- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 6, 2009

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Understanding the details of “The Ipsen-Iran connection” (Editorial, Sunday) is irrelevant to knowing “how serious the Obama administration is about bio-defense,” as your editorial puts it.

The relevant news is that the biotechnology horseman has already left the barn. There is absolutely no means of controlling its spread and abuse without also limiting its potential for curing AIDS or cancer - even if a serious effort were made. Botulism sources are available almost anywhere in the world, and they are not even the most useful bioterrorist agent. Unless The Washington Times is proposing the creation, funding and empowerment of a global police force to pre-emptively root out every potential abuse of biotechnology, fretting about Ipsen is pointless.

For now, nature’s pandemics are far more threatening than are bioterrorists. The human immune system needs adequate nutrition to supply the first line of defense against infections. A global network of basic health care providers - fully staffed, trained and equipped - could provide the world with the most cost-effective warning and response systems against natural, man-made and accidental biothreats. An early-warning capacity would be an excellent mechanism for preventing other threats like genocide, terrorism and piracy.

The Times can continue to pick on Ipsen, or it can educate Americans about the best policies to ensure our freedom and security. Making adequate global investments in improving the health standards for all is a good place to start. Forcibly stopping the abuse of biotechnology will be no more effective than gun control is in reducing crime.

CHUCK WOOLERY

Rockville

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