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Blog posts tagged with 'Bioterrorism'

Return of the Black Death

It may sound like a campy title to a old Hammer Film Horror Movie but unfortunately it’s real and it’s more common then you may think.

According to a article posted by Reuters on July 25, a Squirrel was found at the Angeles National Forest in California that was infected with the Plague. This has been the sixth squirrel located in Southern California’s San Gabriel Mountains since 1995 to test positive for the disease.

Authorities have shut down the park for at least a week while they have a chance to dust the burrows for fleas, which carry the bacteria and test more squirrels in the area. The most recent squirrel was trapped on July 16 during a routine check in the park and was confirmed to be carrying the disease on July 23.

Called the “Black Death” in history books due to the disease ravaging the European continent during the Middle Ages. Yersina Pestis (aka Y. Pestis) also known as Plague was responsible for killing more the 25 million people.

There on on average 7 cases a year that are reported in the United States and if discovered within a timely manner can be treated with antibiotics. According to the Center Disease for Control, almost all cases have been found in the Western United States and fortunately at this time none of these cases have been fatal.

Y. Pestis, Anthrax, Botulinum, Staphylococcal enterotoxin B (SEB) and Tularemia along with Ricin Toxin among others are currently under the Dept. of Homeland Security radar since they are all good candidates for being developed into a weapon that can be used by terrorist. As a result several protocols have been put into place to rapidly detect and deter such a horrific act form happening and putting plans in to play to dramatically minimize the event should one occur.

AdVnt Biotechnologies has been helping First Responders throughout the globe by offering a reliable, rapid and portable solution to the early detection of a bio-terror event with our line of BADD Single Agent Detection Test and Pro-Strip Rapid Screening System. Thanks to advancements in the area of Immunoassay Bio-Technology, Safety Professionals responding to a Bio-Terror threat event will have the tools they need to rapidly and accurately detect if the suspected agent involved is real emergency or a badly planned hoax, allowing them to put into place all the necessary safeguards that will be needed in order to contain and control such an event.

 

After ten years anthrax is still a threat

 

 

Despite the passage of ten years, the threat of an anthrax, or similar attempt of bioterrorism still looms large over the United States. Stringent security measures are in place to scan the US mail systems. Since September 2001 when these bioterrorism attacks started, the postal authorities have responded to around 52,000 calls concerning suspicious mails. The US Postal Inspectors office has implemented the best detection technologies available in today’s marketplace. One of the threat detectors used by the US Postal Inspectors Office is Advnt’s Pro Strip Rapid Detection System.

The US authorities are making no compromise over such threats and anyone taking it light has to face imprisonment under the same charges. Likewise Jay Stuart DeVaughn, who wrote 26 letters to President Obama and others inscribed with “Take a whiff of this”, landed him in jail for six-year imprisonment. Again, Advnt’s Pro Strip is a product utilized by the US Secret Service, due to it’s unique operating capabilities, the ease of use, sensitivity and specificity make it a must have for “pointy-end-of-the-sword” assets that guard the most prized targets.

Though the white powder inside the letters later proved to be a coffee sweetener and no one was harmed, the event raised suspicions of being an Anthrax-like attack, of which now hundreds occur every year in this country. In 2001-02, the multiple attacks of anthrax delivered in letters killed fifteen people and injured many others and illuminated the inherent security weaknesses of the mail industry.

Most American’s have forgotten the entire issue. Perhaps incidents like that of DeVaughn may help bring the anthrax and bioterrorism case back into the news. I’ve found that the US media purposefully does not report about the hundreds of false threats that occur each year in America.

As per revised security parameters, the postal system now depends on both manual checks as well as machine screenings. The postal inspectors receive multiple calls daily on postal security with the majority of them being false alarms. Regardless, such calls show that anthrax threats are still at the top of the preparedness chain requiring utilization of state-of-the-art, instantaneous bio-threat screening systems like Advnt’s Pro Strip Rapid Screening System.

Historically anthrax has been used as a deadly weapon for centuries. Biological and chemical agents have been used throughout history. Individuals, as well as organized groups, use these naturally occurring agents to attempt murder. Just 60 years ago a woman was arrested in 1952 after she mailed a box full of cyanide-laced Bon Caramels to her estranged husband who was doubtful of it and called the legal authorities.

Another horrid mail related crime involved Theodore Kaczynski who killed three people and injured 23 over 15 years by sending mail bombs. He was finally arrested in the mid 90’s. A few years ago, inspectors arrested a West Virginia man for mailing an improvised explosive device to a former neighbor in Minnesota. He’s serving 2½ years in prison.

Bottom line appears to be that living in an open and free society is fraught with many security leaks. Organized groups and sick individuals will always have ample opportunity to strike with deadly agents to attempt pre-meditated murder on an individual or communities of people who are un-suspecting of the threat.

