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2020 | 01

CBNW – Chemical, Biological & Nuclear Warfare

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2020 | 01

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CONTENTS

05

Foreword Andy Oppenheimer assesses a resurgent ISIS.

06 08

18

Events & Advertisers

The blight from the right Andy Oppenheimer warns against a CBRN terrorist wildcard.

12

SPECIAL FEATURE: Chernobyl is forever Dr Sergey Mikhalovsky et al revisit the site of the nuclear disaster.

18

INTERVIEW: Protection in peace and war David Oliver talks to Bruno David of NBC-Sys.

38

22

Protecting the pilots David Bates rolls out decon support for the Eurofighter Typhoon.

72 26

Practice makes perfect Col Ram Athavale recommends improvements to operational CBRN response.

30

COUNTRY FOCUS: We live in a land down under David Oliver presents Australia’s major new CBRN investment.

78

34

Eternal flame Eric Damiens outlines flame spectrophotometry for detection.

38

PROMOTIONAL FEATURE: Filtration for protection Jacobi Carbons describe their activated products.

42

COUNTRY FOCUS: Calling Pakistan’s nuclear bluff Col H R Naidu Gade analyses the Kashmir crisis.

46

Kitting out the warfighter David Oliver describes US Joint Service CBRN protection.

ON THE COVER A trainee moves through a decontamination shower at 1st Combat Engineer Regiment’s training facility during a visit by the Army Indigenous Development Programme to Robertson Barracks. ©Commonwealth of Australia

50

Dr. Sko Steven Pike explains how to make simulated CBRN exercises more realistic.

54

COUNTRY FOCUS: Preparing for CBRN Andrea D’Angelo & Lt Col Andrea Gloria review EU assistance for Lebanon.

58

Sensing in the field Dr Neeraja Venkateswaran describes orthogonal detection of biothreat agents.

62

Detecting the unknown Dr. Damian Foo outlines hybrid multiplex detection of pathogens. SPECIAL FOCUS: MEDICAL COUNTERMEASURES

64

Chemical weapons: the medical dilemma Col Hamish de Bretton Gordon assesses challenges in treating CW victims.

68

Skyfall Andy Oppenheimer tracks effects of a Russian rocket explosion.

72

Ebola returns Zyg Dembek presents new Ebola countermeasures.

76

The monster that hitchhiked Deborah Carr looks at the health threat from African Swine Fever.

78

Gone but not forgotten Dr Phillip L. Gomez examines preparedness for smallpox.

82

So that others may live Frank G. Rando describes the emergency responder’s role.

86

Ray of hope Alicia G.B. Smith & Gary A. Flory unravel radiological myths.

CBNW is published by React Media Publishing, 50 Summit Way, Southgate, London N14 7NP. Telephone: + 44 7411 559550 E-mail: tina@chembio.biz www.cbnw.co.uk

Publisher Tahmiena Naji | Editor-in-Chief Andy Oppenheimer AIExpE MIABTI Deputy Editors Dr. Salma Abbasi, David Oliver | US Correspondent Frank Rando Designer/Production Manager Mariel Tabora Foulds Printed by: The Manson Group, 8 Porters Wood, Valley Road Industrial Estate, St Albans AL3 6PZ. Tel: 01727 848440 ISSN 2051-6584. © React Media Publishing 2020. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be used, reproduced, stored in an information retrieval system or transmitted in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of React Media. This publication has been prepared wholly upon information supplied by the contributors and while the publishers trust that its contents will be of interest to readers, its accuracy cannot be guaranteed. The publishers are unable to accept, and hereby expressly disclaim any liability for the consequences of any inaccuracies, errors or omissions in such information whether occurring during the processing of such information for publication or otherwise. No representations, whether within the meaning of the Misrepresentation Act 1967 or otherwise, warranties or endorsements of any information contained herein are given or intended and full verification of all information appearing in the publication of the articles contained herein does not necessarily imply that any opinions therein are necessarily those of the publishers.

CBNW 2020/01 03


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FOREWORD

DOWN – BUT NOT OUT

T

he terrorist murder of two people on London Bridge on 29 November was a stark reminder that the threat from jihadist extremism in the West has not in any way waned, despite the military defeat of Daesh in most of the areas it occupied and enslaved in Iraq and Syria from 2014 to 2019. In December, Chief of the Defence Staff, General Sir Nick Carter told the Royal United Services Institute that Daesh and its ideology of violence had “absolutely not been defeated” and the threat of terrorism continued to “proliferate with lethal effect.” In the wake of the 29 November attack he stressed that “conditions in parts of the world are not conductive to reducing the growth of extremism” and that “instability was the defining condition with threats to our nation diversifying, proliferating and intensifying very rapidly.” The Al-Muhajiroun extremist network once headed by the hate preacher Anjem Choudary, who was freed from prison in 2018, has begun to remobilise – according to a report for the Commission for Countering Extremism, set up by the Home Office. The London Bridge killer, Usman Khan, had been a follower of Choudary. Of huge concern was that Khan had been freed on license, having been jailed in 2012 for his involvement in an

al-Qaeda-inspired plot to bomb high-profile locations and build a terrorist training camp in Pakistan. Questions abounded about the early release of terrorist prisoners and agitators and calls for extending their sentences or at least making them serve the terms handed down. The report said: “A number of persistent activists have finished their TPIMs (terrorism prevention and investigative measures)” and “are now free to reconnect... and re-engage in their activism.” The territorial defeat of Daesh has not deterred activists because “in their view IS came back before and will come back again.” The elimination on 26 October of Daesh leader Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi during a US military operation in north-west Syria was hailed as a victory but also heightened the threat of reprisals. The escape of Daesh prisoners formerly under Kurdish control could re-ignite the threat in the areas where the most lethal and dangerous group of recent times had been driven out, and exacerbated by the pullout of US troops from northern Syria as Turkey advanced its operation against the Kurds. Rising instability in Iraq, exacerbated by the conflict with Iran, further threatens the fight against Daesh. Up to 3,000 Daesh diehards are reported to be regrouping in underground hideouts in the desert to launch surprise attacks on nearby targets. Some tunnels had been destroyed by aerial bombardment, to be replaced by new well-strengthened subterranean networks. Al-Qaeda has resurged in western Syria and ISIS in the east even before the US troop withdrawal and the Turkish invasion. Looming ahead is also the threat from Russian-speaking jihadi terrorists fleeing Iraq and Syria more easily than Middle Eastern foreign fighters, and are hiding out in the FSU or Europe. And as the London Bridge and many other attacks illustrate, the lone-wolf and self-starter menace is not to be underestimated. Military action is never enough to defeat terrorists: with such an extremist example as the Daesh mass-murderers and their ability to reappear like an incurable virus, it will take far longer to defeat the idea. ❚❙

In this year’s first edition of CBNW we present a special section on CBRN Medical Countermeasures. Zyg Dembek provides an update on Ebola in west Africa, while Deborah Carr outlines a new human health threat from African Swine Fever. Col Hamish de Bretton Gordon reports on the massive difficulties in treating CW victims in Syria. Andy Oppenheimer analyses the radioactive release from the Russian rocket accident, while Gary Flory & Alicia G.B. Smith outline ways to treat radiation victims. Dr Phillip L. Gomez warns about a reemergence of smallpox, and Frank G. Rando provides the paramedic’s perspective. Elsewhere, Andy Oppenheimer hones in on another growing terror threat – from the far Right. Prof Sergey Mikhalovsky & colleagues revisit Chernobyl. David Oliver meets Bruno David of leading company NBC-Sys, and introduces a major new Australian CBRN defence programme. David Bates rolls out chemical decontamination ground support for the Eurofighter Typhoon, and Steven Pike explains how to enhance simulation of real-life CBRN exercises. And as ever, we at CBNW extend our thanks to all of you who help keep us safe.

CBNW 2020/01 05


EVENTS & INDEX EVENTS 2020

4-5

FEBRUARY

18-19 MARCH

21-23 APRIL

5-7 MAY

19-21 MAY

8-12 JUNE

29-30 JUNE

30 – 2 JUNE – JULY

22-24

SEPTEMBER

11-13

NOVEMBER

06 CBNW 2020/01

NCT South America Bogota www.nctsouthamerica.com

Joint Civil & DOD CBRN Symposium Virginia www.jointcbrn.dsigroup.org

CBRNe Summit Brno www.intelligence-sec.com/events/ cbrne-summit-europe-2020/

NCT USA Washington DC www.nct-usa.com

CTX Counter Terror Expo London Excel www.ctexpo.co.uk

Eurosatory Paris www.eurosatory.com

ADVERTISERS INDEX ALLUVIUM LLC ARGON ELECTRONICS

85 7

AVON PROTECTION

15

BERTIN INSTRUMENTS

29

CBNW XPLOSIVE JOURNAL

90

CRISTANINI SPA

57

ENVIRONICS OY

IFC

EPI GUARD

75

FLIR INC

11

HOTZONE SOLUTIONS GROUP

53

JACOBI CARBONS GROUP

4

JOHNSON MATTHEY (TRACERCO)

45

NBC-SYS

23

OBSERVIS OY

25

ORITEST GROUP

38

OUVRY

83

PAUL BOYE TECHNOLOGIES

17

PROENGIN

47

RAFA

67

SAAB

61

SEC TECHNOLOGIES

33

SERB SA

71

SCHMITZ FIRE & RESCUE

49

TETRACORE INC

OBC

VEREDUS LABORATORIES

IBC

NCT EOD Middle East Abu Dhabi

BOOK PROMOTION

www.nct-middleeast.com

SHOW ADS

FIELDS OF ORION BY ANDY OPPENHEIMER

94

CBRNE SUMMIT BRNO

79

International Explosives Conference London

CT EXPO

93

www.iec-2020.com

IB CONSULTANCY NCT USA EVENT

41

EUROSATORY

89

JOINT CIVIL & DOD CBRN

37

NCT Europe Rome www.nct-europe.com

NCT Asia Seoul www.nct-asia.com

ADVERTORIALS ENVIRONICS OY

90

OBSERVIS OY

91

ORITEST GROUP

91

OUVRY

92

PAUL BOYE TECHNOLOGIES

92

RAFA

93


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TERRORISM The Oklahoma City bombing, commited by a far-right extremist, was the worst act of homegrown terrorism in US history. Timothy McVeigh’s massive 4,800-pound VBIED killed 168, injured 680, and destroyed 324 buildings. Some 665 rescue workers were involved in rescue and recovery operations.

Andy Oppenheimer warns against a growing CBRN terrorist threat

©Wikimedia

For the most part, since 9/11 the world’s counterterrorism authorities have focused on the massive threat from jihadist terrorism. The London Bridge attack in London last November reinforced the prevalence of this danger. Al-Qaeda, Daesh and other groups and their followers are still top of the terrorist league across several continents. However, a further menace has resurged in the West in recent years – from the far Right

Beware the BLIGHT

T

his has been largely overlooked – to the point that instigators of violence from white supremacist and even neo-Nazi groups and individual ‘lone wolves’ have long been called extremists rather than terrorists. Muslims, Jews and other minorities are perceived as threats to white ‘indigenous’ people who are regarded as naturally superior and, a standard trope of the Right, seen under siege by immigration. According to the FBI, most domestic terrorist arrests in the US in 2019 were of white nationalists. The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) found that from 2009 through 2018 the far Right was responsible for 73% of domestic US extremistrelated fatalities. Anti-Semitic incidents in the US rose 57% in 2017 — the largest single-year increase on record. On 27 October 2018, a gunman with a history of anti-Semitism fired on a synagogue in Pittsburgh, killing eleven and injuring six. Far-Right preponderance towards use of CBRN weapons is of growing concern. While so far sporadic and historical (as outlined below along with non-CBRN cases) and thankfully so far largely 08 CBNW 2020/01

Extreme right-wing attacks in Europe, 2012–2017. ©Global Terrorism Database

unsuccessful, time may be running out before a far-Right group or individual succeeds.

New Zealand. It was the deadliest shooting in the country’s history.

Recent US attacks

On 10 October 2019 in Halle, eastern Germany, where neo-Nazism has been prevalent for many years, a Nazisupporting gunman killed two after attempting to enter a synagogue during Jewish New Year. Nine pounds of explosives were found in his car, incorporated into “numerous devices.” He had stated his attention to carry out a "massacre."

On 3 August 2019, a lone terrorist shot dead 22 and wounded at least 26 at a Walmart store in El Paso, Texas. The alleged perpetrator, Patrick Crusius, told police he vowed to kill “as many Mexicans as possible.” On 15 March 2019, a gunman fired on two mosques in Christchurch, killing 51, in a country not normally scarred by terrorism –

Use of explosives


TERRORISM ©Wikimedia

Left: People pay their respects at a memorial to the victims of an antiSemitic terrorist gunman at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on 4 November 2018.

©BBC

Top Right: Copeland bombings, London, April 1999.

SPREADING HATRED

Bottom Right: David Copeland was caught on camera in Brixton about 90 minutes before the explosion on 17 April 1999, one of three bombing attacks he aimed at gay and black people in London.

©Met Police

Far-Right ‘lone’ attackers are often connected to other groups, both physical and online, and are inspired by their messages of hate and violence. Just 19 minutes before his El Paso shooting spree Crusius uploaded ‘The Inconvenient Truth’ to a website heralding warnings of a “Hispanic invasion of Texas.” The online ‘manifesto’ produced by the Norwegian mass-murderer Anders Breivik has inspired several attacks and attempts, and his own vehicle-borne IED was, in turn, inspired by McVeigh’s VBIED M.O. The Christchurch terrorist livestreamed his massacre on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube and filmed it on a camera mounted on his helmet.

from the RIGHT ©BBC

The terrorist who shot dead 22 in El Paso, Texas on 3 August 2019 inhabited an international online subculture of far-right extremism.

