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    >From http://www.jya.com/btn031198.txt
       The New York Times, March 11, 1998, p. A21.
       Smallpox Vaccine Urged to Fight Terrorist Attacks
       By Lawrence K. Altman
       Atlanta, March 10--In a major turnaround, the scientist who
       led the campaign that eradicated smallpox and eliminated
       the need for vaccination worldwide now says the United
       States should resume making the vaccine to deal with the
       threat of biological warfare.
       The scientist, Dr. Donald A. Henderson, a former deputy
       White House science adviser and dean emeritus of Johns
       Hopkins School of Public Health, spoke at an international
       meeting on new and emerging diseases here today.
       The United States is ill-prepared to confront a terrorist
       attack using biological weapons, and health officials need
       more money to prepare against such attacks, Dr. Henderson
       and other experts in infectious diseases said at the
       meeting, which was partly sponsored by the Centers for
       Disease Control and Prevention. The speakers said their new
       concern reflected the Iraqi buildup of biological weapons,
       terrorism attacks in Japan, and a breakdown in security at
       Russia's advanced bioweapons center in Koltsovo near
       Doctors, health departments and the Federal Government were
       urged to develop clear plans to diagnose and treat victims
       of such attacks because very few doctors have ever seen
       cases of anthrax and smallpox, which are prime candidates
       for use in biological attacks.
       In 1980, the World Health Organization, a Geneva-based
       agency of the United Nations, certified the worldwide
       eradication of smallpox, a viral disease that had killed
       one in four victims. Smallpox vaccinations stopped, and now
       much of the world's population has little, if any, immunity
       against smallpox.
       The United States had stopped routine smallpox vaccination
       of civilians earlier, in 1972. About 15 million doses of
       the remaining vaccine were kept at Centers for Disease
       Control and Prevention and smaller amounts in a few other
       Dr. Henderson said in an interview that the United States
       stores should be increased by 20 million doses and
       speculated that the cost would be about $2 a dose. But Dr.
       Henderson stressed that the vaccine would be injected only
       if the bioterrorism threat materialized. Dr. Henderson also
       said that if more vaccine were ever needed, manufacturers
       should have capacity to produce it within several weeks,
       not the months it would now take.
       Smallpox vaccine was traditionally prepared in cows. But
       Dr. Henderson held out hope that an experimental vaccine
       prepared in test tubes might be used and that studies might
       find effective anti-viral drugs against smallpox, a disease
       that could not be treated.
       Dr. James Hughes, an official at the disease-control
       centers, said Dr. Henderson had asked "a good question."
       The initial victims of an attack with biological weapons
       would probably be buried before the correct diagnosis was
       made, the speakers said. Health officials should also
       designate where victims would be taken and how many
       isolation centers need to be set aside for their care in a
       bioterrorism attack, they said.
       The speakers also pointed to scientific ignorance about how
       to decontaminate areas where biological agents had been
       dispersed and when, if ever, it would be safe for residents
       to return to their apartments and homes and workers to
       their offices.
       Dr. Marcelle Layton of the New York City Health Department
       said that despite steps the city had taken in recent years,
       it was not ready for an attack. The Mayor's Advisory Task
       Force will soon conduct a larger drill than the one it held
       two weeks ago against an imagined release of anthrax
       bacteria. Despite such efforts, she said she was uncertain
       whether it was possible to be effectively prepared for such
       Dr. Michael Skeels of the Oregon State Public Health
       Laboratory recalled that the disease-control centers
       withheld for 12 years a report of the first bioterrorism
       attack in this country until it allowed publication in
       1997. The attack involved 751 cases of salmonella infection
       among the 10,500 residents of The Dalles, Ore. after
       followers of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh had deliberately
       contaminated restaurant salad bars. Initially, Dr. Skeels
       said, health officials did not consider the possibility of
       terrorism, and he advised others not to be so naive in the
       In providing a wake-up call, speakers said it was more
       prudent to prepare for what many hoped was the remote
       possibility of bioterrorism attacks than to continue to
       ignore the idea. Dr. David Franz of the Army Medical
       Research Institute of Infectious Diseases in Fort Detrick,
       Md., expressed a wider view in saying that "a prepared
       society acts as a deterrent to use of biological weapons."
