• Anthrax vaccine program demonstrates 36 month product stability

    Maryland-based PharmAthene has achieved an important program milestone in its recombinant protective antigen (rPA) anthrax vaccine program, and demonstrated thirty-six month stability of its rPA drug product candidate; the data suggest that the rPA product candidate is both highly stable and potent; stability has historically been a stumbling block for other recombinant anthrax vaccine programs

  • New way to attack Salmonella bacteria found

    Nitric oxide is naturally produced in the nose and the gut and other tissues in the body to ward off infection; new research underscores that nitric oxide’s antimicrobial actions are due to its interference with the metabolism, or energy production, of pathogens —p and that these antimicrobial characteristics may be harnessed to inhibit the growth of Salmonella

  • Natural enzyme can defend against terrorists' nerve agents

    Chemicals called organophosphates, found in common household insecticides, can be just as harmful to people as to insects; organophosphates could be released on an industrial scale, through an act of terror or accident, attacking the nervous system by inactivating an enzyme called acetylcholinesterase (AChE); scientists are devising drugs to treat and prevent the toxic effects of organophosphates and related chemicals

  • Satellites could predict next cholera outbreak

    With cholera making an unlikely resurgence, catching countries like Haiti and Pakistan by surprise, public health officials are exploring the potential for new technology to help stem the spread of future outbreaks; each year the disease affects three to five million people and claims more than 100,000 lives; researchers believe that satellite images of oceans could help forecast when a cholera outbreak is likely to strike

  • Nano detector spots deadly anthrax

    The average time of detection of an anthrax attack by current methods — the time required for DNA purification, combined with real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) analysis — is sixty minutes; a new, automatic, and portable detector takes just fifteen minutes to analyze a sample suspected of contamination with anthrax

  • New technology makes textiles permanently germ-free

    University of Georgia scientist develops a new technology that makes textiles permanently germ-free, targeting healthcare-associated infections; the new material effectively kills a wide spectrum of bacteria, yeasts, and molds that can cause disease, break down fabrics, create stains, and produce odors

  • Biolabs: the solution may be the problem

    Since the fall 2001 anthrax attacks, there has been a vast expansion of the U.S. bioterror research infrastructure; now, more than 11,000 scientists work on bioterrorism and agroterrorism research in seventeen major and many more smaller labs across the United States; billions of federal dollars are funding research on new vaccines and antibiotics to protect the population from anthrax, plague, tularemia, Ebola, and other lethal germs; what is the likelihood that there is another Bruce Ivins — perhaps more than one — among these thousands of researchers with access to the most lethal pathogens on Earth?

  • Promise of vaccine against deadly malaria parasite

    Every year, 10,000 pregnant women and up to 200,000 newborn babies are killed by the malaria parasite; the body’s immune system normally attacks any foreign body, but since our spleen constantly filters our blood and removes ruined or deform blood cells, the body’s natural defense does not need to check the blood; the malaria parasite exploits this fact by using its advanced arsenal of protein hooks to attach itself to the inner side of the blood vessel; researchers find a soltuon

  • How 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

  • Confusing mosquitoes to fight mosquito-borne disease

    Female mosquitoes are efficient carriers of deadly diseases such as malaria, dengue and yellow fever, resulting each year in several million deaths and hundreds of millions of cases; to find human hosts to bite and spread disease, these mosquitoes use exhaled carbon dioxide as a vital cue; a disruption of the vital carbon dioxide detection machinery of mosquitoes, which would help control the spread of diseases they transmit, has been a long sought-after goal; University of California-Riverside scientists find a way to do just that

  • Decision on smallpox virus destruction delayed for three years

    After a second round of negotiations Tuesday, the World Health Assembly (WHA) agreed to postpone setting a date for destruction of the world’s remaining smallpox virus stocks for another three years; the assembly simultaneously reaffirmed previous statements that the virus stocks should be destroyed after “crucial research” is completed; several countries, mainly developing ones, pushed for immediate destruction of the smallpox virus stocks, while others suggested a short delay for setting a deadline; U.S. officials had introduced a resolution to retain the virus stocks for at least another five years to allow work on bioterrorism countermeasures to continue; U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Kathleen Sebelius said, however, that the United States was committed to the eventual destruction of the virus stocks

  • New device could help stop one of the world's deadliest killers

    A new portable and low cost water sanitation device could help save millions of lives each year; water borne diseases contracted from contaminated water are one of the world’s leading causes of death; each year nearly two million people die, primarily young children, from preventable diseases like diarrhea, cholera, and typhoid from drinking unsafe water; it is estimated that roughly 1.1 billion people lack access to clean water, but all that could potentially change thanks to Torben Frandsen’s LifeStraw; LifeStraw is a 10 inch long straw that is capable of generating 185 gallons of clean water, requires no electricity, and can be cheaply manufactured

  • New insect repellant may be thousands of times stronger than DEET

    The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has been supporting a major interdisciplinary research project to develop new ways to control the spread of malaria by disrupting a mosquito’s sense of smell; as part of the project, Vanderbilt University researchers developed an insect repellant which is not only thousands of times more effective than DEET — the active ingredient in most commercial mosquito repellants — but also works against all types of insects, including flies, moths, and ants

  • Magnetic "nanobeads" detect chemical and biological agents

    Researchers at Oregon State University have found a way to use magnetic “nanobeads” to help detect chemical and biological agents, with possible applications in everything from bioterrorism to medical diagnostics, environmental monitoring, or even water and food safety; rapid detection of chemical toxins used in bioterrorism would be possible, including such concerns as anthrax, ricin or smallpox, where immediate, accurate and highly sensitive tests would be needed

  • Malaria increasingly resistant to drugs, seaweed could be the answer

    Researchers recently found a natural substance that can destroy the malaria parasite; the substance is from a red seaweed found off the island of Fiji; the discovery of the substance comes at a much needed time as malaria has developed increasing resistance to existing drugs; the new substance comes from a chemical that that the plant uses to defend against marine fungi; it is entirely different than existing drugs and could be the key against fighting drug-resistant strains of malaria; the substance must still undergo further laboratory tests before it can be used in clinical trials