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Current Assessment/State of the Field:




Stolberg, Sheryl, “A NATION CHALLENGED: THE HEALTH SYSTEM; Struggling to Reach a Consensus On Preparations for Bioterrorism”. The New York Times; November 5, 2001.

  1. “This year, Johns Hopkins will buy extra medicines, masks, ventilators and radios for its security force. It will retrofit a building with new air filters, to keep infectious germs from spreading. The price: $7 million. The question is, who will pay for it?”
  2. “”The federal government is going to have to give us some assistance,” Mr. Peterson said. Last week, the American Hospital Association estimated that the nation would have to spend $11.3 billion to get hospitals ready to handle a serious bioweapon attack.”
  3. “The system they have tested — the public health system — has been strained to its breaking point.”
  4. “”We have spent, in the last three years, one dollar per year per American on bioterrorism preparedness,” said Dr. Tara O’Toole, director of the Center for Civilian Biodefense Studies at Johns Hopkins University. “We are basically getting what we paid for.””
  5. “”We can achieve much better preparedness very quickly,” Mr. Kennedy said, “but it will require a major national effort and a major commitment of new resources.””
  6. “Having the will does not just mean having the money. It means training doctors and nurses and public health professionals. It will also mean a sea change in the way hospitals do business.”
  7. “To prepare for bioterrorism, hospitals must build surge capacity back in. Yet because they are reimbursed by health insurers only for patient care, hospital executives say they have no way to pay for bioterrorism preparedness. And because hospitals compete for patients, most have not engaged in regional planning for a bioterrorist attack — designating one city hospital as the burn unit, for instance, and another the infectious disease ward.”
  8. “Some bioterrorism experts, among them Dr. Frank E. Young, the former director of the Office of Emergency Preparedness at the Department of Health and Human Services, have suggested that military field hospitals could be used to help cope with an attack. Others say that is not practical.”

Public Health, Bioterrorism, Military, Vaccination, Biotechnology


Barbaro, Michael, “A Worst-Case Enterprise; Md. Firm Busy Making Decontamination Shelters” The Washington Post. March 13, 2003.

  1. “The doomsday shower can sanitize 800 people an hour. It boasts separate rinse stations for contaminated men and women. It can be set up by four people in less than 10 minutes. And storage is a cinch: It takes up about as much space as a typical washing machine.”
  2. “TVI Corp. of Glenn Dale says it can’t keep up with back orders for its decontamination shelters, even after doubling its workforce to about 90 last year. Sales of its shelter, which sells for around $ 88,000, nearly tripled in 2002.”
  3. “But TVI’s flagship product is the High Throughput Mass Decontamination Shelter, a car-wash-like structure for humans that has at least 50 shower nozzles threaded into its vinyl interior, a hot water pump and soap dispensers. It is designed to be attached to a fire hose and has at least three shower lanes to separate men, women and the incapacitated after an attack.”
  4. “The product is designed for particular situations. If a “dirty” nuclear bomb is detonated or a biochemical agent is released, for example, people who flee the scene before being decontaminated would risk exposing others to the danger. The shelters would be used to rapidly contain the threat.”
  5. “The decontamination shelters operate on a simple principle.“You just cream people with water,” said Thomas D. Gibson, a lieutenant with the hazardous materials team at the National Institutes of Health campus in Bethesda.”
  6. “”Decontamination is the same whether you are talking about chemical, biological or radiological agents,” said Clendenin, the Massachusetts fire official. “Soap and water is never a bad thing.””

Decontamination, Bioterrorism, Public Health, Emergency Response, Biotechnology


Goldstein, Avram, “Progress Cited on Health Threat; ‘We’re Worlds Better Prepared,’ City Official SaysThe Washington Post, April 17, 2003.

