• Virulent Haitian cholera strain to dominate the Americas

    The high death rate of the Haiti cholera relative to earlier outbreaks in the region (for example, Peru 1991) could partly be because medical care, nutrition, and HIV levels are worse in earthquake- and poverty-stricken Haiti than Peru — but it could also be due to a nastier cholera toxin

  • New Jersey lab on the forefront of fighting bioterrorism

    A New Jersey company is working on defense against biological warfare; the 3-year $8.2 million contract with the Department of Defense calls for it to develop drug molecules used to combat biological warfare pathogens — centering its research around eight bacterial pathogens (although for security reasons, the list of pathogens has not been made public)

  • Capitalism to strengthen U.S. response capability to epidemics, bioterrorism

    The H1N1 flu pandemic highlighted critical gaps in the response capability of the United States, among them: the United States relies almost entirely on foreign suppliers for influenza vaccines and, perhaps as important, production of vaccines for a novel disease strain can take as long as six months; the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) wants to reinvent the U.S. medical countermeasures enterprise, from new doctrines for regulatory approvals to nimble, domestic manufacturing capability developed in partnership with the private sector

  • Senate passes sweeping food safety bill

    The Senate passed legislation Tuesday to make food safer in the wake of deadly E. coli and salmonella outbreaks, potentially giving the government broad new powers to increase inspections of food processing facilities and force companies to recall tainted food; the $1.4 billion bill, which would also place stricter standards on imported foods, passed the Senate 73-25

  • MS drug to lead fight against bioterrorism

    A drug already approved for treating multiple sclerosis show promise as a long sought treatment for victims of bioterrorist attack with botulinum neurotoxin — which is 10,000 times deadlier than cyanide and the most poisonous substance known to man

  • Bandages changes color to indicate state of a wound

    Medical dressings are effective at protecting the site of an injury, but to examine a wound they must be removed; this can not only be painful for a patient, but it can also allow germs to enter the wound and cause infection; researchers developed dressing materials and plasters that do not need to be removed to check the state of a wound — they indicate pathological changes in the skin by changing from yellow to purple

  • Detecting use of abnormal organisms as bioterror weapons

    Organisms have the potential to cause disease, but they can be altered to cause an unrecognized diseases or a process a process that doctors have not associated with that organism; this makes altered forms of bacteria like salmonella or E. coli the potential “bombs” in a bio-terrorist attack, but scientists at Purdue University developed a new way to look at those bacteria; now, West Virginia University is testing its potential

  • U.S. shifts bio-defense R&D approach to "platform technologies"

    The Obama administration’s new $5.9 billion bio-defense plan features a strategy to fund so-called “platform technologies” that apply to many different infectious disease threats, whether they be bioterrorism (anthrax), pandemics (influenza), or infectious diseases affecting the developing world (malaria); this money could provide an extra incentive to justify corporate R&D investments in vaccine, drug, and diagnostic technologies

  • Concerns over bioterrorism grow

    Recent concern about the growing threat of bioterrorism attacks that could strike cities throughout the world has led governments, militaries, and the biopharmaceutical industry to a heightened state of alert; in response to this threat, the United States is accelerating preparing institutions and procedures for the potential danger

  • U.S. faces growing biological threat

    An international treaty banned biological warfare in 1975, but it had no inspection and verification plan; hundreds of tons of anthrax bacteria and other pathogens were produced by the Soviet Union in violation of the treaty and only ordered destroyed in 1988 as the cold war ended; when U.S. scientists visited the anthrax burial sites, they found live spores had survived

  • SIGA wins $500 million contract to produce smallpox antiviral

    SIGA has received a $500 contract — the contract will be worth as much as $2.8 billion if the government exercises all of its options — to produce the first specialized treatment for smallpox bioterror attacks and related infections; before the company can begin work, it must fend off a legal challenge from Chimerix, Inc., an unsuccessful bidder for the contract; Chimerix claims SIGA misrepresented itself as a small business in order to win this small-business set-aside

  • Spray-on skin to be commercialized

    Sheffield, U.K.-based Altrika set to produce a spray version of its Cryoskin donor skin cell product that can be applied in hospitals outside of a sterile surgical environment in order to reduce treatment time; the spray would be stored in individual doses so the right number of skin cells can be selected once the wound is assessed; the cells would then be thawed as the patient is being prepared

  • Anti-dengue mosquitoes to be released in Australia and Vietnam

    Some 100 million people in the tropics get dengue fever each year, and 40,000 are killed by it; the virus’s range is expanding, and last week France reported its first locally acquired cases; Australian scientists will release mosquitoes called Wolbachia that infect the disease-carrying Aedes mosquitoes, and makes them less able to carry the dengue virus; the release will take place in Australia and Vietnam

  • Sea floor organisms offer response to bioterrorism

    Two companies, with $30 million funding from the U.S. Defense Threat Reduction Agency, will search for new antibiotics at the bottom of the ocean that could be used to fight bioterrorism; the companies expect to find treatments for the bubonic plague, Yersinia pestis, and other bacterial infections that could be utilized by terror groups for an attack on the United States

  • A new dual vaccine protects against both smallpox and anthrax

    A new protective vaccine against both smallpox and anthrax, two agents of bioterrorism, shows promise in animal models; the new vaccine more quickly elicited immunity and was more effective than the licensed anthrax vaccine, BioThrax, in protecting mice and rabbits against anthrax