Skip to main content

At Bio, Bush Calls on Biotech to Combat Bioterrorism, Hunger, and Disease

WASHINGTON, DC, June 24 - In characteristic shoot-from-the-hip style, President Bush yesterday told a lunch crowd of 8,000 assembled at the 10th annual Biotechnology Industry Organization meeting that the biotechnology industry "finds itself on the front lines of some of the great challenges of our time," and that researchers in the field should devote their efforts to combating the dangers of bioterrorism, world hunger, and disease.

 

The President used his speech to underscore his support for biotechnology in general, but clearly bioterrorism served as the focal point for his interest in the field. "We know that our enemies have ambitions to acquire and use biological, chemical, and nuclear weapons," he said. "We will not sit idly by as these threats gather, and we will continue to act before dangers are upon us." Bush specifically mentioned his Project Bioshield, which aims to provide funds to buy large quantities of vaccines against potential bioterror agents, and told attendees to pressure their representatives into passing the legislation.

 

But in addition to discussing bioterrorism, Bush encouraged the crowd of researchers, executives, and investors to apply biotechnology toward addressing hunger, particularly in the developing world. He also used the occasion to press his counterparts in Europe to drop their opposition to biotech crops. "We should encourage the spread of safe, effective biotechnology to win the fight against global hunger," he said.

 

Bush touched on specific aspects of biotechnology that might soon find application in treating disease. New monoclonal antibodies should help treat a wide range of illnesses, he said, and new methods for identifying genetic markers in patients should make it easier for doctors to tailor their treatments to specific individuals, he said. "Our biotechnology industry is the strongest in the world, and we need to keep it that way," he added.

The Scan

Pfizer-BioNTech Seek Full Vaccine Approval

According to the New York Times, Pfizer and BioNTech are seeking full US Food and Drug Administration approval for their SARS-CoV-2 vaccine.

Viral Integration Study Critiqued

Science writes that a paper reporting that SARS-CoV-2 can occasionally integrate into the host genome is drawing criticism.

Giraffe Species Debate

The Scientist reports that a new analysis aiming to end the discussion of how many giraffe species there are has only continued it.

Science Papers Examine Factors Shaping SARS-CoV-2 Spread, Give Insight Into Bacterial Evolution

In Science this week: genomic analysis points to role of human behavior in SARS-CoV-2 spread, and more.