Homeland Security Research Webinar Series

USGS/EPA Collaboration: Bacillus anthracis in American Soils: From Sample Collection to Data Application 

March 21, 2019, 2:00-3:00 PM ET

Please register at https://www.epa.gov/homeland-security-research/forms/homeland-security-research-webinar-usgsepa-collaboration-bacillus

Bacillus anthracis, the causative agent for anthrax, is naturally occurring in soil and can persist for many decades. Following an intentional wide-area or indoor aerosol release of B. anthracis, there is the potential for contamination of soil surrounding the affected area. Decisions regarding site clean-up will rely on knowledge of fate and transport of the pathogen as well as having access to sampling and analysis methods to determine extent of contamination and if decontamination efforts have been successful. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have been conducting collaborative research in this topic area since 2010. This presentation will discuss the joint USGS and EPA efforts to develop a comprehensive approach for informing remediation of B. anthracis in soil and how data gleaned from such efforts might be applied for decision making purposes.

Speaker Bios: 
Dale Griffin
United States Geological Survey (USGS)
Dr. Griffin received a B.S. in Microbiology, in Public Health, and a with a research focus on the use of molecular methods for detection of standard water quality indicators, alternate indicators, pathogens, and source-tracking microorganisms in aquatic environments from the University of South Florida. Dr. Griffin is currently employed by the USGS as an environmental public health microbiologist and is working on microbial water quality issues, long-range dust storm associated dispersion of microorganisms around the globe, and how the geochemistry of soils control the background distribution of pathogens.

Erin Silvestri
United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
Erin E. Silvestri has in Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology from the University of Michigan, School of Public Health and a certificate in Geographic Information Systems from Northern Kentucky University. She has worked for the EPA's National Homeland Security Research Center (NHSRC) for 12.5 years. She is currently working for NHSRC's Threat and Consequence Assessment Division. Her focus has been on of sampling and processing methods for pathogens in soil and development of an online tool to document biological sampling and analysis plans.

Emergent BioSolutions bags contract worth up to $100 million

Emergent BioSolutions Inc. has announced that it has signed an indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity (IDIQ) contract with the U.S. Department of State to establish a long-term, reliable, and stable supply chain for medical countermeasures that address chemical warfare agents. The contract is comprised of a five-year base period of performance along with five one-year option periods with a total contract value of a minimum of approximately $7 million to a maximum of $100 million over the contract’s period of performance. Emergent will be supplying two of its current medical countermeasures addressing chemical threats; the Trobigard atropine sulfate/obidoxime chloride auto-injector, a drug-device combination product for emergency use in the event of nerve agent or organophosphate poisoning, and RSD (Reactive Skin Decontamination Lotion Kit), which is intended to remove or neutralize chemical warfare agents and T-2 toxin from the skin.

“Emergent is pleased with this follow-on opportunity to meet the U.S. government’s need for medical countermeasures that enhance the security of U.S. diplomats and other Chief of Mission personnel engaged in high-risk environments worldwide,” said Doug White, senior vice president and head of the devices business unit at Emergent BioSolutions. “Our mission – to protect and enhance life – has been at the core of our 20-year history of partnering with governments. We look forward to successfully completing deliveries of our Trobigard auto-injector under our 2017 contract and to our continued partnership with the State Department as we expand our portfolio of solutions to address existing and emerging chemical warfare agents for the long-term.”

“One of our most important responsibilities is to respond to critical threats to Department diplomatic missions overseas and to maintain the safety of deployed employees,” said William A. Walters, M.D., managing director of operational medicine for the U.S. Department of State. “This begins with establishing a stable supply chain of medical countermeasures and ensuring adequate stockpiles as we equip ourselves with the tools that best enable a safe, accurate, and timely response to the highest risk chemical agents.”

Under this IDIQ contract, Emergent will maintain the capability to manufacture and deliver various medical countermeasures defined by the Department of State, including the Trobigard auto-injector, Reactive Skin Decontamination Lotion Kit, and auto-injector training devices.

