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Anthrax is an acute infectious disease caused by the spore-forming bacterium Bacillus anthracis. Anthrax most commonly occurs in wild and domestic lower vertebrates (cattle, sheep, goats, camels, antelopes, and other herbivores), but it can also occur in humans when they are exposed to infected animals or tissue from infected animals.

Anthrax is most common in agricultural regions where it occurs in animals. These include South and Central America, Southern and Eastern Europe, Asia, Africa, the Caribbean, and the Middle East. When anthrax affects humans, it is usually due to an occupational exposure to infected animals or their products. Workers who are exposed to dead animals and animal products from other countries where anthrax is more common may become infected with B. anthracis (industrial anthrax). Anthrax outbreaks occur in the United States on an annual basis in livestock and wild game animals such as deer.

Anthrax infection can occur in three forms: cutaneous (skin), inhalation, and gastrointestinal. B. anthracis spores can live in the soil for many years, and humans can become infected with anthrax by handling products from infected animals or by inhaling anthrax spores from contaminated animal products. Anthrax can also be spread by eating undercooked meat from infected animals. It is rare to find infected animals in the United States.
ADI develops ELISA test kits for detection of Ebola viral protein antibodies

ADI develops ELISA test kits for detection of Ebola viral protein antibodies

San Antonio, Texas-based Biotech Company Alpha Diagnostic Int'l has developed and released several convenient, rapid, and sensitive ELISA test kits for the detection of major Ebola viral protein antibodies (Glycoprotein, GP; Nucleoprotein, NP, and Viral Protein 40 or VP40). [More]
IU Bloomington biologists to receive funding from NSF’s Dimensions of Biodiversity Program

IU Bloomington biologists to receive funding from NSF’s Dimensions of Biodiversity Program

Indiana University Bloomington biologists who specialize in the ecology and evolution of microbes have been named one of 12 teams in the nation to receive funding from the National Science Foundation's Dimensions of Biodiversity Program. [More]
Pharmaceutical industry withdraws from the antibiotic space

Pharmaceutical industry withdraws from the antibiotic space

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said that at least 2 million Americans are sickened by antibiotic resistant infections each year and survive. [More]
LLNL scientists issued patent for producing antimicrobial compounds to fight superbugs

LLNL scientists issued patent for producing antimicrobial compounds to fight superbugs

Superbugs, antibiotic-resistant bacteria, have been on the rise since antibiotics were first introduced 80 years ago. That's because these germ-fighting agents have lost their punch from being overprescribed and misused, allowing bacteria pathogens to develop immunities against them. [More]
MIT researchers use disarmed version of anthrax toxin to deliver cancer drugs

MIT researchers use disarmed version of anthrax toxin to deliver cancer drugs

Bacillus anthracis bacteria have very efficient machinery for injecting toxic proteins into cells, leading to the potentially deadly infection known as anthrax. A team of MIT researchers has now hijacked that delivery system for a different purpose: administering cancer drugs. [More]
Elusys completes phase 3 clinical program of obiltoxaximab in healthy adult volunteers

Elusys completes phase 3 clinical program of obiltoxaximab in healthy adult volunteers

Elusys Therapeutics, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company developing antibody therapies to treat infectious disease, today announced it has completed three phase 3 healthy adult volunteer safety studies of obiltoxaximab (ETI-204). [More]
Soligenix awarded $24.7 million contract to advance development of Rivax vaccine

Soligenix awarded $24.7 million contract to advance development of Rivax vaccine

Soligenix, Inc., a late-stage biopharmaceutical company developing products that address unmet medical needs in the areas of inflammation, oncology and biodefense, announced today that it has been awarded a contract valued at up to $24.7 million inclusive of options by the US Department of Health and Human Service's National Institutes of Health (specifically funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases or NIAID). [More]
Soligenix acquires novel orphan drug candidate for treatment of CTCL

Soligenix acquires novel orphan drug candidate for treatment of CTCL

Soligenix, Inc., a late-stage biopharmaceutical company developing products that address unmet medical needs in the areas of inflammation, oncology and biodefense, announced today the acquisition of a novel orphan drug candidate, known as SGX301 (synthetic hypericin). [More]
Soligenix announces promising preliminary results from study on ricin toxin vaccine

