Hemorrhagic fever cure wonderful, but let's please globalize biowarfare research

The Marburg and Ebola hemorrhagic fevers are horrifying. They basically liquify your body till you bleed to death. Caregivers are likely to contract the disease themselves. And most who catch these horrible diseases die from them after several weeks of suffering.

So I’m thrilled to learn U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases researchers may have found a cure.

I’ve long opposed America’s massive expansion of research into biological weapons and deadly diseases that could be weaponized. Since the first Bush Administration, I’ve argued that America’s biological weapons research expansion has triggered a global arms race of such research that makes the world a much more dangerous place. I’m not opposed to such research per se but against nationalized research programs because countries fear what other countries may be doing. I much prefer multinational research efforts because they assure the world the research is open and the fruits of the research will be shared widely.

Given that researching rare diseases like smallpox and Ebola is not commercially viable, such research must be conducted (or at least paid for) by governments. And there are few legitimate reasons for governments to engage in such research in secret. Therefore, national programs should be rolled into multinational collaborations.

So, while I applaud USAMRIID’s apparent achievement (and hope that its findings are published in detail), I also urge America to move the world toward a more globalized research model for research aimed at protecting against potential biological weapons.

Posted by James on Tuesday, August 31, 2010