       Earlier, Donna E. Shalala, the Secretary of Health and
       Human Services, told the meeting that her department had
       begun coordinating with other Federal and military agencies
       to insure proper training "to address the growing threat of
       potential bioterrorism" that could create the next
       worldwide epidemic.
       In welcoming the Secretary's efforts, several experts who
       spoke only on condition that their names not be used, said
       these steps should have come long ago.
       Scientific knowledge about biological attacks is limited
       because so few have occurred.
       In 1970, a rare natural outbreak caused by airborne
       transmission of smallpox virus occurred when a German
       electrician returned from Pakistan. He infected 19 people
       in several floors of the hospital, including visitor who
       had spent less than 1 minutes in the hospital and did not
       visit the patient.
       In 1972 in Yugoslavia, a pilgrim brought back smallpox from
       Iraq, infected 11 others, and they, in turn, infected 138
       more people. The outbreak led to the emergency vaccination
       of 20 million people in less than two weeks. Also, 10,000
       people who had contact with the infected patients were
       isolated for two weeks. Other countries closed their
       borders with Yugoslavia.    
       The Wall Street Journal, March 10, 1998, p. A22
       A Biological Weapons Threat Worse Than Saddam
       By Joseph D. Douglass, Jr.
       What's most unfortunate about the continuing conflict with
       Iraq is that it diverts Western attention away from the
       broader problem of chemical and biological weapons
       world-wide -- and especially in Russia. In the long run,
       the Russian threat is far worse than the Iraqi one. While
       it's true that the current leadership in Moscow does not
       display Saddam's brutality, the Russian leadership could
       change overnight.
       Adding more arms-control treaties, such as the new Chemical
       Weapons Convention, won't solve the problem. Existing
       treaties are being flagrantly violated. Antiproliferation
       efforts are also futile, since all that is needed to build
       chemical or biological weapons is the knowledge in
       someone's head. The one remedy that does have promise is
       sunlight: The best way to discourage proliferation of these
       horrible weapons is to focus public attention on what is
       happening. But such information seldom gets aired in
       public. Indeed, over the years Washington officials have
       often covered up Moscow's efforts to develop chemical and
       biological weapons, fearful that public disclosure would
       undermine arms-control efforts.
       52 Biological Agents
       This pattern has continued despite the end of the Cold War.
       Consider: Two weeks ago, ABC News's "PrimeTime Live" aired
       an interview with Kanatjan Alibekov, a Russian defector who
       had been a deputy director of Biopreparat, a massive Soviet
       (now Russian) biological warfare development program.
       Biopreparat employed more than 25,000 engineers,
       technicians and scientists developing biological agents, in
       blatant violation of arms-control treaties Moscow had
       signed. Mr. Alibekov told ABC the facility had developed 52
       biological agents before he left in 1992 and had ballistic
       missile warheads loaded with plague, anthrax and smallpox
       intended for delivery against American cities.
       The program continued, notwithstanding evident instructions
       from President Boris Yeltsin to shut it down. Mr. Alibekov
       said he had written a long report for the CIA about this
       program. So why was that report not printed and distributed
       to every member of Congress and every U.S. newspaper? The
       CIA cannot be trying to hide it from the Russian
       government, which is well aware of what Mr. Alibekov knew.
       Such secrecy has typified the U.S. approach for three
       decades. In 1969 the CIA prepared a study on Soviet
       activities in developing chemical and biological weapons.
       According to Herb Meyer, former deputy director of the
       National Intelligence Council, the report was "removed" at
       the direction of then-National Security Adviser Henry
       Kissinger, presumably so it would not interfere with
       arms-control efforts.