  1. “They are buying protective gear; expanding drug, food and water stockpiles; adding or enhancing decontamination facilities outside emergency rooms; and creating patient isolation rooms to help control a smallpox outbreak.”
  2. “The city has set up an elaborate incident command center that is so new it hasn’t been seen by Mayor Anthony A. Williams (D), said Feseha Woldu, acting administrator of the D.C. Emergency Health and Medical Services Administration.”
  3. “The District has expanded its epidemiology staff to eight and assigned nearly 60 city workers to bioterrorism preparedness. Meanwhile, hundreds of private doctors and nurses have volunteered to deliver health care services or to provide information to the public by phone or computer if called upon by the city.”
  4. “”We live in the No. 1 terrorist target in the world,” said Jeffrey A. Elting, medical director for bioterrorism response coordination at the D.C. Hospital Association. That stark reality has spurred much of the cooperation, he said.”
  5. “The best example is a radio system that enables all hospitals to communicate if telephone service is interrupted, allowing them to rapidly exchange information on their capacity to accept new patients and lend each other equipment and supplies. It also would let public health officials broadcast messages to hospitals regarding the dimensions and type of event. The system is tested a few times a day, when roll is called.”
  6. “The survey found that, on average, hospitals can generate their own electric power for 5.8 days. Without outside help, surveyed hospitals said, they had enough food to last 4.7 days, water for 2.5 days, and medical supplies for 7.1 days.”
  7. “At Providence Hospital, officials are buying 20 protective full-body suits, including respirators, so doctors and nurses can safely and rapidly care for people contaminated by dangerous chemicals or pathogens. They also are buying a mobile decontamination unit where patients exposed to hazardous substances can shower.”
  8. “If a smallpox outbreak occurred, Providence has 12 patient rooms and a 16-bed unit that can be isolated to keep a virus from spreading to unprotected patients and staff. The hospital also has eight portable HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filtration units that can convert a room or even a plastic tent to a temporary isolation unit.”
  9. “He said the hospital does not want to use the inflatable decontamination units they already have because they take too long to set up — 18 minutes.”
  10. “Wuerker said 12 people have been vaccinated for smallpox, including himself, and another 12 are scheduled. With that many first-line responders, he said, all 5,000 hospital workers could be vaccinated quickly to prepare for an outbreak.”
  11. “Exactly which surge facilities might be needed and when is unpredictable and depends on the exact location and nature of and attack, officials say. Instructions and guidance would be offered by public health officials through electronic and print media, they say.”

Vaccination, Decontamination, Bioterrorism, Public Health, Emergency Response, Biotechnology


Petro, JB, Plasse, TR, et al., “Biotechnology: Impact on Biological Warfare and Biodefense,” Biosecurity and Bioterrorism: Biodefense Strategy, Practice, and Science, 1, 2003:161-168.

Bioterrorism, Biodefense, Biotechnology


Chyba, Christopher, Greninger, Alex, “Biotechnology and Bioterrorism: an unprecedented world,” Survival, summer 2004, pp. 143-162.

Bioterrorism, Biotechnology



  1. “In the case of a medical radiation emergency, response and recovery radiation exposure limits should be established to preserve lifesaving capabilities while taking into consideration risk to staff and facility operation.” (Pg. 13)
  2. “After removal of contaminated clothing, patients should be instructed (or assisted if necessary) to immediately shower with soap and water. Potentially harmful practices, such as bathing patients with bleach solutions, are unnecessary and should be avoided” (Pg. 17)
  3. “Patient clothing should be handled only by personnel wearing appropriate personal protective equipment, and placed in an impervious bag to prevent further environmental contamination.” (Pg. 17)
  4. “Gloves should be worn when contact with blood or body fluids is anticipated. Gloves should be removed immediately, without touching non-contaminated surfaces, as soon as the patient care task is complete.” (Pg. 17- 18)
  5. “Facial protection should be worn when performing patient care tasks likely to generate splashing or spraying of blood and body fluids onto the mucous membranes of the face.” (Pg. 18)
  6. “Disposable fluid-repelling gowns should be worn to protect skin and clothing” (Pg. 18)
  7. “Hospitals should plan for decontamination operations that will not exceed their capacity, but should also develop a contingency plan for mass decontamination when patient numbers do exceed their capacity.” (Pg 19)
  8. “Ensure large quantities of water are available for decontamination in order to dilute the agent as much as possible. Direct excess waste water to the sanitary sewer and immediately notify the POTW and/or MS4.” (PG. 21)

Decontamination, Public Health, Quarantine, Nuclear, Biosecurity, Biosafety, Biotechnology, CDC, Bioterrorism, Biodefense


D’Agostino, Mark. Martin, Greg, “The bioscience revolution & the biological weapons threat: levers & interventions,” February 16, 2009, Global Health. 2009; 5: 3.

