Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh are establishing a Biomedical Security Institute (BMSI) that will monitor public health threats and alert emergency management agencies nationwide to attacks of bioterrorism.
The Biomedical Security Institute will provide a far-reaching preparedness, detection and response capability network that can be used to rapidly and accurately respond to acts of bioterrorism.
BMSI addresses a national need for greater preparedness in the event of biological terrorist attacks. It also will provide a means to monitor naturally occurring biological catastrophes such as outbreaks of West Nile virus and other related incidents, as well as attacks with biological agents.
BMSI has received funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).
BMSI and the Centers for Disease Control have just entered into a long-term cooperative agreement to address bioterrorism issues, including developing a wide range of laboratory and information technologies. A grant of more than $900,000 to start the Biomedical Security Institute was part of $177 million in the current federal budget going to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to address bioterrorism. BMSI also received more than $1 million from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality to investigate the use of technology to improve clinical preparedness in hospitals and other public health organizations to respond to acts of bioterrorism. The CDC and AHRQ are part of the Department of Health and Human Services.
According to U.S. Senator Arlen Specter, R-Pa., the Biomedical Security Institute presents both universities with various opportunities to participate in and shape the national agenda for research in the areas of public health surveillance and bioterrorism.