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Brookhaven Lab develops 'ThraxVac' to clean up anthrax

rs include municipality response teams, major corporations, the military, and the postal service.

ThraxVac has several advantages over current methods of killing anthrax spores. The polonium source does not need heavy shielding, so the device is light-weight and easily portable. The use of polonium to produce alpha particles virtually eliminates the health and radiation hazards associated with gamma and x-ray sources. Since the polonium is contained in a closed source, it is not airborne, so there is no danger of inhaling it. Also, bleach, alcohol, acids, bases, or solvents do not easily kill endospores. Any anthrax spores that are not killed can remain a threat for many years.

With additional funding from Circle Group Holdings, Inc., Czajkowski and Panessa-Warren, with the aid of George Tortora, Head of Clinical Microbiology at University Hospital, Stony Brook, intend to continue proof-of-principle tests and microscopic analysis of the spore destruction process using both transmission electron microscopy and scanning electron microscopy at Brookhaven. So far, test results are extremely promising. The final steps before commercialization will be making a prototype and optimizing it for field use.

The researchers do not actually work with anthrax at Brookhaven; they work with a genetically identical bacterium called Baccilus cereus. This model bacterium does not contain or produce the dangerous toxins that anthrax produces.


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Contact: Diane Greenberg
greenb@bnl.gov
631-344-2347
DOE/Brookhaven National Laboratory
7-Oct-2003


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