• Briefly noted

    ESTA Authorization required for all visa waiver countries as of 12 January… Georgia vet school leak kept quiet… Microsoft infuses “long awaited” with new meaning

  • Anti-bioterror programs may make U.S. more vulnerable

    There are 14 BSL-4 labs in the United States (6 already in operation; 3 completed but not yet operational; 5 under construction), and 15,000 scientists authorized to work with deadly pathogens; critics argue that by vastly increasing the number of researchers and labs authorized to handle deadly substances, the government has made the U.S. more vulnerable to bioterror attacks

  • Biosafety Lab-Level 4 dedicated in Galveston, Texas

    The $174 million, 186,267-square-foot lab will employ 300 people; the lab is one of two approved in 2003 by NIH (the second is being built in Boston); critics question placing a BSL-4 lab on a barrier island vulnerable to hurricanes

  • The ethics of treatment during pandemic

    It is more or less agreed that during the outbreak of a pandemic or a bioterror attack, those deemed “essential” to the functioning of the society should receive treatment first; but how do we define “essential”?

  • New technique to detect individual molecules

    Even very small numbers of deadly infectious agents or allergenic pollen molecules can cause major problems for humans — but detecting such trace amounts has been difficult to accomplish with enough speed to do any good; new detection technique solves the problem

  • HHS offers legal shield to anthrax manufacturers, distributors

    The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services offers legal shield to manufacturers and distributors of anthrax vaccines and treatments under a “public health emergency” to be in effect until the end of 2015

  • Unsettling lack of security at Level 4 Biosafety Labs

    Biosafety labs (BSLs) handle the world’s most dangerous agents and diseases; only BSL-4 labs can work with agents for which no cure or treatment exists; there are five BSL-4 labs in the United States, and GAO conducted a study of these labs’ perimeter security; you are not going to like what the GAO found

  • Letter carriers may deliver antibiotics during bioterror attack

    The task of delivering medications to citizens during a bioterror attack may fall to volunteer mailmen (and mailwomen); trial in St. Paul

  • Senators skeptical about FBI's anthrax attacks conclusions

    Senators of both voice doubt about the FBI’s conclusion that Bruce Ivins was the sole culprit in the 2001 anthrax attacks; criticize the FBI for its handling of the case

  • Drug-resistant plague may be a bioterrorism concern

    Researchers at Weill Cornell Medical College have located a gene that could mutate to make Yersinia pestis resistant to many common drugs; the bacteria might be used as a potential bioterrorism agent

  • DNA firms step up security over bioterrorism threat

    Until recently, designer DNA companies were rather relaxed about who was buying their products, and many refused to check their orders for potentially dangerous DNA sequences; this is changing, and the industry association in which many of these companies are members is leading a drive to increase security

  • New York officials want Plum Island to remain a Level-3 BioLab

    DHS is considering upgrading the Plum Island BioLab from Level-3 to Level-4 so it could conduct research into the deadliest diseases; the department argues that Plum Island’s relative isolation would make an accidental pathogen release less costly relatively to such release from a mainland-based lab; New York officials strongly disagree

  • Blumenthal: Impact statement regarding Plum Island seriously flawed

    Connecticut’s attorney general: “[DHS’s] draft environmental impact statement is profoundly flawed — factually deficient, and legally insufficient — mis-assessing the monstrous risks of siting a proposed national bio- and agro-defense facility on Plum Island”

  • Detecting disease in less than 60 seconds

    Traditional testing for disease outbreak or bioterror attack can take days — even weeks — to confirm a diagnosis and isolate those infected; we may not have that much time, and University of Georgia researchers develop a quicker virus identification method

  • Lawrenceville, PA bioterror lab opening on hold indefinitely

    A state-of-the-art, $5.6 million BioLevel 3 lab was supposed to open in Lawrenceville, Pennsylvania, in 2002;