In the wake of 9/11, the United States government poured $60 billion into biodefense, staged a massive investigation to find the mailer of anthrax letters, and also helped the world confront emerging infectious diseases like Nipah, bird flu, SARS, and the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic. Are we better prepared than we used to be for a bioterrorism attack? How scientifically accurate are movies and TV shows that deal with viral contagion? And what dangers are still out here?
Last week's issue of Science explored some of those issues in a "Biodefense: 10 Years After" package. Join us Thursday, 8 September, at a special time—2 p.m. EDT, for a chat with journalist and author Laurie Garrett, who has covered infectious diseases for more than 30 years, and W. Ian Lipkin, a neurologist at Columbia University who has helped identify several new infectious agents. Both Garrett and Lipkin consulted with the makers of the new Steven Soderbergh film Contagion, which opens nationwide this week and attempts to accurately portray the scientific and public health response to an outbreak of a new virus. You can leave your questions in the comment box below before the chat starts.
W. Ian Lipkin has over 30 years of experience in diagnostics, microbial discovery, and outbreak response; has mentored and trained more than 30 students and post-doctoral fellows; and leads a team of over 65 investigators, post-doctoral fellows, and research and support staff at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health.
Laurie Garrett is a renowned author and journalist. Her latest book is I Heard the Sirens Scream: How Americans Responded to the 9/11 and Anthrax Attacks. Garrett was also a a scientific script consultant for Contagion.