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11 Pathogens Pose Big Security Risk For Research

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the in-the-glovebox-please dept.

Government 115

sciencehabit writes "A United States federal panel of scientists and security experts has identified 11 microorganisms that it wants designated as Tier 1 select agents, a new category of biological agents that would be subject to higher security standards than other pathogens and toxins used in biomedical research. The category would include anthrax, Ebola, Variola major and Variola minor (the two viruses that cause small pox), the Marburg virus, the virus that causes foot and mouth disease, and bacterial strains that produce the botulinum neurotoxin. At the same time, the panel has recommended dropping 19 pathogens and six toxins from the broader list of 82 agents that are currently governed by the select agent program."

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wow... (0)

Nrrqshrr (1879148) | more than 3 years ago | (#36466032)

"the virus that causes foot and mouth disease"
Haven't seen a better scientific nomenclature before.

Re:wow... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36466072)

I could have sworn it was not a virus but a prion, an infectious protein.

Re:wow... (3, Informative)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 3 years ago | (#36466122)

No, it is a viral infection. The virus responsible is called the picornavirus [wikipedia.org] .

Re:wow... (2)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 3 years ago | (#36466194)

To add some info to the parent, prions are responsible for BSE in cattle, Scrapie in sheep, chronic wasting disease in deer, CJD and Kuru in man, and couple of inherited, rather uncommon diseases in men, too - like fatal familar insomnia and weird stuff like that. Foot and Mouth is indeed viral, not prionic.

Re:wow... (1)

mlush (620447) | more than 3 years ago | (#36472418)

If Foot and Mouth was prionic it would not be such a problem just stop feeding the animals brains and your sorted

Re:wow... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36466162)

It's a picornavirus of the genus Aphthovirus. And the report calls it the foot-and-mouth disease virus.

Re:wow... (1)

datapharmer (1099455) | more than 3 years ago | (#36466442)

You're thinking of mad cow disease which is from prions.

Re:wow... (1)

Narcocide (102829) | more than 3 years ago | (#36470370)

You're confusing "Hoof & Mouth" disease with "Mad Cow" disease. "Mad Cow" is the one caused by non-viral, non-living, but 100% organic microscopic shards of brain-seeking protein.

Re:wow... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36466642)

What they really need to do is isolate, contain, and find a cure for the virus that causes foot *in* mouth disease... ;)

Re:wow... (1)

SleazyRidr (1563649) | more than 3 years ago | (#36468746)

We may have seen nomenclature before, but would you know what picornavirus meant? So if they did include the nomenclature it'd have to be something like "picornavirus (the vrus that causes foot and mouth disease". So They're basically just saving a few letters.

p.s. I'm assuming that the other posters calling it picornavirus are right, I don't know myself, and I don't really care enough to click that handy Wikipedia link Linux Nutcase provided.

Botox? (1)

chrylis (262281) | more than 3 years ago | (#36466076)

It'll be amusing to see what happens if these proponents manage to get Botox admitted to the select club along with Ebola and smallpox...

Re:Botox? (1)

black soap (2201626) | more than 3 years ago | (#36466800)

They put marijuana in the same drug category as heroin, GHB, MDMA, and LSD (schedule I).
They put opium, cocaine, ritalin, and morphine into the same category (schedule II).

The rules are not made by the experts, they are made by Congress.

Re:Botox? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36469352)

The funny thing is, there is not a single known fatality from LSD and MDMA is "safer than riding a horse". - even relative to amounts of users for each substance alcohol is more dangerous than heroin(controlled dosage)

Re:Botox? (1)

Narcocide (102829) | more than 3 years ago | (#36470378)

No the *real* amusing part is just how much more lethal Caffeine is by volume than any of that "controlled substance" shit.

Re:Botox? (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 3 years ago | (#36472492)

The funny thing is, there is not a single known fatality from LSD and MDMA is "safer than riding a horse". - even relative to amounts of users for each substance alcohol is more dangerous than heroin(controlled dosage)

There are other side effects than fatality to drugs, you know.

Botox is there (1)

mangu (126918) | more than 3 years ago | (#36466858)

According to TFS: "bacterial strains that produce the botulinum neurotoxin"

Re:Botox is there (1)

mhajicek (1582795) | more than 3 years ago | (#36467108)

Which IIRC can be found in common dirt. It only produces the toxin when operating in anaerobic metabolism mode though.