Last September, US Army soldier Spc. Jarrett Smith of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division Fort Riley Kansas, was charged with distributing information related to explosives and WMD. At least one of Smith’s designs was viable, according to an FBI explosives expert. Smith is also known to have discussed – with an undercover FBI agent – attacking a Democratic presidential candidate, killing members of the Antifa group, and attacking the HQ of a major news network with a car bomb. He was also said to have provided information on IEDs and aimed to go to Ukraine to fight with far-Right groups. Also last year, an Ohio militia allegedly stockpiled explosives to build pipe bombs and a white-supremacist Coast Guard officer amassed an IED arsenal in his apartment in Washington, D.C. In October 2018 mailings of IEDs were made to prominent Democrats and other critics of President Donald Trump. However, far-Right extremist attacks have long pre-dated the Trump era. The 19 April 1995 Oklahoma bombing by a far-Right militia member, Timothy McVeigh, and two accomplices still stands as the most devastating domestic  CBNW 2020/01 09


TERRORISM US attack, and one of the biggest ever terrorist bombings in history.

UK and Europe

Far-Right and ultra-nationalist extremism has resurged throughout Europe. And in the UK, in mid-2019 MI5 Director General Andrew Parker and Met Police Commissioner Cressida Dick revealed that “numerous plots” had been thwarted since 2017. The UK’s lead anti-extremism commissioner, Sara Khan, said far-Right activists were “organised, professional and actively attempting to recruit.” Last September, a neo-Nazi group calling itself Feuerkrieg Division circulated a list of police buildings and an image of a police chief online, calling for its followers to carry out attacks. The

HALLMARK ATTACKS The most devastating European right-wing atrocity occurred in another country hardly scarred by terrorism – Norway – on 22 July 2011, when a dual bombing in Oslo killing eight and subsequent mass shooting dead of 69 on an island was perpetrated by a neo-Nazi, Anders Breivik. The worst UK case was three bombings in April 1998 by a lone hate-filled neo-Nazi, David Copeland, who targeted black people and a gay pub in central London, killing three and injuring dozens more.

©Johannesen/Wikimedia

Weapon and target type for right-wing attacks in the US, 2007-2017.

anti-racist charity Hope Not Hate warned that a “new generation of Nazis” were targeting young gamers on online forums. Many lone attackers are unbalanced, but still dangerous. Last September an attention-seeking self-proclaimed white supremacist, Thanasis Joel, was convicted for a series of hoax IED incidents in Manchester, a British city scarred on several occasions by terrorism. One caused a mass evacuation in Manchester city centre with RSP procedures required on two hoax devices he emplaced on 3 May.

CBRN attempts

The far Right have also got form with attempts at CBRN. In February 2017, a member of the white-supremacist ‘Creativity Movement’ was arrested after hospitalising himself with side-effects produced by his experiments with ricin. This prompted a large-scale FBI investigation. In November 2011 a plot by four anti-government militia members in the state of Georgia involved blowing up government buildings and a mass-casu10 CBNW 2020/01

Government building in Oslo after Breivik detonated his VBIED on 22 July 2011.

©Global Terrorism Database

alty attack using ricin. This also highlighted the insider threat: one member worked for the federal Department of Agriculture, giving him access to chemicals and the means to attack food and water supplies. In 2009 the first first British citizen convicted of producing a chemical WMD, Ian Davidson, as the leader of the right-wing terrorist Aryan Strike Force (ASF) aimed to poison water supplies of Muslims in Serbia using the toxin ricin. He and his son Nicky had produced enough ricin arguably to

kill up to 1,000. While ricin is an unsuitable poison to target victims en masse, attempts at its manufacture nevertheless signal alarm and require substantial CBRN response, remediation, and investigation. In 2003 a neo-Nazi Texan, William Krar, was arrested after more than 500,000 rounds of ammunition, 65 pipe bombs and remote-control briefcase bombs were discovered on his premises along with a kilo of sodium cyanide, along with components to convert it into a dispersal weapon capable of killing thousands. In 2008 an independently wealthy American neo-Nazi, James Cummings, acquired four one-gallon containers of uranium and thorium mix, beryllium powder, and instructions to build a radiological dispersal device using cesium-137, cobalt-60, and strontium-90. He had applied to join the US Nationalist Socialist Movement. In 2004 and 2013, the FBI arrested two white supremacists plotting to acquire a radiological device. Although these and other cases are historical examples, burgeoning Far-Right adherence with added apocalyptic elements makes terrorist use of CBRN increasingly possible in our extremist times. ❚❙

A white supremacist began his mass murder of 51 at the Al Noor Mosque, Christchurch, New Zealand, on 15 March 2019.

©Wikimedia


NUCLEAR ACCIDENT

Chernobyl is SPECIAL FEATURE

Sergii Mirnyi, Sergey Mikhalovsky and Yuriy Olkhovyk revisit the site of the world’s worst nuclear power disaster

The Chernobyl miniseries recently produced by HBO has awakened massive public interest in the events of April 1986 which took place at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant (NPP). The authors of this article have not remained indifferent either, having played an invaluable role in mitigating the consequences of the accident as ‘The Liquidators’ The army’s role

The miniseries drama, surprisingly, adequately reflected most of the events that occurred in those early days after the accident. However, its depiction of the army role was somewhat grotesque. After watching the series, the viewer can assume that one of the most important tasks of the army was shooting stray dogs, and the troops were accommodated in dirty, shabby camps, and drank vodka round the clock, both in the camp and during work, because they were dead scared. Exterminating the dogs abandoned in the villages – a regrettable necessity to avoid feral dog packs and prevent a rabies epidemic – was a minuscule episode in the battle of Chernobyl. And it had been done by teams of civilian 12 CBNW 2020/01

hunters. The army entered the 30-km exclusion zone (the Zone) disarmed. All personal weapons and vehicles’ machine-guns were left at the regiments’ home depots. The field camps were built according to the military manual and kept very tidy. For in those particular circumstances ‘the dirt’ meant not only a high possibility of epidemics, including dysentery, but also an intake of radioactive matter by personnel. Although alcohol consumption could have allegedly had some protection effect against radiation (nobody knew where this anecdotal evidence came from), it was strictly prohibited in the Zone and camps around it. Summing up: the miserable folks, depicted in the movie as military, had nothing to do with the Chernobyl

radiation combatants as they were in 1986 – real and humble heroes, en masse.

Nobody was prepared

A retrospective view on the events that took place afterwards at Chernobyl has revealed a lack of efficiency of many an activity in 1986 and 1987, which was due to the insufficient scientific knowledge at that time – as well as the so-called ‘administrative command’ system of management that prevailed in the then USSR. Nobody was prepared to deal with a nuclear accident like this. NPPs were considered very safe to exploit, and the main radiation protection measures had been designed to deal with the events of a nuclear war. In modern terms, the Chernobyl accident can be described as


NUCLEAR ACCIDENT

FOREVER ©Yaroslav Yemelyanenko, CHERNOBYL TOUR

©Yaroslav Yemelyanenko, CHERNOBYL TOUR

Main Pic: Panoramic view of the Cooling Tower – Pond NPP River: probably uninhabitable forever. Right: The empty town of Prypyat gradually turned into jungle. ©Chernobyl Center for International Research

Left: Red Forest in May 1986. The highly radioactive plume killed most of the Scotch Pines almost instantaneously. The green forest turned rusty red in a matter of hours.

a ‘dirty bomb’ or radiological dispersal device of enormous scale and power.

Atmosphere of secrecy

The situation was further worsened by the atmosphere of secrecy that was

imposed on everything related to the Chernobyl accident by the central government, which only reluctantly admitted to it a few days after it had happened. An immeasurable amount of data which could have been used to

assess the real effect of radioactivity on human health and environment may have been irreversibly lost. The secrecy particularly distorted the data on the health of the population and personnel affected by radiation in the early days and months after the accident. The medics were forbidden to mention the exposure to radiation as the cause of death or illnesses, even in the case of firefighters who developed acute radiation sickness. Very little information was released, and only when international experts were  allowed to participate. CBNW 2020/01 13


NUCLEAR ACCIDENT Extent of contamination

On many occasions our knowledge and understanding of Nature proved wrong in estimating the impact of radioactivity on the contaminated environment. For example, in early days post-Chernobyl, a huge rise in the radioactivity of fresh water was expected – but it never materialised, indicating that Nature has

Right: On 12 February 2013 a portion of the roof partially collapsed in the Turbine Hall of Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant Unit 4. Bottom Left: The Sarcophagus (Object Shelter) looms over the ruins of ChPP unit 4.

©Yaroslav Yemelyanenko, CHERNOBYL TOUR

©Norbert Molitor/Wikipedia

Radiation decrease

some very powerful processes of self-decontamination, which scientists were not aware of. To date, most objectives of mitigating its impact pursued operational and tactical tasks of dealing with a very large-scale environmental contamination caused by a release of huge amounts of technogenic radionuclides. This mission determined the activities undertaken, their scale and costs. Some 138,000 inhabitants of 190 villages were evacuated and re-settled elsewhere and a new city of Slavutych ©Yaroslav Yemelyanenko, CHERNOBYL TOUR

was built for the Chernobyl NPP personnel and their families outside the Zone. A temporary ‘Object Shelter,’ also known as ‘the Sarcophagus,’ was completed in November 1986 to cover the ruins of the exploded Reactor 4. A further step towards safety was achieved by the design and construction in 2019 of the New Safe Confinement (NSC), aka ‘the Arch’ – which encloses the old Sarcophagus. This high-tech structure has a 100-year guarantee, during which the highly radioactive debris in it will be properly disposed of.

The containment and decontamination measures undertaken, along with natural processes, have led to a dramatic decrease of radioactivity within the Zone – making it safe for tourists to visit. Around 125,000 tourists visited Chernobyl in 2019, the number steadily increasing since 2014 by150-200% per year. Of the tourists 80% are from abroad: the UK leads; then Poland, the US, and Germany. Paradoxically, the main irradiation dose, associated with their tour to Chernobyl, is received… during the flight to Ukraine! A typical daily tour dose in the Zone is a mere 0.02 mSv – the equivalent of a several-day background ionising radiation dose in London, New York, Kyiv or Tokyo. In the core of the affected Zone – in the notorious pine-tree Red Forest, which died from the fallout – the gamma-irradiation intensity has decreased a thousandfold compared to what it was in 1986. This is a huge achievement of the mitigation operation – one of its greatest, and which remains totally unknown to most.

Reactor 4

Nevertheless, due to the presence of some long-living radioactive isotopes heavily contributing to the contamination, the 4th reactor site and its vicinity will remain unsuitable for permanent human habitation for millennia. In the 10-km core of the Zone, work to dispose of radioactive wastes will be carried out, including decommissioning of the reactors, dismantling the Shelter, and operating the radioactive waste disposal facilities. Left: Sergii Mirnyi (in the centre, hat on) with tourists near the accident site with the dome of the NCS close behind – still safe!

14 CBNW 2020/01


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NUCLEAR ACCIDENT In the rest of the territory, also not considered for re-population, the Chernobyl biospheric reserve was established – both as a protective buffer zone for radionuclides and as an outdoor radioecological research laboratory. The ability of Nature for self-restoration after the radiation accident has proved to be truly amazing, and flourishing wildlife is now an important tourist attraction of the Zone. There are still many uncertainties in predicting long-term consequences of the Chernobyl disaster. At present the possibility of converting the 4th reactor site into a radioactive waste storage facility in the next 100 to 200 years is under discussion. A similar approach used in Russia in 2015 to store a uraniumgraphite reactor at its own site has been considered as an example to follow. The opponents of this approach have been arguing that many geological, geochemical and biological factors have not been taken into account, such as the proximity of rivers, seismic risks, risks of flooding and generation of carbon-14

that can be incorporated into the living organisms and cause gene mutations. As we have to consider the everlasting consequences of the Chernobyl NPP accident, it is doubtful that we are currently equipped with sufficient knowledge to attempt such long-term planning.

Chernobyl is forever

Having dared to use nuclear energy, humankind should fully understand its responsibility for its possible impact on the environment and on health – the

impact which can become apparent for hundreds and thousands of years. Chernobyl did not end with the construction of the Arch. Chernobyl is forever. For us ‘liquidators’, the days spent in the Zone remain among our most important experiences and memories of our lives – when we worked together with other colleagues and combat comrades, united in a mission to protect our families and land, to limit and mitigate the impacts of the worst-ever nuclear energy disaster. ❚❙ ©Yaroslav Yemelyanenko, CHERNOBYL TOUR

Above: Catfish in the ChNPP inlet canal – but don’t dare eat them – just in case…

Left & Below: A CHERNOBYL TOUR guide shows tourists Pripyat town Old and New.

©Yaroslav Yemelyanenko, CHERNOBYL TOUR ©Yaroslav Yemelyanenko, CHERNOBYL TOUR

Left: 7 microSv-h in a kayak at the Chernobyl NPP canal. Natural background level. Very safe!

