CASE CLOSED … what really happened in the 2001 anthrax attacks?

* As Dr. Ivins often explained, conducting a rabbit study such as the one involving 52 rabbits in early October 2001 always depended on the availability of hot suite space.

Posted by DXer on November 1, 2011




8 Responses to “* As Dr. Ivins often explained, conducting a rabbit study such as the one involving 52 rabbits in early October 2001 always depended on the availability of hot suite space.”

  1. DXer said

    The shipment of the rabbits from Covance necessarily was conditioned on the availability of the B3 space.

  2. DXer said

    Notebook 4241, the “New” formaldehyde experiments – September to November 2001 has not been produced.

    It has the information about the rabbit experiments that the DOJ has failed to provide.

    This is a key document for GAO to obtain from DOJ.

    Relatedly, given that it is so central to how Dr. Ivins spent his time, the question for GAO is: why wasn’t it produced by FBI among the thousands of pages it uploaded?

  3. DXer said

    Some miscellaneous points about Dr. Ivins’ various rabbit protocols.

    1. Rabbits initially upon being shipped would be on the cold side and then moved to the hot side (B3) for challenge. At some point (although it is not yet clear to me when) it became the norm in rabbit protocols to allow the rabbits 7 days to acclimate to biocontainment before challenging them.

    See “Suggestions for study” June 19, 2001 by Dr. Ivins to an outside researcher about possibly waiting so as to allow monkeys time to get acclimated. See also June 27, 2002 email to Dr. Ivins from a colleague discussing timing of challenge of rabbit challenge and referencing the norm of giving the rabbits some time to acclimate to biocontainment before challenge.

    This might explain Dr. Worsham’s directive that the B3 be cleaned if the rabbits were arriving the week of the 24th. Dr. Ivins one night at night writing her at 10 p.m. explaining his work on the ceiling lights.

    See also
    Killed but Metabolically Active Bacillus anthracis Vaccines Induce Broad and Protective Immunity against Anthrax
    Justin Skoble,1* John W. Beaber,2† Yi Gao,3 Julie A. Lovchik,4 Laurie E. Sower,5 Weiqun Liu,1 William Luckett,1 Johnny W. Peterson,5 Richard Calendar,2 Daniel A. Portnoy,2,6 C. Rick Lyons,4 and Thomas W. Dubensky, Jr.1

    “The experimentally determined titer of the challenge dose was 9.20 × 105 spores per animal. Ames challenge studies were performed within a registered select agent animal biosafety level 3 facility at the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center. The animals were allowed at least 7 days to acclimate before being used in the study, and all protocols were approved by the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee.”

    2. Rabbits were identified by a microchip and thus data might available also be electronically available from those microchips (or do they get disposed of with the carcass)?

    From: To: Subject: Date: Attachments: Ivins Bruce E Dr USAMRIID

    CpG in rabbits data Friday, February 20, 2004 10:39:25 AM

    Hi, (b) I understand that you’re presenting work on CpG/anthrax at the upcoming meeting in Baltimore. If you have the presentation or (6) poster in electronic form, I’d appreciate receiving a copy from you. Here are the data for the experiment testing CpG + rPA/Alhydrogel in New Zealand White rabbits. Immunization Schedule: (We are using 8 micrograms rPA to deliberately get less than complete survival) A) – 4 animals, injected with saline + Alhydrogel at 0 weeks. (These are the control animals.) B) – 16 animals, injected with Alhydrogel + rPA (8 micrograms) at 0 weeks. C) – 16 animals, injected with CpG oligos + rPA(8 micrograms) + Alhydrogel at 0 weeks. Bleeding Schedule: On weeks 0, 2 and 4, the rabbits will be bled, and serum will be shipped back to USAMRIID. Shipping: Approximately week 5, the 36 rabbits will be shipped to USAMRIID for subcutaneous anthrax spore challenge (79 LD50) on week 6. Animals will be individually identified by microchipping. Prior to immunization and bleeding, each rabbit will be identified by scanning the microchip to ensure that the correct animal is receiving the correct procedure, and that each animal’s blood goes into the correct tube. (Antibody titers are expressed as micrograms/ml of anti-PA antibody.) DATA: Group: Control Alhydrogel + rPA CpG + Alhydrogel + rPA Pre-bleed Titer 0.05 0.11 0.05 2-week titer 0.05 11.36 25.52 4 week titer 0.05 11.45 22.21 Survived/Total 0/4 6/15 6/16 Mean Time to Death (days) (4.22) (4.33) (4.90)

  4. BugMaster said

    The only time I, as a microbiologist, ever squint is not when I am looking through a microscope.

