The Bipartisan Commission on BioDefense released a new report on the National BioWatch system which details specific actions that must be taken to make the system effective.
BioWatch was established in 2003 as a national biodetection system but has never been able to consistently demonstrate its operational capability in the field. The system detects a small number of organisms with questionable accuracy and produces results up to 36 hours after a pathogen may have been present near a detector, long after responders would need to act. It is far more likely that sick people seeking treatment at hospitals will make public health and safety officials aware of a biological event well before BioWatch results are available.
Saving Sisyphus: Advanced Biodetection for the 21st Century