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Status Brief

Developmental Milestones/Developments to Date:

Current Assessment/State of the Field:



Web Resources

Early Warning Inc.The Pathogen Problem“, Profile section of Early Warning Inc., (c) Early Warning Inc. 2008. Last Checked 9/18/2010

  1. “Early Warning is a spin-off from NASA’s Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley.”
  2. “Early Warning was formed to exploit the improved capabilities of nanotechnology in biodetection and developed a new generation of new products for rapidly detecting pathogens in industrial, environmental, and subsequently medical applications.”
  3. “In June 2007, Early Warning obtained an exclusive license to commercializing NASA’s biosensing platform.”
  4. “The Company developed its biosensor internally, with input and participation from engineers at NASA under a 5-year Space Act Agreement for product enhancements. The automated sampling system, concentrator and wireless communications were developed with a $2.3 million grant from Sustainable Development Technology Canada.”

Biodetection, Biosurveillance


Netesov, Sergey V.; Sandakhchiev, Lev S.,The Need for Creation of the International Center in Novosibirsk, Russia for Combating Infections Diseases and Bioterrorism Threat in Asia,”  STATE RESEARCH CENTER OF VIROLOGY AND BIOTECHNOLOGY NOVOSIBIRSK (RUSSIA), Sep. 2001 pp 349-357.

  1. *”In 1992, an International Science and Technology Center (ISTC)was established as a nonproliferation-targeted program for the Newly Independent States.”  p 350
  2. “VECTOR employees have attended dozens of international conferences and workshops using ISTC Support.  Hundreds of our scientists have wisited their foreign counterparts on site.  It made it possible to create an atmosphere of openness and transparency at VECTOR, which is critical to science and scientists.”  p 350
  3. “…with BTEP it is the study of infections representing serious public health problems such as HIV/AIDS, multi-drug-resistant tuberculosis, hepatitis, measles, ect.  And these investigations are being started with establishing the international ethical standards at VECTOR in accordance with international GCP regulations. p 350
  4. “Two very perspective projects will be started soon in the field of development of fast and very sensitive PCR-microchip detection of dangerous pathogen genomes in blood and other biological samples.” p 350
  5. “Very focused are also the efforts that are being planned and implemented under U.S.A.  Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) program that relate to upgrade the physical security and biosafety systems at the maximum biocontainment facilities at VECTOR up to the highest modern standards.”  p 351
  6. “Continuous involvement of foreign scientists in work at this ”Center”would be a powerful instrument of confidence building.  It is critical, therefore, that all high containment capabilities and necessary supporting facilities be incorporated into the ”Center” to alleviate concerns over possible prohibited activity.”  p 351
  7. “The geographical location of the Center – near the geographical center of Russia – is very suitable for the most effective collection of natural viral and bacterial strains and diagnostic procedures for the study of specimens from Asian Russia, Central Asia FSU republics, Mongolia and other neighbor countries, if needed because Novosibirsk is the largest in the area transportation hub.  this location of the proposed ”International Center” would also allow us to join international efforts to control and deter potential bioterrorists.”  p 352
  8. “The Collection of Cultures of Microorganisms available in the Center comprises over 10,000 deposit entries: various viral strains, including the national collection of variola virus strains and strains of viral BSL-4 pathogens.”  p 352
  9. “VECTOR houses one of the two WHO Collaborating Centers (WHO Collaborating Center for orthopoxvirus diagnosis and repository for variola virus strains and DNA), supplied with all required conditions for work with human highly pathogenic viruses including variola virus.”  pp 352-353
  10. “As a result of this research, the proposed ”International Center” can have one of its strategic scientific goals such as making prognosis, based on the data of global monitoring, of what new infections might emerge in the future.  It should be noticed that the most of these infectious agents are considered to be possible bioterrorism agents, and therefore the proposed ICERID could develop the preventive research in anti-bioterrorism direction.”  p 353
  11. “The special attention would be paid to the investigation of the unusual outbreaks of infectious diseases in the region (Asian part of Russia, Central Asian republics – members of C.I.S., possibly – another countries of the region).  This investigation may be conducted using molecular epidemiology approach, which allows to determine the sero- and genotypes of infectious agents, the source of primary infection and even to help distinguishing whether it is intentional or natural outbreak … Such investigations may be made on a regular basis for a wide list of pathogens.  This type of research would be extremely useful both for monitoring of the evolution and spread of infectious agents and for the investigation of possible bioterrorism cases.”  pp 353-354

Russia, Bioterrorism, Biodefense, Biodetection, Lab Safety, Mongolia, Scientist, WHO


Shapiro, Daniel, S., & Schwartz, Donald, R.,  “Exposure of laboratory workers to Francisella tularensis despite a bioterrorism procedure,” J. of Clinical Microbiology, June 2002, pp. 2278-2281.  PubMed last checked 12/16/15

