War on Terrorism

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

CBR Weapons and WMD Terrorism News- April 8, 2009

NIOSH [National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health] revises advice to protect responders from airborne pathogens
"The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recently revised its recommendations about personal equipment for protecting first responders from airborne pathogens in potential bioterrorism situations. The 'Recommendations for the selection and use of respirators and protective clothing for protection against biological agents' were updated to reflect changes in equipment ratings and standards since the previous version was issued in 2001, said John Decker, associate director for emergency preparedness at NIOSH. The document was published online last week." (CIDRAP; 07Apr09; Robert Roos) http://www.cidrap.umn.edu/cidrap/content/bt/bioprep/news/apr0709niosh.html

PharmAthene: game changing contract ahead
"We expect PharmAthene (PIP) and Emergent Biosolutions (EBS) to sign nearly identical sized $500M+ U.S. government contracts to provide 25 million doses of anthrax vaccine each any day now. […] The strategic national stockpile target is to have 75 million doses of anthrax vaccine and the award of two 25 million contracts will push the inventory to the 75M range. The government wants to have two suppliers to ensure safety of supply in case one of the suppliers is not able to deliver the next generation anthrax vaccine." (Seeking Alpha; 07Apr09) http://seekingalpha.com/article/129820-pharmathene-game-changing-contract-ahead

Earmark to help Utah in identifying health hazards
"Who said government earmarks are just wasteful spending for local pet projects? A Salt Lake City-based biotechnology company has completed construction on a new $8.5 million, 41,000 square-foot facility charged with developing applications to detect biological warfare and other potentially harmful infectious health hazards, thanks in part to a government earmark." (Deseret News; 06Apr09; Jasen Lee) http://www.deseretnews.com/article/705295613/Earmark-to-help-Utah-company.html

Drill tests [Maricopa] county's emergency response [AZ]
"Sandy Reynoldson of Sun City Grand knows what to expect should a public health emergency arise. She participated in a mass-[medication] dispensing exercise Sunday in Sun City Grand. The drill was sponsored by the Maricopa County Public Health's Office of Preparedness and Response. […] [T]he exercise was to determine how easily a mass-dispensing of medication would be handled, such as in the event of bioterrorism, should the county need to reach each of its 4 million residents." (Daily News-Sun; 06Apr09; Joy Slagowski)

NC's Iredell County conducts mock shooting and chemical weapon incident
"Iredell County Students from Mooresville High School's ROTC program played the roles of victims and hostages as more than 150 police, fire, rescue, medical and emergency management workers conducted a mock shooting and chemical weapon incident at the school on Tuesday. The exercise was the town's first such joint training involving 10 agencies, said Mike Cook, manager of the N.C. Emergency Management Office's western branch. 'The reality is, the more we can train and prepare for (worst-case scenarios), the better we can respond when a disaster strikes,' Cook said." (Charlotte Observer; 08Apr09; Joe Marusak) http://www.charlotteobserver.com/local/story/650776.html

World War One gas horror of rescue workers as they try to help poison pellet man
"[British] emergency workers were caught up in a World War I gas alert after treating a man who had taken poison pellets. Six [...] staff needed hospital treatment after they had been contaminated with deadly phosgene. The gas was escaping from the man they were trying to save [...] [when] water he had taken converted the rabbit poison he'd swallowed into phosgene, which was used as a chemical weapon in WWI. The man, aged 24, died shortly after convulsing in the ambulance. Last night, an emergency services source told the Record: 'The man died a terrible death, it was like a horror movie. He started to convulse wildly in the ambulance and toxic gas was coming out of his mouth and from his body.'" (Daily Record; 08Apr09; Kevan Christie) http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scottish-news/2009/04/08/world-war-one-gas-horror-of-rescue-workers-as-they-try-to-help-poison-pellet-man-86908-21262445/

U.S. regulator approves rapid test for bird flu
"The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said on Tuesday it had approved a fast test for H5N1 bird flu that can show in less than an hour if people are infected. The test, made by Sunnyvale, California-based Arbor Vita Corporation, should greatly speed up diagnosis and treatment of people infected with avian influenza, the FDA said. Most current tests take hours. 'This test is an important tool to help quickly identify emerging influenza A/H5N1 infections and reduce exposure to large populations,' said Dr. Daniel Schultz, director of the FDA's Center for Devices and Radiological Health." (Reuters; 07Apr09)