  1. “The World at Risk Report addresses the role of the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries in addressing the biological weapons threat, and advocates that the United States Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) press for an international conference of countries with major biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries to discuss the norms and safeguards necessary to keep dangerous pathogens out of the hands of terrorists, and to ensure that the global revolution in the life sciences unfolds safely and securely.”
  2. “By piecing together large fragments of genetic material synthesized in the laboratory, it is possible to assemble highly virulent infectious viruses.”
  3. “Chyba and Greninger note that experiments performed and published over the last decade-ranging from the incorporation of immune-suppressing interleukin-4 (IL-4) into the mousepox virus to create a deadlier virus able to infect vaccinated animals, to the ability to synthesize viruses from scratch using chemicals on the open market-already demonstrate that the technological know-how to construct dangerous pathogens is widespread.”

Biotechnology, UNSCR 1540


Millett, Piers, “The Biological Weapons Convention: Securing Biology in the Twenty-First Century,J Conflict Security Law, April 9, 2010.

  1. “The BWC has been working, in one form or another, for each of the last 19 years.”
  2. “From 1991 to 1994 interested States Parties examined the technical aspects of verifying compliance with the treaty. This led to a second process, which ran from 1995 to 2001, to develop a legally binding protocol to supplement the treaty with a traditional model arms control regime.”
  3. “Certain technologies (associated solely with prohibited activities) are banned and other resources (which can be used for both prohibited and permitted purposes) are regulated.”
  4. “The majority of technology (for example, chemicals in the case of chemical weapons) falls outside the regime and remains unregulated.”
  5. “It should also be noted that these regimes do engage in some degree of human-centric activities designed to develop ethical, moral and social aspects but this is often seen as outside of the compliance framework and ancillary to realizing the aims of a treaty.”
  6. “For example, the total value of publicly traded biotech companies in the USA in April 2008 was $360 billion.”

BWC, Bioterrorism, CWC, Biotechnology


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


Matishak, Martin, “House Lawmakers Look to Strengthen Security at U.S. Biolabs“, 11 June 2010, Global Security Newswire,, Last Checked 7 October 2010

  1. “Members of the U.S. House Homeland Security Committee yesterday unveiled their version of legislation aimed at overhauling security at the country’s biological research facilities and enhancing federal efforts against the threat posed by weapons of mass destruction.”
  2. “That panel concluded that an attack involving a weapon of destruction is likely to occur somewhere in the world by 2013 in the absence of significant security improvement. It further determined a biological strike was more likely to occur than a nuclear or chemical attack because of the prevalence of deadly pathogens and other disease materials around the globe.”
  3. “‘Our legislation concerns all weapons of mass destruction threats but will give special emphasis to the emerging threat of biological weapons,’ Representative Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.), one of the bill’s co-sponsors, said during a press conference on Capitol Hill. He said the proposal ‘offers an extensive blueprint to address the greatest catastrophic risk we face.’”
  4. “Pascrell said panel members had consulted with scientists from U.S. laboratories as well as others in the biodefense field and concluded that the Agriculture and Health and Human Services departments are the best equipped to perform inspections and evaluations of disease research facilities.”
  5. “The Homeland Security Secretary would be charged with producing biennial ‘bioterrorism risk assessments’ that identify and assess evolving biological risks to the country.”
  6. “The National Intelligence Director would receive the authority to coordinate with other federal offices to develop and implement strategies for countering biological and other WMD threats and expand efforts to create a ‘national cadre’ of experts to support biodefense efforts.”
  7. “The Health and Human Services Department would be required to develop and implement a national strategy for distributing medical countermeasures in the event of a WMD crisis.”
  8. “The Secretary of State must work to address biosecurity in international forums such as the United Nations, the World Health Organization and the Biological Weapons Convention. Specifically, officials should support sharing of information among nations regarding biological attacks and events with major health consequences.”