  1. ”A rapidly fatal case of pulmonary tularemia in a 43-year-old man who was transferred to a tertiary care facility is presented. The microbiology laboratory and autopsy services were not notified of the clinical suspicion of tularemia by the service caring for the patient. Despite having a laboratory bioterrorism procedure in place and adhering to established laboratory protocol, 12 microbiology laboratory employees were exposed to Francisella tularensis and the identification of the organism was delayed due to lack of notification of the laboratory of the clinical suspicion of tularemia. A total of 11 microbiology employees and two persons involved in performing the patient’s autopsy received prophylactic doxycycline due to concerns of transmission. None of them developed signs or symptoms of tularemia. One microbiology laboratory employee was pregnant and declined prophylactic antibiotics. As a result of this event, the microbiology laboratory has incorporated flow charts directly into the bench procedures for several highly infectious agents that may be agents of bioterrorism. This should permit more rapid recognition of an isolate for referral to a Level B laboratory for definitive identification and should improve laboratory safety.” P. 2278.
  2. ”Despite the presence in the clinical microbiology laboratory of a written procedure for working with agents of bioterrorism, including F. tularensis, the identification of F. tularensis isolated from a fatal case of pulmonary tularemia was delayed, resulting in the manipulation of the organism at the bench by laboratory workers, many of whom subsequently began taking prophylactic antibiotics.” 2278
  3. ”Although tularemia is rare, with approximately 200 cases annually in the United States, in Pike’s study of 3,921 cases of laboratory-associated infections, it ranked second in the United States as a cause of laboratory-associated infections, behind only brucellosis, and third worldwide, behind brucellosis and typhoid (15).” P. 2278
  4. ”Although the medical service caring for this patient was concerned enough about the possibility of tularemia to give him intramuscular streptomycin, the microbiology laboratory and the autopsy service were not informed of this clinical suspicion. As a result, there was both a delay in sending the clinical isolate for definitive identification and an increased risk to the microbiology staff. Although a specific bioterrorism procedure was in place in the microbiology laboratory, it was separate from, and had not been sufficiently integrated into, the specific bench procedures for the workup of blood, respiratory, and sterile body fluid cultures. As a result, technologists working with the isolate on these benches did not suspect F. tularensis. It has been the standard procedure in our microbiology laboratory to subculture all positive blood cultures within a biological safety cabinet. This procedure, which involves a broth culture, is one that can potentially result in the production of an infectious aerosol.” P. 2280
  5. ”The clinical microbiology laboratory at Boston Medical Center is currently designated a Level A laboratory. This classification means that the laboratory should not attempt the identification of potential bioterrorism agents such as F. tularensis, but it does require the ability to rapidly rule out such agents and to forward those isolates which cannot be ruled out to a Level B laboratory (12, 13).” P. 2280
  6. ”The misidentification or preliminary identification of F. tularensis as a Haemophilus species has been noted in a number of published reports (2, 11, 18). F. tularensis is characteristically isolated as small, poorly staining gram-negative rods seen mostly as single cells which yield mostly pinpoint colonies on chocolate agar and often on sheep agar at 48 h, do not grow on either MacConkey or eosin-methylene blue agar, are oxidase negative, and have a weakly positive or a negative catalase test.”  P. 2280
  7. ”Although Yersinia pestis and Bacillus anthracis, two agents that have been classified as a Category A critical biological agents, have only rarely been reported to cause laboratory infections, we have incorporated flow charts for the identification of these organisms into our procedures in order to prevent a delay in their identification. In the clinical virology laboratory, we have incorporated a flow chart for those situations in which cytopathic effect is seen and which is consistently demonstrated upon passage but cannot be identified with our standard laboratory procedures.” P. 2280
  8. ”The role of performing autopsies in the possible detection of cases of bioterrorism is an important one (14). Under ideal circumstances, autopsies in cases of suspected bioterrorism should be performed in a specially designated morgue rather than in a routine hospital-based setting to minimize the risk of transmission of exotic agents, such as those causing viral hemorrhagic fevers.” P. 2281

Lab Safety, Biosafety, Tularemia, Anthrax, Plague, Biodetection


Snyder, James, “Role of the Hospital-Based Microbiology Laboratory in Preparation for and Response to a Bioterrorism Event,” Journal of Clinical Microbiology. pg. 1-4, Vol. 41, No.1. Jan. 2003

