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Threat From Chemical, Biological and Radioactive Weapons

NCJ Number
Homeland Defense Journal Volume: 6 Issue: 2 Dated: March 2008 Pages: 28,30,32,34
Don Philpott
Date Published
March 2008
5 pages
This article describes efforts underway to counter the threats of terrorists' use of biological, chemical, and radioactive weapons.
The Federal Government has stockpiled enormous amounts of antibiotics, which are the public's primary defense against an anthrax attack. In order to fully protect the public from an anthrax attack, America must have several types of anthrax countermeasures available, including the use of therapeutics, which provide protection after antibiotics lose their effectiveness, as well as a vaccine. In order to provide protection against smallpox, the U.S. Defense Department has begun its transition to the next generation of smallpox vaccine. People inoculated with the Dryvax vaccine do not need to be revaccinated with the ACAM2000 version sooner than the 10-year interval Defense Department policy dictates. Regarding a countermeasure for viruses and bacteria, the University of Maryland has granted the Link Plus Corporation an exclusive, worldwide license for Molecularly Imprinted Polymers developed for the binding, separation, and subsequent detection of viruses and bacteria. Link Plus will focus on commercializing products that help detect and identify viral threats to homeland security. Regarding the identification of chemical threats, Ahura Scientific, a leader in handheld systems for chemical identification, has launched its new Fourier-Transform Infrared (FTIR) platform with the introduction of TruDefenderTM FT, a 3-pound handheld FTIR system for fast, reliable, field-based chemical identification. ICx Technologies has an enzyme-based, chemical-agent-detection system in a spray formulation, which changes color when sprayed on surfaces contaminated with nerve agents. Measures are also described for ensuring the integrity of the Nation's nuclear stockpile, protection against improvised explosive devices in combat zones, and the use of moulage casting techniques in order to create mock injuries in emergency response simulations.