• It has been recently announced that Alion Science and Technology has been selected to support the US Department of Defense (DoD) in its research and development against chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and high-yield explosives (CBRNE) weapons.
    The US-based company has been chosen as the prime contractor on a potential $8.3bn indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity (IDIQ) contract.
    The deal is an attempt to counter the CBRNE threats through research and development of new solutions to ensure the safety of the nation.
    Alion will be responsible for delivering CBRNE defence systems, capabilities, equipment, supplies, radiological and nuclear defence systems, and information programmes to troops until 1 November 2027.

  • France hosts launch of “International Partnership Against Impunity for the Use of Chemical Weapons”

    On 23 January 2018 the French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs hosted the launch of the International Partnership against Impunity for the Use of Chemical Weapons.  Its creation reflects a determination that individuals and groups in the Syrian Government be held legally accountable for the use of such weapons. Participants also hope that such accountability will deter possible further use of such weapons. The same day France imposed sanctions on individuals and companies for having links to Syrian chemical weapons activities.

    Background
    Syria joined the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) in September 2013 in the midst of competing and contradictory chemical weapons use allegations. The allegations—some confirmed—have persisted into 2018. The mandate of the OPCW-UN Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM) in Syria expired in November 2017 as a consequence of political disputes in the UN Security Council and the Executive Council of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). The OPCW Declaration Assessment Team (DAT) and Fact-finding Mission (FFM) continue their work. The DAT evaluates the completeness and correctness of Syria’s declarations to the OPCW. The FFM collects and evaluates information on allegations of CW use.
    The Syria CWC declarations file is managed by a Steering Committee comprising representatives of the OPCW, the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) and Syria. With respect to Syria’s declarations, the OPCW seeks further clarity on: (a) the role of the Syria Scientific Research Centre (SSRC) in the country’s chemical weapon programme, (b) the results of analyses of samples taken by OPCW at multiple locations in Syria which suggest that additional chemicals should have been declared, (c) the nature of “other chemical weapons-related activities” that occurred prior to Syria’s accession to the CWC in 2013. The OPCW also seeks to: (a) reach closure on the allegations of chemical weapon use (via the FFM), (b) verify the destruction of two above-ground facilities (chemical weapon production facilities, CWPFs—both of which were inspected by the OPCW for the first time in late 2017 due to an improved security situation), and (c) conduct routine annual CWC-mandated inspections of underground structures already destroyed.

  • Creating realistic and compelling radiation safety training scenarios is a crucial and ongoing challenge for CBRNe and HazMat instructors worldwide.

  • More than two decades after the Sarin attacks in Tokyo’s subways that killed 13, the stage has shifted to the execution of 13 people convicted in the crime. When they will be sent to the gallows, though, remains a mystery in Japan’s highly secretive death penalty system.

    The Supreme Court rejected an appeal in the final case last week, so the condemned are no longer needed as potential trial witnesses. The court upheld a life sentence for Katsuya Takahashi, a driver in the attack who was convicted of murder.

    Shoko Asahara, the guru of Aum Shinrikyo, and 12 others have been sentenced to death. Whether any will be hanged this year is unknown. Japan generally announces executions only after they have happened.

  • In a confidential internal assessment carried out for the UK Government on critical unmet needs in the health service, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) issued a warning stating the Government has virtually no capacity to deal with any CBRN incident stemming from an accident or terrorist activity.

    The HSE signalled that any such incidents could lead to mass casualties, and urged the Government to provide funding to allow the health authority to bring in outside expertise to assess its preparedness and requirements, and to outline a national strategy and training requirements.

  • SRC, Inc. has been awarded a follow-on contract from the U.S. Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) to continue developing accurate hazard prediction models for chemical threats.

    Under the contract, SRC will improve the DOD’s capability to predict and track nuclear, biological, chemical and toxic industrial material events and effects with more validity and accuracy to real life scenarios. This will be accomplished by enhancing the accuracy and applicability of DTRA’s Droplet Reaction and Evaporation of Agents Model (DREAM), which SRC previously redesigned and integrated into the operational tool known as the Joint Effects Model - Science & Technology Prototype/Hazard Prediction and Assessment Capability. Under this follow-on effort, SRC will also integrate DREAM into the Joint Effects Model for use by warfighters

    “This contract leverages SRC’s 20 plus years of experience with defense against chemical and biological warfare,” said Paul Tremont, president and CEO of SRC. “Our cross-functional team has a deep understanding of chemical and biological agents’ behavior in the environment, strong software engineering capabilities, and has worked closely with our customers to determine requirements. We have had the honor of supporting DTRA on previous phases of the DREAM program and are proud to have been selected to participate in the next phase of this effort.”

  • In this episode, Grant discusses vapor and swab sampling. He covers the pros and cons of each and then performs a demonstration. Which is better? Watch episode 18 now and then download our white paper “How Vapor and Swab Sampling Work.”

  • The DoD CBRN Survivability Conference is a FREE, intensely educational two-day symposium for those that support programs with CBRN survivability requirements and want to learn more.
    This conference aims to leverage DoD and industry resources by forming strategic collaborative partnerships. Your participation will lead to specific solutions to challenges for each of the operational environments to be discussed and allow stakeholders to share the path forward to establishing and implementing CBRN survivability initiatives.

    Mark your calendar for the CBRN Survivability Conference in Orlando Florida.

    For more information, and to register, follow this link: www.eventmanagement.cvent.com/events/cbrn-survivability-conference/event-summary-2295e56c5df749a793923b89798d2bec.aspx

  • 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.

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