  1. “The main role of the hospital-based clinical microbiology laboratory in support of a biothreat, biocrime, or act of bioterrorism is to “raise suspicion” when a targeted agent is suspected in a human specimen.”(Pg. 1)
  2. “These plans include the following: (i) criteria for distinguishing the type of bioterroism event; (ii) information regarding access to and utilization of the LRN, including diagnostic testing protocols; (iii) safety guidelines; (iv) communication and notification protocols…” (Pg. 1)
  3. “Therefore, risk assessment becomes the responsibility of the clinical microbiologist, infection control personnel, hospital risk management office, and infectious disease physicians.” (Pg. 3)
  4. “The laboratory, preferably the laboratory director, must establish and include in the laboratory bioterrorism response plan a notification policy that is enacted when a suspicious isolate cannot be ruled out and must be referred to the next higher level laboratory for confirmation of the organism’s identity.” (Pg. 3)

Public Health, Bioterrorism, CDC, Lab Safety, Biodetection, Biodefense, Biosafety, Biosecurity, Decontamination, Personnel Reliability


Editors, “Systematic Review: Surveillance Systems for Early Detection of Bioterrorism-Related Diseases“. American College of Physicians. 2004.

  1. “the recent outbreaks of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and influenza strikingly demonstrate the continuing threat from illnesses resulting from bioterrorism and related infectious diseases. In particular, these outbreaks have highlighted that an essential component of preparations for illnesses and syndromes potentially related to bioterrorism includes the deployment of surveillance systems that can rapidly detect and monitor the course of an outbreak and thus minimize associated morbidity and mortality”(Pg 1.).
  2. “Little is known about the accuracy of surveillance systems for bioterrorism and related emerging infectious diseases, perhaps because of the diversity of potential data sources for bioterrorism surveillance data; methods for their analysis; and the uncertainty about the costs, benefits, and detection characteristics of each.”(Pg. 1)
  3. “Because most patients with bioterrorism-related diseases initially present with influenza-like illness, acute respiratory distress, gastrointestinal symptoms, febrile hemorrhagic syndromes, and febrile illnesses with either dermatologic or neurologic findings, we considered these conditions to be the bioterrorism-related syndromes.”(Pg. 2)
  4. “We identified 2 types of systems for surveillance of bioterrorism-related diseases or syndromes: those that monitor the incidence of bioterrorism-related syndromes and those that collect and transmit bioterrorism detection data from environmental or clinical samples to decision makers.”(Pg. 3)
  5. “The Interim Biological Agent Detector is used on U.S. naval ships to continuously monitor the air for a significant increase in particulate concentrations (32, 39–42). If a peak increase is detected, the instrument automatically collects an aerosol sample and alerts the ship’s damage control center so the crew can collect and screen the sample with a handheld antigen test.” (Pg. 5)
  6. “Our systematic review identified 115 existing surveillance systems, 29 of which were designed for surveillance of illnesses and syndromes associated with bioterrorism relevant pathogens. The evidence used to judge the usefulness of the reviewed systems is limited. Of the studies that evaluated systems for their intended purpose, few adhered to the CDC’s published criteria for high-quality evaluations of surveillance systems.”(Pg. 6)
  7. “Systems for bioterrorism surveillance require 3 key features: timeliness, high sensitivity and specificity, and routine analysis and presentation of the data that facilitate public health decision making.” (Pg. 6)
  8. “Systems with inadequate specificity may have frequent false alarms, which may result in costly actions by clinicians and public health officials”(Pg. 7)
  9. “Systems that collect pharmaceutical data, such as EPIFAR (198), are promising for bioterrorism surveillance. Pharmaceutical data, particularly over-the-counter medication sales data, can indicate an outbreak, although these data would probably not be specific for bioterrorism. In addition, most pharmaceutical sales are tracked electronically.” (Pg. 7)

Bioterrorism, Biosurveillance, Biodetection, Public Health, Pharma


Edward Despott, Mario J. Cachia, “A Case of Accidental Ricin Poisoning,” Malta Medical Journal 2004;16(4):39-41

  1. “Ricin is one of the most potent naturally occurring toxins known to man.”
  2. “With a LD50 of 3 g/kg body weight (aerosol and parenteral) and 30 g/kg body weight (ingestion)”
  3. “Ricin belongs to a class of proteins known as ribosomal inactivating proteins (RIPs). As their name suggests, these proteins interfere with the function of ribosomes, halt protein synthesis and thus induce cellular death.”
  4. “These worries have led to intensive awareness campaigns and research into the development of vaccines of antiricin and methods of rapid serological diagnosis by EIA.”
  5. “In this case the diagnosis was made using the clear evidence provided but in other scenarios where suspicion is strong but other corroborative evidence is lacking, the toxin can be detected by Enzyme Immuno Assay (EIA), as ricin is very immunogenic.”

Ricin, Biodetection, Vaccination, Public Health


Lowell, Jennifer, “Identifying Sources of Human Exposure to PlagueJournal of Clinical Microbiology. Pg. 650-656. Vol. 43, No. 2.