Biodefense, WMD, Biosecurity, Biotechnology


Grossman, Elaine, “Pentagon Pulls $1B from WMD-Defense Efforts to Fund Flu Vaccine Initiative,” August 27, 2010, Global Security Newswire. Last checked September 2, 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,’ according to a Pentagon budget document drafted in early August.”
  3. “Amoretta Hoeber, a defense consultant and chair emeritus of the NBC Industry Group, said in an interview this week, ‘that if the funding reductions result in shutting down production lines for any highly specialized WMD defense items, it is unclear how quickly the industry could reconstitute its manufacturing capability in the event that a new threat emerged.’”
  4. “President Barack Obama noted the initiative in his Jan. 27 State of the Union address, saying it would ‘give us the capacity to respond faster and more effectively to bioterrorism or an infectious disease — a plan that will counter threats at home and strengthen public health abroad.’”
  5. “The new initiative includes both Health and Human Services (HHS) and Pentagon plans for constructing ‘Centers for Innovation in Advanced Development and Manufacturing,’ to help small biotechnology companies innovate new vaccines and field them more rapidly. The modern facilities would also be capable of large-scale production of vaccine stocks during a public health emergency involving ‘emerging infectious diseases or unknown threats, including pandemic influenza,’ the HHS report states.”
  6. “Meanwhile, the Pentagon is left with deep budget cuts in a number of its WMD-defense efforts, and it remains unclear whether funds to backfill those project accounts will be identified, even after the fiscal 2012 budget request is delivered to Congress.”

Vaccination, WMD, Biodefense, Bioterrorism, Emergency Response, Biotechnology, Pandemic


Editors, ”U.S. Awards Contract For Radiation Treatment Work’‘. GSN. Sept. 7, 2010.

  1. “Funding from the department’s Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority is to be used to develop a medical treatment which uses myeloid progenitor cells, which can develop into any type of blood cell. The medication, CLT-008, is intended to foster the growth of and assist the body’s progenitor cells, according to an agency release.”
  2. “The Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority also approved millions of dollars in new funding for additional work on a treatment for plague and tularemia — two disease agents classified as potential bioterrorism threats, according to a press release.”
  3. “The antibiotic could be used against tularemia and plague infections as well as more common illnesses such as pneumonia that are growing increasingly resistant to antibiotics.”
  4. “”This new antibiotic is part of our push against antibiotic resistance for certain bacterial infections, and at the same time could provide a new treatment for plague and tularemia biothreats””

Bioterrorism, Biosafety, Public Health, Emergency Response, Pharma, Drug Resistance, Biodevelopment, Biotechnology, Quarantine


Julie Steenhuysen, “U.S. Invests in Drug to Protect Against Radiation” 17 September 2010, Reuters/Yahoo!News. Last checked 24 September 2010.

  1. “Tiny Biotech Cleveland BioLabs Inc has won a $45 million contract from the Department of Defense to conduct clinical trials of a drug to prevent cell damage in the event of a nuclear attack.”
  2. “The drug works by interfering with a process of programmed cell death called apoptosis — basically a form of cell suicide. ‘This helps the body rid itself of damaged cells’, Fonstein said, ‘interfering with this process appears to strengthen the body’s ability to recover from radiation exposure.’”
  3. “The compound is made from a salmonella protein that naturally makes cells resistant to cell suicide.”
  4. “’This is the first product that is close to completion of the scientific studies for protecting populations that might be exposed to (radiation fallout),’ Rear Admiral Craig Vanderwagen, a former official at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services who has advised the company.”
  5. “The drug is intended to protect the public in the event of a dirty bomb or a Chernobyl-like accident.”
  6. “Fonstein said the drug, known as CBLB502, could be approved for use in humans by mid-2012.”