       In 1976, officials of the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament
       Agency questioned a top National Security Council official
       about new intelligence on Soviet violations of the 1972
       agreements on chemical and biological weapons. The NSC
       official discounted the alleged violations and advised they
       be ignored, on the grounds that chemical and biological
       weapons had no strategic value that would warrant such
       That same year, Luba Markish, a Soviet emigre, testified to
       Congress on the Soviets' use of students as unwitting
       guinea pigs in testing chemical and biological weapons.
       Emigre David Azbel confirmed her testimony and said the
       research was focused "on poison gases that act on the brain
       and the nervous system."
       In 1980 Soviet dissident Mark Popovskiy testified on the
       objectives of biological warfare programs headed by a top
       molecular biologist named Yuri Ovchinnikov. "If we bring to
       the Central Committee vaccines, nobody will pay attention,"
       Popovskiy quoted Ovchinnikov as saying, "but if we bring a
       virus, oh, then this will be recognized by all as a great
       victory." No one ever pursued the matter, to my knowledge.
       In 1981 one of the authors of the suppressed 1969 CIA
       report gave a copy to Herb Meyer and suggested he read it.
       He did, and was so alarmed he took it in to CIA Director
       William Casey, who immediately went over to the White House
       to tell President Reagan about it. Nothing more happened.
       Members of the Army's intelligence unit, however, were
       gathering considerable information about the Soviet
       chemical and biological weapons program, and they took it
       upon themselves to brief appropriately cleared people. But
       after giving numerous such briefings, they were suddenly
       ordered to stop by the head of Army intelligence.
       In 1984 The Wall Street Journal editorial page published an
       impressive series of articles entitled "Beyond Yellow Rain"
       on biological weapons use in Indochina. Author William
       Kucewicz's findings echoed those of Army intelligence. From
       Washington there was no serious reaction. A few years
       later, top Pentagon scientists said there was no cause for
       concern. Significant Soviet developments, they insisted,
       were more than a decade away.
       But in 1989, when Vladimir Pasechnik the first defector
       from the Biopreparat program, emerged, intelligence
       specialists were horrified. The Soviet effort was more than
       10 times as large as even the most pessimistic of them had
       estimated. The Bush administration's response was to keep
       the whole thing quiet and send a complaint through
       diplomatic channels. In 1992, when Mr. Alibekov confirmed
       what Mr. Pasechnik had said, the response was to negotiate
       with the Russian government. The objective may have been to
       avoid upsetting the chemical and biological arms control
       efforts President Bush had championed.
       This year's "PrimeTime Live" interview with Mr. Alibekov
       was important, but it left much out. There was no hint of
       overall Soviet development objectives, no discussion of the
       technology or of Soviet efforts to use genetic engineering.
       This may have been how they developed a new type of
       anthrax, reportedly resistant to U.S. vaccines. There have
       also been reports of their splicing the gene responsible
       for the toxic component in cobra venom into common
       organisms, making it easy to disseminate. We have also
       learned that the Russians have developed a weapon based on
       the Ebola virus.
       Other defectors have stated that experimental biological
       and chemical agents were tested on U.S. and South
       Vietnamese military bases during the Vietnam War. The
       experiments were so successful that the Soviets ended them
       prematurely, fearing that the Americans would learn what
       was happening. Other tests were run against U.S. military
       bases in Okinawa and in Europe, according to a Soviet
       U.S. officials have tended to think, and arms-control
       negotiations have tended to focus on, lethal weapons and
       battlefield applications. But most of the Soviet, and now
       Russian, development efforts concerned other applications
       of chemical and biological weapons. Special institutes
       concentrated on the development of chemical and biological
       agents for assassinations. One objective was to mimic the
       effects of natural diseases; another was to render a person
       ineffective without killing him. The idea was that a
       disabled person would make bad decisions, which was better
       than killing him and having him replaced. A variety of such
       agents were intended for very focused military use --
       special nonlethal agents for use against pilots, tank
       drivers, command posts and field commanders. The Soviets
       had a major effort to determine which U.S. airplane crashes
       in Vietnam were the result of their chemical agents.