  1. “Approximately 3,000 human cases occur worldwide annually, with 12 to 15 cases reported each year in the western United States”
  2. “Two of the primary objectives of routine epidemiology plague investigations are to identify the source of human exposure and to assess the exposure site for potential continuing risk.”
  3. “The use of molecular epidemiological techniques in these investigations has been particularly difficult for Y. pestis because of its apparent lack of genetic variation.”
  4. “When combined with epidemiologic information, judicious use of genetic data from nonhuman organisms is highly attractive because of the power of DNA-based analyses to identify exposure sources.”

Public Health, Pandemic, Plague, Decontamination, Biodetection, Bioterrorism, Biodefense, Biosafety


Perman, Ben, “Provide the Capability for Interdiction Operations”, U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings, Jan2006, Vol. 132 Issue 1.

  1. “Despite the catastrophic consequences of WMD and the asymmetric nature of their threat, maritime powers such as the United States have a unique opportunity to gain the upper hand, because all WMDs will probably be on board a commercial vessel at some point during the proliferation cycle.”
  2. “International law and the economic forces that drive international shipping (and, by extension, smuggling) lead to the conclusion that the most effective locations to focus interdiction operations are areas where all elements of jurisdiction intersect.”
  3. “High seas interdiction operations, however, are tactically complex, demand excellent intelligence, require large commitments of resources, and may lack sufficient authority and jurisdiction to withstand legal review.”
  4. “One possible limitation is that, without detailed intelligence, the boarding team is not aware of any one item, or situation, that indicates the presence of weapons of mass destruction.”
  5. “Equipping all boarding teams with a common detection and analysis suite will overcome this limitation and provide an additional arena for overt intelligence collection.”
  6. “Boarding teams should be equipped with modern, accurate spectrometers that can discriminate between most radionuclides and can provide the on-scene commander with the data required to make informed decisions.”
  7. “If the threat of WMD entering the United States is from maritime shipments, it is clear that some effort must be made to provide boarding teams with simple detection kits.”

PSI, WMD, Jurisdiction, Biodetection


Olmsted, Stuart, “Patient experience with, and use of, an electronic monitoring system to assess vaccination responses.Health Expectations. June 2006.

  1. “National Research Council (NRC) report, Networking Health: Prescriptions for the Internet, highlights the potential for information technology (IT) and the Internet to revolutionize health-care delivery in the near future” (Pg. 1)
  2. “When applied to populations, electronic monitoring of many individual patients with chronic or infectious diseases can improve surveillance and management of chronic diseases, as well as reducing health-resource utilization.” (Pg. 1-2)
  3. “In public health practice, a mass vaccination program, whether for pandemic influenza or smallpox, may be strengthened and easier to administer if an electronic system were used to monitor vaccine reactions and side effects.” (Pg. 2)
  4. “Such a system can reduce the need for clinical assessments of vaccine responses, cutting travel time, work absenteeism and clinician time to assess vaccine sites. In addition, a system such as this can act as an early warning device for adverse events.” (Pg. 2)
  5. “Users also reported that the picture on the web or pocket card closely matched the appearance of their vaccine site (143/169; 85%) and that they were confident that what they reported matched their true reaction to the vaccine (147/171; 86%).” (Pg. 3)
  6. “While survey responders in this study were comfortable with a physician tracking their vaccination status via their electronic reports, and many were comfortable with having their take check determined electronically, half of the respondents were not comfortable eliminating the follow-up visit with a health-care provider.” (Pg. 6)
  7. “a similar reporting system may prove useful in public health settings in which large numbers of people will need treatment and follow-up in a short period of time, such as a mass vaccination or prophylaxis during a bioterrorism event, an influenza pandemic or another public health emergency.” (Pg. 6)

Public Health, Bioterrorism, Biosurveillance, Biodetection, Emergency Response, Vaccination


Bradbery, Sally, “Ricin and Abrin“, Medicine 2007;35: 576-577.

  1. “Ricin is a globular glycoprotein derived from the beans of the castor oil plant ”Ricinus communis”.”
  2. “By inhalation or injection, the lethal dose is about 5–10 μg/kg but it is approximately one thousand-fold less toxic by ingestion”
  3. “Many of the features seen in poisoning can be explained by ricin- induced endothelial cell damage, which leads to fluid and protein leakage and tissue oedema, causing so-called ‘vascular leak syndrome’.”

