Posts by Allen Dodson

Is The US Prepared For Bioweapons Decontamination?

A new report by the UPMC Center for Biosecurity suggests that the US remains unprepared for the task of decontaminating the site of a major biological weapon attack. Decontamination after the comparatively small-scale Anthrax attacks of 2001 is estimated to have cost hundreds of millions of dollars, while shuttering some facilities for as long as two years. By comparison, the costs of a larger scale attack on a major city could be staggering.

The post Is The US Prepared For Bioweapons Decontamination? appears on the FAS Strategic Security Blog.

UPMC Logo (Credit: http://www.upmc-biosecurity.org/)

Is The US Prepared For Bioweapons Decontamination?

A new report by the UPMC Center for Biosecurity suggests that the US remains unprepared for the task of decontaminating the site of a major biological weapon attack. Decontamination after the comparatively small-scale Anthrax attacks of 2001 is estimated to have cost hundreds of millions of dollars, while shuttering some facilities for as long as two years. By comparison, the costs of a larger scale attack on a major city could be staggering.

Soviet Bioweapon Researchers Discuss Past, Future

Two leading Russian biological weapons scientists presented their inside view of the Soviet bioweapons program at a March 29th panel sponsored by the George Mason University Biodefense Program. Dr. Guennady Lepioshkin, who headed the Anthrax production plant at Stepnogorsk in Kazakhstan, and GMU Professor Sergey Popov, who headed projects at the Vector Institute and other laboratories in Obolensk, Russia, presented candid personal accounts of life as bioweapons researchers. Beyond their individual tales, the session offered several lessons that remain relevant to the modern discussion of biosecurity – cautionary tales about the publication of dual use research and the destructive potential of synthetic biology.

The post Soviet Bioweapon Researchers Discuss Past, Future appears on the FAS Strategic Security Blog.

Plaques formed by Bacillus anthracis on Sheep Blood Agar (Credit: http://phil.cdc.gov/phil/home.asp)

Soviet Bioweapon Researchers Discuss Past, Future

Two leading Russian biological weapons scientists presented their inside view of the Soviet bioweapons program at a March 29th panel sponsored by the George Mason University Biodefense Program. Dr. Guennady Lepioshkin, who headed the Anthrax production plant at Stepnogorsk in Kazakhstan, and GMU Professor Sergey Popov, who headed projects at the Vector Institute and other laboratories in Obolensk, Russia, presented candid personal accounts of life as bioweapons researchers. Beyond their individual tales, the session offered several lessons that remain relevant to the modern discussion of biosecurity – cautionary tales about the publication of dual use research and the destructive potential of synthetic biology.

United States Capitol (Credit: Allen Dodson)

Capitol Briefing on Biological Weapon Threats

A March 19th briefing at the US Capitol brought together a panel of experts to discuss the threat of biological weapons. The briefing, titled “Deterring Biological Threats”, was hosted by the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) and focused heavily on the historical records of the destructive potential of the Cold War bioweapons programs in the US and the USSR. With more modern threats, such as Al Qaeda’s well-documented search for Anthrax, the amount of interest in biological attacks appears to be increasing. The means of actually deterring and preventing these biological threats remain less clear.

The post Capitol Briefing on Biological Weapon Threats appears on the FAS Strategic Security Blog.

2010 BIO Biosecurity Conference Logo (Credit: http://convention.bio.org/biosecurity/)

New Industry Biosecurity Conference To Host Experts from Government, Academia

A tight funding environment for academic research, coupled with rapid technological advances, has created an environment where innovation will increasingly occur in industry and at start-up companies. Regulation in new fields, such as synthetic biology, trails the cutting edge of research, creating an extra need for industry to be involved in the discussion surrounding biosecurity.

A new conference hopes to fill this role by bringing top Administration and Agency officials directly to the site of the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) annual meeting.

The post New Industry Biosecurity Conference To Host Experts from Government, Academia appears on the FAS Strategic Security Blog.