bioterrorism

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Biggest Bioterror Attack in US Was All About an Election

It was a dry-run in the lead-up to Election 1984

(Newser) - If the run-up to Election 2016 has given you agita, take comfort in that fact that it could have been worse: It was literally sickening back in 1984. Writing for Gizmodo , Matt Novak digs into the story of what he frames as the "single largest bioterrorism attack on US... More »

Virus Experiments in Lab Could Unleash Pandemic

Researchers say there's a small but clear risk such tests could be catastrophic

(Newser) - Scientific testing is great—except when it has the potential to unleash a global pandemic. That's the word from a new study that warns experiments on mutant viruses could do more harm than good. Scientists around the world are creating new viruses or changing existing ones to better understand... More »

US Bioterror Labs Rife With Risks: Reports

And virus vial goes missing at one lab

(Newser) - Not one, but two disturbing recent government reports say the risk of accidents is increasing at US labs researching potential bioterror weapons such as anthrax. Federal officials have yet to develop national standards for their design, construction, and operation, which the Government Accountability Office called for more than three years... More »

US Snaps Up Huge Stockpile of Smallpox Drug

Experts question need for $463M anti-bioterror buy

(Newser) - More than 30 years after the World Health Organization declared smallpox eradicated, the federal government has spent $463 million on enough medicine to treat two million cases. The only stocks of the smallpox virus known to still exist are in heavily guarded labs in Atlanta and Moscow, but experts won'... More »

Bird Flu Research OK to Publish

Scientific panel gives approval to papers on deadly virus

(Newser) - Some controversial research on bird flu is safe to publish after all, reports the New York Times . A panel of scientists yesterday reversed its December decision and concluded that two revised papers on the H5N1 virus were good to go. The board created controversy last year when it asked two... More »

Feds Mull Testing Anthrax Vaccine on Kids

But many doctors say anthrax risks too low to justify vaccine

(Newser) - If you thought the HPV vaccine debate was lively (or, a couple of years ago, N1H1 ), just imagine what is going to happen with anthrax. The government is debating whether children should be inoculated against anthrax, to protect against possible bioterrorism, reports the Washington Post . “At the end... More »

US, Russia Fighting to Keep Smallpox

Virus samples needed to guard against bioterrorism, US argues

(Newser) - Smallpox was once one of the deadliest diseases ever known, but now only the US and Russia stand between it and utter annihilation. The two countries have the last known stocks of the virus, which was eradicated by vaccination more than 30 years ago, and they're resisting efforts to set... More »

World Leaders Agree to Secure Nukes in 4 Years

President Obama wraps up 2-day nuclear summit

(Newser) - President Obama said all 49 leaders attending a nuclear security summit have endorsed his goal of securing nuclear materials around the world within 4 years. Obama acknowledged the goal will not be easy but said world leaders recognized the danger of nuclear terrorism. "Because of the steps we've taken.... More »

US Grade for Bio-Terror Readiness: F

Feds 'failing to address several urgent threats,' commission says

(Newser) - The US is woefully unprepared for a biological attack—getting an “F” from a bipartisan commission on weapons of mass destruction. “While the government has made progress on preventing such attacks, it is simply not paying consistent and urgent attention to the means of responding quickly and effectively... More »

US Fears 'Botox Terrorism'

Super Lethal Ingredient Already Sought by Al Qaeda

(Newser) - A super deadly poison in Botox could become a fearsome new terrorism weapon, US officials fear. A speck of pure botulinum toxin—the key ingredient in Botox—can kill an adult. Al Qaeda has already sought to obtain the pure toxin, and officials fear the rising black market in the... More »

US Fears al-Qaeda Bioattack From Mexico

(Newser) - US counterterrorism officials are worried that al-Qaeda may mount a biological attack from Mexico and could even seek to collaborate with domestic terrorists, the Washington Times reports. The fears are bolstered by a February video from Kuwait al-Qaeda recruiter Abdullah al-Nafisi. In the video, Nafisi boasted that anthrax “carried... More »

Flu Carries Lessons for Bioterror Fight

(Newser) - The H1N1 flu outbreak spotlights a public-health infrastructure ill suited to respond to a pandemic or its close cousin, a bioterror attack, D.A. Henderson writes for Newsweek. We must “sharpen our health-care response. Rapid diagnosis and response are critical,” he writes. The “interconnected world we live... More »

An Insect Bioterror Strike? Sounds Overblown

(Newser) - Sure, bug swarms can spread nasty things, but using them to unleash bioterror isn't as easy as they say, Robert Roy Britt writes in LiveScience. One expert said in the Telegraph today that dispersing insects as weapons is "relatively easy"—but consider that terrorists would have to team... More »

Terrorists Up to Dangerous New Tricks Next 5 Years: US

Report predicts increase in homegrown terrorists, growing danger of biological attack

(Newser) - The number of homegrown Islamic militants in the US is expected to increase sharply over the next 5 years, according to a Homeland Security assessment obtained by AP.  A pool of "terrorist wannabes" will be recruited online and used to carry out attacks, including sophisticated cyberattacks for which... More »

Obama to Fill WMD Post Bush Ignored

Dem has long focused on stopping proliferation of nuclear, chemical arms

(Newser) - President-elect Obama will hire an official to oversee efforts to stop terrorists from gaining nuclear and biological weapons, the Boston Globe reports, a position the Bush administration approved but left unfilled. Such efforts are currently spread among many agencies, and a report predicting a deadly attack within 5 years using... More »

Bio, Nuke Attack Likely in 5 Years: Panel

(Newser) - The US can expect a terrorist attack using nuclear or more likely biological weapons before 2013, reports a bipartisan commission in a study being briefed tomorrow to Vice President-elect Joe Biden. It suggests the Obama administration bolster efforts to counter and prepare for germ warfare by terrorists. "Our margin... More »

Mutant Anthrax Cells Led, Slowly, to Ivins

FBI probe required inventing new type of forensic science

(Newser) - The anthrax poisoning case against Bruce Ivins won't be made in court, but it is compelling, the FBI says. Although the late Army scientist's lawyer dismisses the case as “heaps of innuendo,” federal records reveal a far-reaching, exhaustive investigation that required newly invented technology and depended on mutant... More »

Senate Grills FBI on Anthrax, Ivins

Lawmakers raise doubts that suspect acted alone

(Newser) - Senators cast strong doubts today on the FBI's conclusion that Bruce Ivins acted alone in the 2001 anthrax scare, reports the Washington Post, with many demanding a more public vetting of the investigation into America’s largest bioterror attack. "There are others out there who should be charged... More »

Captured MIT Grad Linked to Trove of al-Qaeda Secrets

Pakistani was carrying maps, target lists—and emails

(Newser) - A suspected al-Qaeda operative arrested in Afghanistan last month could provide a treasure trove of intelligence about terrorist sleeper cells in the US and abroad, government sources tell ABC News. MIT graduate Aafia Siddiqui, 36, was captured carrying maps of New York, a list of potential targets, information on chemical... More »

Ivins Borrowed Anthrax-Drying Machine

Device was made to render spore powder from culture samples

(Newser) - The government’s lead suspect in the 2001 anthrax attacks, Bruce Ivins, borrowed a device from his Army bioweapons lab designed to turn germ cultures into dry powder, the Washington Post reports. The machine, known as a lyopholizer, was not commonly borrowed, and had to have been formally checked out—... More »

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