War on Terrorism

Monday, November 13, 2006

CBR Weapons and WMD Terrorism News- November 13, 2006

Anthrax Vaccine Supplier Moves Closer to Initial Public Offering [IPO]

“A Gaithersburg drug company [Emergent Biosolutions Inc.] that makes most of its money selling the only federally approved vaccine against anthrax is in the final stages of preparing an initial public offering to raise up to $92 million… Biotech analysts said Emergent could have a tough time with its initial public offering…According to Thomson Financial, more companies have withdrawn IPOs this year than in any of the previous five years, indicating investors are skeptical of new company stock offerings despite the generally strong market for stocks… The company said it is in the early stages of developing a next-generation anthrax vaccine and products for other diseases and bioterrorism agents.” (The Washington Post; 11Nov06; Michael S. Rosenwald)


Live vaccine provides cross-protection against Marburg virus strains

“A live, attenuated recombinant vaccine provided cross-protection against Marburg virus strains. ~ According to researchers in the United States and Canada, ‘Marburg virus (MARV) has been associated with sporadic episodes of hemorrhagic fever, including a recent highly publicized outbreak in Angola that produced severe disease and significant mortality in infected patients. ~MARV is also considered to have potential as a biological weapon...~[In this study] none of the specifically vaccinated animals showed any evidence of illness either from the vaccination or from the MARV challenges and all of these animals survived. These data suggest that the [...] vaccine should be sufficient to protect against all known MARV strains,’ concluded the scientists. ~Daddario-DiCaprio and her coauthors published their study in the Journal of Virology...” (BioPortfolio; 13Nov06; Bioterrorism Week)


Russia lagging in destruction of chemical weapons

“Americans aren’t the only ones wrestling with what to do with the byproducts of destroyed chemical weapons. Ross Vincent, a Sierra Club senior policy advisor, found that expected problems with agent hydrolysate have forced Russian officials to ask for a deadline extension from the organization monitoring treaty compliance, and he’s worried that could have ramifications for Pueblo. Vincent was in Moscow last week serving as a panelist at the Eighth Russian National Dialogue on Chemical Weapons Demilitarization... He said that the Russians continue to say they are determined to meet the deadline for destruction of the actual weapons... What Russia wants from the OPCW is more time to destroy its hydrolysate.” (The Pueblo Chieftain; 10Nov06; John Norton)

[Utah] Cleanup stirs little interest

“The conclusion to a quiet, long-term, $128 million cleanup effort at the
Army's Dugway Proving Ground is getting closer, and while the effort includes covering or hauling away large amounts of hazardous waste, it hasn't captured much public attention... In recent months, environmental contractors at Dugway have covered about a dozen landfills where removal of waste, which includes old chemical and conventional munitions, was deemed unsafe to workers... Dugway is required to remediate its old waste sites in order to maintain its permit to store even more hazardous waste, which comes from Dugway's ongoing chemical- and biological-defense testing... [Dugway's restoration-program manager, Scott] Reed said one of the highest-risk sites, and the first to be cleaned up, contained traces of demilitarized, or decontaminated, chemical nerve agent. That site was 20 miles inside Dugway's border and was believed to pose no human risk off the base, Reed said.” (Deseret Morning News; 13Nov06; Stephen Speckman)

Commemorating the Fallen of the First World War; OPCW Pledges to Prevent Chemical Weapons Use

“On 11 November 2006, the city of Ieper, Belgium, commemorated the eighty-eighth anniversary of the Armistice that ended the First World War. The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) was honoured to participate in this solemn commemoration ceremony. The OPCW’s annual participation in the Armistice Day commemorations in Ieper is an expression of its commitment to free the world of chemical weapons... At Ieper, Belgium, chemical weapons were first used on a mass scale on 22 April 1915. During the First World War, over one million combatants were injured and over 90, 000 soldiers were killed by these weapons, the first weapon of mass destruction ever used in combat.” (OPCW Press Release; 11Nov06)

Lowly algae may help fight against

“The National Institutes of Health has awarded $4.5 million to OSU [Ohio State University] researchers to bioengineer a human protein to attack nerve-gas agents in a victim’s bloodstream. Researchers will develop a method to use algae as tiny factories that could manufacture large quantities of biological antidotes… Gerald Ledlow, a community preparedness expert at Georgia Southern University in Statesboro, said antidotes that use human proteins could attack a wider spectrum of agents than chemical antidotes. Ohio State scientists will alter copies of the human gene that produces the detoxification protein so that it produces a more effective version. This altered gene would be cloned and the copies inserted in the genetic material of algae, which would make the protein as part of its life cycle.” (The Columbus Dispatch; 12Nov06; Mike Lafferty)

Chemical Weapons Convention Resolution Adopted at UN; UN’s First Committee Calls upon All Possessor States to Join the CWC

“The [Sixty]-First Session of the United Nations General Assembly’s First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) adopted unanimously on 23 October 2006, a resolution on the implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC). The resolution, introduced by Poland, noted with satisfaction that five more States have ratified or acceded to the Convention in the past year, bringing the total number of States party to the CWC to 179 and called upon all States that have not yet done so to become parties to the Convention without delay... The Committee highlighted that all possessors of chemical weapons, chemical weapons production facilities or chemical weapons development facilities, including previously declared possessor States, should be among the States parties to the Convention, and welcomed progress to that end...” (OPCW Press Release; 10Nov06)


[Cleveland] BioLabs seeking defense contract

“Cleveland BioLabs Inc. is taking another step toward supplying the federal government with a drug that could protect the
military from the ravages of a radiological attack. The Cleveland company that went public this summer has begun contract negotiations with the Defense Threat Reduction Agency of the Department of Defense. If successful, the negotiations would lead to a contract helps Cleveland BioLabs develop and produce Protectan CBLB502, the company's most advanced drug... CBLB502 is an injectable drug that prevents cell death caused by high or lethal doses of radiation. By keeping cells alive long enough to be repaired, the drug can prevent the bone marrow and digestive tract damage caused by heavy doses of gamma radiation.” (The Plain Dealer; 10Nov06; Mary Vanac)

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