War on Terrorism

Monday, September 29, 2008

CBR Weapons and WMD Terrorism News-September 29, 2008

Emergent BioSolutions signs $29.7 million contract with BARDA
[Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority] NIAID [National
Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases]
“Emergent BioSolutions, a biopharmaceutical company, has signed a contract with BARDA/NIAID, valued at up to $29.7 million, to fund the further development of AV7909, a next generation anthrax vaccine candidate within the company's portfolio of anthrax countermeasures. The three-year contract provides up to $24.9 million of funding for manufacturing of clinical lots […] and for stability studies to further demonstrate that the vaccine candidate does not need refrigeration during storage, a key requirement of this vaccine development initiative.” (Datamonitor; 29Sep08; Source: COMTEX)

Congress to fund UA [University of
Arkansas] research [on nano-sensors]
“Congress is expected to approve by the end of the week a spending bill that includes money for research into biological weapons detection systems at the University of
Arkansas […] center for nanoscale bio-sensors. According to the university, the money would be for research into creation of small devices that can detect and alert people to biological weapons. […] Arkansas officials said nanoscale bio-sensors would be small enough for soldiers to wear on helmets or sleeves and would alert forces of biological agents in the air.” (YourIndustryNews.com; 29Sep08)

Scientists peer into heart of compound that may detect chemical, biological weapons
“A light-transmitting compound that could one day be used in high-efficiency fiber optics and in sensors to detect biological and chemical weapons at long distance almost went undiscovered by scientists because its structure was too difficult to examine. […]This two-for-one wavelength boost is paired with greater transparency, so the material can actually transmit the whole higher-wavelength beam. This could have eventual real-world applications in identifying biological and chemical weapons at long distances and in optical communications. […] The material, (A)ZrPSe6, where A can be potassium, rubidium or cesium, has a unique and difficult chemical structure that does not crystallize very well. It grows lengthwise, but not in other directions.” (Medical News Today; 29Sep08) http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/123343.php

Two rival biotech companies receive approval to develop anthrax vaccines
“Emergent BioSolutions of Rockville and PharmAthene of Annapolis received separate federal development contracts to develop an improved form of the anthrax vaccine. PharmAthene of Annapolis was awarded with a multi-year contract by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, a part of the National Institutes of Health.” (Eflux Media; 29Sep08; Alice Carver)

National Institutes of Health gives Dynavax a $17M contract
Berkeley’s Dynavax Technologies Corp. will develop immune system triggers useful for vaccines under a $17 million contract from the National Institutes of Health. The award comes through the NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and is enough money to pay all the costs of Dynavax’s work on this program. This research will be useful for anthrax vaccines and also for protection against other diseases.” (East Bay Business Times; 29Sep08)

[Indian National Security Advisor] Narayanan learns American way of tackling
“[…] National Security Advisor MK Narayanan visited the US homeland security department for a firsthand understanding of US security establishment. […] Charles Allen, under secretary in the office of intelligence and analysis, took the NSA and his team through a drill on how America tackles terror. […] The issues that are being addressed […] include regional counter-terrorism efforts, threat assessments in South Asia, Middle East and South East Asia, bioterrorism, anti-terrorism assistance training programme and cooperation in the field of forensic epidemiology.” (The Economic Times; 29Sep08; ET bureau)

Chemical weapons destruction at Anniston
Army Depot [Alabama] at halfway point
“The effort to destroy the chemical weapons stored at the Anniston
Army Depot reached the halfway point Saturday. More than 330,900 nerve agent-filled rockets, artillery shells and land mine have been disposed of since the incineration process began in 2003. […] The munitions loaded with nerve agents VX and GB or the blister agent mustard gas have been stored at the installation since 1961.” (Birmingham News; 28Sep08; Thomas Spencer)

OPCW [Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons]
Director-General addresses basic course for national authorities in France “The OPCW Director-General, Ambassador Rogelio Pfirter, addressed a basic course for personnel of national authorities involved in implementing the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) that was jointly organised by France’s National Authority and the OPCW from 22 to 26 September 2008 […] in Paris. During his visit to Paris the Director-General also held discussions with high-level officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Defence, who assured him of France’s continued strong support for the CWC and the work of the OPCW.” (OPCW News; 29Sep08)

Toxic chemicals missing from hospital lab [Vancouver]
“Substance can cause burns, blindness and death but only small amount gone. A box of toxic chemicals that can cause burns, blindness or even death has mysteriously disappeared from […] Royal Jubilee Hospital. […] the box, containing 21 vials of osmium tetroxide and a bottle of uranyl acetate[…] is clearly labelled and staff are at a loss to explain what has happened to it, although they are hoping that it has been compacted in the garbage. The chemical is like bleach and evaporates when it is exposed to air.” (Vancouver Sun; 28Sep08; Judith Lavoie)

Nuclear security institute in Vienna [Austria] launched with US funding
“An international institute to work on the improvement of global nuclear security practices was launched in Vienna Monday, funded by the Unites States and the Nuclear Threat Initiative organization. The World Institute for Nuclear Security will provide a forum for experts, industry and government officials to discuss standards for protecting nuclear materials from criminals or terrorists. […] Around 200 cases of illicit trafficking of radioactive sources are reported to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) per year, but many more are estimated to go unreported.” (Earth Times; 29Sep08)

My Blackberry as a bomb sniffer?
“The current state of the art, ‘spectroscopic’ detectors, can distinguish between the harmless beta rays given off by the potassium-40 in bananas and the very dangerous gamma rays from uranium and plutonium, which are used to produce nuclear fuel and nuclear weapons. But they're expensive. In the run-up to the Olympics, China bought many detectors, at $27,000 each, from the Beijing firm RAE-KLH Technologies to check people and vehicles entering the Olympic Village, airports and other venues. The detectors, too, are limited because they can work only at choke points, such as entrances to buildings or compounds […] By contrast, to search for dirty-bomb radiation at large calls for cheaper electronics technologies, which are just now starting to become available. […] In June, Splinternet Holdings, a security firm in Norwalk, Conn., began ‘wrapping’ buildings with radiation-detecting cameras that cost less than half as much as the Chinese model. The detectors differentiate between benign and dangerous radiation, a big help for organizations such as hospitals that are trying to prevent the theft of radioactive material.” (Newsweek; 27Sep08; Benjamin Sutherland)

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.

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