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Posts Tagged ‘anthrax’

U.S. Boosts Order of Anthrax Vaccine

May 3, 2011 Comments off

globalsecuritynewswire

The United States has ordered an additional 3.42 million anthrax inoculation doses under an existing order with the vaccine’s Maryland-based manufacturer, the company announced on Monday (see GSN, July 14, 2010).

An updated contract calls for Emergent BioSolutions to provide 17.92 million doses of BioThrax. The extra vaccine is expected to be supplied starting in the third quarter of this year, after the company wraps up delivery of the initial order of 14.5 million doses, according to a press release.

BioThrax is the only anthrax vaccine licensed in the United States for use against the potential bioterrorism agent. The extra doses are due to be delivered before the end of this year.

Emergent could receive an additional $101 million under the revised contract.

“Emergent proudly supports the U.S. government’s efforts and unwavering commitment to meet its stated need of 75 million doses of anthrax vaccines,” Fuad El-Hibri, company chairman and chief executive officer, said in the release. “This contract is an indication that BioThrax remains a critical component of the government’s arsenal of biodefense medical countermeasures. In addition to this contract modification, we are continuing discussions with the U.S. government regarding a follow-on procurement contract, which we anticipate will cover a multiyear period” (Emergent BioSolutions release, May 2).

African Pathogens Must Be Secured, Lugar Says

April 15, 2011 Comments off

globalsecuritynewswire

A senior U.S. senator highlighted the need to protect deadly pathogen samples housed in African laboratories from hostile actors who might seek to deploy them in a biological attack, Chemical & Engineering News reported on Monday (see GSN, Nov., 23, 2010).

During the Cold War, the former Soviet Union conducted research into the biowarfare uses of African-origin disease agents. While Russia has since shuttered that biological weapons effort, a number of those naturally occurring pathogens are sill being studied in facilities throughout Africa that often have limited defenses.

“Al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups are active in Africa, and it is imperative that deadly pathogens stored in labs there are secure. This is a threat we cannot ignore,” said Senator Richard Lugar (R-Ind.), a co-creator of the U.S. Cooperative Threat Reduction initiative.

Lugar and a delegation of U.S. defense officials traveled last fall to Uganda and Kenya to assess security at biological research facilities that stored such deadly agents as Ebola and anthrax. While biodefense laboratories in the United States that work with similarly dangerous pathogens have advanced security measures in place, defenses at the African research institutes were more likely to consist of barbed wire, according to the magazine.

At a laboratory in Uganda’s capital, the U.S. delegation observed significant security vulnerabilities including a failure to track Read more…

Biodefense Scientists Fight Lassa Fever

February 16, 2011 Comments off

Scientists are at work in Sierra Leone studying the rat-carried Lassa fever with the aim of developing a speedy and uncomplicated process for diagnosing the virus in the event of a bioterrorism attack, Reuters reported yesterday (see GSN, Nov. 23, 2010).

A laboratory in Sierra Leone’s southeast is conducting U.S.-funded research on Lassa fever, which is classified as a “category A” pathogen, a designation given to biological agents such as botulism and anthrax that can produce significant health threats.

The disease is found in a particular species of rat that is widespread in sub-Saharan Africa and regularly consumed for Read more…