• Genomic test developed to prevent bioterrorism

    Researchers are working on develop a genomic test that can quickly determine whether a disease outbreak is caused by a natural pathogen or one that was grown in a lab by terrorists; the test is designed to provide homeland security and public health officials with the tools they need quickly to determine how to respond to an outbreak

  • New smallpox vaccine delivered to U.S. national stockpile

    According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the last case of smallpox in the United States was in 1949, and the last naturally occurring case in the world was in Somalia in 1977; the virus still exists in laboratory stockpiles, however, and after the terrorist attacks on 9/11, “there is heightened concern that the variola virus might be used as an agent of bioterrorism,” the CDC says

  • Texas A&M bioterrorism research may yield rabies cure

    Rabies infection is an unusual event in the United States, but it is a problem that kills more than 50,000 people around the world every year; the U.S. Department of Defense is funding research at Texas A&M on counter-measures to bioterrorism — but one of the most immediate outcomes of A&M’s research could be a cure for rabies

  • NDM-1 may herald the end of antibiotic era

    Researchers warn that the spread of a drug-resistant bacterial gene could herald the end of antibiotics; the bleak prediction follows his research into a drug-resistant bacterial gene called NDM-1, or New Delhi metallo-β-lactamase 1, which was first identified in India; researchers identified 143 cases of NDM-1 across India and Pakistan, but 37 — a surprisingly high figure — in the United Kingdom

  • Bioterrorism experts criticize cuts in BioShield to pay for teacher retention

    In order to find funds which would prevent teacher layoffs, House Democrats craft an appropriations bill which takes $2 billion from a bioterrorism emergency program; security experts criticize what they call a lack of foresight

  • Finding a smallpox vaccine for the event of a bioterror attack

    Smallpox is a potentially fatal and highly contagious infectious disease, estimated to have killed between 300 million and 500 million people in the first half of the twentieth century; the world was declared free of smallpox in 1980 — concern about the use of smallpox by bioterrorists spurs new research into vaccines

  • Emergent sells anthrax vaccine to U.S. allies

    European countries, worried about bioterror attacks, are working on a plan to stock vaccines regionally — a Baltic stockpile, a Nordic stockpile, and so on would help in covering countries that have not expressed a desire to form their own stockpiles; a Maryland-based companies is providing these European countries with anthrax vaccine

  • North Carolina prepares for bioterrorism, epidemics

    North Carolina universities and state and federal agencies create the new North Carolina Bio-Preparedness Collaborative; the idea is to use computers to link all the disparate forms of data collected by various agencies quickly to root out indicators of new disease, or food-borne illness, or, in a worst-case scenario, an attack of bio-terrorism

  • The optimal balance of vaccine stockpiles

    Once a disease has been eradicated there is a danger it could reappear, either naturally or as a result of an intentional release by a terrorist group; how much vaccine should be produced and stored for a disease that may never appear again — or which may infect hundreds of thousands tomorrow? modelers target optimal vaccine storage for eradicated diseases

  • 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

  • Researchers develop an Ebola vaccine

    Researchers develop an experimental vaccine that cures the Ebola virus by targeting its genetic material; trouble is, the Ebola vaccine can only work if it is administered within thirty minutes, which is an impracticality among civilian populations; the vaccine is a viable possibility within a research facility, so it may be used to protect the researchers themselves

  • Coral snake antivenin to run out in October

    If you live in Florida, you should now be doubly careful not to be bitten by the poisonous coral snake; the only company making antivenin for coral snake bites is no longer producing the drug — and the last batch will hit its expiration date in October.

  • Defeating anthrax bacterium's natural defenses may hold key to new treatments

    Up to 90 percent of untreated cases of inhalational anthrax result in death; Bacillus anthracis, the causative agent of anthrax, is particularly lethal because of its protective coating, or capsule, which enables the pathogen to escape destruction by the host’s immune system; researchers discover a way to “trick” the bacterium into shedding its protective covering

  • Utah implements harsh triage guidelines for bioterror, epidemic emergencies

    Utah’s new triage health emergency guidelines would see some children and some seniors turned away from hospitals during a bioterror or epidemic emergency; those who are severely burned, have incurable and spreading cancer, fatal genetic diseases, end-stage multiple sclerosis, or severe dementia will be turned away; people older than 85 also would not be admitted in the worst pandemic; those who have signed “do not resuscitate” orders could be denied a bed

  • Is there a connection between ending smallpox vaccination and the explosive spread of HIV?

    Smallpox immunization was gradually withdrawn from the 1950s to the 1970s following the worldwide eradication of the disease, and HIV has been spreading exponentially since approximately the same time; researchers show that vaccinia immunization, given to prevent the spread of smallpox, produces a five-fold reduction in HIV replication in the laboratory; is there a connection between the end of smallpox immunization and the spread of HIV?