Nuclear test-ban treaty chief [Tibor Toth]: U.S. must ratify pact
"Senate opponents of the nuclear test-ban treaty face 'a new ballgame' 10 years after they rejected the global pact, the treaty's chief said Tuesday. If the U.S. and other key nations fail again to ratify the pact, the world will become a place with 'more fissile material in more facilities with more people to handle it, representing a risk of (nuclear) terrorism,' said Tibor Toth, executive secretary of the treaty's preparatory commission. 'Probably what you will have to do is revisit the benefits of the treaty from a wider perspective, from a post-2001 viewpoint,' Toth told The Associated Press." (Associated Press; 07Apr09; Charles J. Hanley) http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5jy52j09fgZafDUFu5GuyPhvrcAfAD97DS5580

U.S.-New Zealand arrangement for cooperation on nonproliferation assistance
"Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and New Zealand Foreign Minister Murray McCully signed on April 7, 2009, an arrangement for cooperation on nonproliferation assistance. This arrangement supports collaborative work between the United States and New Zealand to secure nuclear and radioactive materials that could be used in a nuclear or radiological weapon and to detect and deter illicit trafficking in these materials by improving monitoring capabilities at priority border crossings, airports, and seaports." (ISRIA; 07Apr09) http://www.isria.info/en/7_April_2009_90.htm

Fast and sensitive way to detect ricin
"Scientists at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University [NY] have developed a simple, accurate, and highly sensitive test to detect and quantify ricin, an extremely potent toxin with potential use as a bioterrorism agent. […] The ricin assay described in the journal article was developed in the laboratory of Vern Schramm, Ph.D., professor and Ruth Merns Chair of Biochemistry at Einstein and corresponding author. The assay detects small amounts of ricin more accurately and faster than ever before.
[…] Dr. Schramm believes the assay's most immediate application is for discovering drugs that could serve as antidotes for ricin poisoning." (Science Daily; 08Apr09)

Engineers can change the world [by preventing CBRN use]
"Engineers have an important place in American culture, but getting that message across to students is more of a challenge today than ever before. The nation and world need well-trained engineers […], said Chuck Vest, president of the National Academy of Engineering and president emeritus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, during the March 2009 National Academy of Engineering's Grand Challenges Summit in Durham, N.C. […] The challenges themselves range from making solar energy economical, […] [to] preventing chemical and biological warfare and nuclear terror [sic]." (In Tech; 07Apr09; Source: ISA)

Planning, preparation needed to deal with disasters
"Vice Chancellor King Edward Medical University (KEMU) Prof Dr Zafar Ullah Khan has said wars, cyclones, earthquakes, tsunamis, disease outbreaks, famine, radiological incidents and chemical spill[s] […] are emergencies that invariably impact heavily on public health, adding all out efforts should be made to minimise their effects. Prof Zafar said this while addressing the 3rd National Conference on 'World Health Day' held under the auspices of Pakistan Medical Society, in collaboration with King Edward Medical University, Directorate General of Health, Punjab and World Health Organization, with a theme 'Save life: make hospitals safe in emergencies' held here at Mayo Hospital auditorium." (Nation; 08Apr09) http://www.nation.com.pk/pakistan-news-newspaper-daily-english-online/Regional/Lahore/08-Apr-2009/Planning-preparation-needed-to-deal-with-disasters-Speakers

IDF [Israeli Defense Forces] planning largest-ever drill to prepare Israel for war
"The Home Front Command is preparing to hold the largest exercise ever in Israeli history, scheduled to take place in about two months, in hopes of priming the populace and raising awareness of the possibility of war breaking out. […] Speaking with Haaretz, Col. Hilik Sofer, who is in charge of the Department for Population at the Home Front Command, said that 'in wartime there will be insufficient […] rescue and chemical and biological warfare units. Even if we call up the reserves of the Home Front Command, we will have to rely on the population itself.'" (Haaretz; 07Apr09; Anshel Pfeffer) http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1077035.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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