War on Terrorism

Friday, November 10, 2006

CBR Weapons and WMD Terrorism News- November 10, 2006

Saturday mail drill simulates response to bioterror attack

“In case of a bioterrorism attack, be on the lookout for a mail carrier bearing drugs. That's one possible medication-delivery method that government officials will be testing Saturday at about 38,000 households in northeast Seattle neighborhoods, which will get little empty boxes in the mail with a flier explaining it's all just a drill. After a real attack, the box would contain antibiotics to counteract anthrax, plague, tularemia or some other deadly bacteria that
terrorists might spread. ‘If there were a bioterrorist attack in Seattle, a large number of people would need medications quickly to keep them from becoming sick,’ said Dorothy Teeter, interim director of Public Health — Seattle & King County. ‘This is to test our capacity to deliver the medications.’” (The Seattle Times; 10Nov06; Warren King)

New York [City] Fire Dept. Bio-Terrorism Exercise Thursday

“The Fire Department's fourth annual FDNY BIOPOD exercise is being held on Thursday evening. The exercise is specifically designed to test and evaluate the Department's preparedness in providing and distributing preventive vaccination/medication in the event of a biological exposure... [T]he Department plans to deploy four mobile PODs (points of distribution) and set up four stationary distribution points throughout the City's five boroughs to administer the influenza vaccine to all on-duty members (Fire and EMS).” (Government Technology; 09Nov06; FDNY Press Release)

National Model Launched to Improve Healthcare Emergency Response

“A tried and tested model program to improve healthcare emergency preparedness in the event of a manmade or natural disaster was launched today. ‘The model program [by the Healthcare Emergency Response Coalition (HERC)] was developed over five years by a coalition of healthcare professionals in Palm Beach County, Florida, and is now thought to be the most comprehensive in the country,’ said HERC chair, Dr. Mary Russell...HERC was formed after anthrax spores were mailed to the offices of AMI, the publishers of the National Inquirer... HERC provides a forum for the healthcare community to interact with one another and other response agencies at a county, regional and state level to promote emergency preparedness; coordinates and improves the delivery of healthcare emergency response services; fosters communication between local, regional and state entities on community-wide emergency planning and response; ensures overall readiness through coordination of community-wide training and exercises; and promotes preparedness in the healthcare community through standardized practices and integration with other response partners.” (PRIMEZONE; 09Nov06; Palm Healthcare Foundation)

Responding to the Threat of Agricultural Bioterrorism

“Given events surrounding the recent E. coli outbreak in spinach grown in the U.S., now is an ideal time to revisit the subject of food safety by expanding upon the place of agriculture in the United States and some of the ways in which geospatial technology, and its practitioners, can address this area of homeland security... The financial impact of disease and pest management is significant, costing the agricultural industry in the neighborhood of $3 billion per year... This, and future introductions may result in restrictions on domestic and foreign trade, disruptions in food production, changes in consumer perceptions and confidence, and employment declines within all aspects of agriculture and food markets... Geospatial technologies have played, and will continue to play, a key role in the development, maintenance and execution of emergency response cycles related to food security and agricultural biosecurity events. One example that illustrates this role is a spatial model for locating large-scale livestock carcass disposal sites... [Using this model] we can view and simultaneously analyze a series of thematic data layers in a GIS-based landscape suitability model to prepare our emergency response.” (Directions Magazine; 09Nov06; Shawn Hutchinson)

Research Will Target Ebola and Other Deadly Viruses

“Researchers at CUBRC [a non-profit company] and the University at Buffalo's New York State Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences are developing radically new drugs designed to cure viruses ranging from the deadly Ebola virus to the common cold, thanks to a major $8.2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Defense... It will support the work of researchers at CUBRC, the Center of Excellence and Prosetta Corp., a biotechnology firm based in San Francisco, in developing new drugs to treat viral hemorrhagic fever diseases, including Ebola, Rift Valley Fever Virus and Lassa Fever Virus, that are of major importance to biodefense, using techniques that ultimately will be useful in combating all types of viruses.” (University of Buffalo News Center; 09Nov06)

BioShield: Bavarian Nordic Reports Progress in New Smallpox Vaccine Program

“Bavarian Nordic reported in a financial update today that it is in continuing dialogue with Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) officials on the proposal it has submitted to supply the government with its Imvamune(R) smallpox vaccine under the Project BioShield program... [M]ore than 1,200 persons... have been vaccinated in three additional Phase II trials with Imvamune(R) without serious or unexpected side-effects. A separate Phase II study with Imvamune(R) in 151 HIV-infected persons has also been completed. Data from the main study will be reported at year-end 2006 and follow-up data in mid-2007... At the current level, Bavarian Nordic has the capacity and manpower to manufacture, release and deliver Imvamune(R) smallpox vaccines to governments in a short timeframe.” (DrugNewswire; 09Nov06; PRNewswire-FirstCall)

