Award given for bio-threat reduction

Sept. 8, 2011 at 7:05 AM

NEWARK, Del., Sept. 8 (UPI) -- Fraunhofer Center for Molecular Biotechnology has been contracted to help the U.S, government with developing countermeasures to biological pathogens.

The Delaware company's efforts -- under a $1.5 million award from the U.S. Defense Threat Reduction Agency -- will involve a sustainable source of reagents for advancing critical research.

"Our unique platform technology, using plants for the production of target protein reagents, has been shown to be highly efficient and flexible for a wide variety of molecules, including many that have been 'hard to produce' using more traditional approaches," said to FhCMB Executive Director Vidadi Yusibov.

"Our experience in molecular biology and protein biochemistry will be important factors in the successful development of these critical reagents."

The potential use of biological agents for bio-warfare threatens the security of populations globally. Biological weapons can be easily concealed, transported and released with devastating consequences, making rapid response capability a requirement of paramount importance.

"We must support the ongoing revolution in the life sciences by seeking to ensure that resulting discoveries and their applications, used solely for peaceful and beneficial purposes, are globally available," Yusibov said.

"At the same time, we must be mindful of the risks throughout history posed by those who sought to misuse the products of new technologies for harmful purposes."

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