©Yaroslav Yemelyanenko, CHERNOBYL TOUR

Sergii Mirnyi MSc was a commander of the Radiation Reconnaissance Platoon in the Chernobyl Zone in 1986 and is the Founder and Director of R&D of CHERNOBYL TOUR. Dr Sergey Mikhalovsky helped develop health protection for military and civil personnel (‘liquidators’) who worked in the Chernobyl zone from 1986 to 1990 and now runs the R&D and consultancy company ANAMAD Ltd in Brighton, UK. Dr Yuriy Olkhovyk has been monitoring radioactive contamination in the Chernobyl Zone since 1986 and developed technology for radioactive waste treatment and storage. He is Head of the Research Centre at the Institute of Environmental Geochemistry, NASU, Kyiv, Ukraine. 16 CBNW 2020/01


INTERVIEW

Protection in

peace NBC-Sys supplies protection of first responders, including emergency doctors. ©NBC-Sys

18 CBNW 2020/01


INTERVIEW CBNW Deputy Editor David Oliver talks to Bruno David, Commercial Director of NBC-Sys CBRN protection systems are being supplied by NBC-Sys for French Army vehicles, including the NEXTER VBCI as part of the SCORPION programme. ©David Oliver

& war NBC-Sys was founded in Saint-Chamond in France in 1991 to cover the continuous need for CBRN solutions. It went on to become an autonomous subsidiary of Nexter Group in 2006

CBNW: Could you provide a short history of how the company became involved in the CBRN detection, identification, protection and decontamination markets? BD: NBC-Sys has a very long history in the CBRN field: 70 years working with the French Armed Forces. Our range of products and services covers the treatment of threats from detection to decontamination through collective and individual protection. This very broad spectrum of skills, almost unique at the level of a single manufacturer in Europe, allows us to offer our customers global solutions in a systems approach. Production of the NBC-Sys is a subsidiary of Nexter Group current version of which has a guarantee of sustainability. the NBC-Sys NRBC This is reassuring for our customers in protection mask will this sector where products have a very exceed a million in 2020. long life. Our subsidiary structure allows 

©NBC-Sys

CBNW 2020/01 19


INTERVIEW us to market our products independently of our shareholder. In particular, we benefit from privileged access to Nexter Group vehicle platforms to advance our skills and collective protection systems. Our resources and skills allow us to deal with the complete life cycle of products – studies, tests, production, in-service support, withdrawal of service, and recycling – and uniquely in Europe, live-agent testing of our CBRN protection and filtration products. Production is carried out at our Saint-Chamond site near Lyon. We favour a supply chain from the industrial and technological base of French defence to guarantee quality and security of supply.

develop state-of-the-art products and to offer new technologies. We also cooperate with research centres, universities and other higher education establishments. We have participated in several European projects in military research and security including the European Defence Agency (EDA). This innovation capacity allowed us to win the French market for the renewal of individual protection equipment for armed forces in the Independent Evaluation Group (IEG) with three other French companies, Paul Boyé Technologies, Ouvry and SP Defense. NBC-Sys has been the supplier of CBRN protection masks for the French armed forces since 1951. In addition, the Scorpion programme is a significant example of innovative concepts in collective protection.

CBNW: Can you outline the different products you offer to government agencies and the military? BD: Our extensive range serves a very wide spectrum of customers for our systems and the integration of vehicles, shelters and boats for collective protection. It includes end-users and government agencies for detection, personal protection and decontamination. For example, the current version of our CBRN protection mask will exceed a million produced in our factory in 2020. All versions combined, NBC-Sys has sold several millions of masks and filter cartridges. CBNW: What percentage of your business is in the safety and security sector, and who are your main customers in the civil sector? BD: Twenty per cent of our revenues is dedicated to internal security. Our experience in respiratory protection can guarantee high performance for the protection of first responders – firefighters, doctors, etc – and civil protection. For the civilian market we also offer a range of filtration systems from our military range, specially adapted for commercial vehicles working in hazardous conditions.

CBNW: What percentage of your business is aimed at the military sector? Below: More than 20 specialist technicians work in the NBC-Sys R&D department.

BD: We achieve 80% of our revenues in the military field distributed equally between collective protection, personal protection and decontamination; 20% is realised through exports. Our products are distributed in more than 50 countries

CBNW: Can you give details about your company’s R&D? BD: Our R&D is driven by the forward-looking needs of our armed forces with which we have ongoing exchanges. With a research department of 20-plus, including three specialists in chemistry, textile and materials, we invest 5% of our R&D to ©NBC-Sys

©NBC-Sys

under the NBC-Sys brand. Our order backlog totals nearly three years of revenues, excluding conditional tranches in certain contracts. We expect a 25% growth in sales over the next three years. CBNW: Are you involved in NBC protection systems for military vehicles?

The NBC-Sys MEERKAT multi-purpose decontamination equipment is used by the armed forces and first responders.

20 CBNW 2020/01

BD: We are very active in this sector and work in partnership with many system suppliers. In our domestic market, we are the exclusive supplier of air conditioning and NBC protection systems for the French Army’s Scorpion programme, which includes Leclerc main battle tank (MBT), and VBCI, Griffon, Jaguar and Serval armoured vehicles. This is a global programme of unparalleled scale in terms


INTERVIEW ©NBC-Sys

of number of vehicles, involving some 5,000 vehicles. This production volume will guarantee an optimised performance/cost ratio at the highest standards. The qualification will be undertaken by the technical services of the French Army. We have developed a plug-and-play system consisting of two separate kits: peacetime and wartime. The cost of owning the peacetime kit is optimised because it is standard on all vehicles with reduced filtration performance. The wartime kit has a very high level of performance against the CBRN threat. Operational projection constraints mean it is not necessary for every vehicle to have a wartime kit. Our experience in the field has given us a global approach to filtration and air conditioning, to optimise performance of integration, use and maintenance. For the life cycle of systems we can provide an environmental approach, a secured French supply chain, and an obsolescence monitoring structure ensures production continuity over the duration of the programme. CBNW: Can you explain what training you offer to customers in the use of your products? BD: We are involved in the entire life cycle of our products. Training is an

NBC-Sys produces the EPTBC set of biological/ chemical sampling and transportation kit.

integral part of our field of expertise and services. We are able to provide different types of training that includes product use, their first- and second-level maintenance, training-the-trainer and specific training on request. CBNW: What are the advantages of your products and services over your competitors in the market? BD: In collective protection our presence in large-scale vehicle programmes guarantees us almost continuous production over the next ten years, including durability of our original equipment and spare parts, while also offering competitive quotes based on high production volumes. Although the NBC-Sys brand has existed for only 20 years, we have more than 50 years’ experience in the sector and our membership of the Nexter Group and involvement in major, long-term structuring programmes make us a solid and reassuring player for the customer. We are not a temporary player. Finally, we are constantly looking for a high level of performance and quality. Our materials are qualified by the French Army according to the latest forces standard and are combat-proven in operational theatres. Our level of manufacturing quality is recognised and proven through 100% testing of our systems. Our expertise in the integration/ vehicle qualification phases is recognised by our affiliation with the Nexter group. We support our customers in optimising the systems from the prototype phase. CBNW: Where do you see the greatest potential growth sector for your products? BD: With an innovative range of products qualified by the French Army for renewal over the next five years, we are more than ever ready to increase our export development by offering new and comprehensive solutions to our customers. ❚❙ CBNW 2020/01 21


DECONTAMINATION

Protecting the PILOTS

The CDU is designed and manufactured at the Martech factory on Portland.

David Bates of Martech rolls out chemical decontamination ground support for the Eurofighter Typhoon

Preparedness is increasingly the watchword for our defence sector. It is important that our military is in a state of readiness at all times. The development and deployment of the Chemical Decontamination Unit (CDU) that now forms part of the ground support for the Eurofighter Typhoon,was done in anticipation of a chemical attack on the aircraft or in the airspace

Designed to meet a challenging requirement, the build needs to be repeatable and precise.

S

pecifically the units are designed to decontaminate the pilot’s helmet and breathing apparatus, thus ensuring they are always safe and ready for use. The pilot’s helmets are tailor-made and cannot be worn by other pilots. Each helmet has an array of sensitive and expensive tech built into and onto it. Hence, it cannot be decontaminated using potentially damaging conventional methods such as high-temperature, detergents or fuller’s earth and is not easily or quickly replaced. The CDU effectively maintains operational readiness of the equipment it is used to decontaminate while minimising cost and risk.

Requirement spec

Martech were asked by Dstl (Defence Science and Technology Laboratory) to design and build a demonstrator to prove a new decontamination process. This was successfully achieved. They then won the opportunity to design and build a production unit that would ultimately become a part of the ground support equipment for  Eurofighter. 22 CBNW 2020/01

Quality interconnections are required to maintain the integrity of the solution.


DECONTAMINATION CODA OCTOPUS MARTECH Coda Octopus Martech (Martech) is a UK specialist design and manufacturing company based on Portland in Dorset. For more than 30 years, offering a team of skilled design engineers and on-site manufacture, Martech has produced a wide range of solutions. These give an indication of capability and how they could offer a solution to upcoming requirements. Bespoke solutions can be offered for special/custom test equipment for production line, field and trials testing, obsolete technology replacements and reverse engineering, military vehicle systems, subsea and harsh environment, control and instrumentation, and sonar and signal processing. The company has specialist knowledge in electronic systems design, software, embedded firmware and FPGA, NI Lab-View and bespoke solutions, 3D CAD modelling and mechanical design, electronic and mechanical system assembly, cable assemblies & wiring looms, and ISO 9001 and JOSCAR Hellios-accredited. The challenge was to design a unit that would perform the new chemical decontamination process effectively while being large enough to accommodate the helmet and associated accessories, including space for a hanging rail for the pilot’s suit - yet be portable enough to be transported anywhere in the world while being robust enough to be able to survive any military environment.

Chemical Decontamination Unit

The decon process used in the Chemical Decontamination Unit (CDU) is a relatively simple and proven, safe, clean and effective method of removing chemical agents from sensitive high value, high-tech equipment. It requires certain physical parameters that had to be incorporated into the design. This process and the control of the CDU was developed in conjunction with the UK’s leading experts in chemical and biological protection at Porton Down. Inherently clean and very gentle, the process does not use traditional methods such as high temperatures, radiated heat or any cleaning agents like as fuller’s earth, detergents, foams or chemicals. The units themselves are intended for use in theatre and hostile environments, so the user interface has been designed to be very simple to operate and there are no additional facilities or resources required to maintain its operation, other than a standard 230V AC power supply and an already readily available military spec filter. Inside there are special fittings including connectors for the pilot’s breathing and demist hoses. These connectors are provided to ensure comprehensive decontamination of the items being cleaned. The units themselves are manufac24 CBNW 2020/01

tured in 316 stainless steel which is more resistant to general corrosion and pitting/crevices than conventional austenitic stainless steels. This offers higher creep, stress-to-rupture and tensile strength at elevated temperatures, and excellent corrosion resistance and strength properties. The steel is also painted in a high-spec chemically hard and self-healing paint. Hence, the CDU’s construction meets the vigorous requirements of military air and road transport and can withstand extreme environments. While there are other ‘field-of-operation’ challenges, the user interface on the CDU has been kept as simple as possible. This is integrated with a system to monitor and control the valves. The profile of operation is predetermined with no additional operator involvement. The unit is also fitted with ports for interfacing with biological decontamination equipment, but to date this option has not been utilised.

The cleaning process

The decontamination process has a defined cycle duration and the design keeps this time to a minimum with an expected run-time of less than one hour. To ensure the process has been completely successful, there are external test ports that allow the introduction of chemical sensors to verify successful decontamination. During operation, the system is fully sealed to prevent unnecessary external exposure to any contaminants that may be on the equipment. Utilising low-cost, readily available military-spec respirator filters, all subsequently removed contaminants are contained for disposal in line with standard military procedures.

The Chemical Decontamination Unit developed to meet the requirements to be a portable unit for ground support operations.

CDU Control panel: an easy to use interface with control and status.

Deployment in theatre

The CDU has become an established part of the ground support capabilities of the Eurofighter Typhoon’s member countries’ operations. Now deployed in several strategic locations around the world, it supports preparedness for the possible eventuality of chemical attack.

Other applications

Designed specifically to allow sensitive, high-tech, high value equipment to be thoroughly decontaminated, the CDU technology and design can be scaled up or down to meet the decontamination requirements of a wide range of military operations. The CDU would be an effective tool for sanitising many types of military technology where potential contamination is a concern. Some high cost, high-tech or data sensitive equipment examples include micro-UAVs, weapons, night vision goggles and communication and surveillance equipment. The design is completely scalable and larger or more compact, portable solutions can be offered based on the same design. ❚❙ David Bates is Business development Manager at Coda Octopus Martech Ltd.


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RESPONSE ŠHQ NDRF

NDRF mock drill ahead of the 2010 Commonwealth Games.

CBRN incidents are on the rise and there is a need for clear understanding of threats, vulnerabilities and modus operandi for prevention and response. Managing CBRN incidents, both prevention and response, is a multi-agency affair seeking fine coordination and clear understanding of roles and jurisdictions. Any response needs to be speedy and coordinated to avert casualties and prevent escalation.

C

BRN crisis prevention and consequence management should be based on the following four focus areas, with each area integrating training and research.

1 Preparedness and Prevention. Prevention entails legislation and actions by the nation to prevent proliferation of WMD, foresee terror actions by sound intelligence, and enforcement and oversight of safety and security norms for CBRN material. This should be followed 26 CBNW 2020/01

Col (Dr) Ram Athavale recaps on ways to improve initial operational response to CBRN incidents

Practice by synergised action by law enforcement agencies. Preparedness means adequately preparing our intelligence, anti-terror forces, skilled CBRN response teams and the public to deal with CBRN incidents (terrorist or accidental) and at the same time prepare for the aftermath. 2 Detection and Surveillance. Crisis prevention relies on real-time detection of a crisis and negating it. It depends on the national intelligence, enforcement and oversight agencies and police/special forces to do so. Early detection is also essential for ensuring a prompt response to a CBRN incident and to help prevent escalation. 3 Response. Response to an incident, especially a CBRN incident, consists of two aspects. First, the armed or specialforce response to the incident to contain and neutralise the threat, prevent further release, and catch and neutralise the

perpetuators. Second, the relief or rehab response to prevent spread of damage and minimise casualties. Various departments of administration and municipal agencies will all need to coordinate efforts for successful consequence management of CBRN incidents. Entire cities or districts may have to be quarantined or evacuated to prevent spread of contagion. 4 Mitigation. Preparedness to mitigate the public health consequences of CBRN incidents depends on the coordinated activities of well-trained health-care and public health personnel throughout the country, who have access to up-to-the minute emergency information. Use of latest technology for disaster relief, antidotes, drugs and shelters are the needs of the hour.

