Agroterrorism

  • BiolabsLeidos awarded DHS Plum Island biolab contract

    DHS awarded Reston, Virginia-based Leidos a prime contract to support and supplement the Science and Technology (S&T) Agricultural Scientific Program at the Plum Island Animal Disease Center (PIADC). The single-award time and materials (T&M) contract has a one-year base period of performance, four one-year options, and a total contract value of approximately $12 million if all options are exercised. Work will be performed in Orient Point, New York.

  • BiodefenseNew biodefense centers offer modernized approach, face criticism

    A new facility at Texas A&M University is one of three new biodefense centers created by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to revolutionize the way fatal viruses are countered in the event of an emergency. The $286-million lab features mobile clean rooms that can be detached and moved to form different production or testing systems as the need arises. Not everyone agrees that the design and capabilities of the new center would offer the best response to biothreats.

  • University of Florida Clinical Toxicology Online Graduate Course. Chemical Weapons of Mass Destruction. Arm yourself with knowledge.
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  • Food terrorismFood-related disease outbreaks can teach us about the consequence of food terrorism

    Since unintentional food-related outbreaks have become so common, policy makers could use data from unintended foodborne disease outbreaks to estimate the effects of intended foodborne disease outbreaks. The impact on trade and economies is the primary motive for food terrorism, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), but beyond the financial loss, such intended foodborne disease outbreaks may even impact political stability.

  • Food safetyFDA proposes rules to prevent terror attack on U.S. food supply

    Food terrorism could have drastic economic effects. A DHS risk assessment discovered that should a pathogen like foot-and-mouth disease be introduced to Great Plains ranchers, total damages would exceed $50 billion, affecting U.S. beef exports and dramatically reducing consumer demand for beef products.In order to prevent or reduce the risk from a potential terror attack on the nation’s food supply, the FDA proposed new rules to the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).

  • BioterrorismDHS awards contract for utility plant at the Kansas biolab

    DHS has awarded a $40 million contract to build a utility plant at a $1.15 billion animal research lab in Kansas. The 87,000 square foot facility will replace an animal research lab on Plum Island in New York and will be used to research deadly animal diseases that affect livestock.

  • BiosecurityResearchers find anthrax can grow and reproduce in soil

    Anthrax has the unexpected ability to grow and reproduce while lurking in soil — increasing the deadly bacteria’s chances to infect cattle and other mammals; researchers have found that the spores can attack a common soil and water amoeba, Acanthamoeba castellanii, turning these single-celled organisms into anthrax incubators

  • BiodefenseNew U.S. biodedfense R&D network launched

    On Monday, Texas A&M System dedicated a new research center which is part of a national network of centers aiming to develop strategies and products to counter bioterrorism, chemical and radiological attacks on the United States, and better strategies to deal with pandemics; the network will have facilities in Texas, Maryland, and North Carolina; the Texas dedication is the culmination of a Manhattan Project-like program for biological countermeasures, launched in 2004 by the Department of Health and Human Services; the research network aims to develop “rapid, nimble and flexible approaches” to vaccine and therapy development, and train the next generation of professionals to sustain U.S. capabilities in these areas

  • BioterrorismScaled-back Kansas biolab would meet U.S. needs

    A report by the National Research Council says that it is “imperative” that the United States build a large-animal biocontainment laboratory to protect animal and public health; two options are acceptable: a $1.4 billion Biosafety Level 4 laboratory in Manhattan, Kansas, or a scaled-back Kansas lab tied to a distributed laboratory network in other facilities; a third option will not meet U.S. needs: maintaining current capabilities at Plum Island Animal Disease Center, because the Plum Island facilities do not meet current standards for high biocontainment

  • BioterrorReport: Updated DHS risk assessment of Kansas lab still “technically inadequate”

    Congress was unsatisfied with a 2010 DHS risk-assessment study of the proposed National Bio- and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF) in Manhattan, Kansas, and asked for a new study of the risks, and an evaluation of the new study by the National Research Council; the evaluation says that some of the risk reduction noted in the new DHS risk assessment may be explained by improvements to the latest design plans for the facility, but that despite these improvements, the updated DHS assessment underestimates the risk of an accidental pathogen release and inadequately characterizes the uncertainties in those risks

  • BiosafetyVeterinary profession trends short-change biosecurity, food security, public health

    More than half of veterinary students in the United States seek training in companion animal or pet medicine – with fewer and fewer graduate veterinary students pursuing Ph.D. training which would prepare them for academic careers, key jobs in the public sector, and some positions in industry; the result is a dwindling supply of veterinarians to fill jobs overseeing and enforcing food safety and animal health standards, conduct research in human drug development and advances in pet health, and participate in wildlife and ecosystem management, infectious disease control, biosecurity, and agro-terrorism prevention

  • Bio labsKansas biolab project on life support

    In 2008, DHS chose Manhattan, Kansas, as the location for a new, $650 million BioLab Level 4; the new lab was planned as a replacement for the aging Plum Island facility; critics argued that the lab’s location — in the middle of Tornado Alley and at the center a region which is home to a large portion of the U.S. beef industry – was not ideal for a facility doing research on deadly animal and human pathogens; it now appears that budgetary considerations have doomed to project

  • BioterrorismKansas State takes over pathogen research from Plum Island

    As New York’s Plum Island Animal Disease Center begins to shut down, much of its pathogen work will be transferred to Kansas State University’s Biosecurity Research Institute in preparation for the opening of DHS’ new National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF) in nearby Manhattan, Kansas

  • BiolabsHow safe is Kansas bio lab from twisters?

    DHS officials say they are confident that the proposed bio-defense lab in Manhattan, Kansas, located in the heart of tornado alley, is capable of withstanding a direct hit from a powerful twister; engineers have hardened the $650 million National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF) to withstand wind speeds of up to 230 miles per hour; but critics of the planned facility argue that the new standards are inadequate and that the facility must be further reinforced to ensure that in the event of a natural disaster the deadly pathogens and viruses stored there are not spread

  • BioLabsKansas House cuts troubled agency's role in funding of bio lab

    DHS has chosen Kansas State University (KSU) in Manhattan, Kansas, as the location for the new, $650 million Level 4 BioLab, which will replace the aging lab on Plum Island, New York; the federal laboratory will be the U.S. premier facility for research into countering possible bioterrorism attacks and threats to the nation’s food supply; the Kansas Bioscience Authority (KBA) was supposed to handle the issuing of $105 million in bonds to develop the lab, but the KBA’s chief executive has recently resigned under a cloud, and the agency’s business practices are now being investigated the Johnson County District Attorney; the Kansas House voted to cut the KBA out of handling the bond issue; “We didn’t want any kind of hint of a problem,” said one House member

  • AgroterrorismRisk of agroterrorism growing

    The United States imports so much of its food and food ingredients from other countries, that terrorists have many more opportunities to harm Americans and damage the U.S. economy; a high FDA official said that increased U.S. attention to the issue and questions over whether hostile actors have the technical capacity to mount such an attack notwithstanding, the likelihood of being poisoned by intentionally contaminated food is growing