Infectious Diseases & Toxins

Toxins & Biological Warfare

Biological warfare is the intentional use of microorganisms and toxins (generally of microbial, plant or animal origin) to produce disease and death in humans, livestock or crops. The attraction of biologic agents in war and/or terroristic attacks is attributed to

four main features: (1) their ease of access; (2) low production costs; (3) non-detection by routine security systems; and (4) easy transportation from one place to another. Due to the invisible nature and virtual weightlessness of biological agents, standard routine detection and verification procedures are ineffective. Many toxins, microorganisms and viruses could potentially be used for terroristic purposes with generally a small number of casualties. There are a few biological agents suitable for warfare purposes with mass casualty potential. Those commonly identified are anthrax, botulism, brucellosis, smallpox, Yersinia pestis (Plague), Francisella tularensis (Tularemia), and various Viral Hemorrhagic Fevers (VHFs). Specifically, anthrax, VHFs, and smallpox are among the most researched

pathogens studied in the biodefense industry (95% of all diseases) due to the scale of destruction that they can cause. Developments in biotechnology are increasing the possibilities of modifying relatively harmless biological agents into more sinister equivalents and bringing large-scale production capabilities within the reach of remote regions. Defense research has centered around the development of a bioarmoury of antibiotics, antisera, toxoids and vaccines to neutralize and eliminate diseases. Current bioweapons defense research is now focusing on developing biosensors (using fiber optic or electrochemical devices) that contain specific antibodies to detect pathogens such as respiratory infectious agents that can be dispersed through sprays and air cooling systems. Advantages of biosensors include increased sensitivity, portability and rapid detection compared to existing technologies. Several immunosensors have already been developed to detect pathogens such as anthrax, smallpox and other microorganisms responsible for food and water contamination.

Antibody Pairs


B. anthracis Protective Antigen B. anthracis Spore Antigen

C86910M C86702M

C01593M C01592M C01593M C01594M

C. botulinum Type A Toxoid C. botulinum Type B Toxoid C. difficile GDH Cholera Toxin - beta subunit

C86211M C86468M

C01722M C86018M

C01957M C01957M

C01678M C01677M C65715M C01677M C65555M C01677M C65555M C01678M

C. difficile Toxin A

C65423M C65426M

C. difficile Toxin B

C86036M C86213M

Diphtheria Toxin

C01964M C01965M

Ebola Virus NP

C86921M C86922M

Ricin (RCA60)

C86381M C86480M

Y. pestis V Antigen


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