• Plum Island bio lab an inviting target for terrorists

    The bio lab on 840-acre Plum Island, a mile-and-a-half off Long Island’s Orient Point, is a Biosafety level 4 facility — the only type of research lab authorized to handle diseases that are communicable between humans and animals and for which there is no known cure; from a boat, terrorists armed with shoulder-fired rockets would have a clear shot, or a plane could dive into the laboratory, dispersing deadly germs into an area from Massachusetts to New York; DHS has decided to build a new lab in Kansas to replace the aging Plum Island center, but some local politicians object, citing the local jobs that would be lost

  • HHS seeks comments on bioterror select agents list

    The biennial review required by the Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002 is under way; comments about biological agents or toxins that should be added or removed are due by 20 August

  • 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

  • A first: plastic antibodies pass initial test

    Plastic antibodies, which mimic the proteins produced by the body’s immune system, were found to work in the bloodstream of a living animal; the discovery is an advance toward medical use of plastic particles custom tailored to fight an array of antigens

  • Workshop to evaluate threat of insect-based terrorism

    One way terrorists may use unleash a bioterror attack on U.S. population centers is by introducing pathogen-infected mosquitoes into an area, then let the insects pursue their deadly mission; many of the world’s most dangerous pathogens — Rift Valley, chikungunya fever, or Japanese encephalitis — already are transmitted by arthropods, the animal phylum that includes mosquitoes

  • Wisconsin researcher punished for unauthorized research on bioterror agent

    A university of Wisconsin researchers conducted unauthorized research on bioterror agent; the researcher developed antibiotic-resistant variants of brucellosis and tested them on mice; the University of Wisconsin was fined $40,000 by the National Institutes of Health, and the professor was ordered to stay out of a lab for five years

  • 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

  • U.S. not ready for clean up effort after a bioterror attack

    The small 2001 anthrax attack in the United States cost hundreds of millions of dollars in decontamination costs, and some of the facilities attacked could not be reopened for more than two years; a large-scale biological release in an American city, though, could potentially result in hundreds of thousands of illnesses and deaths and could cost trillions of dollars to clean up

  • Tularemia bacteria detected in Columbus, Ohio; no bioterror attack suspected

    BioWatch sensors in Columbus, Ohio, last week picked up higher than normal presence of the bacteria tularemia — a bacteria which may be used in bioterror attacks; Columbus Public Health officials continued to emphasize that people are not at risk and there is no suspicion that bioterrorism was attempted here

  • Killing malaria bugs dead with laser

    Mosquito-killing laser demonstrated; if bed nets are the low-tech solution to combat the deadly malaria — caused by a parasite transmitted when certain mosquitoes bite people — the laser is a high-tech one; the laser detection is so precise, it can specify the species, and even the gender, of the mosquito being targeted

  • Ebola, Marburg vaccines undergoing tests in South Africa

    Because Ebola and Marburg have been confined to Africa and outbreaks limited, drug companies have not had a financial incentive to come up with a vaccine; only the threat of bioterrorism has prompted the U.S. government to spend millions on vaccine research

  • Mystery solved: Scientists now know how smallpox kills

    New discovery fills a major gap in the scientific understanding of pox diseases and lays the foundation for the development of antiviral treatments, should smallpox or related viruses re-emerge through accident, viral evolution, or terrorist action

  • DoD bill will fund biological attack sensors

    The $636 billion Defense bill will send money to Michigan for bioterror research; $1.6 million will go to Dexter Research Center in Dexter, Michigan, to continue its development of a security sensor meant to protect military installations from chemical and biological attacks; Kettering University in Flint, Michigan will receive $1.6 million to help DoD with its Chemical Agent Fate Program

  • Maine to receive more than $3 million to aid bioterror research

    Research institutions in Maine will receive more than $3 million for bioterrorism research; a grant of $1.9 million will go to Orono Spectral Solutions to continue its development of an infrared detection system for chemical and biological agents; another $1.3 million will be set aside for Sensor Research & Development in Orono, for real time test monitoring of chemical agents, chemical agent stimulants and toxic industrial chemicals