Business Administration Education Guide

Monday, May 07, 2007

Cures or Bioweapons?

I think I can safely say that all of us or at least the majority of humans let alone Americans want cures / antidotes to deadly diseases such as anthrax, avian flu and foot-and-mouth disease. However, the same majority that want the cures and the research for those diseases do not want the process location to be any where near them.

A dozen US states is intensely competing to be the host to a future government research lab that will be full of killer germs that would provide hundreds of jobs.

  • At least 300 lab-related jobs
  • Multiple janitorial positions
  • Dozens of administrative jobs
  • Hundreds of construction jobs

As part of the bidding competition, the government has said it would take into account offers of new roads, cheap water supplies and discounted utilities. The competing states are dangling their premier scientific expertise and community treasures as location bonuses.

The competing states are:

  • Texas - San Antonio is offering three sites - They currently have four similar sites.
  • California
  • Georgia - offering two sites each
  • Kansas - offering two sites each
  • Oklahoma
  • Maryland
  • Mississippi - offering two sites each
  • Missouri
  • North Carolina
  • Wisconsin
* Kentucky and Tennessee are working together for one site in Kentucky.

The proposed 520,000-square-foot National Bio- and Agro-Defense Facility that will cost at least $450 million to build and operating by 2014. In June, officials will narrow down their options to three to five state sites with the wining state announced in October 2008.
The future site would replace an aging and smaller lab currently at Plum Island, N.Y., which was criticized for security lapses after the site drew scrutiny from Congress and government investigators.

However, residents of the biding states are not happy to even be considered for the potential site.

Largely in opposition against the lab.

City Council voted to oppose the sites proposed for their communities:
Dunn & Dane County, Wisconsin
Tracy, California

The Wisconsin bid has drawn complaints from landowners who have bought development rights to preserve the land in rural areas just outside Madison. They are imposing not only the development the lab would bring, but worry about the pathogens that could leak into the community area such as Lake Kegonsa.

"They made sweeping statements of 'Trust us,' generalizations that nothing bad will happen. That may be good enough for some people, but not for me," a Wisconsin Patent lawyer George Corrigan said.

In Leavenworth, Kansas, residents voiced concerns about lab safety, the lab's effect on property value, traffic congestion and the project's potential to make the area a terrorism risk.

Everyone has questions and it seems as if the government isn’t being too forthright in providing answers.

The future lab will be considered a BSL-4 site, meaning it would be equipped to handle the most lethal, incurable disease agents. The lab will be the only one in the country to integrate study of lethal agents that could be used as bioweapons on humans and in agriculture, research on diseases that could be passed between animal and human, and foreign animal diseases.

The politicians of these states are intensely competing and playing host to welcome in a lab that could potentially develop cures and antidotes for some of the world’s deadliest diseases. However, as stated, the lab is a project managed by Homeland Security where they will study the lethal agents that could be used as bioweapons. This sends a firework display of questions in my mind.

One question is:
Will they be looking to create a protection against bioweapons or create an offensive stance as a one last desperate measure against the enemy?

Source: Associated Press

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