Navigation Links
US Army plans to bulk-buy anthrax

The US military wants to buy large quantities of anthrax, in a controversial move that is likely to raise questions over its commitment to treaties designed to limit the spread of biological weapons.

A series of contracts have been uncovered that relate to the US army' Dugway Proving Ground in Utah. They ask companies to tender for the production of bulk quantities of a non-virulent strain of anthrax, and for equipment to produce significant volumes of other biological agents. Issued earlier this year, the contracts were discovered by Edward Hammond, director of the Sunshine Project, a US-German organisation that campaigns against the use of biological and chemical weapons.

One "biological services" contract specifies: "The company must have the ability and be willing to grow Bacillus anthracis Sterne strain at 1500-litre quantities." Other contracts are for fermentation equipment for producing 3000-litre batches of an unspecified biological agent, and sheep carcasses to test the efficiency of an incinerator for the disposal of infected livestock.

Although the Sterne strain is not thought to be harmful to humans and is used for vaccination, the contracts have caused major concern. "It raises a serious question over how the US is going to demonstrate its compliance with obligations under the Biological Weapons Convention if it brings these tanks online," saysAlan Pearson, programme director for biological and chemical weapons at the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation in Washington DC. "If one can grow the Sterne strain in these units, one could also grow theAmes strain, which is quite lethal." The US renounced biological weapons in 1969, but small quantities of lethal anthrax were still being produced at Dugway as recently as 1998.

It is not known what use the biological agents will be put to. They could be used to test procedures to decontaminate vehicles or buildings, or to test an "agent defeat" warhead designed to destro y stores of chemical and biological weapons. There are even fears that they could be used to determine how effectively anthrax is dispersed when released from bombs or crop-spraying aircraft. "I can definitely see them testing biological weapons delivery systems for threat assessment," says Hammond.

Whatever use it is put to, however, the move could be seen as highly provocative by other nations, he says. "What would happen to the Biological Weapons Convention if other countries followed suit and built large biological production facilities at secretive military bases known for weapons testing?"

A spokesperson for Dugway said the anthrax contract is still at the pre-solicitation stage, and the base has not yet acquired the agent. They refused to say what it will be used for.


'"/>

Source:New Scientist


Related biology news :

1. Woods Hole Research Center plans controlled burn in Amazon rainforest
2. Anemone genes reveal versatile building blocks for body plans
3. Antibodies from plants protect against anthrax
4. New antibody shows promise as cure for anthrax
5. Vaccine combined with short-term postexposure antibiotics protects monkeys from inhalational anthrax
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:1/28/2016)... Calif., Jan. 28, 2016 Synaptics (NASDAQ: SYNA ), ... for its second quarter ended December 31, 2015. ... quarter of fiscal 2016 increased 2 percent compared to the comparable ... quarter of fiscal 2016 was $35.0 million, or $0.93 per diluted ... net income for the first quarter of fiscal 2016 grew 9 ...
(Date:1/25/2016)... , Jan. 25, 2016  Glencoe Software, the world-leading ... and publication industries, will provide the data management solution ... (NPSC). ... Phenotypic analysis measures the ... organisms, allowing comparisons between states such as health and ...
(Date:1/21/2016)... , January 21, 2016 ... a new market research report "Emotion Detection and Recognition ... Software Tools (Facial Expression, Voice Recognition and Others), ... Global forecast to 2020", published by MarketsandMarkets, the ... to reach USD 22.65 Billion by 2020, at ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/4/2016)... 2016  Spherix Incorporated (Nasdaq: SPEX ) -- an intellectual ... of intellectual property, today provided an update on the ... District of Texas and announcing ... Inter Partes Re-examination ("IPR") proceedings that VTech and ... was initiated on only certain claims of two of ...
(Date:2/4/2016)... ... February 04, 2016 , ... ... leading supplier of Semantic Graph Database technology has been recognized As “ Best ... by Corporate America Magazine. , “At Corporate America, it’s our priority to showcase ...
(Date:2/4/2016)... NY (PRWEB) , ... February 04, 2016 , ... Many ... for over 10 years. What sets them apart from other cuvette manufacturers ... is posted on their website. On top of this steady flow of inside ...
(Date:2/3/2016)...  Discovery Laboratories, Inc. (NASDAQ: DSCO ), ... surfactant therapies for respiratory diseases, today announced that ... award as a component of employment compensation for ... and Chief Executive Officer.  The award was approved ... 2016 and granted as an inducement material to ...
Breaking Biology Technology: