon," so they're particularly attractive to terrorist groups that want to try and cause great damage to us here at home. Our intention is to review it on an annual basis, to move away from the concept we see in too many strategy documents, that they're written and then that's the end of the process," Bolton said.
Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar said that biological threats of a manmade accidental or naturally occurring nature are very real and they're growing. "There are several factors that drive their growth. As the world grows more urbanized and interconnected, infectious threats can spread more rapidly and easily than ever. Think about one of the threats that HHS is monitoring at this very second, which Ebola outbreak in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Such is the ease of mobility between countries now that just in the DRC, more than 100,000 people are being screened at border crossings every day," Azar said.
Today's rapid technological advances have great potential to improve public health and human health, but they also create the opportunity for new kinds of threats and for more and more actors to make use of biological weapons, said the top Trump Cabinet official. Strengthening our biodefence will better protect the American people, homeland and the welfare of its citizens, the White House said, adding that the new strategy will lead to a more efficient, coordinated and accountable biodefence enterprise. Biological threats are a distinct aspect of national security, the White House said, adding that this threat arises from many sources and require a deliberate and systematic approach to reduce their risks.