The world’s richest governments are looking to create an international germ-warfare crisis center and vaccine bank as “a matter of top priority.”

According to Jane’s Terrorism and Security Monitor, the Group of Seven industrialized countries, also known as the G7, has agreed to locate the center in Canada’s capital city of Ottawa, and will work in tandem with the United Nations’ World Health Organization.

The goal is to battle the threat of mass infections which could claim the lives of millions, whether sparked intentionally by terrorists or occurring naturally.

Joining the effort to defuse the threat of bio-terror attacks are some of the world’s most advanced germ-warfare establishments originally built by the Soviets in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.

“The Soviets are believed to have utilized as many as 50 biological agents in their weapons program, genetically engineering some of them to be resistant to antibiotics,” reports Jane’s. “Soviet Cold War secrets are now being used in the development of defenses against biological weapons of mass destruction.”

Still, said U.S. Health Secretary Tommy Thompson, “despite our best efforts, we must concede that the terrorists can still hit any of us at any time.”

Thompson’s comments were echoed by other foreign leaders.

“A biological terror attack is not a virtual threat. It is a real threat,” said Philippe Douste-Blazy, the French minister of health.

British Health Secretary John Reid added, “The price of security is eternal vigilance, intelligence, surveillance, awareness and preparations to respond to such attacks.”

The nations officially involved in the program not only include the G7 (the U.S., Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan), but also Mexico and the European Union as a whole.

Russia is reportedly not interested, “perhaps because of the vast Cold War germ-warfare facilities and expertise that it has inherited from the Soviets,” according to Jane’s.

On Jan. 26, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security decided to move forward with its long proposed $130 million National Bio-defense Analysis and Countermeasures Center in Maryland to handle immediate and future germ-warfare threats.

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