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

* 302 Statement: Seed Stock Used To Grow More Ames Was IVINS’ Spore Stock And Was Not Frozen; The Prosecutors’ Assertions To The Contrary Are Not Supported By Any Lab Notebook

Posted by Lew Weinstein on November 5, 2012

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3 Responses to “* 302 Statement: Seed Stock Used To Grow More Ames Was IVINS’ Spore Stock And Was Not Frozen; The Prosecutors’ Assertions To The Contrary Are Not Supported By Any Lab Notebook”

  1. DXer said

    Now as to the large amount of virulent Ames made by Fellows and Linscott, there is the issue whether it was purified using Renocal. Dr. Fellows and Dr. Linscott, in interviews with GAO, could tell them whether it was. They could also point GAO to the best source of evidence as to the seed stock that they used.

    The FBI scientists discuss how the mailed anthrax did not use show traces of purification with Renocal and thus did NOT come directly from Flask 1029.

    “Discussion

    The purification of B. anthracis spores with products like RenoCal-76® has been previously reported to be an effective means of purifying spores (3,4); however, it is appropriate to mention that it is not considered the standardized approach. RenoCal-76®, Hypaque-76®, and other similar products have a clinical use in the radiographic imaging field and are not commercially available to research laboratories for the purposes of spore purification. The investigation determined that some laboratories conducting B. anthracis research, with the specific strain identified in the evidence, were using RenoCal-76® or similar products to purify spores. It was believed by the Amerithrax Task Force that trace levels of RenoCal-76®, or its primary components of meglumine diatrizoate and sodium diatrizoate, may persist on the outer spore surface. The primary objective of the work described in this manuscript was to develop and validate a sensitive and selective assay for the qualitative detection of meglumine and diatrizoate. Potential source information is always valuable in a forensic investigation. Although these results did not confirm the possible source of the spore material, they did indicate that the spore material used in the mailings was consistent with not being diverted directly from RMR-1029.

    Meglumine diatrizoate is a component of several of the radiographic imaging products like RenoCal-76®, Hypaque-76®, and Renografin-60®. Although LC/MS conditions for diatrizoic acid have been reported in the literature (11,12), the novel assay described herein supplies LC/MS conditions for diatrizoate and meglumine, as well as an extraction technique to detect these chemicals from Bacillus spores. The multiple-tiered approach of utilizing direct injection full-scan MS, LC/MS full scan, LC/MS2, and LC/MS4 with a single sample preparation provided an innovative approach to analyzing limited forensic evidence. The full-scan MS analysis offered a screening for potential samples that may overload the analytical system at the same time of capturing data of additional components that may be present. The LC/MS2 afforded the sensitivity, and the LC/MS4 provided the necessary selectivity. This approach could be considered in other instances where limited evidentiary material must be thoroughly analyzed for chemicals of concern. The beneficial use of MS3 detection on limited spore material has been previously described in the literature (13).”

    • DXer said

      The FBI scientists, in their important study that was published in 2012, wrote:

      “The Ames B. anthracis used in the New York City and Washington, DC mailings had a number of identified morphological variants, which were isolated and their complete genomes sequenced. The sequences of these variants were compared to the wild-type Ames B. anthracis, and a number of genetic differences were identified (5). Assays were used to screen over 1000 samples of Ames B. anthracis collected from research institutions within the United States and internationally. Of the samples screened, all samples positive for all of the genetic markers were determined to originate from a common source of spores, known as RMR-1029. The RMR-1029 spores were known, from laboratory records, to have been purified using a density gradient of RenoCal-76®. Some investigative questions became: “Were the evidentiary spores from the mailings directly diverted from RMR-1029? Could an analytical method identify residual RenoCal-76® in a spore preparation known to be purified using RenoCal-76®?”

      This paper describes the development, validation, and application of a novel, highly sensitive protocol using liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry (LC/MS) with electrospray ionization (ESI) to detect trace amounts of meglumine and/or diatrizoate, components of RenoCal-76®, in a single spore sample preparation. This analytical capability was applied to limited evidentiary spore material and RMR-1029 to provide probative information about a possible production method of the evidentiary samples. During the investigation, it was determined that the number of researchers who used gradients of RenoCal-76®, or similar products, to purify spores and who had access to the Ames strain of B. anthracis was limited. Therefore, if meglumine and diatrizoate were identified in the B. anthracis spores used in the mailings, the number of potential sources for the spore material could be significantly reduced.”

      Here, we know Dr. Ivins used Renocal (same applies to Hypaque). Dr. Ezzell also told me in the filmed interview that he did also in making that dried powder. Did Patricia? Did Mara? Did Joanie? Did Terry? Did Tarek? What do the lab notebooks say?

      • DXer said

        In this important study published by the FBI scientists in 2012, the authors write:

        “Evidentiary samples from the investigation as well as blinded control samples that included the RMR-1029 sample were submitted to the FBI Laboratory for analysis. The control samples were submitted as single-blinded samples to the FBI scientists and were hence treated as unknown samples.”

        GAO: Were any of the evidentiary samples from the blind investigation — excluding the mailed anthrax — NOT processed using Renocal? That would tend to point to that being a possible source of the mailed anthrax (in contrast to what was in Flask 1029). Was that “national security” sample that wasn’t really from Iraq — that Dr. Ivins wrote urgently to Patricia Fellows about in trying to find it — processed using Renocal? What happened to it? Who made that virulent dried powder? GAO, what does Dr. Ezzell say? What does Joany Jackman say? What does Terry Abshire say?

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