• U.S., South Korea teaming up for bioterrorism exercise

    Officials from the United States and South Korea were in Seoul, South Korea last month for the third annual joint anti-bioterrorism exercise in Seoul. Around eighty U.S. officials and between 120 and 130 South Korean military officials participated in the tabletop exercise.

  • Protecting drinking water systems from deliberate contamination

    The importance of water and of water infrastructures to human health and to the running of the economy makes water systems likely targets for terrorism and CBRN (chemical, biological, and radionuclide) contamination. Reducing the vulnerability of drinking water systems to deliberate attacks is one of the major security challenges. An international project has developed a response program for rapidly restoring the use of drinking water networks following a deliberate contamination event.

  • New microfluidic chip useful in counterterrorism, water and food safety

    A new process for making a three-dimensional microstructure that can be used in the analysis of cells could prove useful in counterterrorism measures and in water and food safety concerns. Researchers developed a new microfabrication technique to develop three-dimensional microfluidic devices in polymers. Microfluidics deals with the performance, control, and treatment of fluids that are constrained in some fashion.

  • Fast, reliable identification of pathogens

    Life-threatening bacterial infections cause tens of thousands of deaths every year in North America, but current methods of culturing bacteria in the lab can take days to report the specific source of the infection, and even longer to pinpoint the right antibiotic that will clear the infection. Researchers have created an electronic chip that can analyze blood and other clinical samples for infectious bacteria with record-breaking speed.

  • Letters containing ricin sent to Mayor Michael Bloomberg, gun-control advocacy group

    Two letters sent to Mayor Michael Bloomberg – one to his office in New York, the second to the Washington, D.C. offices of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a non-profit gun-control group he has founded — contained traces of the deadly poison ricin.

  • Spokane, Wash. biolab could be closed due to budget cuts

    Just two weeks ago, law enforcement agencies credited a bioterrorism laboratory in Spokane, Washington with quickly identifying the substance in several letters mailed to people in town as ricin. These same agencies now say that the biolab could close as a result of budget cuts.

  • Smartphone turned into handheld biosensor

    Scientists and physicians in the field could soon run on-the-spot tests for environmental toxins, medical diagnostics, food safety and more with their smartphones. Researchers have developed a cradle and app for the iPhone that uses the phone’s built-in camera and processing power as a biosensor to detect toxins, proteins, bacteria, viruses, and other molecules.

  • Oregon drills first responders for bioterrorism attack

    A three day drill called the Portland Area Capabilities Exercise (PACE), simulating a terrorist attack involving a biological weapon, will take place across fifty different facilities and sixty-five jurisdictions in the state of Oregon.

  • Ricin can kill, but there are more potent bioterror weapons

    Ricin was in the headlines a few weeks ago, when envelopes containing the poison were mailed to President Obama, Senator Roger Wicker (R-Mississippi), and a Mississippi judge. The threat from ricin is low, however, because ricin cannot poison someone through contact with the skin. To be poisoned, an individual would have to ingest or inhale traces of the poison.

  • Quickly identifying chemical, biological warfare agents

    For more than fifty years, researchers have been studying exactly how aspirin affects the human body. Despite thousands of publications on the topic, our understanding is still incomplete. Meanwhile, novel chemical and biological weapons have historically been mass produced within a year of discovery. Using current methods and technologies, researchers would require decades of study to gain a robust understanding of how new threat agents exert effects on human biological systems. DARPA wants to close this capability gap, which leaves U.S. forces vulnerable.

  • Pennsylvania emergency professionals receive WMD training

    The Center for Domestic Preparedness (CDP) in Alabama hosted more than a hundred emergency professionals from the Pennsylvania South Central Mountains Regional Task Force’s Health and Medical Committee for in-depth response-to-WMD training.

  • New detection test to improve food safety, bioterrorism defense

    Sales of chicken products in China plummeted recently during an outbreak of a deadly new strain of bird flu. From bird flu to mad cow disease, numerous food scares have made global headlines in recent years.Scientists develop new detection technique which wouldmake food contamination testing more rapid and accurate. The detection test could also accelerate warnings after bioterrorism attacks.

  • Mississippi man arrested for sending ricin letters to Obama, Sen. Wicker

    The FBI confirmed yesterday (Wednesday) that a letter addressed to President Obama was found to contain the toxin ricin. As is the case with all the mail sent to the White House, the letter was screened in a remote mail sorting facility in Anacostia, a neighborhood in southeast Washington, D.C., and intercepted. The FBI arrested a man from Tupelo, Mississippi, on suspicion that he was behind the ricin letters to the White House and to Senator Roger Wicker (R-Mississippi), who lives in Tupelo.

  • Experts will meet in September for the bi-annual anthrax research conference

    More than 300 scientists and researchers from all over the world who work on Bacillus anthracis, the causative agent of anthrax, and B. cereus and B. thuringiensis, two closely related bacilli, will be heading to Victoria, British Columbia for the Bacillus ACT 2013 conference, which will be held 1-5 September.

  • Footwear safety reflectors help in detecting bioterror threats

    Tiny versions of the reflectors on sneakers and bicycle fenders that help ensure the safety of runners and bikers at night are moving toward another role in detecting bioterrorism threats and diagnosing everyday infectious diseases, scientists said the other day.