In October 2001, the nation responded to letters containing anthrax, at a time when it was still recovering from the terrorist attacks on September 11th. Since then, other biological events – such as the H1N1 influenza pandemic in 2009-2010 and the outbreak and global spread of Ebola in 2014 – have tested our national security. In addition to response and recovery activities, we also reacted to those events with new policy and programs. Over the years, some of these still exist, while others have languished and disappeared.
On October 9, 2018 the Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense held a meeting to reexamine the anthrax events of 2001, as well as subsequent biological events to discuss where we are now and what else we need to do to ensure national biodefense.
As a recipient of one of the anthrax letters, former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, Panel member, talked about what happened from his perspective and the concerns he still has. Academic, law enforcement, media, industry, and governmental experts also shared their experiences and viewpoints and talked about how far we have really come with biodefense.