New tool and updated guidance on mass chemical decontamination available

More than a million first responders and emergency managers in the United States now have a science-based chemical decontamination decision tool and updated guidance on how best to decontaminate a massive number of people after chemical exposure.

This second edition of the guidance, called Primary Response Incident Scene Management or PRISM, incorporates new scientific evidence on emergency self-decontamination, hair decontamination, the interactions of chemicals with hair, and the effects of a combined decontamination strategy referred to as the “triple protocol.”

PRISM introduces the triple protocol, comprised of disrobing and conducting dry decontamination, wet decontamination using the ladder pipe system with high volume/low-pressure water deluges from fire trucks and technical (or specialist) decontamination. The clinical research showed that, taken together, the three steps of the triple protocol remove 99.9 percent of chemical contamination.

To further aid first responders and emergency managers, experts from the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), part of the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the National Library of Medicine (NLM) at the National Institutes of Health collaborated with University of Hertfordshire researchers to devise a decision-support tool called ASPIRE or the Algorithm Suggesting Proportionate Incident Response Engagement. The tool helps responders determine which decontamination approaches will work best in a given situation.

ASPIRE, and the guidance, are integrated into the Chemical Hazards Emergency Medical Management (CHEMM) web-based resource created by ASPR and NLM as part of a suite of preparedness and emergency response tools that includes the CHEMM Intelligent Syndromes Tool (CHEMM-IST), Dermal Exposure Risk Management and Logic for Emergency Preparedness and Response (DERMaL eToolkit), and now ASPIRE. The guidance and ASPIRE also are incorporated into the latest edition of the WISER CHEMM mobile app, expected to be available soon.

The guidance can be found at www.medicalcountermeasures.gov.

Telerob launches new EOD robot

At the turn of the year, Telerob Gesellschaft für Fernhantierungstechnik mbH has introduced the new generation of its proven EOD robot tEODor – the tEODor EVO. Based on advanced technologies, the tEODor EVO offers among other things a completely revised, trend-setting operating concept that enables the operator to handle the robot easily and conveniently.

The operating concept "Robo Command" consists of a communication unit reduced in volume and weight and a modern controller with a multi-touch screen and ergonomic design. The operation is based on applications known from tablets and smartphones and therefore is particularly intuitive. Wireless operation over IP Mesh guarantees stable radio transmission and outstanding network coverage, parti­cularly in urban environments. The additionally installed repeaters can be used to increase the range by 1000 m (LOS) each if necessary. 

“During the development of our new tEODor EVO, the main focus was on the one hand on the technical development, but of course also on the user-friendliness of the EOD robot. Especially in stressful situations, the user needs to rely on fast, safe and uncomplicated operation. Our tEODor EVO makes it possible!”, says Thomas Biehne, Managing Director.

Telerob Gesellschaft für Fernhantierungstechnik GmbH is an independent, medium-sized, owner-managed company based in Ostfildern near Stuttgart, Germany, producing homeland security solutions. The product range includes remote-controlled robots for disarming improvised explosive devices and investigating hazards, fully equipped service vehicles as well as mobile system solutions ensuring the safety and security of critical infrastructure.

Learn to love your new CBRNe World site!

We have added all kinds of functionality to our CBRNe World site, that you might not be aware of! We still have 14 years of magazines to download, like the old site, by clicking on the Archive button in the Magazine tab... but have you explored your 'Doohickey' yet? 

Up in the top right corner there is your Doohickey (other technical terms are available) that has your subscription details, that allows you to opt in, or out, of the various newsletters we'll be doing this year... but it also allows you to search the entire catalogue of articles and news. We have now tagged all articles and news items, there are now 2,500 documents to search through, which have a combined number of 2.5 million tags in them. This allows you to quickly search the entire database for a wide variety of tags, from the generic to the specific. The image below should give you an idea of where you need to go... 

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There will be lots more functionality added through 2019, including different levels of membership and a new way to get involved with our comprehensive directory of CBRNE products. As if 14 years of magazines, a searchable database of 2,500 documents and information wasn't enough... 


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