Refining and improving response

In an intentional CBRN incident it is obvious that rapid and focused response 


RESPONSE Brazilian CBRN teams conduct bio-response drill. ©RJ Fotos: Felipe Barra/MD

makes perfect

Drill response to a gas tanker accident. ©Ram Athavale/cbrneportal

CBNW 2020/01 27


RESPONSE can reduce injury to people, damage to assets and disruption to operations. But no two venues, buildings or situations share the same vulnerabilities and usage patterns. We therefore need to study the many aspects of CBRN event threats, vulnerabilities, response plans and programmes, supporting communications infrastructure, as well as the economics involved in preparing for a possible CBRN event. To effectively identify a threat and respond to a build-up situation, there is a need for essential deliberate actions to be taken as proactive measures. Realistic and holistic threat analysis and vulnerability assessment (TAVA) will lead to maximising and optimising value of networked threat detection, existing infrastructure operations, security systems and personnel resources.

Mapping of risk areas and assets

Identification of high-risk C, B and R&N facilities, industries and factories, warehouses and logistic areas handling hazmat, toxic waste dumps and research institutions is the first step. Risk zoning: plotting these high risk areas and developing the cluster pattern will help in plotting risk zones for optimal deployment of response teams and effective response. Type of agents, gases, and material and its risk or hazard values must be added to the zoning chart for focused response. Meteorological study of risk zones is a must to ascertain likely contamination spread patterns and downwind hazard assessments. Specialist CBRN response units: availability, equipping, capabilities, effectiveness timings, routes to each risk zone with traffic management, alternate routes and access control. Identifying private agencies: paramedics, NGOs, volunteer organisations and a database of all available CBRN equipment with various agencies and response teams – public and private – is essential for optimal use and sharing during the crisis. Based on threat evaluation and mapping, incident strategies, objectives and response tactics should be developed in an incident action plan. Control personnel and resources: preparation of the venue, site preparedness, and setting up an Incident Command Centre will also involve decisions being taken at the lowest appropriate level, with co-ordination at the highest necessary level. 28 CBNW 2020/01

NDRF conducts CBRN mock drill with Railway Police at Vadodara.

Timely and accurate information: Information flow to all stakeholders is of paramount importance for optimal response. Suitable detection and early warning means networked to a command and control station is essential as is use of robotics – drones and unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs) – for surveillance and early warning. Formal communications must be stablished and maintained to share information, support the chain of command, and ensure unity of command while identifying and requesting appropriate resources to accomplish the objectives. Appropriate data management systems working to develop a common operating picture are required.

Learning from training

Plans and response mechanisms need to be validated by conducting realistic table top exercises (TTE) and mock drills simulating CBRN incidents. Comprehensive and common equipping and adequately trained manpower for CBRN security depends on such exercises to provide realistic training to stakeholders. The more practice, the better response. Policies, regulations and SOPs for practicing immediate mitigation techniques must be laid down for all stakeholders. Lessons learnt from earlier drills should be reviewed and procedures honed to enhance capabilities. It is important for all teams and stakeholders to be on the same page. Coordination of expertise and resources of all stakeholders and response agencies need to be done for optimal effect on site. NGOs, volunteer teams and private agencies (paramedics, ambulances, disaster relief) should be co-opted onto the planning. A controlled and structured exit and evacuation plan from the affected area through pre-identified holding spaces, secure exits, transportation logistics and

©India@Aapnu_vadodara

isolation of victims call depends on meticulous planning and effective crowd control measures. While livesaving measures are of utmost importance, mitigation techniques such as damage assessment, mass decontamination and detoxification, clean-up, disposal and rehabilitation are areas of focus. Casualty decontamination is an often neglected area as CBRN is a rare occurrence and these aspects make such incidents differ from non-CBRN ones.

Early detection

Early detection of and response to CBRN terrorism are crucial. Without special preparation at the local and state levels, a large-scale biological or chemical attack could overwhelm the local and perhaps national infrastructure. Large numbers of patients, including both infected persons and the worried well would seek medical attention, with a corresponding surge for medical supplies, diagnostic tests, and hospital beds. Crowd dynamics and psychosocial reactions – paranoia and anger – need to be studied and prepared for. Response to a CBRN incident is time-critical and demands special expertise. Newer threats are emerging at a fast pace. CBRN response teams need to constantly upgrade their skills and knowledge. Contingency planning and sound logistics are needed to support response plans. In this battle against CBRN threats, we need to be optimally prepared at all times. ❚❙

Col. Ram Athavale is a freelance CBRN Incident Management and Security Consultant based at Pune, India. A veteran Indian Army officer, he has been a key adviser to the Government of India on CBRN security and a Key CBRN Expert for the EU CBRN Risk Mitigation Centres of Excellence initiative.


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CBRN DEFENCE

COUNTRY FOCUS

David Oliver rolls out Australia’s major new investment in CBRNe defence

We live in a LAND down under

All photos ©Commonwealth of Australia

30 CBNW 2020/01


CBRN DEFENCE The Australian Army is embarking on a major modernisation programme following the publication of its 2016 Defence White Paper

G

that confirmed the transformation of its land forces to 2035

lobal events and recent deployments have heightened awareness of the potential for large-scale CBRNE incidents. Part of this programme involves a considerable investment in the Australian Defence Force’s (ADF) CBRN defence capability.

SOER

This is largely the responsibility of the Special Operations Engineer Regiment (SOER), a specialised unit of the Australian Army. The Regiment has a broad remit with roles supporting

individual and collective protection from CBRN hazards including detectors, suits, masks, protection tents, decontamination systems, contaminated equipment containers, warning and reporting software and simulation systems. LAND 2110 Phase 1B aims to improve the capability of ADF CBRN Defence (CBRND) through the protection of its personnel from the strategic, tactical and physiological impacts of exposure to toxic industrial chemicals (TICs), toxic industrial materials (TIMs) and CBRN weapons. The project is focused on the typical

Above: Australian Army soldiers conduct pre-fatigue drills during CBRN training prior to an overseas deployment. Left: A trainee moves through a decontamination shower at 1st Combat Engineer Regiment's training facility during a visit by the Army Indigenous Development Programme to Robertson Barracks.

domestic and international contingencies and provides leading-edge mobility, survivability and specialist counterCBRNE capabilities in support of Special Operations. SOER has a specialist CBRN medical capability with a small dedicated team of medical personnel who are up-skilled in parachuting, air and water insertion as well as extraction techniques, roping and other Special Operations skills in or out of a CBRN threat environment.

LAND 2110

In July 2017, the Australian Department of Defence (DoD) announced that the ADF will receive equipment worth almost AUD300 million for protection against CBRN threats as part of Project LAND 2110 Phase 1B. The project will deliver

capability elements of CBRND, the detection identification and monitoring, warning and reporting, physical protection, both personal and collective, hazard management (Hazmat), containment and decontamination, medical support and training mechanisms. This investment will provide an integrated and layered CBRND capability that will replace equipment reaching the end of its service life. A Request for Tender (RFT) was issued in September 2013 to establish a standing offer panel arrangement for the provision of CBRNe equipment. This project’s objective is to evolve the specialist engineer capabilities within Special Operations Command (SOCMD), in order to support manoeuvres, specialist searches and the ability to counter

CBRNe threats. There are subsequent procurements by the CBRNe sustainment programme with Initial Operational Capability (IOC) in FY 2019-20 to FY 2020-21.

EPE

Brisbane-based company EPE, which specialises in protecting soldiers and first responders from non-traditional threats, all hazards management and CBRND, was selected to be on this panel combining its extensive Special Operations experience with leading-edge technology to deliver the ADF practical solutions for smalldeployed teams as part of Project LAND 3025.

Noventus

Melbourne-based services company Noventus won a Systems Engineering

and Engineering Analysis solutions contract for the LAND 3025 programme. Under the contract, it mobilised a team of engineers and analysts who had significant experience and skills related to Land Systems projects and in particular the ability to independently analyse CBRNE requirements and produce a large volume of corresponding Defence Purchase Descriptions (DPDs).

Babcock Australasia

The Department of Defence Surveillance, Simulation and CBRNE Systems Programme Office (SPO) also issued a requirement for a specialised and rapidly deployable counter-CBRNE Special Operations capability to support ADF forces under Project LAND 3025 Phase 1. In April 2019, Babcock Australasia was awarded a five-year AUD26.65 million contract to fulfil the LAND 3025 Phase 2 capability.

Qinetiq

A Request for Tender (RFT) for the

CBNW 2020/01 31


CBRN DEFENCE CBRND capability to be procured by Project LAND 2110 Phase 1B was issued in January 2015 which sought a Prime Contractor for the procurement of supplies and services for all the five systems comprising the CBRND capability. Asset management company Qinetiq worked with the Project Office to develop the Request for Tender (Acquisition and Sustainment) and supported the tender evaluation process.

LM

In August 2016 Lockheed Martin sold off its Information Systems & Global Solutions (IS&GS) business and merged with Leidos to create the defence industry’s largest IT services provider. In September 2018 the AUD243.5 million contract for the Land 2110 Phase 1B project was awarded to Leidos Australia.

Leidos Australia

Leidos Australia then awarded an AUD11 million contract to AirBoss Defense for the delivery of protective equipment to the LAND 2110 Phase 1B programme. AirBoss will be responsible for providing Leidos with critical personal protective equipment including gloves, overboots, and the recently launched Low Burden Mask (LBM).

OPEC and Haven

As a British speciality provider of protective CBRN suits, OPEC CBRNe is capable of delivering wide-ranging support to organisations preparing submissions for LAND 2110. With extensive CBRN experience in the Australian market, OPEC currently sits on the Defence Environment and Heritage Panel (DEHP) in the three areas of UXO Related Materials Assessment and Management, Contamination and Remediation Works Contractor, and Toxic Decontamination simulant foam applied by an operator wearing a Protect Plus TF suit, AirBoss over-boots and respirator.

Remnants of War Contractor for Defence and other Commonwealth Agencies with sites throughout Australia. In 2015 Haven Protective Technology Solutions purchased Remploy Ltd with OPEC CBRNe, Remploy’s previous Australian Agent, and secured the Intellectual property (IP) for the full range of Remploy CBRN suits. Following exhaustive year-long user trials, OPEC was informed that the Kestrel CBRN ensemble was identified as the preferred Medium Weight Protective suit for Project LAND 2110. The versatile two-piece Kestrel is 30% lighter than many of its competitors and is ideally suited to high-heat environments while delivering long-term comfort, breathability and ease of movement with retained safety features in a high threat environment. The Kestrel’s low weight was a key feature in OPEC’s successful tender to the Australian Government. Australian company Oil Pollution and Environmental Control (OPEC) Systems announced on 19 June that it has signed an AUD23 million contract in June 2019 with Leidos Australia to provide a range of equipment, including a newly developed protective ensemble, as part of Project Land 2110 Phase 1B. OPEC Systems will commence delivery in early 2020 of Kestrel medium-protective CBRN ensembles; collapsible waste water containment bunds for capturing liquid contamination; collapsible, helicoptertransportable liquid storage drums for potable and waste water; and mitts for rapid chemical decontamination.

Above: CBRN training at Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Base Amberley. Left: Soldier wearing the CBRN Personal Protective Ensemble comprising the Opec Kestrel suit and an AirBoss Low Burden mask (LDM).

In 2015 Haven Protective Technology Solutions purchased Remploy Ltd with OPEC, Remploy’s previous Australian Agent, and secured the Intellectual property (IP) for the full range of Remploy CBRN suits including Kestrel. As well as the versatile two-piece suit being almost a third lighter than many of its competitors, it is ideally suited to high-heat environments while delivering long-term comfort, breathability and ease of movement – with retained safety features in a high threat environment. Following exhaustive year-long user trials, the Kestrel’s low weight proved to be a key feature in OPEC’s successful tender to the Australian Government. The cost of delivering ADF’s Projects LAND 2110 and LAND 3025 is only a fraction of Australia’s total defence budget. This will increase from $32.4 billion in FY2016-17 to $58.7 billion in FY2025-26, but its commitment to the ADF’s CBRN defence is significant. ❚❙ CBNW Deputy Editor David Oliver is the author of 18 defence-related books and a regular correspondent for defence publications.

32 CBNW 2020/01


DETECTION

CBRN response personnel using the Proengin AP4C handheld portable detector.

Eternal flame All photos ©Proengin

Eric Damiens explains the importance of flame spectrophotometry in chemical and biological detection Scientists have long used flame spectrophotometry detection to analyse matter. Hydrogen flame spectrophotometry detection relies on the fact that atoms constituting any matter emit a characteristic colour light when they are burned by an oxygen and hydrogen flame. In this kind of flame, the number of elements detectable is high and each element emits a different colour 34 CBNW 2020/01

T

herefore, to identify the colours (or scientifically, the wavelengths) emitted by the flame, the use of optical systems are needed.

How it works

By combining a dispersive system with a multichannel detector that separates the light according to its wavelength – and a multi-sensor collecting all lights emitted by the flame – a spectrum is obtained. The different spectra of that light then provides the nature of the atoms or chemical liaisons burned in the flame. Flame spectrometers search for the presence of some atoms or specific chemical liaisons that are present into toxic agents.