Ricin, Public Health, Biodetection


EditorGD in U.S. Army contract for biological detection systemHomeland Security Newswire, 8 April 2008. Last checked:9/16/2010

  1. “The U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command Acquisition Center, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, has awarded General Dynamics Armament and Technical Products a contract option worth approximately $43 million to produce and test Joint Biological Point Detection Systems (JBPDS).”
  2. “This award is a modification of a 2004 contract and brings the total value to date to more than $200 million.”
  3. “The JBPDS is a self-contained instrument suite that rapidly detects and identifies biological warfare agents. Available in man-portable, shelter- based, ship-based, and trailer-mounted variants, the JBPDS is a Joint Services program and is configured to meet the operational requirements of the U.S. Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force.”
  4. “The system provides automatic detection and identification of airborne biological agents at very low levels, triggers local and remote warning systems, and communicates threat information over standard communication systems.”

Biodetection, Biosurveillance


Dumiak, Michael, “Detecting Bioterror,” Defense Technology International – Science Watch Section, Vol. 2, No. 4, pg. 10, May 1, 2008.

  1. “While bioterror detection systems are currently deployed, early detection of a biological outbreak remains an objective rather than reality.”
  2. “The agency wants these markers to be detectable using trace amounts—less than 30 nanograms—of plasma, fluids, saliva, blood or tears, and the analysis to take no more than 90 min.”
  3. “The move is prompted by two recent research efforts: A National Institutes of Health study that used polycombinase chain reactions or PCR (i.e., cloning) to detect low levels of DNA from pathogens in clinical samples, specifically from the common yeast candida albicans in the bloodstream of rabbits. The other study, from a group doing work in Paris and Tunis, detected human herpes virus-6 DNA in the plasma of hitherto asymptomatic people with repressed disease.”
  4. “There are at least a half-dozen efforts in the U.S. that are aimed at early detection of biological outbreaks and attacks.  These are broken down into two categories: statistical or data-based syndromic biosurveillance, and biodetection, which is more immediate.”
  5. “Darpa has also employed software prototypes using rudimentary automatic translation technology to find meaningful patterns in open-information sources around the world. The technology is based on the MiTAP engine from Mitre Corp., McLean, Va., which now lives on, much modified, at Georgetown University’s Division of Integrated BioDefense.”
  6. “In 2005, Idaho Technology, Inc. of Salt Lake City, rolled out a 40-lb. device for the U.S. Air Force and Army to analyze food, environmental and clinical samples using DNA amplification.  It could reportedly identify a biological warfare agent in 40 min(utes).”

Biodetection, Bioterrorism, Syndromic Surveillance, Biosurveillance


Zukas, Walter, Cabrera, Catherine, Harper, James, Kunz, et al.Assessment of Nanotechnology for Chemical Biological Defense,” in Nanoscience and Nanotechnology for Chemical and Biological Defense, Chapter 9, American Chemical Society, Washington DC, 2009.

  1. ”The term nanotechnology generally refers to the evolving body of tools and knowledge that allow manipulation of material structures at the scale of approximately 10-100 nanometers and to understand the relationship between nanometer scale features and the macroscopic properties of materials.  Rapid progress in the development of analytical tools to probe the nanometer scale and to manipulate materials at this scale has led to a dramatic increase in the number and diversity of research programs on nanoscience and technology.”  P. 10
  2. ”…the deeply scaled dimensions of nanoparticles enhance the surface-area-to-volume ratio, and suitable surface chemistry can then lead to highly efficient sensing schemes or catalytic reactions.” P. 10
  3. ”…sorption-based detection is the one most suited for application of nanotechnology.  ….on the nanoscale of living systems, all sensing and molecular recognition functions are based on sorption of some sort, suggesting that man-made sensing systems aimed at mimicking biological systems will most likely use this mechanism.  When a molecule adsorbs [SIC] to a surface it not only changes the mass at the surface, but it can also impart changes in the electrical, optical, and/or luminescent properties, all of which have been explored as mechanisms for chemical sensing.  High surface-area-to-volume ratio nanostructures generally exhibit amplified responses to these properties, leading to sensor demonstrations with unprecedented sensitivity.” P. 10
  4. ”Nanotechnology may also play a role in development of non-caustic decontamination treatments.  Most non-caustic decontamination chemicals exhibit slower reaction rates with agents than caustic chemicals such as bleach or sodium hydroxide.” P. 10
  5. ”CB agents pose extreme challenges for detection, protection, and decontamination.  Their characteristic feature is their high lethality, so that even minute amounts (micrograms to milligrams) can constitute a lethal dose.  Therefore, the fundamental challenge of CBD is to develop products which are highly sensitive, selective, and efficient.  Sensors must detect agents at levels well below LD50, and still having extremely low levels of false alarms.” P. 12
  6. ”Calometric means to detect this heat would obviate the need for engineering fluorescent centers into the receptor, and could result for a whole new class of sensors, but other detection methods may also be feasible.” P. 14
  7. ”The vast majority of nanotechnology-based CB sensor research has focused on ultra-sensitive transducers such as nanowires, nanotubes, and cantilevers (14-16).  However, sensing elements are only useful if particles of interest are present in the sample volume being interrogated; as the volume decreases, the effective concentration in the sample must increase (17).” P. 14
  8. ”Nano-permeable membranes (NPMs), especially those based on carbon nanontubes, have been the focus of extensive research.  Recently, several groups have reported that the transport of water through nanotube pores is [SIC] orders of magnitude higher than predicted by classical hydrodynamic theories (87-89). … The field appears to have excellent potential to yield substantial valuable results from an investment focused on projects specifically tailored to address chem/bio protection, and the long-standing need for permselective membranes with improved water transport and high selectivity.” P. 18
  9. ”The recommendation is to focus on projects that seek to extend these results to applications of direct relevance to CBD (e.g. chemical and biological agent prophylaxis, vaccines, diagnostics, and treatments) and that seek to demonstrate that the nanoscale features of these methods to offer revolutionary capability improvements when compared to traditional approaches.” P. 18

