Prof. Thomas Butler, who was indicted in early 2003 of various charges including improperly transporting samples of plague bacteria (Yersinia Pestis) into the United States, was held overnight at the Miami International Airport after TSA agents found a “suspicious” metal canister in his bag, which they thought could be a pipe bomb. After searching for [...]
This post was researched and written by our bright, young summer intern, Sasha M. In today’s media-thick world, an issue that comes up with surprising infrequence is biosecurity. Perhaps this is related to the fact that spell-check just came up to tell me it wasn’t a word. But Webster-compliant or not, biosecurity is a real [...]
The Biosecurity Program at the Federation of American Scientists is expanding. Job Title: Project Manager for Biosecurity Location: Washington, D.C. Description: FAS is looking for a smart, energetic individual to help manage the Biosecurity Program and further develop existing research programs on biological and chemical weapons. Job duties include developing high-quality educational material, including expanding [...]
Another RNAi based treatment for Ebola has been developed. Researchers at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) found that >60% of monkeys given a lethal dose of Zaire Ebola virus survived after treatment with AVI-6002, a targeted, positively charged, anti-sense phosphorodiamidate morpholino oligomers (PMO) developed by AVI BioPharma . Another targeted [...]
While most people today think of biological weapons as a relatively modern advancement, it is important to recognize that their existence predates recorded human history. Ancient civilizations had a working knowledge of plant and animal toxins, as well as of devastating diseases such as plague and smallpox. While these people had yet to discover the [...]
BARDA, the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), recently awarded four contracts for the research and development of innovative platform technologies in medical countermeasure development.
Contracts were awarded to the following organizations to continue development: the Program for Appropriate Technology in Health (PATH), the Infectious Disease Research Institute (IDRI) in Seattle, VaxDesign Corp. in Orlando and Pfenex Inc. in San Diego. A collective total of $24.6 million is allotted for initial phases and up to $53.6 million over three years.
This week the State Department released the unclassified version of a report on specific countries’ “Adherence to and Compliance with Arms Control, Nonproliferation, and Disarmament Agreements and Committees” (henceforth referred to as the Compliance Report). One section of this report covers compliance issues with the Biological and Toxins Weapon Convention (BWC, aka BTWC). The Compliance [...]
The Federal Register published a notice today from the Department of Health and Human Services detailing the transport of potentially infected laboratory workers at the new National Interagency Biodefense Campus (NIBC) in Ft. Detrick, MD. The campus hosts researchers from a variety of agencies, including the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID), [...]
In late June, 30 hippopotamuses died of anthrax in Queen Elizabeth National Park, Uganda, a popular safari location. These hippopotamuses likely contracted Bacillus anthracis, the causative agent of anthrax, from spores that had been lying dormant in the lake shore soil for 6 years, originating from an anthrax outbreak in 2004 which killed approximately 300 [...]
2.3 million bags of maize are contaminated with aflatoxins this year in Kenya, according to afrol News. Aflatoxins are produced by the Aspergillus species of fungus, most notably Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus parasiticus, and are highly carcinogenic and damaging to the liver. This natural outbreak in Kenya has made a large portion of “maize unfit [...]