       The Russians have stressed highly potent agents that
       required only trace quantities to have effect, agents and
       delivery techniques that would make highly selective
       attacks possible, and, in the case of biological agents,
       ones that could spread like the flu or plague and ones that
       the enemy would not know how to treat. There were special
       chemical agents for use against cities, agents that would
       work quickly, unlike plague or smallpox.
       Unwanted Stepchild
       U.S. defense planning for chemical and biological weapons
       has been the unwanted stepchild of the U.S. national
       security apparatus since 1969. Intelligence has generally
       been poor, since key officials did not want to find a
       threat that might breathe new life into U.S. offensive
       programs. The subject was also a no-no because it would
       embarrass the Russians and interfere with arms-control
       ABC News performed an important service in calling
       attention to the seriousness of the Russian chemical and
       biological threat. Now it's time for other news
       organizations -- especially investigative journalists in
       Eastern Europe, Russia and the former Soviet republics --
       to start digging into other aspects of the problem. There
       is plenty more left to be discovered and no end of leads to
       Mr. Douglass is co-author of "America the Vulnerable: The
       Threat of Chemical and Biological Warfare" (Lexington
       Books, 1987).
       The Wall Street Journal, March 10, 1998, pp. B1, B9.
       A Peek Inside a Giant Germ Warehouse 
       By Rochelle Sharpe
       Rockville, Md. -- They keep anthrax bacteria in the
       basement of a faded red-brick building here.
       It isn't far from the yellow-fever virus, the botulism
       bacteria and some of the hundreds of organisms that cause
       the common cold. In fact, there are samples of 85,000
       different fungi, viruses, cells, genes and bacteria here at
       the American Type Culture Collection, by far the largest of
       the 450 repositories of biological materials scattered
       around the globe.
       For most scientists, the ATCC is a household name, a
       biological department store that sells and stores specimens
       critical for research. Besides mailing cultures to
       laboratories around the world for a nominal fee, the
       nonprofit organization functions as a giant safety-deposit
       box for big corporations, universities and government labs
       that need to store substances securely -- and secretly.
       Founded in 1925 the ATCC is also the largest official
       warehouse for biological materials that scientists are
       trying to get patented.
       But outside the world of test tubes and petri dishes, the
       culture collection is known primarily for the 0.002% of its
       inventory that can be turned into deadly weapons, exactly
       the sort of biological agents that the U.S. government
       wants to keep out of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein's hands.
       The ATCC legally shipped 10 vials of anthrax, botulism and
       other deadly substances to Iraqi scientists in the 1980s --
       when the U.S. and Iraq were on much friendlier terms -- all
       with the Commerce Department's approval.
       In 1995, it mailed three vials of bubonic plague organisms
       to Larry Wayne Harris, the reputed white supremacist
       arrested last month for conspiring to possess the deadly
       anthrax bacteria. (Those charges were dropped after
       investigators determined the substance was a harmless
       anthrax vaccine. How Mr. Harris obtained the vaccine isn't
       clear; the ATCC says it didn't ship it to him.)
       In the 1995 case, a suspicious ATCC technician contacted
       the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta
       days after shipping the plague organisms to Mr. Harris.
       Investigators discovered that Mr. Harris, a trained
       microbiologist had falsely claimed he owned the laboratory
       that had asked for the plague specimens. In that case, Mr.
       Harris pleaded guilty to one count of fraud and was
       sentenced to 18 months' probation.
       The incident prompted Congress to regulate -- for the first
       time -- the shipment of about 40 lethal infectious agents,
       including the Ebola, Lassa fever and Marburg viruses.
       Now, the ATCC can legally mail these deadly microbes only
       to labs that have registered with the U.S. government, paid
       it an annual fee of as much as $16,000, and agreed to
       follow quality-control procedures for safe storage and
       disposal. Under the 1996 antiterrorism legislation that
       established these regulations, the CDC was charged with
       assuring compliance. It will soon begin inspecting
       laboratories that take delivery of lethal microbes.