Chemical, Chemical Surveillance, Biodetection, Biosurveillance, Vaccination, Decontamination


Law, Tina, “Detector Passes Tests,The Press (Christchurch, New Zealand)  — Business; Business day; pg. 7, June 26, 2009

  1. “A Christchurch manufacturer of a hand-held device that detects lethal anthrax spores is bracing itself for a barrage of sales after strong test results in the United States.”
  2. “Veritide’s ‘Ceeker’ scanner accurately identified 100 per cent of the anthrax samples used over two weeks of testing at the Midwest Research Institute in Florida. The company said it was also correct in 95 per cent of tests involving hoax substances.”
  3. “The technology was first developed at the University of Canterbury and provided test results in a few minutes compared to existing products and technologies that could take 30 minutes to three days. The United States Department of Defence was one customer and had bought several machines for use across the US.”
  4. “The results are being presented today in Baltimore in the United States at Biodetection Technologies 2009, an international conference for experts in detection and identification of biological and chemical threats.”

Biodetection, Biosurveillance, Anthrax


Michael A. Taverna, “Threat Interrogation,” Aviation Week & Space Technology – Aviation Security; Pg. 57 Vol. 171 No. 2, July 13, 2009

  1. “A novel neutron detector technology from Sodern promises to significantly improve the ability of airports, drug enforcement agencies, the military and other security organizations to protect against terrorist attacks and illicit trafficking.”
  2. “Neutron tubes have been used for years to accurately determine the chemical makeup of suspect materials, making it possible to see objects such as explosives that cannot be detected by X-ray systems, trace detectors and other means. The most effective type of detectors use associated particle imaging (API), a non-obtrusive neutron interrogation method that significantly reduces the impact of background noise clutter.”
  3. “Sodern relies on a special API tube of its own design capable of generating directional information that—coupled with a time-of-flight measurement device and an electronic database—can quickly pinpoint the location of the hidden threat object and determine its exact nature and hazard level.”
  4. “Moreover, says Philippe Le Tourneur, chief scientist for security system research at Sodern, the technology can be easily automated, permitting unattended operation, and can be readily packaged in compact lightweight containers for use in inexpensive man-portable devices.”
  5. “The price is expected to range from $200,000 or so for the basic version to around $300,000 for a hybrid neutron/X-ray device.”

Biodetection, Biosurveillance


EditorPentagon shifts $1 billion from WMD-defense efforts to vaccine development“, Homeland Security Newswire, 1 September 2010 Last Checked 9/19/2010

  1. “The U.S. Defense Department has shifted more than $1 billion out of its nuclear, biological, and chemical defense programs to underwrite a new White House priority on vaccine development and production to combat disease pandemics, according to government and industry officials.”
  2. “The planned funding reduction ‘terminates essential CBRN [chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear] defense programs … required to meet high priority service needs, prevent casualties and protect against CBRN incidents.’”
  3. “An additional $442 million was trimmed through efficiency reductions mandated by Defense Secretary Robert Gates, for a total of $1.5 billion cut from the counter-WMD account over the five-year period, according to the draft memo.”
  4. “Defense Department projects under the budget-cutting ax include the development and acquisition of biological and chemical detection systems; gear to decontaminate skin and equipment after exposure; systems to coordinate military operations in a chem-bio environment; and protective clothing for military personnel entering toxic areas.”
  5. “‘By diverting $1 billion from nonmedical [chem-bio] defense programs to this medical vaccine facility on top of the OSD efficiency cuts, Weber threatens to return the military forces to a state of unpreparedness that we haven’t seen since 1996,’ said one longtime defense analyst, referring to the Office of the Secretary of Defense.”
  6. “the memo reportedly has since been superseded by another, more limited plea, which instead seeks restoration of less than one-third of the eliminated WMD-defense funds. The subsequent document also omits mention of the high-priority White House vaccine project, sidestepping what might be regarded as implicit internal criticism of the Obama funding priority on the Medical Countermeasures Initiative…”