Re:Botox is there (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 3 years ago | (#36467448)

Which IIRC can be found in common dirt. It only produces the toxin when operating in anaerobic metabolism mode though.

So... don't eat dirt in a vacuum?

Re:Botox is there (1)

chrylis (262281) | more than 3 years ago | (#36470752)

Right. It's in the proposal this panel is floating. I'm interested in the media reaction if this gets put into practice.

Re:Botox? (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 3 years ago | (#36471614)

To be fair botox is the most toxic substance currently known. The lethal dose is 1 nanogram per kilogram of body weight. Doesn't take much of that stuff to kill millions of people.

Worryingly (1)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | more than 3 years ago | (#36466092)

I don't see the zombie virus in there...

Re:Worryingly (3, Funny)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 3 years ago | (#36466300)

I don't see the zombie virus in there...

That's because the zombie virus causes zombies to eat brains. Politicians don't have brains so they aren't worried about it.

Re:Worryingly (1)

Neil Boekend (1854906) | more than 3 years ago | (#36472518)

And they are protected from Zombie Jesus as well, as they have no souls.

Ronald Reagan - "Facts are stupid things" (2, Insightful)

camperslo (704715) | more than 3 years ago | (#36466172)

When the Symbionese Liberation Army kidnapped Patty Hearst in Berkeley and demanded the distribution of food to the poor, Reagan joked, "It's just too bad we can't have an epidemic of botulism."

Let's hope that governments and others don't do much with those nasties.

Reagan quote is from The Los Angeles Times (Los Angeles, California). March 14, 1974

Re:Ronald Reagan - "Facts are stupid things" (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36466400)

When the Symbionese Liberation Army kidnaps someone, what else is there to say? So like, um....did they ever get hit with an epidemic of botulism? A follow up to that story would have been nice.

Re:Ronald Reagan - "Facts are stupid things" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36467458)

Whoosh....

What made Reagan's "joke" so twisted was that the poor, not the SLA, were the ones the food was requested for. Suggesting a pathogen, even jokingly, matches or surpasses some insensitive comments others have worked to bury ("go play in the street", "poor people don't need to drive" etc.)
As far as I know, the only pathogens he released on the poor were illegal drugs sold to fund black ops activity, and he was supportive of spraying paraquat on marijuana.

Reagan wasn't one for social programs. As governor of California he gave the state a large boost to the homeless population by putting many from the state's mental hospitals on the streets.
Quite a few of them were Vietnam veterans.

Re:Ronald Reagan - "Facts are stupid things" (0, Flamebait)

metlin (258108) | more than 3 years ago | (#36466484)

When one studies Reagan's policies (stated versus actual) and his pitiable excuse for economics, one realizes just how horrible a president he was, and how a good chunk of the problems we see today can be traced back to his administration. I suppose that's what you get for electing an actor as a president.

This is the man who waned to eliminate the Department of Education and implemented standardized tests as a way of measuring "intelligence", which has screwed up the American educational system to this day.

And this was the man who kept quiet about the AIDS epidemic for the longest time, as if being silent would make it go away.

Should one of those nasties broken out when he'd been in power, he'd have just pulled an ostrich and pretended that nothing happened.

Re:Ronald Reagan - "Facts are stupid things" (4, Informative)

HBI (604924) | more than 3 years ago | (#36466742)

Explain why life was so good in Reagan's America, then.

Your argument only makes sense in a left-wing context. Anyone who actually had to live and grow up in those times knows the sharp differential between Jimmy Carter and Reagan.

Re:Ronald Reagan - "Facts are stupid things" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36466896)

Umm... it wasn't. You're suffering from a vision of the past that never was.

Re:Ronald Reagan - "Facts are stupid things" (1)

mangu (126918) | more than 3 years ago | (#36467052)

I'm not American, but this fact I know: Carter was only the second incumbent to lose the election in American history, while Reagan was reelected easily in 1984. At least voters preferred Reagan over Carter.

Re:Ronald Reagan - "Facts are stupid things" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36467664)

Cutting the upper tax rate from 70 to 55 to 28% brought in some huge campaign contributors as did his crippling nearly every regulatory agency.

If none of the environmental issues matter to you, think of your television. Thank Ronald Reagan for 18 - 20 minutes an hour of ads on U.S. commercial tv, infomercials, and allowing ads from drug companies and lawyers.

