A public health advisory panel concerned with chemical, biological, nuclear, or radiological agents has been established to advise HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt.

The National Biodefense Science Board will give Leavitt guidance on preventing, preparing for, and responding to release of such agents, whether they are naturally occurring, accidental, or deliberate.

The board, which was authorized by the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act, will advise the Secretary about trends, challenges, and opportunities in the field. At the Secretary’s request, it will also provide recommendations for research and development.

Board members are yet to be selected. There will be 13 members, appointed by the Secretary, from among leading experts in science, public health and medicine. Four will be from the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and device industries. Four will be from academic institutions. Of the remaining five, one must be from an organization representing health care consumers and one must be a practicing health care professional. 

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