US groups fund studies on Agent Orange, explosives in Vietnam

“US groups have announced plans to study Vietnam's wartime contamination with toxic defoliant Agent Orange and with millions of unexploded bombs and landmines. The private Ford Foundation said Friday it had committed 2.2 million dollars to study environmental hazards related to the dioxin in Agent Orange and bring health services to Vietnamese people living with long-term disabilities. ‘Grants will support research to help identify dioxin 'hot spots,' pilot projects to develop new clean-up technologies, and survey research and public health programmes,’ said the group in a statement. US forces widely sprayed Agent Orange in southern Vietnam during the conflict that ended in 1975, to deprive enemy guerrillas of forest cover and destroy food crops.” (Yahoo! News; 10Nov06; AFP)

terror strike tests local response

“About 250 personnel from Huntsville, Redstone, the city of Madison, and Madison and Morgan counties took part in the exercise built around a scenario of a small plane spraying a chemical that would severely blister and possibly kill people, said Greg Avila, Redstone Arsenal Garrison exercise coordinator... Arsenal emergency workers sprayed down troops with water in a simulated chemical decontamination exercise. Also, portable showers were established within minutes to wash chemical agents away. But no chemicals were used, Avila said.” (The Huntsville Times; 09Nov06; Shelby G. Spires and Steve Campbell)

OPCW Asian National Authorities Discuss Industry Verification; Chemical Industry Seminar Held in the Republic of Korea

“A seminar for Asian National Authorities on matters of relevance to the chemical industry was held in Seoul, the Republic of Korea from 6-8 November 2006. This seminar was jointly organized by the Government of the Republic of Korea and the OPCW. Over 30 participants from 14 States Parties —Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Iran, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, United Arab Emirates, Viet Nam— and one State not party, Myanmar, attended the seminar. The workshop was designed to provide a platform for experience sharing among participating States Parties on topics such as the identification of declarable Article VI activities, discrepancies in the reporting of transfers’ of scheduled chemicals, and sequential inspections conducted by the OPCW. Practical table top exercises on the identification of declarable Article VI activities and inspection procedures were also held during the seminar.” (OPCW Press Release; 09Nov06)


Seminar on the Role of Industry in the Implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention Held in Pakistan

“A national seminar was organised in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in Islamabad, on 3 November 2006 by the National Authority of Pakistan on the role of industry in the implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention. Over 30 industry representatives participated in the seminar. In his opening statement, the Additional Secretary of the United Nations and Economic Coordination Division, Mr Tariq Osman Hyder, underlined Pakistan commitment to the goals and objectives of the Chemical Weapons Convention. The seminar provided a valuable opportunity for the representatives of the chemical industry in Pakistan to improve their understanding of the Convention, as well as to identify additional ways and means of improving their collaboration with the Pakistan National Authority to effectively implement the provisions of the Convention.” (OPCW Press Release; 09Nov06)


Foreign Service Academy of Pakistan Holds Session on Chemical Weapons Convention

“As part of the syllabus of the 12-week course offered this year by the Foreign Service Academy of Pakistan to 41 diplomats representing 24 countries in Africa and Asia, a full day session devoted to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) concluded satisfactorily on 2 November 2006... [T]his full-day session was a part of Pakistan’s contribution to the attainment of the goals established by the Plan of Action regarding the implementation of Article VII obligations adopted by the Tenth Session of the Conference of the States Parties.” (OPCW Press Release; 09Nov06)

Arizona universities take on bioterror

“Arizona's three state universities are quietly becoming more involved in bioterrorism research, securing tens of millions of dollars in grants. More than a dozen projects are under way, including research on nearly all six agents listed as the highest priority for national security. Those include anthrax, plague, smallpox, tularemia and a hemorrhagic fever, Ebola. Arizona State University is announcing this week that it will join four other institutions in a $14 million federal grant to develop an antidote for the nerve agent sarin... Jacobs' [Bert Jacobs, an ASU professor] team has developed what it believes is a safer, effective version of the smallpox vaccine, but it must undergo extensive testing. He hopes to get approval next year from the Food and Drug Administration to do clinical trials. Eventually, the vaccine could be tested on primates.”
(The Arizona Republic; 10Nov06; Anne Ryman)


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