In The News…

Feb 2010
“CONCORD, N.H. (Map, News) – A New Hampshire woman who contracted a rare form of anthrax almost four months ago has been released from the hospital, and the building where she was exposed to the potentially fatal spores could re-open next week.”
May 2009
“The United States provided some $200 million to fund a top secret laboratory and assembly line in Israel which developed and produced a vaccine for anthrax, according to the Internet news site Intelligence Online.
The exact location of the lab, which is reported to be run by the Nes Tziona-based Israel Institute for Biological Research, was not mentioned in the report….The Intelligence Online story focused on the legal battle being waged by Israel Defense Forces soldiers who took part in an army-run test of the anthrax vaccine 13 years ago.”
“A long-awaited review of the scientific evidence relating to the investigation of the 2001 anthrax letter attacks is finally getting off the ground. The study, to be conducted by the National Academies, will check the validity of the scientific techniques used by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in solving the case. What the study will not do, as spelled out in the academies’ official description of the study, is issue a verdict on whether U.S. Army researcher Bruce Ivins was indeed guilty of the crime, as concluded by FBI officials.”
“WINNIPEG – For nearly four months, scientists at Winnipeg’s National Microbiology Lab had no idea that a former researcher walked out of the strictly controlled federal facility with 22 vials of stolen biological material — including vials that contained genes of the lethal Ebola virus….Court documents allege U.S. border officials discovered the stolen vials in the researcher’s car trunk, hidden inside a glove wrapped in aluminum foil.”
March 2009
Tufts University’s Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine dedicated its $33.7 million New England Regional Biosafety Laboratory this morning with local, state and school officials on hand…
The regional labs are the federal government’s answer to the 2001 anthrax scares, which led to the creation of a national biodefense program.”
“Rep. Rush Holt (NJ-12) today introduced the Anthrax Attacks Investigation Act of 2009, legislation that would establish a Congressional commission to investigate the 2001 anthrax attacks and the federal government’s response to and investigation of the attacks. . . . Holt has consistently raised questions about the federal investigation into the attacks….. 
I actually believe that the anthrax attacks played a larger role than the 9/11 attack itself in elevating America’s fear levels to hysterical heights, which in turn put the citizenry into the state of frightened submission that enabled so many of the subsequent events of the Bush presidency.  The 9/11 attacks appeared to be a one-time extraordinary event, but it was multi-staged anthrax attacks — coming a mere four weeks later — that normalized and personalized the Terrorist threat. ”
January 2008
“Even in a disastrous year on Wall Street, Cell Therapeutics stood out in 2008. Its stock price dropped 99.25 percent…  Cell Therapeutics is Seattle’s oldest surviving public biotech and has the longest-reigning CEO. The company has lost a remarkable $1.3 billion over the past 16 years, with no sign of stopping. Its board chairman since 2006 is longtime director Philip Nudelman, the former president and CEO of Group Health Cooperative….This past week a much younger Seattle medical-technology company, Northstar Neuroscience, decided to liquidate and distribute its remaining cash to stockholders.”
December 2008
“US scientists have created a synthetic SARS-like virus, sparking fears about the increasing ease with which bioweapons could be created in test tubes….United States researchers from the Vanderbilt Medical Centre and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill generated the synthetic bat virus…Professor Ramshaw said people did not need lot of expertise to produce a virus once they knew its genetic sequence.”

“WASHINGTON — The federal government has recommended a site in Kansas for a new $450 million laboratory to study biological threats like anthrax and foot-and-mouth disease, congressional lawmakers and staff said Wednesday. The Department of Homeland Security’s choice of Manhattan, Kan., beat out intense competition from other sites in Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina and Texas…The new lab would replace an aging, 24-acre research complex on Plum Island, about four miles off the eastern end of Long Island, N.Y.”

October 2008

“In late October 2001, lab technician Terry Abshire placed a tray of anthrax cells under a microscope and spotted something so peculiar she had to look twice….Abshire focused her lens on a moldlike clump. Anthrax bacteria were growing here, but some of the cells were odd: strange shapes, strange textures, strange colors. These were mutants, or “morphs,” genetic deviants scattered among the ordinary anthrax cells like chocolate chips in a cookie batter.  Unknowingly, Abshire had discovered a key to solving the anthrax case. But it would take nearly six years to develop the technology to allow FBI investigators to use it….The FBI defends its case against Ivins as well as the seven years it took to solve the crime — an unavoidable delay, officials say, given that the bureau had to invent an entirely new investigative field, microbial forensics, to accomplish it.”

 Oct 9 2008 “Emergent BioSolutions Inc. has been shielded from lawsuits related to its profitable anthrax treatments. The Rockville-based biotech said Thursday its anthrax treatments, the vaccine Biothrax and its Anthrax Immune Globulin, have been designated as covered countermeasures to a public health emergency under the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act. The act provides liability protection to manufacturers to encourage them to seek defenses for severe health risks like anthrax. Emergent said the Secretary of Health and Human Services has declared that anthrax and the resulting disease constitutes a public health emergency…. Read more: Emergent BioSolutions gets ’emergency’ protection – Baltimore Business Journal:


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