Anthrax spores don’t match dead researcher’s samples

02/27/2009
John Byrne | RawStory.com


Poisonous anthrax that killed five Americans in the weeks after the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks doesn’t match bacteria from a flask linked to Bruce Ivins, the researcher who committed suicide after being implicated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, a scientist said.

Spores used in the deadly mailings “share a chemical ‘fingerprint’ that is not found in the flask linked to Bruce Ivins,” Roberta Kwok wrote in Nature News, citing Joseph Michael, a scientist at the Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Michael analyzed letters sent to the New York Post and offices of Senators Tom Daschle and Patrick Leahy, and found a distinct “chemical signature” not present in the flask known as RMR-1029, which Ivins could access in his laboratory at Fort Detrick, Maryland.

“Spores from two of those show a distinct chemical signature that includes silicon, oxygen, iron, and tin; the third letter had silicon, oxygen, iron and possibly also tin,” Kwok wrote. “Bacteria from Ivins’ RMR-1029 flask did not contain any of those four elements.”

The results don’t necessarily exonerate Ivins.

The mailed spores could have been removed from the flask and grown under different conditions, resulting in varying chemical contents, Jason Bannan, a microbiologist and forensic examiner at the FBI’s Chemical Biological Sciences Unit in Quantico, Virginia, told Kwok.

“It doesn’t surprise me that it would be different,” said Bannan.

The FBI has asked the National Academy of Science to perform an independent review of the anthrax investigation data. The two sides are working on a contract for the study.

Ivins, 62, a biodefense researcher who spent years searching for a better anthrax vaccine, overdosed on Tylenol and Codiene last year after learning that the FBI was preparing to indict him on murder charges.

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Comment by Marklar on February 28, 2009 at 1:12pm
Well, to put that in terms one can understand - a single heaping handful, or about a normal bottle's worth MAY do the job if one is left untreated for the overdose, a double handful would pretty much assure death without immediate medical attention. So the answer is quite a lot.
Comment by truth on February 28, 2009 at 3:28am
Nothing to see here, move along. This is huge, well not so huge when you consider any one with a brain knew the FBi was spending more time covering this up rather than doing an investigation.

Facts on Ivins: He did not have the expertise nor equipment available to him to create this aerosilized anthrax. A former convicted drug addict , claiming to be his thearapist had him commited for his safety and others the FBI claimed. He was in a nut house yet had access to drugs. Guess what type of drugs he supposedly used to kill himself ? Asprin.

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