Federal Research and Preparedness Activities

GAO-01-915: Published: Sep 28, 2001. Publicly Released: Sep 28, 2001.

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Janet Heinrich
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Federal research and preparedness activities related to bioterrorism center on detection; the development of vaccines, antibiotics, and antivirals; and the development of performance standards for emergency response equipment. Preparedness activities include (1) increasing federal, state, and local response capabilities; (2) developing response teams; (3) increasing the availability of medical treatments; (4) participating in and sponsoring exercises; (5) aiding victims; and (6) providing support at special events, such as presidential inaugurations and Olympic games. To coordinate their activities to combat terrorism, federal departments and agencies are developing interagency response plans, participating in various interagency work groups, and entering into formal agreements with other agencies to share resources and capabilities. However, coordination of federal terrorism research, preparedness, and response programs is fragmented, raising concerns about the ability of states and localities to respond to a bioterrorist attack. These concerns include insufficient state and local planning and a lack of hospital participation in training on terrorism and emergency response planning.

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