• Concerns grow over repeated safety failures at U.S. BioLabs

    According to a report that was released by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) late last month, the United States is at a high risk for accidents at laboratories which conduct research on potential bioterror germs such as anthrax because federal officials have failed to develop national standards for lab design, construction, and operation.

  • Finding the right tools to respond to suspicious powder incidents

    HazMat teams across the United States respond to hundreds of white powder calls each year in large cities where quick decision-making is critical. DHS makes it easier to buy the right technology for bio-threat incidents.

  • New device will quickly detect botulinum, ricin, other biothreat agents

    Researchers are developing a medical instrument which will be able quickly to detect a suite of biothreat agents, including anthrax, ricin, botulinum, shiga, and SEB toxin. The device, once developed, approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and commercialized, would most likely be used in emergency rooms in the event of a bioterrorism incident.

  • Same-day water test keeps beaches open, swimmers’ health protected

    With warm summer days at the beach on the minds of millions of winter-weary people, scientists are reporting that use of a new water quality test this year could prevent unnecessary beach closures, while better protecting the health of swimmers.

  • Nanobiotechnology kills listeria, other food-borne pathogens, dead

    Researchers, using nature as their inspiration, successfully attached cell lytic enzymes to food-safe silica nanoparticles, and created a coating with the demonstrated ability selectively to kill listeria — a dangerous foodborne bacteria that causes an estimated 500 deaths every year in the United States.  The coating kills listeria on contact, even at high concentrations, within a few minutes without affecting other bacteria.

  • U.S. Army helps in chemical testing of meat product

    When a South Dakota beef producer voiced concerns over the safety of its product to a meat inspection staff, the Animal Disease Research and Diagnostic Laboratory at South Dakota State University, called on the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command’s chemical-biological center (ECBC) – and the ECBC answered.

  • June workshop on approaches to CBRNE incidents

    NIST-organized workshop will explore ways to improve an all-of-government approach that increases resilience to international chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, or explosive (CBRNE) incidents.

  • Audits find “troubling” security flaws in CDC labs

    Laboratories at the Centers for Disease Control Prevention (CDC) have been cited in  government audits for  failing to  secure  bioterror agents such as  anthrax and plague. The audits also found that  employees handling these agents have not been trained properly to do so.

  • DHS awards contract for utility plant at the Kansas biolab

    DHS has awarded a $40 million contract to build a utility plant at a $1.15 billion animal research lab in Kansas. The 87,000 square foot facility will replace an animal research lab on Plum Island in New York and will be used to research deadly animal diseases that affect livestock.

  • Improving detection of, responses to biological warfare

    Biological warfare agents pose more than a hypothetical threat to U.S. soldiers. Troops operate in hostile areas where they could come under attack from adversaries wielding bio-agents like anthrax and toxins. The first step in reacting to any such attack is knowing that it occurred. Quickly and accurately identifying the presence of airborne antigens can be difficult given their complexity, the presence of numerous similar microorganisms in the environment, and the fact that even minute quantities of a threat agent can cause infection. Researches seek to advance sensitivity and durability of antibody-based biosensors better to protect soldiers.

  • Promising substance for better cyanide antidote for terrorist attacks

    In an advance toward closing a major gap in defenses against terrorist attacks and other mass casualty events, scientists are reporting discovery of a promising substance that could be the basis for development of a better antidote for cyanide poisoning.

  • Scanning social media as a tool for biosurveillance

    DHS is considering observing and scanning social media Web sites to collect and analyze health-related data which could help identify outbreaks of infectious diseases and other public health and national security risks

  • Technology used in BioWatch could not detect pathogens, issued false alarms

    The BioWatch program was created to detect the release of pathogens in the air as part of a terrorist attack, but scientists say that the program is unable to detect lethal germs because the system uses defective components; these components often set off false alarms; for example, BioWatch sensors issued fifty alarms between 2003 and 2008, but scientists and security authorities never had enough confidence in the BioWatch system to evacuate an area or take other emergency steps

  • U.S. urgently needs better bioterrorism, disease tracking system

    Nearly eleven years have passed since the fall 2001 bioterrorism-related anthrax attacks that shook the United States, killing five people and injuring seventeen, a leading bioterrorism expert says the country has still not learned its lesson; he says that current data mining approaches are passive and do not provide immediate solutions to the emergencies at hand, proposing instead an electronic, clinician-based reporting system which would have the capacity to limit the impact of a bioterrorism attack

  • Many Americans exposed to drinking water-related gastrointestinal illness

    More than 100 million people in the United States rely on water piped into homes, schools, and businesses from public water systems that get their water from wells, rather than lakes, rivers, and other above-ground sources; much of that water either is not disinfected at all or is not adequately disinfected to kill disease-causing viruses