The Long Lasting Legacy of Biowarfare

What was once known as ‘Germ Warfare’ for decades is now being termed ‘Biowarfare or Bioterrorism in keeping with the current state of affairs. Unfortunately biowarfare is not a new tactic in warfare, in fact biowarefare’s roots go way back to the ancient history of dirty warfare tactics. One example of ancient biowarfare assults can be found in the fourteenth century when Asian armies catapulted the bodies of plague victims over city walls to infect the entrapped population of a fortified city. Later, during the French and Indian Wars in the United States, a British Military officer is reported to have given unsuspecting Indians blankets infected with small pox resulting in several fatalities. The US militia are said to have continued this same tactic on the American Indians as the US expanded further into the western territories.
In Modern times, in Sverdlovsk Russia, anthrax spores were released from a military facility some 1450 km east of Moscow resulted in 100 deaths in 1979. That same year, Ricin another biological warfare toxin is said to be a preferred poison with the KGB, was used to coat the assassin’s bullet that killed Bulgarian dissident writer Georgi Markov on September 7, 1978. The use of anthrax spores as a weapon was implemented in WW II when both Japan and Great Britain tested weapons carrying anthrax spores.
The development in recent times of genetic engineering holds the grim and disturbing promise of manufactured toxins never before experienced on this planet. Genetically altering already harmful microorganisms into super harmful mutations is no longer the stuff of science fiction and comic book villains. Biological Warfare and all its’ ramifications as been with us throughout our history and promises to become more formidable as we move forward into the future.
In 2003 AdVnt biotechnologies sought to pave the way in responding to the growing threat of biowarfare by creating a rapid hand held assay that would give hazmat, and emergency first responder teams a way to identify a biowarfare agent in less then 15 minutes, giving these teams plenty of time to make important containment decisions and save the lives of millions. Thanks to this pioneering technology, a rapid, low-cost solution to biowarfare threats has been greatly diminished.
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The Silent threat at home

Bioterrorism can come at us in ways we can’t imagine. From that pesky geo-political terrorist to the silent enemies hiding within our own home, the threat of global biowarfare has become an ongoing ever-changing organism. In the wake of the nations crippling healthcare crisis, the need to be concerned for ones health is now more then ever more important for individuals to do all that they can to ensure their own personal well being as well as that of their own families. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as reported that the presence of black mold in a home can cause a multitude of health related illness beginning with but not limited to respiratory illnesses, memory loss, chronic fatigue, dizziness, the list goes on. Those who have Asthma, HIV, or have challenged immune systems are at an even greater risk. Add to this the understanding that Mold can be undetected in your home, hiding in vents; behind walls and under floorboards, the infestation becomes even more life threatening. Soon AdVnt Biotechnologies will bring its bioterrorism expertise closer to the home front with its new ‘Informant’ in home mold detection system. Informant is a personal, easy to use mold detection kit that will allow the concerned homeowner a way to reliably and safely test for the presence of black mold in their living environment. Expected for release in mid to late May, Informant could be the first line of defense against the ever-increasing cost of healthcare.

To opt in for AdVnt Biotechnologies product updates & notifications follow this link… http://eepurl.com/gYvBv

Only 10% of Imports Checked

The 2001 anthrax event, which resulted in 5 deaths and more than 20 illnesses, was the “worst case of bioterrorism in U.S. history” thus far, Homeland Security reports that the 2001 anthrax attack that killed 5 people and left 20 more with serious illnesses was the worst case of bioterrorism the US as experienced to date. Then when you take into consideration the current geo-political climate, the threat of another more severe event happening becomes more relevant. Add to that the revelation that “only 7 to 10% of the cargo that enters US ports are scanned for illegal drugs or chemicals.” The chances of another bioterrorism threat grow exponentially. Now more then ever, first responders need to be properly prepared with the most reliable and trustworthy technologies the current marketplace as to offer. AdVnt Biotechnologies prides itself on being the leading provider of first responder’s Hand Held Assays. Our products are specifically designed with the Professional Emergency Response Team in mind. From proactive real-time training kits to reliable real-time on the job test results in less then 10 minutes, the AdVnt first response line of products including Badd, Attack and Prostrips are ready to go into affirmative defensive action 24/7.

To opt in for AdVnt Biotechnologies product updates & notifications follow this link… http://eepurl.com/gYvBv

ADVNT'S PATENTED BIOWEAPONS DETECTION TECHNOLOGY "PROSTRIPS" IS REGARDED AS "BEST IN THE WORLD"

LOS ANGELES, CA – Universal Detection Technology (OTCBB: UNDT), a developer of early-warning monitoring technologies to protect people from bioterrorism and other infectious health threats and provider of counter-terrorism consulting and training services, announced today that through its deal with US Department of Commerce’s Commercial Service, it is promoting the Company’s handheld assays, used for detection of up to five bioterrorism agents. UNDT is listed as a Featured US Exporter on Commercial Service’s Iraq website. UNDT’s 5-agent Bioterrorism detection kits have been extensively used by first responders and private industry throughout the United States. Testing of the kits by the U.S. DOD as well as the United Kingdom military show that the kits demonstrate no cross-reactivity with near neighbor species and no false positives with commonly encountered “white powders.” The kits are designed to test for anthrax, botulinum toxin, Ricin, plague (Y. Pestis) and SEBs in as little as 3 minutes.

According to Universal Detection Technology, terrorists have used WMDs in the course of the Iraqi insurgency, in particular the use of chlorine gas on the civilian population. It is quite conceivable for the insurgents to utilize toxins such as botulinum or ricin to terrorize the population or disrupt key government ministries in Baghdad.

“We are pleased to make our equipment available on the Iraqi website of the US Commercial Service as we grow our presence in the Middle East,” said Mr. Jacques Tizabi, UNDT’s Chairman and CEO.

We at AdVnt are pleased to have UDT represent our “flagship” product in such an enthusiastic manner.

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