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The space race and biodefense: lessons from NASA about big science and the role of medical informatics.

Abstract

The events that followed the launch of Sputnik on Oct 4, 1957, provide a metaphor for the events that are following the first bioterroristic case of pulmonary anthrax in the United States. This paper uses that metaphor to elucidate the nature of the task ahead and to suggest questions such as, Can the goals of the biodefense effort be formulated as concisely and concretely as the goal of the space program? Can we measure success in biodefense as we did for the space project? What are the existing resources that are the equivalents of propulsion systems and rocket engineers that can be applied to the problems of biodefense?

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