With the consequences of the delayed response to the Ebola crisis still fresh on their minds, members of a House subcommittee Wednesday stressed the need to step up U.S. preparedness for bioterrorism attacks.
At the heart of that effort should be a buildup of the national stockpile of medical countermeasures (MCMs). Although the federal government has identified 15 biologic agents that could be used in such an attack, MCMs exist to counter only two or three of them, said Rep. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.), chairwoman of the House Homeland Security Committee's Emergency Preparedness subcommittee.
Former Sen. Jim Talent agreed, adding that not having MCMs is like having "an army without bullets." A national stockpile of MCMs that would address the most likely targets would force terrorists to work beyond their means to develop an agent for which there is no ready countermeasure, he said.
In addition to drugs and devices to counter a