THE BIG BET: BIOSECURITY.

Author:Matheny, Jason
Position:Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity

There is no domain of national security that causes me more anxiety than biological threats--whether natural, accidental or malicious. A century ago, a single virus caused over 50 million deaths in a 12-month period. Quantitatively, the Spanish flu was the most severe mortality event in human history--more severe than any war or famine.

Today we're still vulnerable to such pandemics. What has recently changed is the ease for an individual or group to cause a pandemic, whether out of malice or out of carelessness. Last year a few researchers used commercially available tools to synthesize a pox virus for $100,000, demonstrating that the...

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