Low concentration

As hydrogen flame spectroscopy is one of the most sensitive technologies at atomic level, it allows detection at very low concentrations. It can also detect an unlimited number of gases. The absence of filters in the air circuit results in a very short


DETECTION

1

Proengin AP4C chemical detector with S4PE sample tool.

2 3

P4C F Proengin chemical detector for naval ships or critical infrastructures.

AP4C VB Proengin’s solution for vehicles allowing combined chemical and biological detections.

response time and a very short recovery time even for very persistent agents. As well as its capability to detect an unlimited numbers of all agents, any form can be detected so long as it can be burned as a gas, aerosol, liquid or powder. This is particularly important when looking at the actual CBRN context and the emergence of new agents, derivatives, or PBAs (pharmaceutical-based agents). The capabilities to detect all agents in several forms enable detectors using flame spectrometry to detect CWAs such as Novichok and pharmaceuticals products such as Fentanyl.

No negative false alarms

A UNIVERSAL TECHNOLOGY Phosphorus, sulphur, arsenic, nitrogen (into carbon containing molecules), potassium, sodium, calcium and many other elements can be detected in any gas, aerosol, dust or particle. The 4 first elements are the common components of most of the toxic agents that chemistry can produce. Classic CWA agents as nerve agents, blister agents or blood agents contain one or several of the above elements, as well as new emerging threats such as Novichok agents and pharmaceutical agents (Fentanyl). AP4C, the flame spectrometer developed by Proengin, can detect any of the classic agents and the new threats as well as numerous toxic industrial materials without any upgrade, providing that it contains one of the elements above. It is noticeable that even the first generation of detectors developed in the 80s (AP2C) can detect Novichok agents without upgrade. It is the only detector that can simultaneously detect all the agents listed in the Schedule 1 of OPCW. It is therefore used by armed forces, police, first responders, and customs organisations in 72 countries on all continents.

Flame spectrophotometry has a low rate of false positives (false detection). The physical principle on which this technology is based requires each element to have a unique signature that characterises it. Thus, when the detector indicates that it detects phosphorus, it is phosphorus and not another element. In addition, as said, this technology is one of the most sensitive. Thus, with a detector using flame spectrophotometry, concentrations of a few micrograms per cube are detectable – which gives a low rate of false negatives (an undetected threat).

Biological detection

This technology can also be well applied to biological alert detection. This threat is present as biological aerosols (bacteria, virus or toxins) dispersed in the atmosphere. To detect it, each aerosol is individually analysed to differentiate the threat from naturally occurring particles in the atmosphere – fungi, pollens, sea spray, and particulates generated by traffic. The spectrophotometry is sensitive enough to analyse the composition of the elements contained in the particles and, hence, to classify them.

40 years in CBRN

For almost four decades, Proengin has  CBNW 2020/01 35


DETECTION Right: Proengin sample tool S4PE allows detection of liquids and powders.

A biological alarm detector is a trigger of bio-samplers, so bio tests can be performed to assess the reality of a danger by identifying the particles that have caused the alarm. Bio detectors using flame spectrophotometry, such as the MAB, the AP4C-VB or the AP4C-FB classify the particles by their relative content of potassium and sodium. Particles identified as bacteria or spores are then counted. Any rapid increase of the concentration of those specific particles will be considered as a potential bio event and will trigger a bio sampler for further analysis with appropriate bio technologies. been mastering flame spectrophotometry as well as safe hydrogen generation and storage. The company is innovating in order to develop, manufacture and market comprehensive chemical and biological detection systems. The detectors are designed to detect, within a few seconds, traditional CWAs, derivatives, fourth-generation CWAs such as Novichok, PBAs, and also dangerous or suspect biological particles. AP4C is a comprehensive range of chemical detectors for very severe environments affected by humidity, dust, mud and explosives. All measurements remain unaffected by the presence of other organic chemical compounds, such as paint or bleach. Its response time is the shortest on the market with a low recovery time and almost no negative false alarms. Combined with the use of its S4PE sample tool, liquids and powders can also be detected. With its MAB detector, Proengin proposes a new-generation biological field detector with a proven extremely low false alarm rate. It also has the capacity to discriminate between an 36 CBNW 2020/01

abnormal dispersion of biological product and the natural background.

Detectors on vehicles

Proengin detectors can also be used on vehicles. Providing combined chemical or biological detection with a control box, it comprises a highly reliable system for all types of reconnaissance or battlefield vehicles. AP4C-VB and AP4C-FB systems for both chemical and biological detection offer a significant cost advantage, as only one detection technology is used. Specific systems have also been developed for naval ships, including chemical detectors and visualisation modules. State palaces, government buildings, airports and commercial centres are increasingly equipped with CBRN detection systems. Proengin CBRN systems ensure high reliability as well as low maintenance costs for critical infrastructures. As universal CBRN systems, all Proengin solutions can be combined with other CBRN detection and information management systems available on the market, and the company delivers high-quality technical support and maintenance services. To summarise, detectors using hydrogen flame spectrophotometry present the following advantages: ● They can be used for both chemical and biological detection ● The measurement is instantaneous: whenever toxic molecules or particles are sampled in the flame it will result in an alarm ● All elements can be simultaneously detected because they emit different colours ● The response time and the recovery time are very short ● There is no memory effect. Even after detecting a high concentration of toxic material, the sensitivity for all detectable elements will be recovered a few seconds later ● As a universal technology no library is needed ● As the air sampling is continuous and in real time, no filter is required ● The only consumable is water - to generate the hydrogen flame. ❚❙

Eric Damiens is Vice-President Marketing and Sales at Proengin and a member of the French High Committee for Civil Defence.


ORITEST GROUP designes CBRN Solutions and makes R&D in new chemical detectors mainly with IMS Technology. Together with ORITEST they form a strong team which offer complete CBRN Solutions – everything from simple CWA Detection Paper to Reconnaissance Vehicles. Due to the expanding activities in the Federal Republic of Germany, the subsidiary OritestSaxonia GmbH was established in Markkleeberg, Saxony. Our production is primarily based on our own know-how, the creator of which is a team of research and development staff. The research team of the company is the founder of more than 80 patents (mostly used in production) and more than 150 scientific publications. Our transformation of know-how originally focused on the military sector and now we have included the civil sector and protection of the environment. A novelty in our program is the organization of CBRN training which can be tailored to customer requests. Oritest Group s.r.o. Čerčanská 640/30, 140 00 Prague, Czech Republic

www.oritest-group.cz


PROMOTIONAL FEATURE: JACOBI GROUP

JACOBI CARBONS

Filtration for protection 38 CBNW 2020/01


PROMOTIONAL FEATURE: JACOBI GROUP Founded in 1916, Jacobi is now the world’s largest manufacturer of coconut shell-activated carbon, shipping over 100,000 metric tons every year. With its headquarters in Sweden, the company has sales offices, production plants and reactivation facilities in 21 countries, making Jacobi a truly global organisation. Activated carbon products are used in a variety of sectors, including protective wear for those who need protection from chemical, biological and radiological materials.

J

acobi has a vast and varied history with many exciting growth-related milestones under its belt. Today, one of the most important aims for Jacobi is true sustainability. The goal is to simply become the most sustainable producer of purification solutions in the world. This is not a goal to be taken lightly. We are doing all we can to achieve this. This includes reducing the negative impact of our practices on the environment, optimising the safety and well-being of our people, and also looking at the sustainability of our suppliers.

Activated carbon

Activated carbon is the principal means of providing protection against the gases and vapours used as chemical, biological and nuclear warfare agents. By impregnating activated carbon with specialised chemicals in our laboratories, we can further enhance this capability. Jacobi uses advanced impregnation technology, utilising various organic and inorganic salts to create products that are in full compliance with current military regulations. Jacobi has 17 manufacturing plants globally, plus reactivation facilities where spent carbon can be recycled. We use coconut shells to create our activated carbon as they are harder, more microporous and higher in density than coal-based raw materials. The Activated carbon panel filter often used in shelter applications.

Main pic: Firefighters wearing respirator masks. Top Left: Granular activated carbon.

benefits include lower attrition, less dust and a more efficient activated carbon end product.

Jacobi and the NBC sector

Jacobi has extensive knowledge of the personal protection sector and an in-depth insight into the markets in which our customers operate, including the military. There are many challenges that come with developing these kinds of products. Ensuring compliance with ever-changing regulations and testing standards is one of them. Jacobi is eager to master these challenges, finding the most suitable solutions for customers by working as a close partner rather than just simply a supplier. The Jacobi laboratories are equipped to perform a wide range of performance and characterisation tests. This includes nitrogen and argon adsorption surface area determinations, challenge gas testing and thermogravimetric analytical testing. Often our products are tailor-made for our customers’ unique applications and requirements. This means that we have a portfolio of over 100 impregnated carbon products that are used across the globe for personal protection. Many of these are chromium-free and are able to combat non-standard gases, such as formaldehyde. Because of the nature of this industry, most of these products and solutions must be kept secret. Unfortunately, we cannot go into details of our success stories, but we can tell you how we work in different areas.

Carbon for protection

Demand for respiratory protection is not confined solely to industrial purposes. It is also needed by civil emergency services, first responders and the military. As we learn more and more about TICs (toxic industrial chemicals) and understand their potential effects, the more clear it becomes that we need to protect those individuals in roles where exposure is simply a part of their duties. First responders need reliable respiratory protective equipment such as chin masks, air purifying respirators, powered air purifying respirators and CBRN clothing as a first line of defence against airborne contaminants. Due to their chemical properties, inorganic gases and vapours are difficult to adsorb onto activated carbon alone. Jacobi has developed a range of impregnated carbons that have been specially designed to remove these compounds, giving manufacturers the required choice of fill materials for respiratory protective equipment. As well as in PPE these products are also used, and are equally effective, in larger filters for collective protection and filtration systems – in industrial workplaces, but also on military warships, vehicles, fighter aircraft, and in military shelters.

Carbon for defence

In times of conflict, it is only the use of activated carbon that can provide adequate protection against chemical agents used as WMD. Jacobi manufactures and provides various specially impregnated carbons that protect against radioactive isotopes.  CBNW 2020/01 39


PROMOTIONAL FEATURE: JACOBI GROUP As mentioned previously, sustainability is one of Jacobi’s top priorities. We are working towards becoming the most sustainable supplier of purification solutions. Our sustainability promise includes our personal protection sector as well. We endeavour to make our development and production of activated carbon for this market as sustainable as is possible. For example, we permanently re-engineer our production process to minimise by-products. We also run state-of-the-art fume-cleaning systems at our production locations in order to protect the environment from dangerous emissions. ❚❙

This is done through the capture of radioactive methyl iodine and iodine by chemisorption and isotope exchange and the delay of rare gas emissions. The extensive pore volume also adsorbs other contaminated gases. The impregnation is adapted to various levels of relative humidity. All devices using activated carbon from Jacobi are designed to allow military personnel to perform their duties with minimal restriction or impairment.

Carbon for contaminants

When it comes to radioactive material, personal protective wear is essential – not only for operators who are working within the power station, but also for decontamination personnel and first responders who arrive on scene in emergency situations. Since the inception of nuclear power and weapons, activated carbon has been widely accepted as the go-to product to provide respiratory protection against radioactive iodine compounds or other toxic gases. Activated carbon is able to easily adsorb these agents, making it an effective and reliable solution.

Future R&D

Today there is a need for new and more sophisticated activated carbons that can adsorb and neutralise a wide range of different contaminants. The nuclear industry is fast-moving, and it is vital that those providing personal protection solutions keep up with this rapid pace. At the Jacobi laboratories we are constantly researching the present and future requirements of the industry. Our research and development technicians are focused on the advancement of nuclear emission control and comprehensive testing and evaluation of the activated carbons for the nuclear industry. 40 CBNW 2020/01

Above: Respirator with AC in use spray painting. Right: Small face mask with AC. Left: First responder suit featuring class 2 respirator using multi-gas product AddSorb MGR for non-specific gas removal.

Jacobi products in a range of packaging options.

If you are interested in learning more about our activated carbon products, call us on 01942 670600 or email infouk@jacobi.net to speak to one of our experts. Alternatively, more information can be found at www.jacobi.net. Jacobi Carbons is a manufacturer and provider of activated carbon and a wholly owned subsidiary of Osaka Gas Chemicals Co., Ltd. The company is a global leader in terms of activated carbon technology and is committed to providing the best-quality carbon and the best possible price alongside unbeatable technical support and customer service.


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NUCLEAR WEAPONS COUNTRY FOCUS

Calling Pakistan's nuclear bluff Colonel H R Naidu Gade analyses the crisis in Kashmir

Photo by Artem Beliaikin from Pexels; additional editing by Mariel Foulds

Since 1949 India and Pakistan have fought three wars over the status of The State of Jammu & Kashmir (J&K), which India maintains is an integral part of India. Both India and Pakistan possess nuclear weapons, which make successive crises focusing on Kashmir of growing international concern

J

&K is a princely state that was acceded to India in Oct 1947. In response to threats from Pathan tribals let loose by Pakistan, the Indian Army was called in to throw out the aggressors. A UN-sponsored ceasefire came into force in January 1949. At that time, some 40% of the territory (86,000 sq km) of J&K, which included the Northern Areas of Gilgit-Baltistan, was under Pakistani occupation. India calls this territory Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK). The only dispute yet to be resolved is the vacating of POK by Pakistan. In accordance with the Shimla Agreement of 1972, India and Pakistan agreed to resolve all issues, including Kashmir, by bilateral arrangement only. India as a goodwill gesture released 93,000 Pakistani prisoners of war captured in the Bangladesh Liberation War of 1971.

