• Report: DHS underestimates risks of accidental pathogen release at Kansas BioLab

    Manhattan, Kansas, is the proposed location of a new, $450 million BioLab44 DHS research facility; a National Academy of Sciences panel report says that a risk assessment by DHS of the new facility vastly underestimates the risk of an accidental pathogen release from the lab and the associated costs; the NAS report also said last month’s analysis failed to learn from fifteen major accidental releases of the foot and mouth virus around the world

  • Safety of planned Kansas Biosafety-Level 4 lab questioned

    A new National Research Council report finds “several major shortcomings” in a DHS assessment of risks associated with operating the proposed National Bio- and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF) in Manhattan, Kansas; one example: the report says there is nearly a 70 percent chance over the 50-year lifetime of the facility that a release of foot-and-mouth disease could result in an infection outside the laboratory, impacting the economy by estimates of $9 billion to $50 billion; roughly 9.5 percent of the U.S. cattle inventory lies within a 200-mile radius of the facility; another concern of the committee was the lack of an early-release detection and response system, clinical isolation facilities, and world-class infectious disease clinicians experienced in diagnosing and treating laboratory staff or communities exposed to dangerous pathogens that affect people

  • India to be home to the 7th CDC global disease detection center

    One result of President Obama’s visit to India is the agreement to set up a global disease detection centre in India; the center will be part of the global network of detection facilities supervised by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); the Indian center — the seventh CDC global facility — will monitor deadly pathogens and viruses, outbreak information, coordinate responses, and support the WHO’s Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network to allow rapid identification, confirmation and response to outbreaks of international importance

  • Work begins on the new U.S. premier BioLab

    DHS has released $40 million to allow work to begin on the U.S. new National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility, located on the campus of Kansas State University; the lab will replace the aging lab on Plum Island as the premier research center to combat the threat of naturally occurring animal diseases or agroterrorism; the Levl 4 BioLab will conduct research on human and animal disease to which there is yet no known cure

  • Garage-lab bugs: spread of bioscience increases bioterrorism risks

    There is a new fear about the possible source of a bioterror attack: scientific advances now enable amateur scientists to carry out once-exotic experiments, such as DNA cloning, which could be put to criminal use; as recently as a decade ago, the tools and techniques for such fiddling were confined to a handful of laboratories like those at leading research universities; today, do-it-yourself biology clubs have sprung up where part-timers share tips on how to build high-speed centrifuges, isolate genetic material, and the like

  • Vast cleanup of Plum Island land since 2000

    DHS plans to sell Plum Island and replace its bio-research facilities with a brand new BioLab in Manhattan, Kansas; documents show that since 2000 there have been extensive efforts to remove vast amounts of waste and contaminants — hundreds of tons of medical waste, contaminated soil, and other refuse — from the island

  • George Mason University opens $50 million biomedical lab to fight bioterrorism

    George Mason University has opened a $50 million biomedical research laboratory as part of the U.S. effort to fight bioterrorism; research will focus on the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of infectious diseases and on pathogens the government thinks could be used in a bioterrorism attack

  • Researchers develop an Ebola vaccine

    Researchers develop an experimental vaccine that cures the Ebola virus by targeting its genetic material; trouble is, the Ebola vaccine can only work if it is administered within thirty minutes, which is an impracticality among civilian populations; the vaccine is a viable possibility within a research facility, so it may be used to protect the researchers themselves

  • DHS's Fort Detrick biolab about to open

    The new DHS biolab at Fort Detrick, Maryland, is slowly coming to life; the eight-story building has three distinct sections: administrative offices near the front, biosafety level 2 and 3 labs, and then biosafety level 4 labs on the other side of a thick concrete wall; designing the BSL-4 labs as essentially their own building has several benefits; most importantly, a fire or other hazard in the other section of the building wouldn’t require the BSL-4 labs to be frantically evacuated

  • DHS in Manhattan, Kansas, to discuss the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility

    DHS visits the site of the site of the planned $725 million National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility in Manhattan, Kansas, on the campus of the Kansas State University; DHS officials held a public meeting with Manhattan residents to discuss the new lab

  • Former colleague defends Bruce Ivins using back-of-the-envelope math

    A former colleague of Bruce Ivins, who, according to the FBI, was behind the 2001 anthrax attacks in the United States, says the FBI was wrong: it would have taken Ivins at least a year of dedicated work to grow the total amount of anthrax spores contained in the eight letters, and that could not have been done in secrecy; other scientists dispute this assertion

  • More delays in opening Fort Detrick BioLab

    DHS’s new BioLab at Fort Detrick, Maryland, is hobbled by a series of flaws and glitches which have prevented researchers from moving into the facility years after it had been dedicated; the most serious problem was the placement of valves that allow access to HEPA filters in biosafety level 3 lab; the filters must be decontaminated or replaced every few years, but the valves to let workers into the air ducts were too far from the filters

  • NRC panel has "high confidence" in Fort Detrick BioLab's security procedures

    The U.S. Army plans to expand its biocontainment laboratories at Fort Detrick in Frederick, Maryland, to study deadly pathogens; a few incidents at the lab heightened security concerns in the neighboring communities, but National Research Council report finds that current safety procedures and regulations at the labs meet or exceed accepted standard

  • OSU president Burns Hargis defends anthrax research cancellation decision

    Hargis had ended an anthrax vaccine research project at OSU because it would have resulted in euthanizing baboons; he says he did not bow to pressures from animal rights activists – or from the wife of billionaire T. Boone Pickens, both OSU alumni and major donors to the school.

  • Military researcher infected with tularemia at research laboratory

    Researchers at U.S. Army Research Institute of Infectious Diseases has contracted tularemia; tularemia, which is not transmitted by person to person contact, is considered a potential agent of bioterrorism and biowarfare.