War on Terrorism

Friday, February 20, 2009

CBR Weapons and WMD Terrorism News-February 20, 2009

$1 billion bioscience center planned for Rochester [MN] area
“A San Francisco-based venture capitalist who manages hundreds of millions of dollars in biotech investments has joined an effort to turn a little-known development in tiny Pine Island, Minn., into a biotech research powerhouse. […] The California real estate company that is developing the site has been meeting with state and local officials to tell them it wants to start work on a 1,700 acre mixed-use residential and business development, centered around a biotech business campus. That firm, Tower Investments, hopes Steven Burrill, the venture capitalist, will fund research there for experimental drugs, treatments for diseases and medical products […].” (Minnesota Public Radio; 20Feb09; Tim Nelson, Sea Stachura, and Tom Scheck) http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2009/02/19/elk_run_bioscience_plan/

Veterinarians work[ed] behind the scenes during [U.S. presidential] inauguration
“Veterinarians with the U.S. Public Health Service [USPHS] and Army Veterinary Corps were on duty Jan. 20 during the presidential inauguration. The USPHS veterinarians were part of a multidisciplinary readiness force that provided health surveillance and made preparations for any major medical emergency. […] Other USPHS veterinarians helped with precautions such as setting up a distribution point for antimicrobials in case of a release of anthrax and setting up an emergency room in a federal building in case of an overflow from hospitals.” (American Veterinary Medical Association; 18Feb09; Michelle Riley) http://www.avma.org/onlnews/javma/mar09/090301d.asp

Vaccine patent portfolio licensed from U.K. Ministry of Defence
“Defyrus Inc. today announced the signing an exclusive, worldwide license to a patent portfolio created by the United Kingdom's Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) and licensed by Ploughshare Innovation Ltd, Dstl's commercialization company. […] The licensed technology of 27 issued & pending international patents, describes the production of multi-valent vaccines for the treatment of alpha-viral infections resulting from bioterrorism or endemic disease. These highly infectious, mosquito-borne encephalitis viruses pose a serious risk to people and livestock for which no vaccine or therapy exists.” (RedOrbit; 19Feb09; Source: PR Newswire) http://www.redorbit.com/news/business/1641911/vaccine_patent_portfolio_licensed_from_uk_ministry_of_defence/

Undue experimentation: on DNA/polyaniline nano-biosensors [Opinion]
“This column discusses a patent application for an invention involving the ‘nascent technology’ field of chemical biosensors comprising polyaniline.[…] In this case, the patent applicants provided full detail on how to make DNA/polyaniline complexes but there was no teaching on ‘how to use’ these complexes as a biosensor. […] [I]t would require the skilled artisan undue experimentation to utilize the invention. On appeal the Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences (BPAI) agreed. […] Chemical biosensors are nanodevices, which have the potential to detect molecules ranging from glucose, DNA and proteins to chemical warfare agents. The sensors detect chemical and biological species based upon an interaction between two molecules; they change their conformation and/or properties in a controllable manner in response to an external stimulus.” (Nanotechnology Now; 20Feb09; Magda Carvalho)

Iraq designates national authority for the Chemical Weapons Convention
“In compliance with its obligations under the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), the Republic of Iraq has informed the OPCW that it has established the Iraqi National Monitoring Directorate, which will assume the functions of its national authority. The announcement came on 12 February 2009, the same day that the CWC entered into force for Iraq, officially making it the 186th State Party to the Convention. As of today, 178 of these state parties have established or designated national authorities.” (OPCW News;

Radiation Shield Technologies joins top Homeland Security and policy experts in panel discussion of how to prepare the U.S. for possible radiological threats
“Ronald F. DeMeo, M.D., MBA, president and chief executive officer of Radiation Shield Technologies (RST), will join top homeland security and policy experts in a panel discussion titled ‘Federal and Local Resources Needed to Meet the Challenges Posed by Radiological Threats,’ which takes place during the 2009 Radiological Threat Summit. The discussion is scheduled for 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. Wed., Feb. 25, at the National Press Club’s ‘Holeman Lounge,’ located at 529 14 St NW, Washington, D.C., 20045.
[…] This year’s event includes a keynote presentation to unveil a new scenario-driven preparedness primer for responders during and after a radiological incident.” (Business Wire; 20Feb09) http://www.businesswire.com/portal/site/google/?ndmViewId=news_view&newsId=20090220005163&newsLang=en

Learning not to love the bomb [Editorial]
“It’s true that America’s nuclear weapons still offer the hope of deterring attacks from countries like North Korea and, if it soon goes nuclear, Iran. But it is hard to imagine how they would dissuade a band of elusive, stateless terrorists from making a nuclear bomb […]. An achievable immediate goal should be to cut the United States’ and Russia’s nuclear stockpiles down to the bare minimum of operational warheads needed to backstop conventional forces. […] The president’s determination will be measured by how effectively he makes the case for Senate ratification of the 1996 Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. […] Ratification of the test-ban treaty would help build momentum for a 2010 review of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty […]. The best way to avoid nuclear terrorism is to prevent terrorists from acquiring the highly enriched uranium needed to make the simplest nuclear bomb.” (New York Times; 19Feb09; Philip Taubman) http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/19/opinion/19taubman.html

Tests: Mystery powder at Bayer offices not a threat [NJ]
“The unidentified powder contained in a letter mailed to Bayer Health Care Pharmaceuticals was determined to be innocuous a day after eight employees were decontaminated after coming into contact with the letter, authorities said on Thursday. The powder and envelope, which was sent by the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office to the state Health and Senior Services Department on Tuesday, was analyzed for specific biological agents such as anthrax [sic], ricin and smallpox [virus], said Tom Slater, a spokesman for the state Department of Health. The tests for those hazardous substances were negative, authorities said, but the identity of the powder remains a mystery.” (Daily Record; 19Feb09; Tehani Schneider)

Mystery substance leaves workers cold [New Zealand]
“The employees were sorting through clothes for export yesterday morning, when a cloud of white powder burst from an envelope, coating two workers.[…] The workers were rushed through a high-powered decontamination shower, stripped and dressed in regulation fire overalls. […] The powder, in a white, unmarked envelope, has been taken for testing. Police do not believe there was anything malicious involved, and think the powder is harmless. ‘There's not much to investigate,’ Sergeant Mike Yates said. He [also] said the risk of anthrax in New Zealand is very low.” (Manawatu Standard; 19Feb09; Michelle Duff) http://www.stuff.co.nz/stuff/eveningstandard/4852785a6502.html

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.

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