Conflicts over Kashmir

The Indian State of J&K has three distinct 42 CBNW 2020/01

provinces: 1 The Muslim-majority province of Kashmir Valley; 2 The Hindu-majority province of Jammu and Buddhist; 3 The majority province of Ladakh. A large portion of Ladakh under occupation by China since 1962 is called Aksai chin. Having been defeated in three decades of wars on the Kashmiri issue, Pakistan has resorted to a proxy war by infiltrating non-Kashmiri militants and terrorists into India, with its claimed aim to bleed India by a thousand cuts. In 1954, the State of J&K was given special status under temporary provisions of the Indian Constitution. Consequently, most federal laws that are applicable to the rest of India do not apply to the State of J&K. These provisions prevented the Federal Government from controlling the large-scale corruption and misrule by local Kashmiri political parties that

have long alienated the overall population in all three provinces.

Responding to terrorism

Indian nuclear doctrine is based on a ‘No First Use’ principle. However, Pakistan has always played the nuclear card – threatening to use nuclear weapons in any adverse situation and also to offset India’s conventional-force superiority. India has been seen to show maturity and responsibility as a nuclear weapons state (NWS). Even after the Mumbai terrorist attacks in 2008, where Pakistan’s role was established beyond doubt, India refrained from retaliating militarily against Pakistan. The number of terrorist attacks sponsored from across the border have increased in the past five years. These have included the deadly Pulwama vehicle-borne suicide attack on a convoy in February 2019, in which 40 federal police officers died. India was left with no option but to take punitive action against terror groups 


NUCLEAR WEAPONS

1 2 3

Den of Terror – JeM training camp at Balakot.

©Indian Air Force

India strikes back with air attacks on terrorist camps in Pakistan.

©Indian Air Force

The JeM training centre in Balakot inside Pakistan that was bombed by the Indian Air Force.

©Indian Air Force

4

The IAF Bombing of the Balakot JeM training camp killed 300 terrorists.

5

Pakistan has a substantial force of tactical nuclear weapons.

©Indian Defence Review

©Nationalinterest.org

➋ ➌

➍ ➎

CBNW 2020/01 43


NUCLEAR WEAPONS based in Pakistan. With a bold political leadership in Delhi, India decided to strike at the terrorist camps – including those located deep inside Pakistani territory – without escalating to a nuclear conflagration. On 26 February 2019, 12 Mirage 2000 jets of the Indian Air Force crossed the Line of Control and dropped bombs near the town of Balakot in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province. India also attacked a training camp run by the Pakistan-based jihadist terrorist group Jaish e Mohamed, killing up to 350 of its operatives.

As It existed in Jan 1949 and in Dec 1962: Kashmir as ‘Heaven on Earth’ with beautiful valleys, lakes and snow-capped mountains.

The Pulwama SVBIED attack on a police bus convoy killed 40 policemen. ©Indian Tourism

©CRPF India

With this action, India sent a strong message that it will not be restrained to strike anywhere in Pakistan – despite the nuclear blackmail Islamabad has been resorting to from time to time, and its support of terrorist activities inside Indian territory.

Changing J&K status

On 6 August 2019, both houses of the Indian Parliament passed resolutions with a two-thirds majority revoking the State of J&K’s special status. This was changed from that of a fully-fledged state to that of a Union Territory, whose law and order and security would now be solely managed by the Federal Government. All federal laws as applicable to the rest of India would henceforth be applicable to the new territory of J&K and Ladakh. All separatist and militant Kashmiri leaders and sympathisers were jailed and are being tried under federal laws.

Rethinking no-first-use

India's defence minister, Rajnath Singh, has suggested the country re-evaluate its no-first-use doctrine, raising the stakes at 44 CBNW 2020/01

a time of high tension with its nucleararmed neighbour. He was signalling that India's no-first-use commitment is neither absolute nor permanent. And he implied that, in a conflict, nothing would compel India to abide by it. Attaining the status of a responsible NWS is a matter of Indian national pride. Part of that reputation was built through careful messaging about Indian restraint and the choices it could have taken, but did not. Some critics argue that abandoning that high ground, by somehow abrogating its no-first-use policy, “taints India's image as a responsible nuclear power.” Two classical scenarios for first use of nuclear weapons are, first: a country in danger of conventional military defeat on the battlefield would employ tactical nuclear weapons against enemy military forces to forestall that defeat. Second: a country fearing an adversary would attack it with nuclear weapons in order to pre-empt a nuclear first strike from

that adversary, and hence, would aim to destroy as much of the adversary's nuclear arsenal as possible. When India announced its nuclear status in 1998 after a series of weapons tests on the Pokharan ranges, it rejected the idea of ‘nuclear war fighting.’ It would design its nuclear forces for retaliation only. As a consequence, India stated it could have a more limited arsenal. India joined China in offering a no-first-use doctrine. Strategists advocate the major thrust of any Indian nuclear strategic communications plan should be aimed at downplaying the nuclear factor in the political and strategic equation with China and Pakistan. In Pakistan’s case, however, there is a continuous attempt to increase the salience of nuclear threats so as to contain India’s reaction to terrorism and concurrently invite international attention. India has clearly demonstrated to the world in general, and Pakistan in particular, its solid resolve to protect its territorial integrity and its people from terrorism at any costs – and that it will not be browbeaten by any irresponsible threats of use of nuclear weapons by Pakistan. Through the abrogation of the constitutional provisions providing special status to the state of J&K, and by converting its status to a Union territory, the further misuse of these provisions by the local political parties and hampering of development has been ended. Pakistan’s nuclear bluff has at last been called. ❚❙

Col Naidu Gade is a CBRNe professional with over 45 years’ experience in the field. He is Chief Consultant for CBRNe Secure India, a Knowledge Centre on CBRNe issues.


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FORCE PROTECTION

Kitting out the

Below: FLIR Systems is to deliver the US Army Stryker sensor suite upgrade for the Nuclear Biological Chemical Reconnaissance Vehicle (NBCRV) by FY23.

warfighter

©US Army

Left: CBRN DR-SKO allows warfighters to perform CBRN dismounted reconnaissance, surveillance, and site assessment of WMD-suspect areas.

©FLIR Systems

David Oliver describes a new era in US military Joint Service CBRN protection

The US Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical, Biological,

threats before the onset of symptoms.

Radiological and Nuclear Defense’s (JPEO-CBRND) core focus areas

Sensors

contribute to building a more lethal force, a priority in the National Defense Strategy, and to streamline JPEO-CBRND efforts to meet Joint Service needs in combating CBRN threats

T

hree Joint Project Managers (JPM) provide oversight for the portfolios, including JPM CBRN Protection, JPM CBRN Sensors and JPM CBRN Medical. Four Joint Project Leads (JPL) focus on CBRN special operations forces, information management/information technology, portfolio resources and enabling biotechnologies. The JPLs also provide portfolio-wide enabling support across the JPEO-CBRND.

Protection

JPM CBRN Protection develops, fields and sustains CBRN protection and increase mitigation capabilities for the nation. Their focus in coordination with JPL CBRN Special Operations Forces is to unencumber the warfighter by developing a next-generation protective ensemble that reduces the physiological burden on 46 CBNW 2020/01

the user and enhances protection to emerging threats. They also focus on developing contamination mitigation technologies including decontamination systems, protective coatings and barriers to significantly decrease the time required to decontaminate and reset personnel and equipment in CBRN environments.

Medical countermeasures

JPM CBRN Medical facilitates the advanced development and acquisition of medical solutions to combat CBRN and emerging threats. Their focus in co-ordination with JPL Enabling Biotechnologies is to provide new and improved medical countermeasures to enable a single treatment for many threats, rapid medical countermeasure responses, genomic sequencing and the capability to diagnose CBRN

JPM CBRN Sensors develops, fields and sustains CBRN sensors, reconnaissance systems, mobile laboratory systems and obscuration capabilities for the US Army. Their focus in coordination with JPL Information Management/Information Technology is to provide integrated early warning by bringing together the products in its portfolio along with robotics and autonomous systems, decision support tools, machine learning and artificial intelligence to provide situational awareness and understanding of CBRN threats.

Dismounted kits

One of JPEO-CBRND programmes is the development and acquisition of of CBRN Dismounted Reconnaissance Sets, Kits, and Outfits (DR-SKO). According to the US Army, the CBRN DR-SKO system is a set of mission-specific kits that characterise and provide full-spectrum CBRN dismounted reconnaissance capability utilised by the US military Joint Services, including units within the US Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and National Guard WMD-Civil Support Teams. The system 


FORCE PROTECTION provides detection and identification of volatile organic compounds, TICs/ materials, CWAs, BWAs, oxygen levels, and combustible gases. The mission of the programme was to provide the military commander timely and accurate characterisation of the CBRN hazardous area of interest to facilitate operations and support Intelligence. The DR-SKO is a set of mission-specific kits that characterise and provide full-spectrum CBRN dismounted reconnaissance capability. The system provides detection and identification of volatile organic

CBRN DR-SKO will reach Full Operational Capability (FOC) with the US Air Force and US Navy in FY21.

Below: JPEO-CBRND has acquired CBRN Dismounted Reconnaissance Sets, Kits, and Outfits (DR-SKO) for the US Armed Forces from FLIR Systems.

©FLIR Systems ©US Air Force

to the JPEO-CBRND. The FLIR Team had delivered 268 systems to the Joint Services since the programme went to full rate production.

Sensor suites

compounds, TICs, CWAs, BWAs, oxygen levels, and combustible gases. The system also provides individual PPE as well as decontamination equipment and marking, sampling, and reporting of CBRN threats.

Access all areas

The US Department of Defense (DoD) allocated $91 million to procure CBRN DR-SKO which allows warfighters to perform CBRN dismounted reconnaissance, surveillance, and site assessment of WMD-suspect areas that may be enclosed or confined, and are therefore not accessible by traditional CBRN reconnaissance mounted platforms. The DR-SKO system consists of commercial and government off-the-shelf equipment that will provide detection, identification, sample collection, decontamination, marking and hazard reporting of CBRN threats. CBRN DR-SKO is composed of handheld, man-portable detectors that identify potential WMD and WMD precursors, and determine the levels of protection required to assess a sensitive site. The system supports CBRN site-assessment missions to enable more detailed CBRN information reports for force commanders. CBRN site assessments help 48 CBNW 2020/01

planners determine if more thorough analysis is required to mitigate risks or gather intelligence on adversaries’ CWAs, BWAs or TIC capabilities. In December 2014 FLIR Systems Inc was awarded a five-year indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity (IDIQ) contract from the US DoD, in support of the JPEO-CBRND DR-SKO Program of Record. The order is valued at $27.9 million, with deliveries extending through the third quarter of 2019. In August 2019, FLIR marked the last delivery of Dismounted DR-SKO Systems

EOD VARIANTS Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) variants have been added for US Marine Corps (USMC) and US Army EOD units to provide CBRN protection and detection capabilities for use in render-safe operations. DR-SKO will reach Full Operational Capability (FOC) with the US Army in FY20, the USAF and US Navy in FY21, and the EOD variants with the US Army and USMC in FY23.

The US Army had awarded FLIR a $41.1-million contract earlier in 2019 to deliver the sensor suite upgrade for the Nuclear Biological Chemical Reconnaissance Vehicle (NBCRV). FLIR will be lead integrator in the modernisation of the NBCRV system. The NBCRV Stryker Sensor Suites is the CBRN reconnaissance configuration of the Infantry Carrier Vehicle ICV) in the Stryker Brigade Combat Teams, Heavy Brigade Combat Teams and Chemical Companies. The NBCRV Stryker Sensor Suite consists of a dedicated system of CBRN detection, warning and biologicalsampling equipment on a Stryker vehicle (high-speed, high-mobility, armoured carrier). The NBCRV detects, locates, identifies, marks, samples and reports NBC contamination in its immediate environment on the battlefield through the Chemical Biological Mass Spectrometer, Automatic Chemical Agent Detector Alarm, AN/VDR-2 Radiac Detector, AN/UDR-13 Radiac Detector and Joint Biological Point Detection Service Lightweight Standoff Chemical Agent Detector. It automatically integrates contamination information from detectors with input from onboard navigation and meteorological systems, and transmits digital NBC warning messages through the vehicle’s command and control equipment to warn follow-on forces. The NBCRV can also collect samples for analysis. The Sensor Suite upgrade Milestone C will be completed in FY23. zy


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TRAINING

Steven Pike introduces ways to enhance effective simulation of real-life CBRN exercises Shielding and inverse square law simulation is extremely realistic.

©Argon

Investing in the creation and deployment of a standardised suite of equipment was a masterstroke of strategic planning and execution and possibly unprecedented in CBRNe detection. DR-SKO (Dismounted Recon, Sets Kits and Outfits – pronounced Doctor SKO) is a pre-packaged, highly deployable equipment set

M

any hundreds of millions are often expended on equipment, but equipment training resources are for some reason the Cinderella of the party. They are discussed with much enthusiasm but are rarely supported with a budget or formal programme of execution. We provide wonderful tools, but surely the purpose of the acquisition was to ensure an operational capability can be effectively sustained and delivered? To achieve this we need to be certain that equipment is maintained to ensure operational readiness. We also need to have confidence that operators and commanders are operationally ready and well-practiced in the art of hazard identification and management. We must also ensure the provision of appropriate advice and recommendations. Yes, a significant amount of money is spent on training exercises – but can better outcomes and value for money be obtained by ensuring the appropriate training equipment and

50 CBNW 2020/01

assets are available? Can we save money by avoiding damage to real equipment? What if live training exercises provided greater value because attendees were proficient with their equipment and operational processes beforehand?

Are we ‘Appy with Apps’?

Apps (applications) certainly have a role to play, and detection equipment can be replicated visually to some extent. But the human interface is always a compromise. An important aspect of training is the physiological impact of wearing the appropriate protective ensemble and the impact this has on the human interface elements of detection equipment, which is lost with an app. How would you feel if a surgeon about to operate on a loved one assured you they had nailed the procedure on the training app – and was looking forward to “doing it for real”? Apps can be valuable when used as a learning management system (LMS)based tool where students are presented with quiz-style questions relating to


TRAINING

equipment use and operational procedures, while centralised monitoring facilitates organisational assessment of progress and results.