Homeland Security, Biodetection, Biosecurity, WMD


Editor, “DHS Gives New York $18 Million for Radiation Detection System“, Homeland Security Newswire, 23 September 2010 Last Checked 25 September 2010

  1. “DHS handed New York $18.5 million on Wednesday to keep the city’s prototype dirty-bomb detection system running.”
  2. “City cops and nearby police departments think it is vital, and have mounted a major coordinated effort to make it work, spending more than $70 million on the effort.”
  3. “New York lawmakers had to battle the Obama administration for the money, putting it in the federal budget last year after homeland security officials stripped it.”
  4. “The operation is run out of an operations center in the city, featuring more than 4,500 pieces of radiation detection equipment, many equipped with GPS locators.”
  5. “It is all aimed at sniffing out a nuke or dirty bomb before it can get across a bridge or tunnel and be detonated in the city.”
  6. “Terrorism experts warn that the Holy Grail for violent extremists is getting their hands on a weapon of mass destruction. Even a dirty bomb, which does little explosive damage, could be devastating to the city and economy if it contaminates vital areas with radiation.”

Homeland Security, Biodetection, Biosecurity, WMD, Bioterrorism


Matt Korade, “New Biodefense Office, Existing Agency Could Cover Same GroundGlobal Security Newswire, National Journal Group, September 24, 2010.

  1. “An Obama administration plan to establish a “strategic investment firm” for promoting development of biological-weapon and other disease countermeasures could raise questions over division of responsibilities with a Health and Human Services Department agency…”
  2. “Unlike the existing Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, which addresses development of medical countermeasures, the proposed entity would seek to certify the financial stability of small biotechnology firms competing for biodefense contract…”
  3. “Fauci’s BARDA counterpart did not comment on the proposed organization, raising questions among experts over which agency would oversee the group.”
  4. “The existing agency aims to help disease countermeasures make it past the latter part of the development process and ready for sale. It has funded work on treatments for anthrax, smallpox, radiation exposure and other health threats in recent years…”
  5. “The office wields authority to fund vaccine or drug development proposals that have not undergone the time-consuming peer review process, whereas the National Institutes of Health lacks that power…”
  6. “The new entity would address development of materials similar to those emphasized by the existing development agency: antimicrobial agents, diagnostic instruments and production equipment.”
  7. “The new firm, though, would receive more funding. The entity’s initial allotment is projected to fall around $200 million, whereas BARDA funds for core studies totaled $10 million in the current fiscal year.”
  8. “Anne Oplinger, NIAID spokeswoman, noted that biodefense development funding for her office had increased from roughly $53 million in 2001 to almost $1.64 billion in 2008, setting a precedent for the agency to oversee such money…”

Biosecurity, Biodetection


Matishak, Martin, “Homeland Security Says Radiation Detector Decision Coming Within YearNTI. Oct. 1st, 2010.

  1. “The detection office was established by presidential directive in 2005 to coordinate federal efforts to protect the United States against nuclear terrorists and designated to be the lead agency in domestic nuclear detection.”
  2. “It has also deployed 1,500 radiation portal monitors and 3,000 hand-held detectors to the nation’s borders to support Customs and Border Protection and set up 6,500 detectors with the Coast Guard, he said”
  3. “The new machines were designed to not only detect radiation but identify the nature of its source. Proponents claimed the devices, each expected to cost approximately $822,000, would eliminate time-consuming secondary inspections to determine whether a material was in fact dangerous.”
  4. “Congressional auditors in June said a comprehensive strategic plan against nuclear terrorism could involve installing radiation detection equipment at all U.S. border crossings and ports of entry; addressing vulnerabilities and risks; identifying the mix of detection equipment that would be at various entry points and when those devices would be deployed”

Nuclear, Public Health, Biodetection, Biotechnology, Bioterrorism


Editor, “Bill would establish Global Biosecurity BodyGlobal Security Newswire, October 5 2010