Re:Ronald Reagan - "Facts are stupid things" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36470474)

" At least voters preferred Reagan over Carter."

What you really mean is, there were more idiots than smart people, at the polls.

Reagan was a piece of shit.

I have pissed on his grave. And I will do so again.

Re:Ronald Reagan - "Facts are stupid things" (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 3 years ago | (#36472516)

I'm not American, but this fact I know: Carter was only the second incumbent to lose the election in American history, while Reagan was reelected easily in 1984. At least voters preferred Reagan over Carter.

So? The Germans voted in fucking Hitler in the 1930s. Democracy isn't foolproof.

Re:Ronald Reagan - "Facts are stupid things" (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36466940)

That's easy enough, it wasn't. Unless you were wealthy, white, and male.

Re:Ronald Reagan - "Facts are stupid things" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36467044)

You are partially correct. Any party that comes into power usually does good things to start with. They act mainly on the higher elements of their nature. But after they've been in office for a while they start doing bad things because of ideology or corruption or cronyism.

So around 1980 the left wing had been in power for over thirty years and they were long past the stage of doing good things. They had let their left wing ideology, corruption, and cronyism destroy the country's economy. People were tired of it and they elected the right wing.

At first the right wing did good things, acting mainly on the higher elements of their nature. They easily saw where left wing ideology had led to poor decisions, and the left wing cronies were removed. Now it's thirty years later and the situation is exactly reversed.

Re:Ronald Reagan - "Facts are stupid things" (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 3 years ago | (#36472540)

So around 1980 the left wing had been in power for over thirty years

So Eisenhower, Nixon and Ford were left wing? You'd have to be really, really, really right wing to believe that.

Re:Ronald Reagan - "Facts are stupid things" (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36467134)

Explain why life was so good in Reagan's America, then.

Because he traded short term economic gain for long term economic stability. Reagan is the president who began dismantling Depression-era regulations on the banking and finance industries. That resulted in a short term boost. This trend continued (and thus the blame doesn't fall squarely on Reagan's shoulders) and resulted in the S&L Crisis, the .com Bubble, the real estate bubble, and the resulting Great Recession.

Reagan's policies may have been good for you living during those times, but they've been a fucking disaster for those of us who had to graduate college and work through the past decade.

Re:Ronald Reagan - "Facts are stupid things" (2)

wintercolby (1117427) | more than 3 years ago | (#36467288)

I grew up when Reagan was president, and I have to say that it was close to abject poverty. Both of my parents worked, but neither seemed to make any headway. As the second oldest of the children, I didn't know what new clothes were until I was 16 years old and got an after school and weekend job. The only good thing I can say about growing up like that is that people who grow up soft don't know how to survive tough times. I went to a different school every year, we just kept moving to poorer and poorer areas. Perhaps my experience was colored by all of the poverty that I saw, growing up, but I have to say that the Reagan years were the worst part of America in my memory.

From my perspective, life was horrible in "Reagan's America", so leave your right wing rhetoric at home, or explain how life was soooo stinking good under Reagan.

Re:Ronald Reagan - "Facts are stupid things" (2)

fnj (64210) | more than 3 years ago | (#36467640)

Your left wing slant is no better than right wing slant. I'll see your anecdote with my own. The Reagan years were by far the best of my life. The atmosphere was fresh and filled with hope, and the economy was suited and rewarding to entrepreneurship, and I was an (extremely petty) entrepreneur. OK, I was a one man contractor. The Reagan years followed the abject tumble into misery that was the Carter years, and preceded the long, burned-out, no-prospects, exhausted period that was the Bush 1, Clinton, Bush 2, and is the Obama years. You can't deny the facts of my life, just like I can't deny those of yours. And you know what we both are? INDIVIDUAL cases. Big deal.

Re:Ronald Reagan - "Facts are stupid things" (1)

RightSaidFred99 (874576) | more than 3 years ago | (#36468638)

Yeah, because now that we're in "Obama's America" there are no poor people, right? Rank idiocy. Your problem is you think government can solve everyone's problems. They can't - some people will just always be dirt poor and that's reality.

Re:Ronald Reagan - "Facts are stupid things" (1)

wintercolby (1117427) | more than 3 years ago | (#36468818)

After 8 years of policy that seemed designed to crush the middle class, one can't expect it to be fixed within 2 years. It's that simple, there's nothing that's immediate. Tea Party ideas to shrink the payroll of the nations largest employer are a monumentally bad idea for the economy.