       Only a minuscule fraction -- or 0.03% of the 135,000 vials
       ATCC ships annually -- are lethal agents, says Raymond
       Cypess, its chief executive officer. The facility tracks
       every shipment it makes, of both lethal and harmless
       But some scientists doubt the new regulations can
       effectively deter terrorists. Seth Carus, an expert on
       biological warfare and visiting fellow at the National
       Defense University in Washington, D.C., describes the
       regulations as "a paperwork drill." For would-be
       terrorists, he says "it's a hurdle, but not a big hurdle."
       Moreover, the ATCC is hardly the only place in the world to
       obtain scary microbes. Of the 27 U.S. labs that
       experimented and published scientific papers on the
       bubonic-plague bacteria between 1993 and 1995, only four
       obtained their material from the ATCC, Dr. Cypess says,
       citing its search of scientific literature.
       In all, 54 culture collections in 25 countries, including
       Iran, stockpile the deadly anthrax microbe, according to a
       directory published by the World Federation of Culture
       Collections. Since 1994, the ATCC has mailed only five
       packages of lethal anthrax bacteria, all to U.S. research
       institutes studying the disease, which is common in
       Inside the ATCC's three-building complex, on a major
       thoroughfare in a commercial area of Rockville, potential
       terrorists would have a hard time finding deadly microbes,
       even if they could circumvent the various locks and alarm
       systems. Most of the 1.1 million vials of material are kept
       in massive stainless-steel vats filled with liquid
       nitrogen, some of which are chained and padlocked shut.
       Each vat contains racks of as many as 50,000 vials of
       frozen cells and microbes. Each tube is marked with a tiny
       numerical code that only a handful of ATCC employees can
       decipher. Even if a vial of material were stolen, it would
       be harmless unless someone had the exact equipment and
       materials needed to activate it from its inert, frozen
       Still, the ATCC's planned move later this month to Prince
       William County, Va. concerned a few officials there enough
       to prompt them to conduct safety investigations of their
       own. The county sheriff and a state legislator were worried
       that the company would become a magnet for terrorists.
       Neither, however, has pursued any active opposition to the
       relocation, which is being supervised by the CDC and other
       federal and local agencies.
       The ATCC is by far the largest culture collection in the
       world, shipping a greater quantity and variety of material
       than any other. Its closest competitor mails fewer than
       10,000 vials annually, Dr. Cypess says. About 30% of the
       135,000 vials the ATCC ships annually go to foreign
       countries. Among the most frequently requested materials
       are human kidney cells which can be used in a wide variety
       of research efforts. But 80% of the microbes remain in
       storage for decades before being requested.
       Such was the case with Thermus aquaticus, a microbe that
       had lingered at the facility for about 20 years before
       Nobel Prize-winning chemist Kary Mullis paid $31 for a
       specimen in the mid-1980s. With it he invented the process
       of DNA fingerprinting -- a patent worth millions of
       When scientists discover new biological agents, they donate
       specimens to the ATCC, Dr. Cypess says. In turn, the ATCC
       usually charges other researchers a fee ranging from $20 to
       $264 for samples. The ATCC also stores proprietary
       materials for food and pharmaceuticals concerns, for
       example, that are looking for the next product
       [Box] The American Type Culture Collection stores a
       smorgasbord of biological material for industrial and
       scientific uses. A sampling:
       Saccharomyces cerevisiae (yeast for making beer)
       Aspergillus oryzae (fungus for making soy sauce)
       Hybridoma 23 (cells used to produce antibodies that detect
       breast cancer)
       Hybridoma 703D4 (cells used to produce antibodies that
       detect lung cancer)
       Bacillus anthracis (bacteria for research on anthrax)
       Coccidioides immitis (fungus for research on
       coccidioidomycosis, a lung disease)

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