• Oregon drills first responders for bioterrorism attack

    A three day drill called the Portland Area Capabilities Exercise (PACE), simulating a terrorist attack involving a biological weapon, will take place across fifty different facilities and sixty-five jurisdictions in the state of Oregon.

  • Ricin can kill, but there are more potent bioterror weapons

    Ricin was in the headlines a few weeks ago, when envelopes containing the poison were mailed to President Obama, Senator Roger Wicker (R-Mississippi), and a Mississippi judge. The threat from ricin is low, however, because ricin cannot poison someone through contact with the skin. To be poisoned, an individual would have to ingest or inhale traces of the poison.

  • Quickly identifying chemical, biological warfare agents

    For more than fifty years, researchers have been studying exactly how aspirin affects the human body. Despite thousands of publications on the topic, our understanding is still incomplete. Meanwhile, novel chemical and biological weapons have historically been mass produced within a year of discovery. Using current methods and technologies, researchers would require decades of study to gain a robust understanding of how new threat agents exert effects on human biological systems. DARPA wants to close this capability gap, which leaves U.S. forces vulnerable.

  • Pennsylvania emergency professionals receive WMD training

    The Center for Domestic Preparedness (CDP) in Alabama hosted more than a hundred emergency professionals from the Pennsylvania South Central Mountains Regional Task Force’s Health and Medical Committee for in-depth response-to-WMD training.

  • New detection test to improve food safety, bioterrorism defense

    Sales of chicken products in China plummeted recently during an outbreak of a deadly new strain of bird flu. From bird flu to mad cow disease, numerous food scares have made global headlines in recent years.Scientists develop new detection technique which wouldmake food contamination testing more rapid and accurate. The detection test could also accelerate warnings after bioterrorism attacks.

  • Mississippi man arrested for sending ricin letters to Obama, Sen. Wicker

    The FBI confirmed yesterday (Wednesday) that a letter addressed to President Obama was found to contain the toxin ricin. As is the case with all the mail sent to the White House, the letter was screened in a remote mail sorting facility in Anacostia, a neighborhood in southeast Washington, D.C., and intercepted. The FBI arrested a man from Tupelo, Mississippi, on suspicion that he was behind the ricin letters to the White House and to Senator Roger Wicker (R-Mississippi), who lives in Tupelo.

  • Experts will meet in September for the bi-annual anthrax research conference

    More than 300 scientists and researchers from all over the world who work on Bacillus anthracis, the causative agent of anthrax, and B. cereus and B. thuringiensis, two closely related bacilli, will be heading to Victoria, British Columbia for the Bacillus ACT 2013 conference, which will be held 1-5 September.

  • Footwear safety reflectors help in detecting bioterror threats

    Tiny versions of the reflectors on sneakers and bicycle fenders that help ensure the safety of runners and bikers at night are moving toward another role in detecting bioterrorism threats and diagnosing everyday infectious diseases, scientists said the other day.

  • Arsenic contamination in food and water supplies

    After virtually eliminating arsenic as a useful tool for homicide, science now faces challenges in doing the same for natural sources of this fabled old “inheritance powder” that contaminates water supplies and food, threatening more than thirty-five million people worldwide.

  • Concerns grow over repeated safety failures at U.S. BioLabs

    According to a report that was released by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) late last month, the United States is at a high risk for accidents at laboratories which conduct research on potential bioterror germs such as anthrax because federal officials have failed to develop national standards for lab design, construction, and operation.

  • Finding the right tools to respond to suspicious powder incidents

    HazMat teams across the United States respond to hundreds of white powder calls each year in large cities where quick decision-making is critical. DHS makes it easier to buy the right technology for bio-threat incidents.

  • New device will quickly detect botulinum, ricin, other biothreat agents

    Researchers are developing a medical instrument which will be able quickly to detect a suite of biothreat agents, including anthrax, ricin, botulinum, shiga, and SEB toxin. The device, once developed, approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and commercialized, would most likely be used in emergency rooms in the event of a bioterrorism incident.

  • Same-day water test keeps beaches open, swimmers’ health protected

    With warm summer days at the beach on the minds of millions of winter-weary people, scientists are reporting that use of a new water quality test this year could prevent unnecessary beach closures, while better protecting the health of swimmers.

  • Nanobiotechnology kills listeria, other food-borne pathogens, dead

    Researchers, using nature as their inspiration, successfully attached cell lytic enzymes to food-safe silica nanoparticles, and created a coating with the demonstrated ability selectively to kill listeria — a dangerous foodborne bacteria that causes an estimated 500 deaths every year in the United States.  The coating kills listeria on contact, even at high concentrations, within a few minutes without affecting other bacteria.

  • U.S. Army helps in chemical testing of meat product

    When a South Dakota beef producer voiced concerns over the safety of its product to a meat inspection staff, the Animal Disease Research and Diagnostic Laboratory at South Dakota State University, called on the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command’s chemical-biological center (ECBC) – and the ECBC answered.