Re:Ronald Reagan - "Facts are stupid things" (1)

RightSaidFred99 (874576) | more than 3 years ago | (#36470192)

That's my point. You overestimate government's role in the economy. I don't expect Obama to have fixed everything, nor do I blame previous administrations for our condition. Greed drives the machine, and it ended up costing people. This is normal and expected. The correct response is to live through it, learn from it, and move on.

I really wonder what the big government assholes will say in 20 years when we're in a whole shitload of trouble and we're going the way of Greece (and the rest of the EU, before long)? Fortunately for you that's a long term cost, short term you can bloviate about how we have to keep the pyramid scheme that is the US government growing and growing.

Re:Ronald Reagan - "Facts are stupid things" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36466828)

You know, we really don't fucking care about your stupid political rant.

Re:Ronald Reagan - "Facts are stupid things" (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36466606)

What about the rest of the story behind what shit the SLA really was? You fuck

Re:Ronald Reagan - "Facts are stupid things" (1)

toriver (11308) | more than 3 years ago | (#36467386)

Ironically, thirty-odd years later botulism toxin is intentionally sprayed into countless Hollywood actors and actresses... what, you didn't know what "Botox" consisted of?

Re:Ronald Reagan - "Facts are stupid things" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36467926)

That's fine and dandy, but it is the toxin that is useful when used selectively. They're not injecting bacteria.

There are poisons used in some medications. The story is about dangerous things used in research. Clearly some things do have some positive uses, but it is an area where great caution is appropriate. Those who favor deregulation of everything might have a hard time defending industry (or anyone) working with such potentially dangerous things without mandatory safety controls.

Let's hope we learn from the EU and others and ensure that the EPA and FDA have the mandate and resources to protect out environment and health even when it isn't "convenient" for industry.

Missing a poison there (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36466182)

How come the product that is the most hazardous to health isn't on the list: crude milk ?

Re:Missing a poison there (2)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 3 years ago | (#36466274)

Because, in contrast to yourself, the list creators aren't complete morons.

Re:Missing a poison there (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36466380)

Gotta love comments as these, nice shot. :p

Re:Missing a poison there (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36469008)

You'll stop enjoying them as much once you're no longer a 12 years old thinking the playground is the center of the world. You'll understand once you reach adulthood.

Re:Missing a poison there (1)

black soap (2201626) | more than 3 years ago | (#36466826)

That's right. crude milk is on a separate list.

Re:Missing a poison there (1)

History's Coming To (1059484) | more than 3 years ago | (#36466666)

I drank unpasteurised milk until I was 12, it's fine. Yeah, it needs to be fresh, but raw milk is no problem in itself,

Re:Missing a poison there (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36466864)

So you mother began pasteurizing her milk when you were 12?

Re:Missing a poison there (1)

mangu (126918) | more than 3 years ago | (#36466904)

So you mother began pasteurizing her milk when you were 12?

Boiling her tits... ouch!

Re:Missing a poison there (1)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 3 years ago | (#36467312)

Personally, I don't give a rat's arse about milk as such, but you can pry my raw milk cheese from my cold, dead hands.

Small problem... (2)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 3 years ago | (#36466352)

and bacterial strains that produce the botulinum neurotoxin.

That bacteria can be found in most people's attics, inside canned food that's gone bad, and a whole lot of other places. Oh, and in cosmetic shops (botox anyone?). Good luck with that, Uncle Sam. It's like trying to regulate ricin; It's too easy to find and synthesize.

Re:Small problem... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36466546)

It is the spore formers they are worried about. Botox or bad canned goods might kill someone or even a few people, but botox is for morons and canned food is tested in the U.S. so you are safe if you don't eat spoiled/past date canned goods. But when the bacteria starts to form spores is when it becomes dangerous as it can be weaponized and spread as an aerosol. Entire cities of people being infected is the real concern here, not a few individual cases. And trust me, they have response plans in place to deal with this exact scenario. The rules are already pretty strict about how this stuff is dealt with. They just want to make it even safer. Good for them. That stuff is really scary.

Re:Small problem... (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 3 years ago | (#36466654)

you forgot anthrax: just as prevalent

and you're displaying your ignorance when you talk about how easy it is to find and synthesize:

go ahead and try to concentrate/ weaponize without killing yourself (ricin/ botulism toxin/ anthrax)

Re:Small problem... (1)

the biologist (1659443) | more than 3 years ago | (#36466902)

It is actually very easy, if you have any bio lab experience at all. The likelyhood of killing yourself goes up dramatically if you have no idea about contamination control and biohazard personal protection equipment.