Real-life training is best

What do we mean by ‘real life’? The ultimate goal is to attend an actual incident, but this is not a role where on-the-job training is appropriate. However, every incident attendance is always an opportunity to learn and refine processes – but do we sit down and review post-incident to enhance learning as much as we should? Closest to ‘real life’ is an exercise involving live CWAs (chemical warfare agents) or radiological sources. There are some superb facilities worldwide offering this type of experience, but do governments spend the significant taxpayer monies these live exercises cost to enable people to learn how to use their detection equipment? If we ensure operatives are proficient in the use of their detection equipment prior to attending live exercises, teams can focus

Above Left: Also implemented as UDR13, dose and dose rate correlate with the Beta Gamma simulation probe. Above: CWAs and TICs are effectively simulated without sieve pack consumables. Above Right: A range of App detector simulators permit low-cost discrete field training. ©Argon

on the specifics of hazard characteristics, process, protocol, communication and incident management. Live training also has limitations, however. Quantities of CWA substances involved are necessary small, and although radiological source activity can be employed at respectable levels, the student exposure limitations for reasons of safety have an impact on dose and dose rate exposure – and, therefore, reading-related decision-making experience. When we consider that many operations might be counterterrorist-related. On home soil, the potential target location should ideally be incorporated within the training exercise – meaning any training option that may contaminate a potential crime scene or present administrative challenges might be ruled out. Large-scale incidents – what teams should also be training for – are extremely difficult to implement.

What practical options are there?

For a physical simulator to be accurate and capable of ongoing ILS (integrated logistics support), cooperation of the original detector manufacturer is important – because the simulator needs to accurately incorporate human interface factors (case, display etc) and elements of original equipment manufacturer’s intellectual property.

CWA training

The M4 A1 JCAD (Joint Chemical Agent Detector) manufactured by Smiths Detection and known elsewhere as the LCD3.3 is a  CBNW 2020/01 51


TRAINING can also be integrated with virtual reality training systems.

Radiological training

primary DR-SKO CWA detector that identifies specific CWAs and also incorporates limited TIC (toxic industrial compound) detection. Operators need to be proficient in configuring the detectors mode (CWA, TIC, monitor, survey and confidence test) prior to operational deployment. They also need to understand the importance of sieve-pack consumable management, including the sieve-pack life indicator reset protocol. While chemical simulants can be used to stimulate an actual detector, environmental, health and safety regulations and the need to generate specific CWA identification alerts make simulant use extremely challenging. This is especially so when weather effects are taken into account. While realistic, these impact on the learning experience an instructor may wish to convey. The use of technology such as ultrasound to represent a vapour can be very effective, as it can be contained and also simulate outgas through partially open doors and windows. A well-designed simulator not only accommodates these training requirements, it can also monitor operator activity to determine if the actions have been correctly performed. This will avoid expensive damage to operational detectors, and enable the effects of persistency and partial and full decontamination to be realistically simulated. The simulation platform can be incorporated within alternative detectors to product a comprehensive CWA/TIC simulation capability, and 52 CBNW 2020/01

Top: Argon and LLNL will miniaturise and commercialise RaFTS for use with any spectrometer including back packs and portals. Above: Correlation between real Cs137 and simulated spectra is almost indistinguishable. ©LLNL

The real challenge with radiation training is exposing operators to the levels of hazard that really cause them to consider personal safety for all concerned, take appropriate initial action, and provide effective, considered advice and recommendations. While radiation simulation has always resulted in a compromise (and in reality always will), recent technical advances have resulted in extremely accurate simulation of gamma emitters to provide highly realistic training scenarios. The implementation of safe, environmentally friendly electromagnetic signals for the simulation radionuclides, in conjunction with powerful signal analysis and processing, enables time/distance and shielding to be very well represented. In search procedures involving sources hidden on different building floor levels, within crates, or even within vehicle trunks, for checkpoint exercises to very effectively implemented the student must be able to scan the vehicle trunk to determine the location of the source within. Readings will rise when the lid is opened, while training dosimeters ensure an understanding and appreciation of personal dose management. Similar technology permits the simulation of alpha and beta contamination – including partial and full decontamination to be represented by suitable simulation probes. The ability to represent specific or mixes of radionuclides permits spectrometers to be simulated. Recent technical developments such as the LLNL RaFTS (Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Radiation Field Training System) enables operational instruments to incorporate a training mode.

Cost and value

Due to differences in market size, training simulators often cost more than detectors. However, the value they represent is significant when whole-life cost of ownership and exercise facilitation costs are accounted for. Evidence has also emerged that demonstrates greater live-exercise effectiveness due to better detector operation proficiency. ❚❙

Steven Pike is Founder and Managing Director of Argon Electronics (UK) Ltd and holds a number of patents in the field of CBRN and hazardous material simulation.


COUNTRY FOCUS Lebanese Army reconnaissance in a chemical warfare agent release context during CBRN Intermediate Training.

Preparing for CBRN in

LEBANON

The Middle East has long been a region of turmoil and instability with internal and external players daily shaping the lives of its inhabitants. Torn by decades of wars, revolutions and broader interconfessional tensions, Lebanon finds itself taking part in this regional spiral. In the midst of a plethora of challenges, the risk of CBRN-related events emerges and calls for national and international attention

Andrea D’Angelo and Lt Col Andrea Gloria review EU efforts to assist Lebanon in CBRN risks mitigation

All photos ŠB&S Europe

54 CBNW 2020/01


COUNTRY FOCUS In October 2018 the Lebanese Armed Forces arrested a terrorist claiming to be with ISIS. He was suspected of an attempt to poison a military water tank with chemical products. This event stressed even more the need for Lebanon to increase its preventive and response capabilities to CBRN threats.

T

Civil Defence exercise.

he onset of the Syrian crisis in 2010 exacerbated this country’s economic, social and security situation with the influx of over 1.5 million Syrian refugees – added to the pre-existing 500,000 Palestinians – who had to be hosted by an alreadyfragmented nation with overburdened public institutions.

Rising CBRN threats

The accidental release from Lebanese facilities situated in densely populated areas using hazardous chemical products, in addition to the possible release of chemical warfare agents (CWAs) by terrorist organisations within Lebanon as well as in neighbouring Syria, constitute a concrete menace to Lebanon’s national stability. In parallel, the risk of infectious disease outbreaks has been exacerbated

by the growing populations of refugees crossing borders without proper medical examinations and then living in poor conditions. Possible incidents involving radiological material and nuclear accidents in neighbouring countries represent another possible threat to Lebanon’s safety and security.

National disaster plan

Prompted by the evolution of the national and regional context, the Lebanese Government, assisted by the international community, in 2010 drafted the National CBRN Disaster Management Plan and created the CBRN National Team – which evolved in the current National CBRN Commission – to be in charge of the national coordination of all CBRN-related prevention and response activities. The chemical attack on Ghouta, Syria on 21 August 2013 increased the

Lebanese Army warning and reporting exercise during CBRN Intermediate Training.

perception by Lebanese authorities of the increasing CBRN risk in the region, calling for a stronger response capacity by national institutions. Subsequently, in 2016, the CBRN National Team collaborated with the European Union Joint Research Centre (EU JRC) to draft the National CBRN Action Plan. This delineated the risk factors in contrast with Lebanon’s ability to address these risks, and to set a framework and baseline for interagency cooperation and response during a CBRN incident or accident. This EU initiative was later followed by the launch of the EU Technical Assistance on CBRN Risks Mitigation in Lebanon in September 2018. Within a €3.5-million comprehensive programme, some €1.2 million is dedicated to specialied equipment provision with €2.3 million for technical assistance and training. This brings together various national players to develop a complete CBRN preparedness and response capacity.

Implementing the plan

The three-year EU Technical Assistance (TA) project is currently implemented by the consulting firm Business & Strategy Europe (B&S Europe), in partnership with the NGO Security and Freedom in Europe (SAFE), the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Italian Ministry of Defence. CBRN experts in EU Member States were brought on board the project team to ensure tangible operational results while reinforcing sustainable ties between Lebanon and EU Member States in this sensitive area of work. The objectives of the project are to: 1 Enhance the technical capabilities of Lebanese first responders and the implementation of CBRN prevention and response tasks by the Lebanese Armed Forces, Internal Security Forces, Civil Defence, Beirut Fire-Fighters, the Lebanese Red Cross, and the Office of the Prime Minister  CBNW 2020/01 55


COUNTRY FOCUS Beirut firefighters during basic training in a toxic industrial chemical release context.

Lebanese Army decontamination and related checks during CBRN Basic Training.

2 Increase interagency cooperation in the operational crisis management of CBRN events. Within this framework, the project provides high-level training and peer-to-peer mentoring and coaching by CBRN experts, along with the provision of specialised equipment.

Training progress

The EU TA project team employed a participatory approach in the first months of the project. The aim was to complete a thorough Gap Analysis to identify strengths and weaknesses of various Lebanese institutions, as well as prioritise potential actions to enhance CBRN capabilities and reinforce their operational capacities. As a result, a training plan was designed and tailored to the roles and responsibilities of each of the participating institutions with reference to the National CBRN Action Plan and Disaster Management Plan. With the start of the implementation phase in January 2019, multi-level training has been carried out in parallel with the distribution of specialised equipment. The training structure allows a progressive learning curve for its participants, with challenges in subject matter areas increasing across the lifetime of the project. By end 2019 at least 150 first responders had been trained in detection, sampling and identification of CBR agents, and in warning, reporting and decontamination in possible CBRN scenarios. The training sessions also serve as a platform to draft intra-agency Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and establish an interagency information exchange mechanism to institutionalise practices and ensure multilateral sharing and coordination. 56 CBNW 2020/01

ARZ 1 In 2020, the TA will support CBRN Field Exercise ARZ 1. This activity will be funded by the Directorate General Development and Cooperation of the European Commission and organised by the UN Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute and the International Science and Technology Centre. The Lebanese Prime Minister Office within the framework of the EU CBRN Centres of Excellence Initiative will assist in the CBRN terrorism response exercise. At the end of the intra-agency training sessions, field drills and table-top exercises will take place to apply the SOPs and strengthen cooperation among the different institutions to achieve an effective and prompt response. Another essential aspect of the training is the development of self-sustainable capabilities through Train-the-Trainer modules. Selected individuals will constitute a national training body in charge of increasing CBRN awareness and education across their own institutions.

Coordinating projects

It is worth mentioning the innovative and proactive coordinating approach adopted by the TA project team. This is aimed at synchronising current CBRN activities with ongoing projects and bilateral initiatives funded by other donors. The target of these harmonisation efforts is to better serve the beneficiaries, while avoiding redundancy and overlaps. For full development of Lebanese

inter-agency cooperation and response to CBRN events, a ‘passport’ of performance indicators to measure CBRN response capacities has been developed. This monitoring tool is intended to support the National CBRN Commission, policymakers, and practitioners in monitoring the implementation of the National Action Plan, measure the results achieved, and further define strategies and initiatives to be undertaken in the CBRN sector in Lebanon. The EU-funded Technical Assistance on CBRN Risks Mitigation in Lebanon project is an example of successful public-private cooperation between specialised entities and practitioners from EU Member States. This highly technical and operational project highlights the efforts of the EU and its Member States to strengthen the resilience of Lebanon’s security institutions against CBRN threats while reinforcing their roles as key drivers of stability, safety and national cohesion. ❚❙ The content of this article is the sole responsibility of B&S Europe and does not necessarily reflect the views of the EU. Andrea D’Angelo is Team Leader, Technical Assistance on CBRN Risks Mitigation in Lebanon, having led EU-funded technical assistance projects in CBRN risks mitigation. Lt Col Andrea Gloria is CBRN Key Expert Military Component for Technical Assistance on CBRN Risks Mitigation in Lebanon, having been Department Director/CBRN Instructor with the NATO School Oberammergau and Company Commander, Training Officer and Battalion Commander of the 7th CBRN Defence Regiment.


BIODETECTION

Sensing

in the field

Dr Neeraja Venkateswaran describes orthogonal detection of biothreat agents to enhance biodefence

There is an urgent need to develop, maintain, and execute robust biodefence plans for rare and novel pathogens and toxins that can cause a pandemic situation if not addressed promptly

E

xamples of overt or covert outbreaks include a swine flu outbreak in a US military base in 1976, the anthrax letter attacks of 2001, ricin poisonings, a SARS outbreak that started in 2003 in southern China and spread to many countries, avian flu outbreaks, the H1N1 influenza pandemic of 2009, the Ebola outbreak from 2014 to 2016 in western Africa, recent Ebola outbreaks, Zika outbreaks from 2015 to 2017, and recent outbreaks of monkeypox in Africa, Singapore, and the UK. Public health services of local governments and international organisations struggle with such challenges. Academics and professionals working in 58 CBNW 2020/01

national security, law enforcement, public health, life science research, biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries worldwide face a difficult challenge to prevent, prepare for, combat and respond to intentional or natural outbreaks of biological threats.

Raising awareness

The post-9/11 anthrax mailings raised the level of urgency and awareness to build biodefence programmes to combat biological threat agents (BTA). It is now well understood that the common thread in all the outbreaks was the exposure of unsuspecting individuals to a rare infectious disease followed by a hospital visit.

Awareness among first responders, care providers and other associated service providers of the possibility of such exposures is critical to mount a proper response effort. Knowledge is the first step, but does not suffice in the need to avoid exposure and further contamination with highly infectious BTA. This calls for the need for preparedness.

