Archive for the ‘Biodefense’ Category


Saturday, October 15th, 2011

‘Contagion’ all too real

Film exposes true biodefense vulnerabilities that need solutions

By Tevi Troy      Tevi Troy, a former deputy secretary of health and human services, is a fellow at the Hudson Institute and at the Homeland Security Policy Institute.

The Washington Times

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Jude Law's character, Alan Krumwiede, wanders through an abandoned street as a horrific disease ravages the world in "Contagion." (Warner Bros. Pictures)Jude Law’s character, Alan Krumwiede, wanders through an abandoned street as a horrific disease ravages the world in “Contagion.” (Warner Bros. Pictures)

“Contagion” was the No. 1 box-office movie on the 10th anniversary of Sept. 11 – and with good reason. The New York Post’s Lou Lumenick called the Steven Soderbergh-directed thriller about a killer virus “easily the scariest of the disaster films” since Sept. 11, and the film keeps viewers squirming and in suspense until the revealing and harrowing final shot.

One of the reasons the movie is so frightening is that it is so realistic, and verisimilitude clearly is something the filmmakers were striving to attain. The film thanks the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Department of Defense for their assistance, suggesting that those entities did not have significant disagreements with the way the film portrayed the government’s earnest but not always effective response to the film’s fictional MEV virus. Nor should they. For the most part, the film shows U.S. officials to be smart, hardworking, dedicated and self-sacrificing, and the government plays a key role in the creation of an anti-MEV vaccine that helps humanity fight back against the deadly viral threat.

Based on my experience with U.S. biopreparedness efforts, the U.S. government’s role is depicted fairly accurately in the film. At the same time, even though the government comes off pretty well in “Contagion,” the scariest part of the film is the vulnerabilities the film highlights in our current system. Despite spending $60 billion in biodefense efforts since the 2001 anthrax attacks, we still are not fully prepared for a full-on bioevent, whether it be made by man or by nature. The film identifies at least four biopreparedness weaknesses, all of which could be addressed by smart government planning: (more…)

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