Re:Small problem... (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 3 years ago | (#36466964)

"it is actually very easy" said the anonymous RPG playing basement dweller

the internet: where every 14 year old is a molecular biophysicist

Re:Small problem... (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 3 years ago | (#36467568)

"it is actually very easy" said the anonymous RPG playing basement dweller

the internet: where every 14 year old is a molecular biophysicist

Obligatory XKCD [xkcd.com]

Re:Small problem... (2)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 3 years ago | (#36467378)

As a trained biochemist, I'd say, yes, it is somewhat easy to get a culture going of whatever weaponizable germ you want - media are pretty standard and well published, the lab equipment will put you down a couple of grands, basic clue will keep you alive. However, actually weaponizing a strain you cultured - I have to admit that this is well beyond me (and I prefer it that way). For effect, you'll need to form a well-distributing aerosol, in a manner that germs survive, and that is an art in itself.

Re:Small problem... (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 3 years ago | (#36467468)

thank you

and an art best forgotten

now we must listen to the 14 year olds tell us how easy it is to weaponize

Re:Small problem... (1)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 3 years ago | (#36467536)

An art best forgotten indeed.

Re:Small problem... (1)

Talderas (1212466) | more than 3 years ago | (#36467874)

Uh. And what happens when the marauding killer space aliens that we are woefully unable to kill with our weapons come along?

Where's our weaponized flu strains that are fatal to them? We'll be DOOMED.

Re:Small problem... (1)

idontgno (624372) | more than 3 years ago | (#36467928)

Where's our weaponized flu strains that are fatal to them?

I can't help but feel that this calls for a "Your mom" joke right about here. But I also can't bring myself to tell it. Oh, well.

Re:Small problem... (1)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 3 years ago | (#36468156)

now we must listen to the 14 year olds tell us how easy it is to weaponize

Never said it would be easy to weaponize, just produce.

Re:Small problem... (1)

Gryle (933382) | more than 3 years ago | (#36468896)

It depends on what you mean by "weaponize". Getting a living bio-agent to aerosolize or delivering it effectively via munitions is difficult at best, but contaminating water or food supplies is fairly straight-forward. The insidious thing about biological weapons (and here I'm talking about living organisms, not biologically-derived toxins) is that they propagate on their own.

Re:Small problem... (1)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 3 years ago | (#36472034)

As I said in reply to another poster, yes - I have been thinking more on the military side of things. Actually, I don't want to think along the lines you propose at all, but in the end, if terror is all you want, yes, sure, things like contamination of the water supply will do the trick - even just a handful of victims will be enough to spread panic.

Re:Small problem... (1)

JonySuede (1908576) | more than 3 years ago | (#36467846)

It don't have to be an aerosol to be a weapon, you could use your germs to contaminate a big building water supply, you could infect a meat proceeding plant. You could ... You just have to think like a terrorist and you will see that there are many massively lethal applications of dangerous pathogens that don't require

to form a well-distributing aerosol, in a manner that germs survive

, to cause a lot of terror, which is the point of the terrorist after all.

Re:Small problem... (1)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 3 years ago | (#36467958)

Admittedly, I have been thinking more military than terrorist there (and I am kinda thankful for the fact that I don't automatically think in terrorist terms...). Sure - even a single case of an obviously bioweapon-induced illness will cause more terror than I want to imagine. My point was more about military weaponization, the sort you'd use for area denial purposes.

Re:Small problem... (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 3 years ago | (#36471664)

Given the lethal dose of botox is it really necessary to keep the bacterium alive? Just synthesize a few grams of that stuff and go aerosol with it and you've got a weapon of mass destruction.

Re:Small problem... (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 3 years ago | (#36471854)

For effect, you'll need to form a well-distributing aerosol, in a manner that germs survive, and that is an art in itself.

Damn, and here I am thinking a simple sneeze on a crowded subway would do the trick...

Re:Small problem... (1)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 3 years ago | (#36472026)

If you ever grew some bacterial cultures, especially one of the more obscure ones, apart from bog-standard lab-strain E. coli, you should have learned that the little buggers are quite some little princesses. At our lab, we used to joke about needing a "micropsychiatrist" to persuade them to grow as intended.