    But rather, it is the sudden onset of too much sunshine in my eyes.

    Too much sunshine, and to be able to see even my hand in front of my face:

    I have to take a very myopic view!

  5. DXer said

    Subject: B98-03 rabbit bacteremia data
    Date: Tuesday, September 25, 2001 9:13:34 AM
    Here are the B98-03 rabbit bacteremia data in an EXCEL file.
    – Bruce

    For each rabbit study, such as the one done in early October 2001, who would do the bacteremia study to determine how the rabbits died? Dr. Ivins? If so, where would he do it? In his BL-3 lab in Rm. 313? If so, how long would it take? The time he spent? See B3 and 313 access records. What does AUSA Rachel Lieber and Ed Montooth say about the time that Dr. Ivins spent doing his work on bacteremia … determining the cause of death of the rabbits to confirm death was due to anthrax. Nothing. The word “rabbit” never even passes their lips. Indeed, they characterize the passive mouse study as some other researcher’s experiments without noting that the experiment is contained in Dr. Ivins (and Pat’s) joint notebook — a notebook which by the way Rachel refused to provide. Why is DOJ failing to provide the related Covance study notebook under FOIA? It has been months and they have not even responded. What could justify DOJ withholding what is perhaps the most central document to Amerithrax while uploading thousands of pages of far less relevant documents. Is it that they want to shove 52 rabbits, many of them dead and dying, into a hat? Is it that they want to pretend the bacteremia data that Dr. Ivins prepared for the formaldehyde study does not exist? Was it destroyed? If so, who destroyed the documents? If any documents have been destroyed or emails deleted, there should be a special prosecutor appointed.

    • DXer said

      Let’s not forget that the lead Amerithrax prosecutor, Daniel Seikaly, has already pled the Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination, in a formal deposition.

      • DXer said

        The Amerithrax lead prosecutor’s daughter came to represent “anthrax weapons suspect” (his counsel’s term) Ali Al-TImimi pro bono.

        Ali Al-Timimi shared a suite with the leading DARPA-funded Ames researchers who co-invented a method of concentrating anthrax using silica in the growth medium.

        Who advised FBI agent Ed Montooth and prosecutor Rachel Lieber on the rabbit fomaldehyde study? JB, the former collection scientist at ATCC, the co-sponsor of Al-TImimi’s program and the largest microbiological repository in the world? Or was it the FBI scientist who made a dried powder out of RMR 1029 and whose assistant did not submit a sample of what they used for testing.

        When the former joint chief of staff Admiral Crowe says there was nothing wrong about him being given a large percentage in Bioport, the anthrax manufacturer, because it was just a gift — and he didn’t have to do anything for it — is it so hard to understand why the American public now doesn’t trust the same people to use children in an anthrax vaccine study?

        The USG seems incapable of addressing conflicts of interest and making sound evidence-based decisions.

        In our system of government, it is GAO that is best suited to provide guidance on conflict of interest analysis.

    • DXer said

      The bacteremia is studied to confirm that the animal died from anthrax rather than from some other cause.

      see Efficacy of a human anthrax vaccine in guinea pigs, rabbits, and rhesus macaques against challenge by Bacillus anthracis isolates of diverse geographical origin (2001), by P.F. Fellows, M.K. Linscott, B.E. Ivins, M.L.M. Pitt, C.A. Rossi, P.H. Gibbs, A.M. Friedlander

      “Death by anthrax was confirmed in all animals by plating blood on tryptic soy agar (TSA) and incubating overnight at 37°C.”

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