News Releases

University of Washington to Lead Regional Center for America's Bioterrorism Research

Sep 05 2003

Senator Murray's Efforts to Fund Bioterror Preparedness Pay Off for Washington State

(Washington, D.C.) Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash) announced that the University of Washington has been selected to become a new regional center for bioterrorism research. UW is one of eight new Regional Centers of Excellence named by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Each center will conduct research to assist national, state, and local public health efforts in the event of a bioterrorism emergency.

Each regional center will receive about $40 million in grants over the next five years. The University of Washington will receive its first grant of $4,440,215 to cover the program’s first six months. Murray received the good news yesterday in a phone call from Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

"I’m thrilled that the University of Washington will play a leading role in helping our nation mount a strong defense against the threat of bioterrorism," Murray said. "UW has a tradition of excellence in cutting-edge research and has earned a place in the coordinated, research-based response to bioterrorism which I’ve been advocating in the Senate."

Since September 11th, Congress has focused in increasing our nation’s biodefense research to ensure that we are prepared for a bioterrorist attack. As a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee and the Senate Labor, Health & Human Services (LHHS) Appropriations Subcommittee, Murray has worked to fund critical biodefense research. Senator Murray raised this issue at several hearings on bioterrorism preparedness and urged the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to develop research criteria and to disseminate this information to first responders and public health officials. She has consistently urged greater research efforts in developing new, safe vaccines, therapies and treatments. These new research centers will increase our commitment to bioterrorism preparedness and will help us develop effective and safe treatments to prepare for and respond to this deadly threat. Senator Murray also helped draft S. 1715 the Bioterrorism Preparedness Act of 2001, which was signed into law in June 2002. This legislation urges greater research and development of effective, safe biodefense strategies. As a member of LHHS, she has worked to increase funding for NIH to support this important research. In the past five years, Murray has worked to double NIH funding. The increased focus on bioterrorism research and strengthening of public health can also improve our response to infectious disease threats like SARS and West Nile.