Project BioShield was formed because the United States government felt it needed to support the development of “medical countermeasures” such as vaccines, drugs, therapies, and diagnostic tools to help recover from possible chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear attacks. Launched in 2004, the project will spend $5.6 billion over a 10-year period as part of a broader strategy to defend America against the threat of weapons of mass destruction.
At the halfway point, Project BioShield has accomplished the following, according to a GAO report:
- Supported the development of seven medical countermeasures, all against either anthrax, botulism, radiological/nuclear agents or smallpox.
- Given emergency authorization for the use of seven products (or uses of products) not approved by the Food and Drug Administration, all to combat either anthrax (two products) or H1N1 (five). One of the anthrax authorizations was in response to a military emergency.