A 'Very Graphic History' Of Germ Warfare

Press Release | Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense | April 25, 2019

New Graphic Novel Reminds Us Never to Take Public Health for Granted

WASHINGTON, April 25, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Max Brooks, best-selling author of "World War Z" and non-resident fellow at the Modern War Institute at West Point, has partnered with the Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense to produce GERM WARFARE: A Very Graphic History. This highly stylized and engaging graphic novel, set for release this Saturday, depicts previous biological warfare events, the possibilities for the future, and the continued need for public health security. This is part of an effort by the bipartisan Panel to educate the public about biological risks and why a strong biodefense enterprise is critical to the health and security of the Nation.

"Germs have always been our greatest enemy, and now they're more dangerous than ever," said Brooks. "At the very moment some people are questioning vaccines, others are looking for ways to cook up the next pandemic in their basements. Preventing the next plague begins with education, and as taxpayers and voters we need to understand what we're up against. That's why I agreed to write this graphic novel for the Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense, because the experts can't help us if we don't help ourselves. We need to find an informed middle ground between blind denial and blind panic."

The Panel will release "Germ Warfare" this weekend at Awesome Con - one of the largest comic book and fan conventions on the East Coast - at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, DC. Brooks, along with former Homeland Security Advisor and Panel Member Ken Wainstein, and the Panel's Executive Director, Dr. Asha M. George, will host a discussion and provide free copies of the graphic novel at 12pm this Saturday in Room 146. The graphic novel will also be available for free download this Saturday at www.germwarfare.org.

Before humans even knew that germs caused illness, they knew they could use diseases as weapons for war. "Germ Warfare" traces the long, brutal story of those biological weapons from the infected arrows of Bronze Age archers, to the plague factories of World War 2, up through the biological arms race of the Cold War, and into our modern age of bioterrorism and rampant genetic engineering.

"My office received a letter loaded with anthrax and I can tell you, Max's story really spoke to me," said Panel Member and former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle. "I know first-hand how weaponized biological agents can cause panic and do harm. It is important to our Panel to get these messages to the public, in ways that they can relate to. Max has done a terrific job of doing just that with this graphic novel."

About the Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense

The Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense was established in 2014 to conduct a comprehensive assessment of the state of U.S. biodefense efforts, and to issue recommendations to foster change. The Panel's 2015 report, A National Blueprint for Biodefense: Leadership and Major Reform Needed to Optimize Efforts, identified capability gaps and recommended changes to U.S. policy and law to strengthen national biodefense while optimizing resource investments. The Panel's 2018 report, Budget Reform for Biodefense: Integrated Budget Needed to Increase Return on Investment,found that the ad hoc and stovepiped approach to budgeting across multiple federal agencies is preventing strategic, long-term, and cohesive progress toward bolstering America's vulnerable biodefense posture.In September 2018, the White House released the National Biodefense Strategy, a top recommendation from the Blueprint. The Panel continues to assess biodefense challenges and to urge reform. Former Senator Joe Lieberman and former Governor Tom Ridge co-chair the Panel, and are joined by former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, former Representative Jim Greenwood, former Homeland Security Advisor Ken Wainstein, and former Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Advisor Lisa Monaco. Hudson Institute is the Panel's fiscal sponsor.

SOURCE Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense

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