Inhalational anthrax is a rare but often deadly disease caused by the spore-forming bacterium Bacillus anthracis, and is considered to be the foremost threat of biological warfare.
The Department of Defense established the Anthrax Vaccine Immunization Program (AVIP) to protect service members in the armed forces from the disease; however, some parties have raised questions about both the safety and efficacy of the vaccine. The Congress has responded to these concerns by mandating further study of the vaccine by the Department of Defense (DoD), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), both individually and collaboratively.
In response, the CDC designed a research program to further study the vaccine's adverse events and efficacy, as well as to evaluate alternative routes and schedules of administration in order to reduce adverse effects while maintaining vaccine effectiveness. The CDC also contracted with the Institute of Medicine (IOM) to establish an expert panel to review the completeness and appropriateness of their research plan; this report summarizes interim findings of the committee.