Biotechnology, Biodevelopment, Nuclear, Vaccination, Emergency Response


Parker, Gerald W., “Homeland Security Threat Countermeasures,” April 13, 2011, FDCH Congressional Testimony, Last checked October 4, 2012

  1. “Our national security is challenged to both accurately identify and rapidly respond to an attack or naturally occurring outbreak with countermeasures that limit impacts and loss of life.”
  2. “DoD is responding to this challenge by building an end-to-end, integrated capability to respond to the threat through enhanced diagnostics, detection, and biosurveillance; and through innovative industrial capacity for advanced development and adaptive manufacture of medical countermeasures for rapid response.”
  3. “The events of the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, along with the ongoing challenges and costs associated with development of chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear medical countermeasures, revealed major gaps in advanced development and access to domestic surge manufacturing capacity.”
  4. “Factors that have limited progress for developing biodefense vaccines include the inability to leverage the expertise and capabilities of larger, experienced biopharmaceutical companies due to the high opportunity costs of entering the limited chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear medical countermeasure market.”
  5. “The result is a reliance on small biotechnology firms that are engines of innovation and critical for discovery and early development of medical countermeasure candidates, but they have limited advanced development and regulatory experience and limited manufacturing capabilities. This is a costly, inefficient, and risky approach to meet critical biodefense and public health needs.”
  6. “It is crucial that we close the vaccine, antimicrobial and antiviral drug gaps. We cannot afford to take the average 12 to 15 years to develop a medical countermeasure against a single threat, nor can we afford to use the traditional and costly “one bug-one drug“ development paradigm.”
  7. “Detection capabilities are a priority for DoD and include pursuit of research, development, and acquisition of medical diagnostics, environmental detection, and data fusion, management, and decision tools.”
  8. “One diagnostic capability currently fielded with our forces in over 300 locations worldwide is the Joint Biological Agent Identification and Diagnostic System. It is capable of rapidly identifying multiple biological agents, such as anthrax, plague, and avian influenza.”
  9. “Within DoD, a new laboratory information and communications system, the Electronic Integrated Disease Surveillance System, can link together the different levels of a national disease surveillance network within a country providing near real time information flow that can be disseminated to the appropriate organizations in a timely manner.”
  10. “By the end of 2012 there will be 10 Homeland Response Force units capable of responding within hours in each of the FEMA regions to provide more life saving capabilities faster using the same approximately 18,000 personnel assigned to this mission.”
  11. “The Transformational Medical Technologies program addresses novel threats, biologically engineered pathogens, or emerging infectious diseases by developing new detection and therapeutic capabilities.”
  12. “The Medical Countermeasures Initiative encompasses two components: science and technology, and advanced development and manufacturing.”
  13. “One of the innovation drivers will be the ability to manufacture medical countermeasures in a flexible fashion to include “on-demand“ surge capacity for specific products in the event of a national security emergency or change manufacturing runs on different products as the need arises.”
  14. “Ultimately, the Medical Countermeasures Initiative will coalesce to provide a “one-stop“ shop for all future DoD medical countermeasure development.”
  15. “We are putting more emphasis on biodefense, particularly medical biodefense, leveraging the rapid growth in new technologies for our purposes.”

Biosecurity, Biodetection, Biotechnology, Biosurveillance, Biodefense


Editors, “U.S. Supplies Jordan With Radiation Sensor TrucksNTI. Oct. 6th, 2011.

  1. “A 2008 bilateral agreement calls for Jordan to receive U.S. radiation monitoring technology that would be deployed at border checkpoints, seaports and airports. Washington also agreed to supply upkeep services for the equipment and to prepare local personnel to operate the technology”

Nuclear, Bioterrorism, Biotechnology, Public Health


Editors, “Debate Flares Over Testing Anthrax Vaccine on Children“, NTI. Oct. 25, 2011

  1. “The sole Food and Drug Administration-licensed vaccine for anthrax has only been tried on adults, meaning there is a lack of information regarding the product’s effectiveness on minors, appropriate amounts to use, and any potential negative effects.”
  2. “While children are known to contract diseases such as mumps and measles, they might never be exposed to anthrax through an act of terrorism or other means. Therefore, the risk-benefit analysis of administering the vaccine in a study to children is less clear.”
  3. “The United States has allocated $1.1 billion for delivering anthrax vaccine to the Strategic National Stockpile. While antibiotics would be utilized to combat infections, the vaccine would be administered after an event to protect against any potential surviving spores that could re-emerge over a period of time.”

