DRIVE ReDIRECT Program Seeks to Develop Countermeasures Against Chemical Threats

Global Biodefence  October 31, 2020 The ReDIRECT Program is a new initiative from the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) which aims to identify existing, commonly available therapeutics that can be used to save lives during a chemical emergency. The program is focused on repurposing therapeutics against any of the following agents: Pulmonary Agents, Opioids, Vesicants, Blood/Metabolic Agents, Nerve Agents and Organophosphorus (OP) Pesticides, Computational approaches to identify candidates for drug repurposing. Under the EZ BAA Area of Interest (AOI), BARDA will review concise abstract submissions for funding development that repurposes easily accessible therapeutics as medical countermeasures. The effort is […]

Scientists synthesise a MOF capable of degrading nerve agents in water

Nanowerk  September 30, 2020 An international team of researchers (Spain, USA – Scripps research, CA, industry, UK, Portugal) used heterometallic metal-organic frameworks to exemplify the advantages of controlling metal distribution across the framework in heterogeneous catalysis by exploring their activity toward the degradation of a nerve agent simulant of Sarin gas. MUV-101(Fe) is the only pristine MOF capable of catalytic degradation of diisopropyl-fluorophosphate (DIFP) in non-buffered aqueous media. This activity cannot be explained only by the association of two metals, but to their synergistic cooperation, to create a whole that is more efficient than the simple sum of its parts. […]

Army Medical Department Board Tests Nerve Agent Antidote Auto-Injectors

Global Biodefense  February 11, 2020 The United States military adopted the auto-injector as the drug delivery device for chemical weapons exposure because of ease of use, packaging durability,and drug stability under varying storage conditions. The auto-injectors are designed to deliver an intramuscular injection with a 22-gauge needle protrudes with a pressure-activated coil spring mechanism that triggers the needle after removal of the safety cap. It is a replacement for the currently fielded auto-injector for treatment against nerve agent and insecticide poisoning, adjunctive treatment, and management of agent-induced seizures…read more.

Nanomaterial fabric destroys nerve agents in battlefield-relevant conditions  January 8, 2020 A team of researchers in the US (Northwestern University, US Army – Aberdeen) has developed a generalizable and scalable approach for integrating MOFs and non-volatile polymeric bases onto textile fibers for nerve agent hydrolysis. The composite material showed similar reactivity under ambient conditions compared to the powder material in aqueous alkaline solution. This represents a critical step toward a unified strategy for nerve agent hydrolysis in practical settings, which can significantly reduce the dimensions of filters and increase the efficiency of protective suits. The material could be integrated into protective suits and face masks for use […]

Japan Imports Ebola And Other Deadly Pathogens in The Lead-Up to Tokyo Olympics

Science Alert  October 17, 2019 Strains of the infectious virus along with four other dangerous pathogens were brought into the country last month by the Japanese government, so that scientists can study them and research possible countermeasures in the event of an outbreak sparked by the Tokyo 2020 tourist influx. Japan’s ability to study the most dangerous pathogens has lagged behind that of other advanced nations. There is one facility in the country operating at BSL 4 level. Both the United States and Europe have more than a dozen BSL-4 labs in operation or under construction, and China is building […]

New way to protect against high-dose radiation damage discovered

Science Daily  May 30, 2019 Exposure to high-dose irradiation (>10 gray) from the uncontrolled release of radioactive materials or intensive radiotherapy for cancer treatment can cause gastrointestinal syndrome (GIS), a lethal disorder affecting the intestinal structure. To assess medical countermeasures, it is essential to develop specific and robust animal models in which the relationship between radiation doses, GIS incidence, and severity can be correlated with the histopathology of the intestine. Researchers in Spain aim to understand cell biology and molecular events of GIS after radiation exposure by using a genetic GIS mouse model generated in their laboratory. This information will […]

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 […]

New technique offers rapid assessment of radiation exposure

Eurekalert  January 9, 2019 Researchers at the North Carolina State University have developed a new technique which relies on testing crystalline insulators found in everything from thumb drives to smartphones. Because the technique is high-throughput, accurate and precise, it can adequately assess an individual’s exposure in about an hour. The insulator should be removed from its electronic device, cleaned and placed in a thermally stimulated luminescence reader, which collects spectra relating to the number of electrons found in the flaws inherent to the sample’s crystalline structure. That spectral data is then fed into a custom algorithm that calculates the sample’s […]

Planning for smallpox outbreak must consider immunosuppression

Science Daily  March 3, 2018 Researchers in Canada published a step by step method to create a pox virus in a lab, making the threat of smallpox re-emergence even greater which highlights the real risk of smallpox re-emerging in the world. An international team of researchers (USA – Arizona State University, Emory University, Australia) reveals that the number of people living with weakened immune systems must be examined when planning for the real risk of smallpox re-emerging in the world and unprecedented levels of immunosuppression in countries like Australia and the US must be considered in planning for the real […]