Suspending Threats in Mid-Air: Army Laser Beam Capable of Detecting Chem-Bio Warfare Agents

Global Biodefense January 14, 2020 An international team of researchers (US – US Army, Australia) used a single laser beam to develop an advanced analytical technique that can detect and characterize any type of airborne particles, naturally occurring (dust, smoke, pollen, ash, etc.) or those harmful and deliberately disseminated such as chemical and biological warfare agents. They used two small parabolic mirrors to shape up a hollow laser beam and create highly efficient trapping forces — instead of using expensive microscope objectives and complex optical setup. The approach provides contactless particle manipulation and allows a rapid and precise physio-chemical characterization. […]

Project BioShield: Building a Better Medical Countermeasure Pipeline

Global Biodefense  August 5, 2019 When Project BioShield was initially signed into law 15 years ago, the nation had few medical countermeasures to rely on in national emergencies. BARDA has since supported 27 projects using Project BioShield authorities and funding, adding 15 products to the Strategic National Stockpile. Working with industry partners, 10 of those products have achieved FDA approval and the others are available under FDA Emergency Use Authorization guidelines. Companies interested in partnering with BARDA on medical countermeasures to combat chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear (CBRN) threats, pandemic influenza or other emerging infectious diseases, can get insights and […]

Stripping down bacterial armor: A new way to fight anthrax

EurelAlert  July 15, 2019 Researchers in Belgium successfully applied Nanobodies® – small antibody fragments – to control the assembly of the bacterial armor and study its structure. The Nanobodies were not only effective in preventing the armor from forming, but also proved highly efficient in breaking down existing S-layers. When applied to live bacteria, breaking down the armor slowed bacterial growth and led to drastic changes in the surface of the bacterial cell. Nanobodies were tested as a treatment in mice infected with B. anthracis. All treated mice recovered from lethal anthrax within days…read more. TECHNICAL ARTICLE

What Happens When a CBRN Agent is Released in an Urban Area? Ask HASP.

Global Biodefense  June 26, 2019 The Hazard Assessment Simulation and Prediction Suite (HASP) software was developed by the UK’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl). It models how CBRN threats will disperse if released in urban or open areas. It provides hazard predictions in a matter of minutes, greatly improving upon previous models. It also takes into consideration the interactions between indoor and outdoor dispersion as well as estimates the source parameters, such as location, discharge time, and the amount of substance released. The HASP Suite will be available in a next generation CBRN information management system known as EuroSIM […]

Biological Threat Reduction: Design and Build Effluent Treatment System at Kenya’s FMD Vaccine Facility

Global Biodefense  June 18, 2019 The Kenya Veterinary Vaccine Production Institute/National Veterinary Quality Control Lab (KEVEVAPI/NVQCL) is the national foot and mouth disease vaccine producer and a quality control laboratory in Kenya. Pathogen containment capacity at the lab is an important milestone to reduce the risk of widespread foot and mouth disease outbreaks. The Defense Threat Reduction Agency’s Biological Threat Reduction Program (BTRP) is seeking eligible performers to design and install a new Effluent Treatment System…read more. Solicitation

How machine learning could keep dangerous DNA out of terrorists’ hands

Nature News  January 31, 2019 The US government is backing efforts that use machine learning to detect whether a DNA sequence encodes part of a dangerous pathogen. Researchers are beginning to make progress towards designing artificial-intelligence-based screening tools, and several groups are presenting early results at the American Society for Microbiology (ASM) Biothreats meeting in Arlington, Virginia, on 31 January. In 2016, IARPA launched an initiative to design better algorithms for spotting potentially threatening sequences. Information about the basic biology of organisms — such as a universal DNA sequence that allows toxins or viruses to stick to cells could help […]

Rethinking Ebola Vaccine Stockpile as Outbreak Threatens Mega-Cities

Global Biodefense  December 20, 2018 The nature of Ebola outbreaks is changing as the virus finds its way out of rural villages into populous urban settings. Outbreak response experts at the WHO and GAVI are already talking to the leading Ebola vaccine manufacturer, Merck, to reassess just how much larger global stocks need to be. Besides Merk’s vaccine, another potential vaccine being developed by Johnson & Johnson could also eventually become part of the stockpile, global health officials say… read more.