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

* USAMRIID Special Pathogens Branch sent DARPA-funded Ames to the University of Alabama and IITRI in Chicago; IITRI tested decontamination agents with AMES-RIID spores in addition to avirulent strains

Posted by Lew Weinstein on November 1, 2015

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10 Responses to “* USAMRIID Special Pathogens Branch sent DARPA-funded Ames to the University of Alabama and IITRI in Chicago; IITRI tested decontamination agents with AMES-RIID spores in addition to avirulent strains”

  1. DXer said

    USAMRIID’s Special Pathogens Branch would send out more b.anthracis (to places like UAB and IITRI and University of Maryland) than was requested and would lyophilize the excess amount of the secondary stocks to avoid temperature requirements in shipping. 279A-WF-22236-USAMRIID, FBI 302, dated 4/17/2003, page 5.

    University of Maryland, however, was never was sent virulent Ames because they did not have a BL-3.

    https://www.fbi.gov/about-us/history/famous-cases/anthrax-amerithrax/USAMRIID%20Section%209.pdf

  2. DXer said

    Where did Dr. Joany J. Jackman at USAMRIID obtain the Ames spores to provide to UAB — sometime apparently prior to April 1998?

    She worked at USAMRIID at DARPA at USAMRIID since 1997 and under the contract she was to be supplied live agents, to include Ames anthrax..

    Who else did Dr. Jackman provide Ames spores?

    Monoclonal antibodies specific for anthrax and peptides derived from the antibodies thereof
    US 6913756 B1
    http://www.google.com/patents/US6913756

    Filing date Apr 29, 1998
    Publication date Jul 5, 2005

    The present invention provides monoclonal antibodies which are highly specific for Bacillus spores. Also provided are peptides derived from those monoclonal antibodies. Both the antibodies and peptides are highly specific and can discriminate between spores of potentially lethal organisms such as Bacillus anthracis and other harmless but closely related bacilli and provide a very powerful tool in the construction of detection instruments as counter measures.

    EXAMPLE 2 Bacterial Spores
    B. subtilis spores were provided by Dr. Chuck Turnbough. B. anthracis spores were obtained from Dr. Joany J. Jackman at USAMIRID and B. thuringiensis spores were obtained from Abbott Laboratories….

    ***
    EXAMPLE 13 Monoclonal Antibodies to B. anthracis

    Mice were immunized with a 50:50 mix of heavily irradiated (4×106 Gy) Bacillus anthracis spores of the Ames and Sterne strains, generated hybridomas, and screened for antibody production by FACS analysis. About 60 hybridomas were selected for further characterization. A similar pattern of reactive antibodies was obtained with some of these panels binding 100% ofB. anthracis spores. A seen in FIG. 6, a representative profile of more than 36 anti-anthrax antibodies which stain all spores but were not at all reactive with B. subtilis and B. thuringiensis spores.

  3. DXer said

    For example, here is a UAB reference to some Ames and Sterne spores irradiated with “40,000 rads at USAMRIID.”

    “Spores were irradiated with 40,000 rads at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) which inactivated 100% of the spores as determined by J. Ezzell (Diagnostic Systems Division, U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, Fort Detrick, MD) and J. Jackman (Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel, MD).”

    BACILLUS ANTHRACIS SPORE-HOST INTERACTIONS
    by MELISSA K. SWIECKI
    JOHN F. KEARNEY, COMMITTEE CHAIR DAVID D. CHAPLIN DAVID G. PRITCHARD ANDRIES J. STEYN CHARLES L. TURNBOUGH JR. CASEY T. WEAVER
    A DISSERTATION Submitted to the graduate faculty of The University of Alabama at Birmingham in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy
    BIRMINGHAM, ALABAMA 2007

    ***

    We also thank John Ezzell and Joany Jackman for their contributions to the initial mAb studies ….

    Production, labeling, and sequencing of mAbs. BALB/cJ mice were immunized s.c. in each calf region with a mix of 10(7) 40,000 rad-irradiated B. anthracis Sterne and Ames spores, first in CFA and then at 4-day intervals with spores and saline. Spores were irradiated with 40,000 rads at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) which inactivated 100% of the spores as determined by J. Ezzell (Diagnostic Systems Division, U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, Fort Detrick, MD) and J. Jackman (Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel, MD).

    • DXer said

      J Immunol. 2006 May 15;176(10):6076-84.
      Monoclonal antibodies for Bacillus anthracis spore detection and functional analyses of spore germination and outgrowth.
      Swiecki MK1, Lisanby MW, Shu F, Turnbough CL Jr, Kearney JF.
      Author information

      Erratum in
      • J Immunol. 2006 Aug 1;177(3):2024-5.
      Abstract
      All members of the Bacillus genus produce endospores as part of their life cycle; however, it is not possible to determine the identity of spores by casual or morphological examination. The 2001 anthrax attacks demonstrated a need for fast, dependable methods for detecting Bacillus anthracis spores in vitro and in vivo. We have developed a variety of isotypes and specificities of mAbs that were able to distinguish B. anthracis spores from other Bacillus spores.

