Heparin Contamination May Have Been Deliberate, F.D.A. [Food & Drug Administration] Says
“Federal drug regulators believe that a contaminant detected in a crucial blood thinner that has caused 81 deaths was added deliberately, something the Food and Drug Administration has only hinted at previously.[Marker] ‘F.D.A.’s working hypothesis is that this was intentional contamination, but this is not yet proven,’ Dr. Janet Woodcock, director of the Food and Drug Administration’s drug center, told the House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations in written testimony given Tuesday.” (New York Times; 30Apr08; Gardiner Harris).
Researchers determine drug target for the most potent botulinum neurotoxin
“Although experimental vaccines administered prior to exposure can inhibit the destructive action of this neurotoxin - the most deadly protein known to humans - no effective pharmacological treatment exists. Now, scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory and the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) have taken the first step toward designing an effective antidote to the most potent form of the toxin. They have found that they can trick the toxin to bypass its normal binding protein, thereby blocking its deadly action.” (Science Centric; 01May08).
Attomolar Detection of Botulinum Toxin Type A in Complex Biological Matrices
“A highly sensitive, rapid and cost efficient method that can detect active botulinum neurotoxin (BoNT) in complex biological samples such as foods or serum is desired in order to 1) counter the potential bioterrorist threat 2) enhance food safety 3) enable future pharmacokinetic studies in medical applications that utilize BoNTs. […] The sensitivity, specificity, speed and simplicity of the BoNT ALISSA should make this method attractive for diagnostic, biodefense and pharmacological applications. […] The BoNT/A ALISSA is an inexpensive, simple and robust procedure that ensures high analytical specificity and attomolar sensitivity for the detection of BoNT/A in complex biological samples.” (Plos One; 30Apr08; Karine Bagramyan, Jason R. Barash, Stephen S. Arnon, Markus Kalkum).
California Senate committee confirms first public health director
“A legislative panel Wednesday unanimously confirmed the nomination of Dr.Mark Horton as the first director of the California Department of Public Health, despite concerns about the department's capability. […] Sen. Bob Dutton, R-Rancho Cucamonga, expressed concern about the department's lagging disbursement to counties of federal Homeland Security funds for hospital and bioterrorism preparedness. During the past fiscal year, the department has passed out $210 million of the $370 million at its disposal. Horton said roughly one-third of the counties have not received money because they have not submitted plans detailing how they will spend it.” (Sacramento Bee; 01May08; Aurelio Rojas).
Toward a 21st-century intelligence enterprise
“The globalization of technology is expanding opportunities for how, where and by whom chemical, biological and nuclear weapons can be acquired or produced. […] No single intelligence agency can deal successfully with an issue that involves complex dual-use technologies, carefully hidden secrets and worldwide sources of supply and transport. Keeping terrorists from acquiring WMD requires U.S. intelligence agencies to excel at rapidly linking collection, analysis and action […].” (Belleville News-Democrat; 01May08; Kenneth C. Brill).
Govt approves setting up of National Police University [India]
“Government today agreed in principle to establish a National Police University […] The university is likely to offer graduates, post graduates and PhD courses to civilians and serving police officer in a range of subjects including biological warfare, criminal psychology, public relations, human rights, insurgency and communal tensions.” (Press Trust of India; 01May08).
Researchers design ‘smart bomb’ to fight infections
“The technology can create new treatments for influenza and other communicable diseases, even anthrax and small pox […] researchers have isolated antibody-secreting cells, or plasma cells, from people vaccinated for influenza, and then cloned antibody genes from these cells. […] said Patrick Wilson of Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation. ‘It is a rapid and efficient way to make fully human antibodies.’ […] Findings of the study have been published in the online publication of the journal Nature.”(Thai-Indian News; 01May08).