Anthrax, Public Health, Bioterrorism, Biotechnology


Fitzgerald, Jay, “Terminator-like robot will help Army test anti-chemical clothingBoston Globe. Oct. 31, 2011

  1. “Boston Dynamics, a Waltham company that three years ago introduced the four-legged BigDog robot, a beast of burden designed to traverse rough terrain, is unveiling its newest creation: an improved version of a walking machine that is shaped like a human being.”
  2. “plans to use it for testing clothing and headgear intended to protect soldiers from chemical warfare agents”
  3. “Now, via a $33 million contract with the agency, the company has developed the four-legged successor to BigDog: AlphaDog, officially known as the Legged Squad Support System, or LS3”
  4. “AlphaDog can carry a 400-pound payload, travel up to 20 miles, and move at 7.5 miles per hour.”
  5. “He said he envisions robots such as AlphaDog being used to help fight fires and carry commercial equipment to difficult-to-reach locations.Robots like PETMAN may later be used commercially as stand-ins for humans in dangerous assignments, such as working in nuclear power plants”

Chemical, Biotechnology, Biosafety, Military, Emergency Response, Nuclear, Public Health


Editors, “GAO Urges Focus on Local, State Capabilities in Biothreat Detection PlanNTI. Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2011

  1. “A U.S. biological threat detection strategy now being prepared should aim to better coordinate relevant activities by state and local governments”
  2. “State and local government sources said efforts to improve and sustain their biological detection mechanisms face obstacles in policies on recruitment, trips and preparatory efforts; affirming sufficient staffing, education and planning; and an absence of “strategic planning and leadership to support long-term investment in cross-cutting core capabilities, integrated biosurveillance and effective partnerships,” the report says.”
  3. “”The federal government has not conducted a comprehensive assessment of state and local jurisdictions’ ability to contribute to a national biosurveillance capability, as called for in presidential directive.”

Bioterrorism, Biosurveillance, Biodetection, Emergency Response, Biotechnology


Editors, “Researchers get $7.5M grant to combat nerve agents“, 14 November 2011, OSC,, Last Checked 15 November 2011.

  1. “A $7.5 million award will help researchers harness the body’s own defenses to counteract nerve agents and create new types of antidotes for exposure to pesticides and other poisons.”
  2. “The grant, from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), extends a previous grant and establishes a new Center of Excellence at Ohio State University, where chemists will collaborate with the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Chemical Defense (USAMRICD) at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., and the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel.”
  3. “At the new Ohio State center, chemists Thomas J. Magliery and Christopher M. Hadad will lead a team that employs sophisticated methods of protein engineering, high-throughput screening and computational chemistry at the university and the Ohio Supercomputer Center (OSC). Their goal is to improve enzymes’ ability to destroy a broad array of chemical agents inside the body.”
  4. “Dr. Hadad’s research group is consistently one of the largest and most sophisticated user groups of computing cycles at the center,” said Ashok Krishnamurthy, interim co-executive director of OSC. “It is gratifying for OSC to provide him with the resources that helped formalize such an important collaboration. Hopefully, it will lead to significant steps toward counteracting these toxic agents.”
  5. “Nerve agents are chemicals that attack the nervous system, causing paralysis and seizures and –ultimately – killing the victim through asphyxiation. They do so by bonding with the enzyme acetylcholinesterase so that it can’t transmit chemical messages from the brain to the rest of the body. Once attached to the enzyme, nerve agents can’t be removed, explained Magliery. So the researchers are focusing on ways to stop the deadly chemicals before they can attach in the first place. They have engineered souped-up versions of naturally occurring human enzymes that will scavenge nerve agents from the bloodstream. No tests involving actual nerve agents will take place at Ohio State.”
  6. “Nerve agents like sarin, and even related pesticides, are a significant threat in the hands of terrorists, and we’re really lacking in ways to treat mass casualties,” said Magliery, co-leader of the new Ohio State center. “Fortunately, there are enzymes already in human blood that can deactivate these agents. We just have to engineer them to be more efficient, and we have to be able to produce and formulate them as drugs.”
  7. “Hadad leads an effort to model the chemical structure of candidate enzymes on the powerful parallel supercomputer systems at OSC, while Magliery is producing synthetic versions of the new enzymes for further testing and preclinical evaluation by the Army.”
  8. “The preliminary results from the first round of this grant showed that these enzymes can be engineered to have enough activity to use as therapeutic agents,” said Magliery. “But there are still challenges ahead. There are a lot of related agents, and there are few enzymes used as drugs today.” Hadad outlined one of the main challenges. “In nature, each enzyme generally has only one function – one thing that it does very well,” he said. “But we need an enzyme that will deactivate many different nerve agents. “We need one molecule that can do it all.”
  9. “Magliery added that the ideal enzyme would remain active for days or weeks at a time, pulling toxic agents from the body over and over again. It could be administered as an antidote immediately after an attack, or as an inoculation against future attacks.”
  10. “Soldiers and first responders are among the likely recipients of such a preventive dose, but so are people whose jobs regularly expose them to nerve agents, even in small quantities.”
  11. “The program is the centerpiece of the Department of Health and Human Services’ efforts to develop and improve treatments for chemical agents that could be used in terrorism or might be released in industrial accidents or natural disasters.”