Soligenix announces promising preliminary results from study on ricin toxin vaccine

Soligenix, Inc., a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company focused on developing products to treat serious inflammatory diseases where there remains an unmet medical need, as well as developing several biodefense vaccines and therapeutics, announced today promising preliminary results from a preclinical study with its ricin toxin vaccine RiVax™, in a non-human primate (NHP) lethal aerosol exposure model. [More]
Rice University researchers confirm potent synthesis of natural tetracycline

Rice University researchers confirm potent synthesis of natural tetracycline

A fortuitous collaboration at Rice University has led to the total synthesis of a recently discovered natural antibiotic. [More]
OMRF receives $14.5 million grant from NIH to continue research on anthrax

OMRF receives $14.5 million grant from NIH to continue research on anthrax

The National Institutes of Health has awarded the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation a five-year, $14.5 million grant to continue its research on anthrax and the bacteria's effects on humans. [More]
CDC report blames researcher's haste for bird flu virus mishandling

CDC report blames researcher's haste for bird flu virus mishandling

An investigation into the mistaken shipment of deadly bird flu virus from a government laboratory earlier this year found that a scientist took shortcuts to speed up the work and accidentally contaminated the samples, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Friday. [More]
Soligenix demonstrates improved immunogenicity and rapid action of anthrax vaccine, VeloThrax

Soligenix demonstrates improved immunogenicity and rapid action of anthrax vaccine, VeloThrax

Soligenix, Inc., a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company focused on developing products to treat serious inflammatory diseases where there remains an unmet medical need, as well as developing several biodefense vaccines and therapeutics, announced today results demonstrating the improved immunogenicity and rapid action of its anthrax vaccine, VeloThrax™. [More]
Viewpoints: Medicare's future finances; 'promising deal' on VA; Texas 'war on abortion'

Viewpoints: Medicare's future finances; 'promising deal' on VA; Texas 'war on abortion'

Medicare got some good news Monday, when the trustees who oversee its finances announced that the fund that pays for hospital care will remain solvent until 2030, four years longer than its forecast from last year. [More]

Senate could vote on VA nominee's confirmation before the August break

Meanwhile, Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell named Leslie Dach, a former Wal-Mart vice president, to be a senior adviser as part of Burwell's effort to head off difficulties in the upcoming health law enrollment period. [More]
WIRB-Copernicus Group acquires Alliance Biosciences

WIRB-Copernicus Group acquires Alliance Biosciences

WIRB-Copernicus Group, the world's largest provider of regulatory and ethical review services for clinical research, announced today that it has acquired Alliance Biosciences. Formerly a division of Richmond, VA-based Alliance Engineering, Alliance Biosciences was the leading biosafety and biosecurity consulting firm in the United States. [More]
First Edition: July 24, 2014

First Edition: July 24, 2014

Today's headlines include more analysis of this week's conflicting appeals courts' decisions regarding a key part of the health law. [More]
Viewpoints: 'Entitlement meltdown;' improving Medicare Advantage; 'sloppy work habits' at CDC

Viewpoints: 'Entitlement meltdown;' improving Medicare Advantage; 'sloppy work habits' at CDC

Each day, 10,000 baby boomers retire and begin receiving Medicare and Social Security benefits. And while five workers supported the benefits of each retiree in 1960, there will be only two workers funding each retiree by 2030. Those who dismiss long-term budget projections should re-read the last paragraph. The retirement of 77 million baby boomers into Social Security and Medicare is not a theoretical projection. Demography is destiny (Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, 7/21). [More]
Glide Pharma announces successful completion of pre-clinical proof-of-concept study with novel solid formulation of octreotide acetate

Glide Pharma announces successful completion of pre-clinical proof-of-concept study with novel solid formulation of octreotide acetate

Glide Pharma, the pharmaceutical development and device company focused on solid dose formulations of therapeutics and vaccines, today announced that its novel solid formulation of octreotide acetate achieved successful results in a pre-clinical proof-of-concept study comparing it with the currently marketed liquid product (Sandostatin®). [More]
First Edition: July, 21, 2014

First Edition: July, 21, 2014

Today's headlines include a story about an effort by regulators to widen insurer networks, as well as a range of other health policy developments. [More]