• PharmAthene says its anthrax vaccine is superior to first-generation vaccine

    PharmAthene’s anthrax vaccine, called SparVax, will require three doses over a 60-day period — the first-generation vaccine requires five doses over 18 months; a course of treatment with the currently available vaccine costs about $125; SparVax would cost just $45 a treatment

  • $150 million anthrax vaccine contract goes to firm with close Democratic Party ties

    The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced on the evening of 29 December that it was awarding PharmAthene $150 million to develop and produce an anthrax vaccine; FOXNews notes the strong ties to the Democratic Party of senior company executives

  • Europe would be better with a generic, rather than disease-specific, pandemic response plan

    New study argues that the emphasis in Europe on disease-specific emergency plans utilized by most European countries could cost precious time and resources; “Countries and organizations invest enormous resources in developing plans for specific diseases, which may not even present a threat in the future,” the study says

  • U.S. anthrax response undermined by public ignorance, lack of confidence in government

    A Harvard School of Public Health’s survey found that nearly 40 percent of respondents who said they would likely accept antibiotic pills distributed from public health authorities after an anthrax attack also said they would not start taking them immediately; about 35 percent indicated they would hold onto the drugs until they knew for certain they had been exposed to anthrax

  • Montana State team developing new way to fight influenza, bioterrorism threats

    Researchers develop aerosol spray containing tiny protein cages that will activate an immune response in the lungs; the protein cages trigger the rapid production of lymphoid tissue in the lung; the technology could be used to prevent or treat a range of pulmonary diseases including influenza; it might counter bioterrorism threats, such as airborne microbes

  • U.S.-China farm trade tensions grow

    U.S. companies, steel producers, and unions have filed dozens of domestic trade complaints against Chinese imports; economists say the imports of food based on labor intensive crops are next in line for trade friction between the United States and China

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  • Farmers, ranchers urged to be aware of agroterrorism

    South Dakota’s U.S. Attorney Brendan Johnson says all aspects of agriculture can be targets of terrorists, but Johnson said meat production is the most vulnerable; “Livestock are the number one target for terrorists attacking the agriculture system…. If you want to get a bunch of cattle sick at once, it’s not rocket science on how to do it”

  • The digital revolution offers new ways to fight epidemics

    There are more than 100 H1N1 apps for iPhone — and several other apps dedicated to identifying, locating, and reporting the outbreak of epidemics; these digital tools could help people take preventive measures earlier than otherwise would have been the case, but they also open the door to mass panic from unreliable or false reports

  • 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

  • Immunovaccine offers enhanced anthrax vaccine candidate

    Currently, to provide protection from anthrax, individuals receive a 6-dose regime with three injections given two weeks apart, followed by three additional injections given at 6, 12, and 18 months; annual booster injections of the vaccine are recommended thereafter; Canadian company Immunovaccine says it developed a method to cut this arduous regimen by half

  • Tulane University, Corgenix awarded $15,000,000 to expand Lassa fever research

    Lassa fever, because of its high fatality rate, the ability to spread easily by human-to-human contact, and the potential for aerosol release, is classified as a bio safety level 4 agent and is included on the NIAID Category A list of potential bioterrorism threats; new study will focus on identification of novel B-cell epitopes on Lassa virus proteins, aiming to develop agents to treat and prevent the disease

  • China finds 170 more tons of tainted milk powder

    Chinese dairies were found to add the industrial chemical melamine, which is high in nitrogen, to watered-down milk to make it appear protein-rich in quality tests that measure nitrogen; many children who drank the milk died or were sickened; rather than destroy the tainted milk, some dairies merely repackaged it

  • Five infectious diseases that might re-emerge

    Dreaded infectious diseases of the past have largely been kept at bay by antibioitcs and other medical advances; these diseases still linger, though, and could pose a threat – either because some parents refuse to vaccinate their kids owing to concerns about possible links between such vaccination and autism (Mumps), or because terrorist might use the pathogens in a bioterror attack (small pox)

  • New virtual community to connect bioterrorism experts

    Mount St. Mary’s University launches launched a new virtual community that allows intelligence officers, students, and even Capitol Hill executives to network with bioterrorism experts and academics; the invitation-only network takes place on the Yakabox knowledge sharing systems which are certified for use in classified environments by the U.S. government

  • U.S. gets “F” in preparation for threat of biological terrorism

    The Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism gave the U.S. government an “F” for bioweapon preparedness; the commission warned: “On the current course, what is likely to occur within a very few years is an attack using weapons of mass destruction — probably a bioweapon — that will fundamentally change the character of life for the world’s democracies”