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Soligenix Submits NIAID Contract Proposal for Development of a Thermostable Ricin Vaccine
Date:10/31/2013

Terrorism 2002-2005, which states that "Ricin and the bacterial agent anthrax are emerging as the most prevalent agents involved in Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) investigations."

The toxic effects of ricin are caused by its ability to inhibit protein synthesis. Ricin's potency is due to its promiscuity, intoxicating all known cell types, and extremely efficient enzymatic activity. Ricin can be introduced into the body through inhalation of an aerosol, or through ingestion, injection or infusion. While ricin is second in toxicity only to botulinum toxin, it is far easier to obtain, prepare, and use.  Because of the high content of ricin in castor beans, ricin toxin can be extracted from the mash produced as a by-product of castor oil production (castor oil is found in many commonly used substances such as paints, varnishes, and lubricating oils, and is also used as a purgative) by several simple enrichment steps and, therefore is easy to stockpile. Recent economic surveys have shown that there are over 1 million tons of castor beans produced in the world annually. The global commercial production has the potential to yield approximately 50,000 tons of pure ricin. The fate of much of this ricin in countries outside of the US is unknown.

Once exposed to lethal doses of ricin, death is irreversible after four hours and takes three to five days to kill an individual. The current expectation that drives vaccine development of RiVax™ is that ricin is most likely to be distributed as an aerosol form, since it is highly lethal by this route. There are currently no effective means to prevent the effects of ricin intoxication.  In recent years, Al Qaeda branches in Yemen and the Arabian Peninsula have threatened the use of ricin toxin to poison food and water supplies and in connection with explosive devices.  Domestically, the threat from ricin remains a concern for security agencies.  As recently as April
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SOURCE Soligenix, Inc.
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