Chemical, Biotechnology, Vaccination


Editors, “North Korea making missile able to hit U.S.”, The Washington Times. Dec 5th, 2011.

  1. “New intelligence indicates that North Korea is moving ahead with building its first road-mobile intercontinental ballistic missile, an easily hidden weapon capable of hitting the United States, according to Obama administration officials.”
  2. ““We believe this new intelligence reiterates the need for the administration to correct its priorities regarding missile defenses, which should have, first and foremost, the missile defense of the homeland.””
  3. “Mobile missiles are difficult for tracking radar to locate, making them easier to hide. They also can be set up and launched much more quickly than missiles fired from silos or launchpads.”
  4. ““North Korea has three paths to building ICBMs. One is using the Taepodong-2, with a range of up to 9,300 miles, as its main strategic missile. A second way is to further develop the ranges of existing missiles like the Musudan, and last is to “use the very large launch facility that is being constructed on the west coast of North Korea to launch a very large missile,” the cable said.”
  5. “North Korea also has a new solid-fueled short-range missile called the Toksa, with a range of 75 miles, and has sold a number of shorter-range Musudan missiles to Iran, the report said.”
  6. “Pressed for details, he said, “I don’t think it’s an immediate threat, no. But on the other hand, I don’t think it’s a five-year threat.””
  7. ““They are developing a road-mobile ICBM. I never would have dreamed they would go to a road-mobile before testing a static ICBM. It’s a huge problem. As we’ve found out in a lot of places, finding mobile missiles is very tough”

Nuclear, Biosecurity, Biodefense, Bioterrorism, Biotechnology, Emergency Response, Military, Public Health, CWC, Russia, North Korea, Homeland Security, Biodetection


Editors, “Clinton Warns of Bioweapon Threat from Gene Tech,” 7 December 2011, CBSNEWS Last Checked 7 December 2011.

  1. “New gene assembly technology that offers great benefits for scientific research could also be used by terrorists to create biological weapons, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton warned.”
  2. “Experts have warned that the increasing ease with which bioweapons can be created might be used by terror groups to develop and spread new diseases that could mimic the effects of the fictional global epidemic portrayed in the Hollywood thriller ‘Contagion.’”
  3. “The U.S. government has cited efforts by terrorist networks such as al-Qaeda to recruit scientists capable of making biological weapons as a national security concern.”
  4. “‘Less than a year ago, al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula made a call to arms for, and I quote, ‘brothers with degrees in microbiology or chemistry … to develop a weapon of mass destruction,’ she said.”
  5. “‘The emerging gene synthesis industry is making genetic material more widely available,’ she said. ‘This has many benefits for research, but it could also potentially be used to assemble the components of a deadly organism.’”
  6. “Gene synthesis allows genetic material — the building blocks of all organisms — to be artificially assembled in the lab, greatly speeding up the creation of artificial viruses and bacteria.”
  7. “Washington has urged countries to be more transparent about their efforts to clamp down on the threat of bioweapons. But U.S. officials have also resisted calls for an international verification system — akin to that for nuclear weapons — saying it is too complicated to monitor every lab’s activities.”

Biotechnology, Bioterrorism, al-Qaeda




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