BT - Involves a group of people with an agenda using biological weapons to instill fear.
BC - Involves an individual using biological weapons against another individual or group.
BW - Involves opposing armies using biological weapons against each other.
Name 4 components of a biological weapon system.
Payload, munition, delivery system, dispersion system
organism or toxin used in biological weapon system
container housing organism/toxin in biological weapon system
generally a missile or vehicle
typically airborne, uses explosive force or spray mechanism generally, can also be in water or food
What types of organisms are used in biological weapons systems?
bacteria, virus, parasite
Category A agents
Biological agents with greatest potential for harm.
What are some examples of category A agents?
smallpox, bacillus anthracis, Y. pestis, clostridium botulinum, francisella tularensis, Ebola virus, Lassa virus
Category A agent with probably the best Potential for adverse public health impact, because humans are a naive population due to lack of vaccination since 1970's.
Category B agents
biological agents with moderate potential for harm
What are some examples of category B agents?
coxiella burnetti, brucella, burkholderia, VEE, EEE, WEE, SEB, ricin toxins
Category C agents
biological agents with no current threat of harm but could emerge as future pathogens such as Hanta virus and Nipah virus
What biological weapon was used in the French and Indian war in 1700's?
smallpox infected blankets
Airborne plague formed from bubonic plague, cough releases pestis bacteria, very deadly
In WWI, what organisms did Germany target using biological warfare?
Horses and mules
What are two examples of biological warfare during WWII?
Nazi concentrations camps, Japan using human experimentation (Infamous Unit 731)
List 4 major targets that are vulnerable to agricultural bioterrorism.
farm animals, field crops, processed foods, storage facilities
Name three examples of fungal diseases used in agricultural bioterrorism.
soybean rust, wheat rust, ergot (Toxins, madness)
dual use agents
"Biotechnology represents a 'dual use' dilemma in which the same technologies can be used legitimately for human betterment and misused for bioterrorism."
Biotechnology Research in an Age of Terrorism,
National Academy of Sciences, 2004
"...research that, based on current understanding, can be reasonably anticipated to provide knowledge, products, or technologies that could be directly misapplied by others to pose a threat to public health, agriculture, plants, animals, the environment, or material."
National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity
Name and discuss the potential dual use agents mentioned in lecture.
•1918 pandemic H1N1 influenza virus
•Multiple-drug resistant bacteria
•Transgenic mousepox virus
-Made more virulent - Unexpected result pg. 637
Discuss Biosensors (page 638)
•Measurement - Using some kind of biological mechanism
•Clinical diagnosis/monitoring - Diabetics and glucose levels
Biosensors are typically used for what purposes?
clinical diagnosis/monitoring and food/environmental sampling
optical biosensor emitting a blue light when provided with coelenterazine plus oxygen and calcium.
Name 4 parts of an antibody ion-channel biosensor.
Artificial membrane. gold coated support, antigen binding site, sodium channel.
Biologic weapons cause....
Mass casualty (mass destruction)
Why would agriculture be a target of bioterrorism?
•Massive economic driver
-GDP contribution exceeds $1 trillion
•1 in 8 Americans
-Generates $50 billion per year in export trade
Also, plants are base of food chain so affect plants/animals/humans
Describe the effects of Ergot on Quackgrass. FIGURE 23.11
Fungi such as Claviceps purpurea infect various grains such as wheat or rye as well as grasses such as quackgrass. The mature fungus forms purple to black bodies, called ergot bodies or sclerotia, where the grain would normally be positioned.
Describe the potential use of cloned RNA Virus in bioterrorism. FIGURE 23.13
Cloning an RNA virus requires making a double-stranded DNA copy using reverse transcriptase. The cDNA is inserted into an appropriate bacterial plasmid and transformed into the bacterial cells. To control the expression of the viral DNA, a strong promoter is placed upstream of the viral cDNA. If the promoter is inducible, when the bacteria are given the appropriate stimulus, the viral cDNA will be expressed, resulting in production of viral particles that could infect many people.
How is Light Emission used in biowarfare? FIGURE 23.15
Aequorin, from Aequorea victoria, emits blue light when provided with its substrate, coelenterazine, plus oxygen and calcium. The enzyme binds to coelenterazine via the oxygen, and when calcium is present, the complex emits blue light, degrades the substrate to coelenteramide, and releases carbon dioxide.
How is a B-Cell Optical Biosensor used in biowarfare? FIGURE 23.16
Expressing aequorin in a B cell would provide a detection system for B-cell activation. When a trigger molecule, such as a biowarfare agent, binds to receptors on the B cell, the calcium channels are opened and calcium floods the cell. The high calcium levels would activate aequorin to emit blue light. A charge-coupled device (CCD) detector would measure the emissions and warn the user of a biological agent.
How is Antibody Ion-Channel Biosensor used in biowarfare?FIGURE 23.17
Antibody fragments that bind specific biological weapons can be engineered and tethered to a fixed location on an artificial membrane. Another molecule of the same antibody fragment is tethered to a sodium channel. The artificial membrane is carried on a gold-coated solid support that acts as an electrode. This detects sodium ions that pass through the ion channel. When a biological agent is present, the antibody fragments bind it, pulling the top half of the sodium channel out of alignment with the bottom half. Sodium ions no longer pass to the gold electrode, decreasing the signal.
Discuss historical aspects of biowarfare.
•As old as warfare
-Targeted humans, animals, plants
•Siege of Kaffa
-Tatars lobbed dead soldiers into city
•French & Indian War
•World War I
•Went after horses and mules
•World War II
-Infamous Unit 731
-Nazi concentration camps
-Smallpox infected blankets