Re:Small problem... (1)

tsotha (720379) | more than 3 years ago | (#36470228)

It's not as easy as people generally believe. Take anthrax, for instance. Various groups (Aum Shinrikyo, Al Queda) and governments (Saddam's Iraq) have tried and failed to get something that has both potency and the proper physical characteristics. Anthrax comes in many strains, and not all of them are dangerous. Aum Shinrikyo, which was eventually able to mount the sarin gas attack in Tokyo, first tried to attack the city with anthrax. They had competent chemists and biochemists. And yet they failed because the strain they were able to procure wasn't suitable for attacking people.

Beyond that anthrax tends to clump together. If you just breed a whole bunch of anthrax and try to spread it around a city you won't kill very many people. The clumps are heavy and will fall to the ground. A proper weapon requires additives, the composition of which isn't generally known outside researchers in a handful of governments.

The only successful germ attack (in modern times, leaving aside Japanese experiments on hapless Chinese villages) was most likely carried out by an expert in germ warfare. Do you think that would be the case if it were so easy?

Re:Small problem... (1)

Gryle (933382) | more than 3 years ago | (#36468778)

I'll agree with you on botulism toxin and anthrax, but the extraction of ricin from castor beans is pretty simple for anyone with a semester's worth of lab experience.

Re:Small problem... (1)

black soap (2201626) | more than 3 years ago | (#36466678)

and oh look, they want to restrict access to bacillus anthracis, a soil-borne bacteria with spores that can be found on every continent.

Re:Small problem... (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 3 years ago | (#36467730)

and oh look, they want to restrict access to bacillus anthracis, a soil-borne bacteria with spores that can be found on every continent.

They don't want to restrict it. They want it on a restricted list. It's the charge du jour for someone who hasn't committed a crime. "There's Anthrax in his garden!"

Re:Small problem... (1)

black soap (2201626) | more than 3 years ago | (#36467780)

In Texas, having 3 pieces of labware is enough to be convicted of intent to manufacture methamphetamine. For example: Pyrex flask, filtration funnel, electric hotplate/heating element. These elements are all found in just about every coffee maker in the state. There are more than enough examples of this sort of thing already.

Re:Small problem... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36466746)

Botox (Botulinum toxin) is the toxic protein produced by Clostridium botulinum bacteria, not the bacteria itself.

https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Botulinum_toxin

Re:Small problem... (1)

LifesABeach (234436) | more than 3 years ago | (#36467450)

With vast amounts of Botox being purchased in Los Angeles by certain doctors, as far as military spending goes, it maybe faster to use some other pathogen that's more readily available.

Re:Small problem... (1)

crunchygranola (1954152) | more than 3 years ago | (#36466850)

It is harder than it looks - botulinum strains are ubiquitous, but effective producers of potent toxin need to be isolated to make a weapon. A random selection of any of these pathogens is unlikely to be virulent or an effective toxin producer. This is why potent virulent strains of pathogens, like the anthrax Ames strain, are fairly big deals.

Re:Small problem... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36467416)

So, because something can be found naturally in attics you feel there should be no restrictions on biomedical research using with it? I honestly don't get your point, beyond a knee-jerk anti-government reaction. Do you think people should be free to do anything they want with ricin, because it's easy to find and synthesize? Best I can tell is you're arguing from the extreme and I'm not sure why.

FOOT and Mouth Disease? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36466386)

When did it change from Hoof and Mouth Disease - or does Slashdot always use the British name for something when discussing a US government action?

Re:FOOT and Mouth Disease? (1)

OolimPhon (1120895) | more than 3 years ago | (#36466492)

No, it's foot and mouth disease... we're talking about politicians here.

Re:FOOT and Mouth Disease? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36466726)

That would by Foot IN Mouth Disease!

Re:FOOT and Mouth Disease? (1)

LifesABeach (234436) | more than 3 years ago | (#36467420)

When interviewing Politicians, the Foot in Mouth pathogen spreads like no other available. The American Tea Party has had some limited success using this one.

Re:FOOT and Mouth Disease? (1)

crunchygranola (1954152) | more than 3 years ago | (#36466908)

"Foot-and-mouth" disease is the term the official report uses -- and it seems to be the preferred term today. Try Googling: "foot-and-mouth disease" virus and "hoof-and-mouth disease" virus and compare the results.

