"That's the anthrax building," a colleague told me several years ago, pointing to a squat reddish-brown brick building in the middle of Fort Detrick, for many years the U.S. Army's center for biological warfare research. Cinderblocks now sealed up all of the doors and windows. Inside, anthrax -- a deadly pathogen -- still lurks. Outside, we are generally spared. For years, the U.S. had developed stores of anthrax spores as biological warfare, but destroyed these in 1969. Yet after 9/11, someone sent letters containing the pathogen to various journalists and senators. Many observers feel that the culprit remains unknown.
This building sits as a silent testimony to the history of dangerous pathogens and their possible, though fragile containment.