      ***
      BALB/cJ mice were immunized s.c. in each calf region with a mix of 107 40,000 rad-irradiated B. anthracis Sterne and Ames spores, first in CFA and then at 4-day intervals with spores and saline. Spores were irradiated with 40,000 rads at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) which inactivated 100% of the spores as determined by J. Ezzell (Diagnostic Systems Division, U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, Fort Detrick, MD) and J. Jackman (Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel, MD).
      ***
      We next immunized BALB/cJ mice with a mixture of heavily irradiated B. anthracisspores of the Ames and Sterne strains, generated hybridomas, and screened for anti-spore Ab production by flow cytometry.

      ***

      We also thank John Ezzell and Joany Jackman for their contributions to the initial mAb studies

  4. DXer said

    JHU-APL tested decontamination agents in October 2001.

    The leading decontamination agent, Sandia’s product, was also tested against AMES-RIID spores at IITRI. Dr. Tucker of Sandia has failed to clarify for me when the agent was first tested against AMES-RIID spores.

    Labs’ decontamination foam may be tomorrow’s best first response in a chem-bio attack
    Sudsy brew neutralizes viral, bacterial, nerve agents in minutes

    By John German

    ***
    More tests planned for April [1999] will pit the foam against real anthrax and other bacterial spores.

    http://www.sandia.gov/LabNews/LN03-12-99/foam_story.htm

    http://www.google.com/search?q=Sandia+DF-100++AMES-RIID++1999&hl=en&biw=&bih=&gbv=2&oq=Sandia+DF-100++AMES-RIID++1999&gs_l=heirloom-serp.3…533901.540770.0.541256.24.4.2.18.0.0.121.287.2j1.3.0….0…1ac.1.34.heirloom-serp..24.0.0.OqTxQeIFQfU

    See also, The Future of Decontamination Operations— An Analysis of Decontamination Foam 200
    By Captain Michael C. Firmin

    “The effectiveness of DF-200 for military use was proven in October 2000 when it was tested on three different chemical agents … The foam was also tested against one biological agent, anthrax, which was chosen because it is considered to be the hardest biological agent to kill. The table at right shows the test results of these agents.

    With anthrax, the results were just as impressive. After 15 minutes of exposure, a seven-log kill (99.99999 percent) of all anthrax spores was recorded. This is in contrast to DS2, which only recorded a one-log kill with anthrax.”

    DF-200: An Enhanced Formulation for Decontamination and …
    dui-online.com/pdf/df200_summary.pdf‎
    Biological kill tests were conducted at IITRI in Chicago, Illinois. Results of tests … 7. 100±.00004. Figure 1: Kill rates for B. anthracis AMES-RIID spores in a solution of DF-200. … This testing utilized Sandia’s original decon formulation (DF -100).

    Technical Study – WordPress.com
    https://deconsolutions.files.wordpress.com/…/full-technical-background-study -from-modec.pdf‎
    materials has been developed at Sandia National Laboratories. The foam ….. Table 3-1: Percent decontamination in ECBC reaction rate tests for Df-100. Data … The table below summarizes test results from IITRI on live chemical agents. … Figure 6: Kill rates for B. anthracis AMES-RIID spores in a solution of DF-200HF.

    • DXer said

      Southern Research Institute also did DARPA-funded work with virulent Ames by 2001. SRI’s research was pursuant to a subcontract with Dr. Alibek and Dr. Bailey’s firm.

      • DXer said

        Dr. Alibek and Dr. Bailey shared a suite with Ali-Al-Timimi, the Falls Church imam who was meeting with “911 imam” Anwar Aulaqi. (Aulaqi has urged the use of bioweapons from his grave in a feature in INSPIRE).

        Dr. Al-Timimi’s appeal for his conviction has been remanded for further proceedings. (As I vaguely recall, he received two life sentences plus 70 years.) It is my understanding that the proceedings languished for years because the District Court did not have a clerk cleared to hear the evidence. (In all respects, defense counsel Turley, the famed First Amendment counsel and TV commentator, is the best source of information on the case, to include its procedural posture and reasons for delay.)

        Why on earth do you think the proceedings need to remain so classified? Just due to some FISA evidence from 15 years ago? Things should have been declassified long ago to the maximum extent possible.

        It seems that if exculpatory information was kept from his defense counsel, as Professor Turley alleges, then Dr. Al-Timimi should be released after the years he has already spent. As I recall, he basically just told some young men that if they were stopped at the airport on their way to jihad, they should cry for their momma — that sort of thing. I believe he told them to carry a magazine.

        If it indeed was Dr. Ivins responsible for the anthrax mailing — as FBI insists — then how can Al-Timimi’s actions warrant such a serious sentence? Was it due to the high emotions after 9/11 and the anthrax mailings?

