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D. U.S. Plans to Launch a Bioterror Detection System

Narrator: This is Science Today. In an effort to protect the nation from the threat of bioterrorist agents, such as anthrax, smallpox and other deadly germs, the U.S. government is planning to launch an early warning, bioterrorism detection system. Adapted after the September 11th attacks, the system was tested last year, including at the Salt Lake City Olympics. The monitoring technology is similar to the Biological Aerosol Sentry and Information System, or BASIS that was developed at the Lawrence Livermore and Los Alamos National Laboratories. Dennis Imbro, BASIS project manager at the Livermore Lab, explains.

Imbro: BASIS has received a lot of visibility since the Olympics and of course, because of the events following 9-11, and so there's, I think, a recognition in the community that we need to do a lot more this environmental monitoring, so if there were an incident, health authorities could respond very quickly.

Narrator: Monitors currently run by the Environmental Protection Agency will soon be adapted to check for a number of biological agents. For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.