  1. “U.S. Representative Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) last week introduced a bill aimed at establishing a new international body charged with bolstering global preparations for biological threats…”
  2. “The new “International Biosecurity Initiative” would seek to improve biological threat detection and response efforts in other countries through education and other programs, according to the think tank. The bill calls for a State Department report on international legal arrangements with regard to biological threats, and it seeks the formation of an expert panel with representatives from various nations to advise the new initiative.”
  3. “House Foreign Affairs Terrorism, Nonproliferation and Trade Subcommittee staffers said they have discussed with their Homeland Security Committee counterparts possible inclusion of the bill’s content in the WMD Prevention and Preparedness Act of 2010, a proposal awaiting a House floor vote.”
  4. “‘Biological risks extend beyond biological weapons developed or used by foreign countries and also include intentional release of harmful biological agents by nonstate groups or individuals, harmful outcomes through unintentional release or unforeseen consequences of biological research and experimental biological agents, and natural disease outbreaks,’ according to the bill.”
  5. “The International Biosecurity Initiative would advance the objectives of the President Obama’s National Strategy for Countering Biological Threats in part by seeking worldwide standards for securing sensitive biological materials and laboratories.”
  6. “Such standards would be created and routinely updated in cooperation with multilateral entities with private-sector input, and the rules would be “based on international needs and domestic lessons learned,” the bill states. The cooperative effort would also aim to advance relevant codes of ethics, emergency reporting and response procedures and training programs.”
  7. “In addition, the proposed initiative would seek to “ensure a strong legal regime for biosecurity” by strengthening criminal penalties in various countries, improving related law enforcement cooperation between governments and by working to bolster enforcement of the Biological Weapons Convention.”

Biosecurity, Biodetection


Tuberville, Jazmyn, “Northwestern students’ discovery could detect cancer or anthrax in moments,” The Daily Northwestern, News, November 3, 2010.

  1. “Four Northwestern graduate students have created a new chip-sized sensor that will make it easier to detect dangerous substances in patients.”
  2. “The sensor, 3mm in length, uses a laser and an antenna to identify and catalogue low- concentration biomolecules, such as cancer antigens or anthrax spores. This technology is especially useful in the detection of bacteria, viruses, proteins and biomolecules that are difficult to extract from biological systems, said Ryan Gelfand, one of the students who worked on the project.”
  3. “While detecting biomolecules — organic molecules commonly known as pharmaceuticals — is fairly easy, the problem lies in detecting molecules in low concentration, he said.”
  4. “While the medical market stands as the primary beneficiary of this sensor, there are other potential applications for its use, such as homeland security, Gelfand said. For example, he said the chip could make it easier to determine whether powder on an envelope is anthrax.”

Anthrax, Biodetection


Birch H., “Nanoparticle detector promises fast virus identification,Royal Society of Chemistry, Last accessed November 5, 2010.

  1. “A new, highly sensitive nanoparticle detection technique could be used to quickly diagnose viral infections. The technique, developed by US researchers, can discriminate between different viruses and is sensitive enough to detect the presence of a single virus particle.”
  2. “Rapid, sensitive techniques for detecting viruses and other pathogens save lives and help limit the spread of disease. In the past, scientists have used labelling techniques and sensors that are difficult and costly to fabricate to try to identify pathogens. Selim Ünlü and colleagues at Boston University, Massachusetts have now developed a low-cost, label-free detection platform using silicon.”
  3. “A key advantage of the team’s technology is the size of sensor they are using. Most single pathogen detection techniques use very small sensors, but as Ünlü explains, this means they will have a hard time finding a virus. ‘The advantage we have is that we are doing this on a surface that is very large – hundreds of microns or even a millimetre,’ he says. ‘So effectively, we have hundreds of thousands or a million sensors with single particle sensitivity. And that allows you to be very sensitive at low concentrations.'”
  4. “Bob Carr, co-founder of nanoparticle imaging company NanoSight, based in Amesbury, UK, says the technique looks intriguing, although currently limited to immobilised particles.”
  5. “Ünlü says the approach could be used to detect any virus as long as there are antibodies available. His team is already starting work with hemorrhagic fevers including Ebola and Marburg.”



Editors, “Experimental Tech Could Accelerate Vaccine Work,” Global Security Newswore, Last accessed November 5, 2010.

  1. “Technologies in development under a U.S. Defense Department program launched in response to pandemic influenza last year could also accelerate work on vaccines for countering a biological attack, according to a scientist with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.”
  2. “The Blue Angel program has received $100 million since being established in May 2009.”
  3. “The initiative’s Advanced Manufacture of Pharmaceuticals program has sponsored construction in four states of sites for rapidly cultivating vaccine proteins in the cells of tobacco plants, the medium found in early testing to produce viable vaccine material at the quickest pace.”
  4. “The MIMIC system would be capable of anticipating the effectiveness of vaccine adjuvants and antigens more quickly and cheaply than human trials, said representatives of Florida-based VaxDesign, which developed the technology. It could also measure the probable efficacy of various vaccine dosing rates and patterns and of vaccines in storage. In addition, it could determine a vaccine’s possible effectiveness against viruses for it was not specifically designed, or how its strength is affected by various production processes.”






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