It is really weird that in this time and age something like an anti vaccin movement is possible.
And yes: they should make more vaccins mandatory. In my country its just 1 vaccin that is mandatory.
I find your grant money idea a bit weird. I can hardly imagine this is indeed a good reason to get grants? Altough, yes maybe if they play on the psychological level/fear than yes, perhaps you can get grants like this.
But sience is complaining about not getting enough funds anymore, so putting money in this kind of research is a bit strange.
BTW: you use the "its not here yet" argument for the study of other viruses, but this argument can also be used for the terrorism card, because its also not here yet...
Its good to take precautions and be able to act when it happens, but one might wonder how to do it... And the way how it is done in this paper seems a bit weird.
Also: should research like this not be done by non private companies/facilities? (government funded/controled?)
The anti-vaccine thing is a real worry - apparently a quite number of knidergartens and schools won't allow kids who haven't been vaccinated - which might convince a few parents to vaccinate. Unfortunately it is happening all over the Western world. I was recently at a conference where Prof Geoffrey Smith (on the world vaccine committe, vaccina virus expert), who said that if he had his way, it would be mandatory - it's been done before for smallpox, and it worked. He thought that a number of common diseases (measles, rubella, polio (they're working on it) and a few others that i can't remember) could be completely eliminated if such measures were enforced.
Unfortunately the parents of the unvaccinated children have never been around when a lot of these diseases caused large numbers of deaths and serious illness each year, so they don't have any frame of reference. Personally I'd like to inoculate them with something like measles and see how they like it...
Anyway, back to the debate on re-creation of "dead" diseases -
studying them because they might be used once as a weapon is pretty much useless in many cases because if they are used as a weapon they would have been mutated in such a way that the know/common treatments would not work. (the knowledge gotten by studying it would aid, but would not be necessary in most cases because you have similar knowledge from other organisms)
+ they would take organisms that are hardly known
(we are talking about people that have pretty much unlimited funds/researchpotential in the case of bio-terrorism).
To battle against such organism one will need to have the organism first to set up the development of the correct anti X therapy.
Yes, I know, though for antibody based therapies would be pretty hard to develop an organism without the respective antigens.
It is also about money - combatting "terrorism" or potential terrorism is an easy way to get money out of politicians...grant writing anyone?
You also have to keep in mind that there is still no therapy against so many deadly viruses (that are being studied for years) so one might argue that it would be better to put your money in the current problems and not in the "what if this would be a problem in the future" possible problems.
Especially in this case because its pretty much a non problem actually while now it may form a problem.
This bit is all about politics - it's not a problem now, so there isn't money... there will be money when it is a problem. "Dealing with it now would cost too much" sort of thinking, despite the fact that stopping it early would be much easier than letting it get established.
The big viruses coming are West Nile virus, Chickungunya virus, and Dengue, though it seems most of those arthropod borne ones are starting to be real threats.