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Killers in the Lab

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THE government’s charge that Dr. Bruce Ivins, a top Army biodefense scientist, was responsible for the 2001 anthrax mailings has focused renewed attention on the important question of whether we are adequately prepared to protect against a future bioweapons attack. More than $20 billion has been spent on biodefense research since 2001. But the genetic analysis demonstrating that the anthrax powder used in the 2001 letters was a formulation first made at the Army biodefense research center at Fort Detrick, Md., suggests that our biodefense program risks creating the very threat it is meant to fight.

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