• French pharmaceutical company Sanofi Pasteur has recently agreed to pay back $27.8 million worth of unused anti-dengue vaccines on the request of the Philippine government. This agreement comes on the back of the Philippine government fined Sanofi $2,000 and suspended clearance for the French drug maker’s controversial dengue vaccine Dengvaxia, citing violations on product registration and marketing.

    Concerns over the dengue immunization of nearly 734,000 children aged nine and above resulted in two Philippine congressional inquiries and a criminal investigation as to how the danger to public health came about. The country ordered Sanofi to stop the sale, distribution and marketing of Dengvaxia after the company last month warned the vaccine could worsen the disease in some cases.

  • Appili Therapeutics Inc. has announced it has signed a licence agreement with the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) to develop ATI-1701, a vaccine to protect against Francisella tularensis.
    “Francisella tularensis is a very infectious bacteria. A small number (approximately 10 to 50 organisms) can cause tularemia disease.

    If used as a weapon, the bacteria would likely be made airborne for exposure by inhalation. People who inhale an infectious aerosol would generally experience severe respiratory illness, including life-threatening pneumonia and systemic infection, if they are not treated,” said Sean McBride, Vice President, Business Development at Appili Therapeutics.

    Although a vaccine was developed in the former Soviet Union that partially protects against respiratory challenges, it may have limited effectiveness when used in a mass casualty, bioterrorism attack and is currently not approved for use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Various antibiotic regimens are effective as post-exposure prophylaxis and treatment for tularemia and would likely comprise the first line of public health intervention in response to a deliberate release of F. tularensis; however a highly effective vaccine has long been sought after to protect vulnerable populations.

  • The operator of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant has said it will resume late this week a survey of the crippled No. 2 reactor using a telescopic arm, hoping to obtain images of melted nuclear fuel.

    In Friday’s survey, Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. aims to investigate the area beneath the reactor’s pressure vessel, through which nuclear fuel is believed to have melted. The step is needed to help develop a plan for removing the fuel for the ultimate decommissioning of the plant.

    Tepco, in announcing the move on Monday, said it will insert a 13-meter long pipe at the bottom of the pressure vessel and then deploy a camera at the tip of the pipe to film the bottom of the outer primary containment vessel, where fuel is believed to have accumulated.

  • Block Mems LLC have been awarded Phase II of the Intelligence Advanced Research Programs Activity (IARPA) Program for the standoff detection of explosives and toxic chemical threats.
    Under Phase I, Block successfully demonstrated the ability to detect trace quantities of explosives and other threats on multiple surfaces at 1 and 5 meter standoff distances in a few seconds. The contract value of the program is now at $10.7 Million. and is managed by the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio.

    “I am very pleased to receive the second Phase of the SILMARILS Program,” said Dr. Anish Goyal, Block’s VP of Technology and Principal Investigator of the SILMARILS Program at Block.

  • The Army Contracting Command - Aberdeen Proving Ground (ACC-APG) on behalf of the US Army CBRNE Analytical Remediation Activity (CARA) has awarded a contract to Government Scientific Source for the provision of spectrometers to support the mission of CARA to the value of $840,958.20.

    Government Scientific Source, Inc. (GSS) is a supplier of laboratory products and equipment to federal, state, and municipal government. Established in December 1991 as a Veteran Owned Small Business (VOSB), GSS maintains multiple GSA federal supply schedules, IDIQ contracts, and customized B2B e-commerce platforms, to facilitate procurement administration and compliance.

  • On Saturday 13th the residents of Hawaii received a shocking emergency alert notification stating “BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL,” the message, which went out on TV, Radio and cellphones transpired to be a false alarm and a second emergency alert was sent to phones 38 minutes after the initial message confirming this.
    Commander David Benham, a spokesman for US Pacific Command confirmed in a statement that there is no threat: “USPACOM has detected no ballistic missile threat to Hawaii,” the statement read. “Earlier message was sent in error. State of Hawaii will send out a correction message as soon as possible.”

  • On January 5th we posted a story that the CDC would be holding a Grand Rounds session on ‘Response to a Nuclear Detonation’

    The CDC have now changed the planned programme and will be holding the rounds on “Public Health Response to Severe Influenza” instead

  • 908 Devices, a pioneer of analytical devices for chemical and biomolecule analysis, today announced a new software update for MX908™, which includes the introduction of a new mission mode – Drug Hunter.

  • Mystaire® Inc, Creedmoor NC announces the release of the Latitude™ Fentanyl Filtered Hood, which provides law enforcement professionals with another safety tool when handling fentanyl and its analogues.  Latitude maximizes user accessibility and incorporates redundant filtration for added safety and easy maintenance.  The Latitude fentanyl filtered hood was designed with rear wall pre-filter and HEPA filtration.  This design pulls potentially harmful particulate away from the operator’s breathing zone in an even horizontal airflow path, increasing particulate capture.

  • Battelle has been awarded a contract by the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) to develop threat assessment software to help prevent the creation of dangerous organisms. 
    IARPA’s Functional Genomic and Computational Assessment of Threats (Fun GCAT) program is aimed at the creation of a critical new capability to counter potential threats associated with advancements in biotechnology.

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