        Alternatively, might the government aggressiveness have related to evidence that prompted his defense counsel in a court filing to describe his client as an “anthrax weapons suspect”? There is no statute of limitations on murder. So by all means, let’s hear that evidence too.

        I once asked his gracious wife Ziyana why he had a national security clearance for his work for the Navy while at SRA. She said she was not authorized to say, absent consent of counsel. He even received a letter of commendation from the White House for that work. He reports that at DOT he had briefly been Andrew Card’s assistant. (Mr. Card was the White House Chief of Staff to whom FBI Director Mueller reported regularly on Amerithrax).

        I am sometimes inclined to suggest that we will gain more insights from a freed Ali Al-TImimi and Yazid Sufaat than we will ever learn from the FBI engaged in a major CYA effort after Dr. Bruce Ivins’ tragic suicide and the Hatfill debacle. (The unexplained 340 ml., ironically, IMO, makes a Hatfill Theory more reasonable.)

        The former lead investigator of Amerithrax himself says that the FBI is intentionally concealing a staggering amount of information that is exculpatory of Dr. Ivins.

        If those allegations without more didn’t prompt Congressional hearings, then the BIodefense Report just illustrates that no matter what happens, the folks inside the Beltway will just continue to find ways to spend taxpayer money rather than persuasively solving Amerithrax.

      • DXer said

        Parts 1 and 2 of an EA-101 gets filled out by the requestor and then faxes to the transferor.

        Al-Timimi shared a fax with Ken Alibek and Charles Bailey.

        So wouldn’t Al-Timimi have advance notice of any planned transfer of a Select Pathogen virulent b. anthraces Ames if the EA 101 simply was faxed to the head of the DARPA Center for Biodefense at the suite shared with Ali Al-Timimi using their shared fax machine?

    • DXer said

      The DARPA-funded researchers at GMU had their work with virulent Ames done at Southern Research Institute, at the facility in Frederick, Maryland. It was announced that Southern Research Institute was a subcontractor on the DARPA award to Advanced Biosystems when the grant was made in 2000. Ike keeps talking about Battelle without apparently realizing that the leading Battelle consultants on biothreat assessment were at the DARPA-funded Center for Biodefense.

      See, e.g., “Systemic cytokine response in murine anthrax” Serguei G. Popov 1 *, Taissia G. Popova 1 , Edith Grene 1 , Francis Klotz 1 , Jennifer Cardwell 1 , Chris Bradburne 1 , Yusuf Jama 1 , Matthew Maland 2 , Jay Wells 2 , Aysegul Nalca 2 , Tom Voss 2 , Charles Bailey 3 and Ken Alibek 1,3
      1 Advanced Biosystems Inc., Manassas, VA 20110, USA.
      2 Southern Research Institute, Frederick, MD, USA.
      3 George Mason University Center for Biodefense, Manassas, VA 20110, USA.

      The article notes that “All experiments with Ames strain were carried out in the BSL-3 facility of Southern Research Institute, Frederick, MD. This work was supported in part by grants from the United States Army Medical Research and Materiel Command, and by Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, USA.”

      “Authors thank … personnel of the Homeland Security Division of Southern Research Institute, Frederick, MD, for carrying out experiments with virulent B. anthracis strain ….”

      When DARPA announced the $3 million grant to Advanced Biosystems in 2000, the Advanced Biosystems press release noted that Southern Research Institute was the contractor.
      Presentation by Dr. Thomas Voss, 24 May 2002, Birmingham, AL (2.5 mb, PDF format)
      http://www.sunshine-project.org/biodefense/voss.pdf

      PR Newswire
      May 4, 2000, Thursday
      HADRON Subsidiary Awarded $3.3 Million Biodefense Contract by DARPA

      DATELINE: ALEXANDRIA, Va., May 4

      Hadron, Inc. (OTC Bulletin Board: HDRN) today announced that one of its wholly-owned subsidiaries has been awarded a $3.3 million, one-year contract by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

      Hadron’s subsidiaries, Avenue Technologies, Inc. and Advanced Biosystems, Inc., will perform the biodefense research programs under this contract. The scientific and medical research will consist of several related programs regarding the development of rapid-acting broad-spectrum protection against biological threat agents. Southern Research Institute, a well known research organization … is a subcontractor on this program.

      “We are pleased to be working with DARPA to provide proof of concept of certain innovative medical concepts regarding protection against biological threat agents,” said Dr. Ken Alibek, Hadron’s Chief Scientist and President of Advanced Biosystems. “There are many novel approaches to biological weapons defense that I believe may provide superior protection than those methods currently in use,” Dr. Alibek continued. “We hope this program is just the beginning of new, innovative research, funded by government agencies and the private sector, to develop new prophylactic means and treatments for a broad spectrum of infectious diseases,” he concluded.

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