Major risks still food contamination (4, Informative)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 3 years ago | (#36466488)

While it is true that certain pathogens are virulent and can be airborne, ebola for example works so well because it has a long enough cycle to allow transmission.

Instantly lethal pathogens don't spread much, since they aren't mobile in a host. Visible signs early slow spreading.

You're at far more risk from food contamination in the food supply or sunstroke, actually.

That said, wise decision for the actual Facilites doing pathogen research (which include some I've worked in).

Re:Major risks still food contamination (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36468772)

While it is true that certain pathogens are virulent and can be airborne, ebola for example works so well because it has a long enough cycle to allow transmission.

Umm...Ebola has an incubation-period of 5-18 days, that's not a long cycle for a virus, not by a long shot, especially not for one where transmission between organisms require contact with the infected's body fluid.

What would truly suck would be if Ebola had an incubation-period of 3-6 months like some other vira, seeing as it has a mortality-rate of over 50%, and no effective treatment has yet been developed.

Re:Major risks still food contamination (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36469118)

that is not true. We have a vaccine, which has a high risk factor and is mostly effective if given just a few days before ebola infection.

When ebola is spread from a bat cave, we immunize nearby villages once the first few ebola infections show up - this works fairly well, and your survival rate is much higher than without the ebola infection.

Re:Major risks still food contamination (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 3 years ago | (#36469856)

True. I've seen presentations about the vaccine. Hate to be faced with such a choice if it's risky.

Re:Major risks still food contamination (1)

izomiac (815208) | more than 3 years ago | (#36469264)

What would truly suck would be if Ebola had an incubation-period of 3-6 months like some other vira, seeing as it has a mortality-rate of over 50%, and no effective treatment has yet been developed.

That's rabies. Mortality rate is barely a rounding error from 100% if symptoms appear. Thankfully, it's easily curable during the incubation period (can last up to two years, although I can't for the life of me figure out why most people get lazy and skip the last treatment), although if you're one of the unfortunate souls who get scratched by a rabid bat in your sleep... Heck, if it didn't have such a long incubation period I'd expect we'd have the zombie apocalypse on our hands.

The Complete List of Pathogens (2)

crunchygranola (1954152) | more than 3 years ago | (#36466784)

Tier 1:

  • Bacillus anthracis (anthrax)
  • Burkholderia mallei (glanders)
  • Burkholderia pseudomallei (melioidosis)
  • Ebola virus
  • Foot-and-mouth disease virus
  • Francisella tularensis (tularemia)
  • Marburg virus
  • Variola major virus (smallpox)
  • Variola minor virus (smallpox)
  • Yersinia pestis (plague)
  • Clostridium botulinum toxin producing strains (botulism) - a late addition to the list

See: http://www.phe.gov/Preparedness/legal/boards/fesap/Documents/fesap-recommendations-101102.pdf [phe.gov]

Re:The Complete List of Pathogens (0)

LifesABeach (234436) | more than 3 years ago | (#36467398)

I've noticed that the Tea Party has had some minor success the 5th virus you mentioned, "Foot In Mouth" virus

Re:The Complete List of Pathogens (1)

Marillion (33728) | more than 3 years ago | (#36470640)

And most of those species have a half-dozen or more strains with different levels of toxicity. For example in B.Anthracis (NCBI taxon:1392) has almost a dozen strains. Strain Stern (NCBI taxon: 260799) is mostly harmless because it's missing the two plasmids found in some other strains like Ames and Ames Ancestor (NCBI taxon: 261594) which produces very deadly toxins from plasmid px01.
Ames was the variant released in the Antrax Attacks of 2001.
http://pathema.jcvi.org/pathema/anthrax_resources.shtml [jcvi.org]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2001_anthrax_attacks [wikipedia.org]

A Pathogen I would like to "See" in the Wild (1)

LifesABeach (234436) | more than 3 years ago | (#36467338)

Full Monty Virus. [fanfiction.net] Why can't the DARPA crew waste billions on this Pathogen? It would be every extremists own personal nightmare.

Re:A Pathogen I would like to "See" in the Wild (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36468902)

tl;dr. wayyyyyyyyyyyy too many paragraph breaks.

Still searching? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36467624)

They don't list the virus that causes vegetarians. Maybe they haven't found it yet?

We musn't forget the dangers of... (1)

toxonix (1793960) | more than 3 years ago | (#36469076)

Weaponized Margarine.
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