Report: America Failing in Bioterror Preparedness

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On the 10th anniversary of the anthrax attacks on Washington, two former senators said America is "largely unprepared" to prevent or face a bioterror attack.

The report card released Wednesday by the Bipartisan WMD Terrorism Research Center revealed 15 F's and 15 D's when assessing the nation's preparedness to fight such attacks on a large scale.

A grade of "D" was given across the board for the country's ability to develop and quickly approve medical vaccines in the event of a critical outbreak.

The country received mostly B's and C's for its ability to handle small-scale events, such as the anthrax letter attack of 2001.

Democrat Bob Graham and Republican Jim Talent led the report card effort.

WMD Terrorism Research Center CEO Randall Larson said faith-based and voluntary groups could have a big role in helping Americans survive a bioterror attack.

"If a terrorist organization were to release anthrax or plague or something like that in your community, the federal government would do a very good job getting those antibiotics to your community quickly," he said.

"The problem that we see is then these large quantities, breaking them down and getting them to individual people," Larson continued. "And that needs to be done within 48 or 72 hours. And if they do it, most people will survive."

The anthrax attacks in 2001 killed five people and sickened 17 others. No one was ever charged.

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