I-Team: First Responders Get Radioactive Ready [Nevada]
“Since 9/11, the Nevada Test Site has hosted thousands of first responders to teach them the basics of radiation. One of the very first goals is to overcome an emotion that is nearly synonymous with the term nuclear -- fear. […] The National Nuclear Security Administration runs the program with a grant from the Department of Homeland Security. […] By the time this group leaves here after a full week of classroom and field experience, they are expected to return to their hometowns with knowledge gathered through a half a century of nuclear experience at the test site. The program costs taxpayers about $30 million each year...” (Las Vegas Now; 01May08; Mark Sayre).
Workshop on nuclear terrorism ends
“The regional workshop on Suppression of Nuclear Terrorism organized by the National Committee for Combating Drugs, in conjunction with United Nations' Middle East and South Africa regional office for drugs and crime, concluded at Sharq Hotel on Wednesday, with the participants underlining the threat posed to development by terrorism. […] The participants aired their worry on the increasing threat of the spread of nuclear weapons and possession of chemical, biological and nuclear materials by non-member countries of the UN.” (The Peninsula; 02May08).
A Brave New~World?: President Mikhail Gorbachev on the nuclear age and Russia’s future
“Where do you see the primary threat of nuclear terrorism coming from? […] I think that when we talk about the threat of nuclear terrorism today, we should talk about it in preventive terms. We should prevent that threat from emerging. And it could become more real, if we have the proliferation of nuclear weapons.” (Harvard Political Review; 30Apr08; Nicholas Tatsis interview with Mikhail Gorbachev).
Memorial for Porton Down victims
“Victims of experiments at the Porton Down research centre have been honoured during a service at Staffordshire's National Memorial Arboretum. A plaque and a tree have been unveiled at the arboretum, in Alrewas, in recognition of Cold War veterans. […] It ended a long-running legal dispute between the government and the servicemen. […] The history of the [sarin] tests was highlighted during an inquest into the death of Ronald Maddison, a 20-year-old aircraftsman from County Durham. In 1953, he volunteered to take part in what he believed to be a trial for a cold cure, but died within an hour of having sarin dabbed on his arm.” (BBC News; 01May08).
U.S. terror report mentions witness intimidation in Kosovo
“Serbia cooperated with the U.S. on a wide range of terrorism issues, a report says. The United States State Department Country Reports on Terrorism released yesterday, also says that although Serbia joined the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism, the bilateral Weapons of Mass Destruction Agreement, signed in 2006, has not yet been ratified. ‘Failure of the Serbian Parliament to ratify the agreement prohibited the duty free import and donation of equipment that could be used to counter terrorism,’ the document says.” (B92, Serbia; 01May08).
Outrage Rises at U.N. Over Libya’s Disruptive Presence On Security Council: Israeli Envoy: This Is What Happens When ‘Terrorists’ Given Council Seat
“Following secret negotiations with the United States and Britain, Libya agreed in 2003 to halt its nuclear and chemical weapons programs and to compensate victims of terrorist attacks, prompting a lifting of U.N. and American sanctions and, in 2006, Libya’s removal from America’s list of terrorist sponsors. […] ‘This is what happens when the Security Council is infiltrated by terrorists,’ [Israel’s U.N. ambassador, Dan Gillerman] declared at the time, to which [Libya’s ambassador, Ibrahim Dabbashi] retorted, ‘We don’t need a certificate of good conduct from the Israeli terrorist regime or its representative here.’” (The Jewish Daily Forward; 01May08; Marc Perelman).
Iran Is Most Significant State Sponsor of Terrorism, Report Says
“And also worrisome is that some of these countries that provide aid to terrorist groups also have the capability to make nuclear, biological and chemical weapons that could easily get into the hands of terrorists, the annual report says.” (NewsBlaze; 01May08; Merle D. Kellerhals).
CNS ChemBio-WMD Terrorism News is prepared by the Chemical and Biological Weapons Nonproliferation Program of the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Monterey Institute of International Studies in order to bring timely and focused information to researchers and policymakers interested in the fields of chemical, biological, and radiological weapons nonproliferation and WMD terrorism.