Be prepared

Availability of tools and training for rapid detection and diagnosis of such pathogens or pathogen-specific host responses, detection of infectious agents on suspected surfaces, and in environmental samples, is crucial for enhancing biodefence. The two essential elements of an efficient biodefence strategy include rapid detection and constant surveillance for human and animal pathogens. Field-portable screening technologies supported by laboratory-based


BIODETECTION

©Dr. William Max Nelson

©Neeraja Venkateswaran

Field portable real-time PCR device T-COR 8™ can go from lab to field seamlessly. ©Neeraja Venkateswaran

Above: Traditional microbiological culture methods for detection and confirmation of bacterial contaminants are labour and time-intensive. These are now being replaced by rapid immunological and molecular technologies. ©Neeraja Venkateswaran

Above: Be prepared! Poster announcing a talk at Bell Labs in March 1999 by a founder of Tetracore, Inc, Dr. William Max Nelson – who has been actively engaged in the development of field-portable technologies for detection of biothreat agents. Above: Multiplex assay using optically coded magnetic beads. These have unique spectral addresses for detection of antibody responses to multiple flaviviruses in an exposed serum sample, using Luminex xMAP technology. Right: Laboratory-based immunoassays using antibody reagents can be used for high-throughput testing. a) Antibody structure b) ELISA plate c) Sandwich immunoassay on fluorescent bead for detection of biothreat agents.

orthogonal detection and diagnostic measures are critical for a wholesome biodefence programme. Accurate detection and monitoring enable the development of a robust response to save lives and property cost effectively.

Tools and technologies

Rapid detection of BTA entails testing for agent-related specific protein markers, toxins, nucleic acids and metabolites in various test formats, devices, and sensors. Orthogonal detection for BTA means the analysis of a suspected sample using cross-over methodologies, where the test analytes are independent of each other and also highly co-related to provide a definitive result. This kind of independently verified testing provides high

©Neeraja Venkateswaran

confidence in either the positive or negative detection in any high-consequence situation.

Explaining biological sensors

In simple terms, a biological sensor is a device that may identify a signal or changes in a signal from the interaction of the BTA  CBNW 2020/01 59


BIODETECTION ©Neeraja Venkateswaran

A FIELD-BASED NUCLEIC ACID DETECTOR SHOULD BE: €0 man-portable €0 battery-operated €0 provide all the test reagents in a format that does not need a cold chain €0 provide a secure sample handling and processing €0 provide results in a reasonable time. Left: Lateral Flow Assays are an excellent tool for field-based rapid detection. The resulting coloured lines after a test are easy to read and interpret. Use of optional reader lends objectivity to the results and provides means for digital records and sharing of the results.

or a marker directly related to this BTA. These signals may be produced and amplified for detection by the reaction of antibodies with BTA in an immunoassay format, amplification of BTA specific nucleic acids, mass spectroscopy for metabolites of BTA, or monitoring the mobility of the organisms. These sensors may interrogate one target at a time in a test sample for singleplex analysis, or may have the capability to monitor multiple targets in a sample simultaneously for multiplex analysis. Biological sensors provide alternatives to classical microbiological culture methods for rapid detection.

Antibody-based field sensors

Antibodies are biological molecules produced in response to exposure to a foreign body – an antigen – in an animal. They can bind with their respective antigens with very high specificity and affinity. Hence they are a valuable tool for making sensors for detection, diagnosis and also are used as therapeutics and vaccines.

Laboratory tests

Lateral flow assays (LFA) provide an easy to use field-based testing format for the rapid identification of BTA. These tests offer a visual result in about 15 to 20 minutes. They utilise a sandwich immunoassay format where the target being interrogated in a sample is sandwiched between a pair of antibodies, one that captures the BTA, and the other that has a colour-producing label which will paint the captured BTA and provide a coloured line. A simplified example of this type of sensor is a pregnancy strip. The presence of the target BTA will produce two lines in this test and the absence of BTA a single line. The lack of any line in this test makes the test invalid. 60 CBNW 2020/01

In addition to singleplex LFA, these tests may also be used for testing multiple targets in a multiplex format. Lateral flow assays may also be used in disease surveillance programmes for detecting antibodies to a threat agent in animal or human samples. These LFA results may be analysed using optional readers, which can automatically recognise the test type of an LFA, provide a semi-quantitative report, and save a digital image and data records of the test. These results can then be communicated in real time from the field with the rest of the biodefence response team. Other formats of immunoassays useful for higher throughput laboratory-based tests include enzyme linked immuno sorbant assay (ELISA), fluorescent and chemiluminescent immunoassays, and fluorescent microsphere-based suspension microarrays using Luminex platforms. Multiplex assays on Luminex-based technology offer a unique advantage of interrogating multiple targets in a single sample, using minimal sample volumes. These various targets may be different organisms or multiple different analytes from a single agent.

Field-based amplification

Nucleic acids, DNA or RNA, from different organisms provide a unique identifiable signature for identification of these targets. The individual target sequences are amplified using various methods, including real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), reverse transcriptase RT-PCR, and the isothermal amplification of nucleic acids. These amplification reactions generally produce a fluorescent signal that is detected if the target is present and not detected otherwise. These techniques involve moderate complexity

and require more training. The PCR technologies are routinely used in clinical diagnostic laboratories worldwide for the detection of infectious diseases and antibiotic susceptibility genes. More and more laboratories are providing test results in 24 hours. Nevertheless, bringing these technologies to the field is challenging and needs more attention. Several commercial products are being developed, but only a few are now available to make this technology accessible and amenable for use in the field. The ability to share the results in real time from the field with the rest of the biodefence team offers an additional advantage to such field-based systems.

Next generation sequencing

NGS is now being explored for its utilisation in biodefence programmes. It offers an advantage that the BTA detection may be performed in a near-unlimited manner. The ability to interrogate all possible nucleic acid sequences present in a sample without any prior knowledge, unlike the targeted assays such as PCR, is fascinating. This technology has the potential to enhance the detection and characterisation of BTA significantly. Besides, the information generated by such testing may provide in-depth details on epidemiology and bio-forensic analysis. In a nutshell, all these technologies provide relevant orthogonal detection platforms in the biodefence toolbox for surveillance, diagnosis, and detection of BTA. zy Neeraja Venkateswaran, Ph.D. is a Senior Scientist at Tetracore Inc. She has developed and deployed various test methods and technologies for rapid detection of biothreat agents in her career of over 25 years.


The CBRN threat is real. Are you prepared?

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BIOSURVEILLANCE Have you ever asked if the water, food or air you consume was safe? Imagine a compromised environment of deadly pathogens – lethal bacteria, viruses and toxins – which threaten our health from the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the food we eat. The ease of acquiring and spreading bioagents in recent years may be easier than you think Adulteration to samples

Potential bioagents and pathogens can present themselves as contaminants in our food source or our environment. In 1984, one of the biggest bioterrorist attacks in the US involved the foodborne pathogen, Salmonella typhimurium, which was intentionally used to contaminate salad bars in Oregon restaurants and infected 751 people. Such contaminants are typically odourless, easily produced and transported. Moreover, there is usually an incubation period between the attack and the onset of symptoms in which the

detection of multiple pathogens. Consequently, multiple tests are required to completely identify from an entire list of suspect pathogens. A potential method to achieve multiple target detection is the combination of PCR and DNA microarray. A microarray consists of DNA probes that target multiple pathogen DNA of interest. The technique unifies detection and identification of multiple pathogens in a single test, which is termed multiplexing.

Dr. Damian Foo outlines hybrid multiplex detection of pathogens Military personnel holding a Veredus biosurveillance deployable case.

Veredus in biosurveillance

Veredus Laboratories is a global

Detecting the unknown All photos ©Veredus

bioagents remain undetected. The result of such low detectability of these biothreats requires critical attention and, at the same time, more sophisticated techniques for greater sensitivity and broader coverage. Exposure to these pathogens in the environment poses a non-conventional biological threat.

PCR and microarray

In recent years, several test systems that claimed to be fast, sensitive, compact and easy-to-use are coming onto the scene to address bioagent screening. PCR (polymerase chain reaction) nucleic acid amplification is one such technique that provides a solution to biological detection. Aside from screening, bioagent identification in an outbreak or isolated attack calls for urgent attention. This identification will determine the necessary countermeasure action for responders to undertake during crisis management. In cases of attack with multiple bioagents within a single sample source, how does one differentiate and provide accurate identifications to each bioagent, in the shortest time? While PCR is able to provide the detection of pathogens, it can be tedious and time-consuming for screening or 62 CBNW 2020/01

biotechnological company based in Singapore specialising in the marketing, development and customisation of innovation solutions for multiplex detection of pathogens. Veredus offers VereChip, which combines PCR and microarray hybridisation on a lab-onchip (LOC) platform. The applications with VereChip cover extensively, from the fields of biosurveillance, food safety and infectious diseases to customised solutions. Veredus’s first contribution to biosurveillance came in 2004 with the launch of a H5N1 Influenza conventional PCR kit, which caught the attention of the World Health Organization (WHO). In 2006, Veredus collaborated with European semiconductor giant ST Microelectronic to develop VereChip – combining the two time-tested technologies of PCR and microarray hybridisation. Since its establishment, various test panels were rolled out from Veredus to address global pathogenic concerns such as influenza, foodborne pathogens and biological agent outbreaks.

The biosurveillance market

As the biosurveillance market matures,

there is growing demand of an all-in-one solution comprising nucleic acid extraction and bioagent detection with faster speed, higher accuracy and greater coverage. Although it may seem convenient, it would be advisable for operators to separate the extraction of the bioagent sample from the identification test.

KEY MILESTONES  WHO endorsed Influenza PCR test kit  Launch of VerePLEX Biosystem and VereChip multiplex biological detection  VereThreat category A pathogen detection panel evaluated by a reputable third-party institute  VereChip panels for the surveillance of intentional adulterants in public health and food safety  Deployable biological detection system (coming soon)


BIOSURVEILLANCE

AIRPORT

LAND CHECKPOINT

PCR and DNA microarray works hand-in-hand to provide multiplexing.

SUMMIT

At the point of extraction, the sample is of hazardous nature whereas after extraction, the nucleic acid derived is non-hazardous and safe for handling. Hence, having extraction and detection system in one unit significantly increases the risk of contamination to that detection unit in the presence of a positive sample. These risks can be mitigated by separating both steps.

BIOTERRORISM

PANDEMIC DISEASE

VerePLEX

Veredus addresses the separation of sample extraction and detection with great consideration. The biosurveillance suite has been developed to supplement detection testing with isolated sample preparation and wider detection coverage in the near future. The VereChip can be operated off a fully deployable case, providing detection, differentiation and identification of multiple category A biological agents in a single test. The full panel suite provides the capability to detect more than 75 pathogens, with multiple targets in a test, for rapid identification. Moreover, there are internal positive controls within the test to assure reliable test results. To that aim, Veredus addresses major concerns through gathering feedback from the biosurveillance market and trends, to bring detection solutions to the forefront of biosurveillance. zy

Above: VereChip™: the future of biosurveillance at your fingertips.

SEA PORT Right: Sneak-peek to Veredus biosurveillance deployable case.

Screening for unconventional threats – routine or event.

Dr. Damian Foo has a PhD in Microbiology and served in the Singapore Armed Forces as Company Sergeant Major in 91 CSSB Battalion of Medical Company. He was awarded the Best Formation NSmen of the Year in 2017. CBNW 2020/01 63


SPECIAL FOCUS: MEDICAL COUNTERMEASURES CHEMICAL WEAPONS

The medical dilemma Col Hamish de Bretton Gordon describes the brutality of chemical weapons use in Syria and the many challenges in treating the injured in this and other notable theatres and incidents

All photos Šthe author

Peshmerga wearing Avon escape hood near Mosul.

Chemical weapons (CW) are morbidly brilliant for fighting in built-up areas and the level of psychological terror they impart is exactly what terror groups look for in a weapon

64 CBNW 2020/01


SPECIAL FOCUS: MEDICAL COUNTERMEASURES

W

hen most people thought the Syrian conflict could not sink further into the abyss of human suffering, we have seen on our TV screens the most shocking pictures of burned children. Young boys and girls have been shown with the most horrific burns, some with their flesh appearing to dribble off their bodies.

The horror of WP

The suggestion that white phosphorus (WP) has been used to directly attack civilians in northeastern Syria is no surprise to those of us who have been immersed in that beleaguered country for the past six years or know anything about CW. WP is not a ‘prescribed’ CW, but any toxic chemical used to attack civilians is illegal under the Chemical Weapons Convention and Geneva Conventions. Its use, designed as an illuminate or smoke screen, has been a standard operating

procedure by the Syrian regime to burn villages and towns into submission across Syria during the current conflict. We do not yet know who is responsible for the attacks last October, but we know that all combatants have it in their arsenals. From a medical standpoint, pouring water onto burning WP makes the situation worse rather than better.

Emboldening Assad

How have we reached a place where it is acceptable to attack civilians, mostly children, with chemical and other unconventional weapons? The answer is that we, particularly in the West, have allowed it to happen by being weak on those who use these unconventional illegal weapons. After the massive nerve agent attack on the Damascus suburb of Ghouta on 21 August 2013, which killed up to 1,500 people – again, mostly children, the British Parliament voted to do nothing even after the UK agreed with the US that any use of CW would cross a ‘red line.’ This was meant to trigger a violent and decisive military strike against the perpetrators. With no penalties, and the West seemingly impotent, Syrian President Bashar alAssad was

emboldened and, henceforth, continued to use CW whenever he really needed victory or to stave off defeat. He now faces complete victory – in no small way attributed to his use of CW. The Syrian conflict shows that ‘gas’ sinks underground and either kills families in their shelters or forces them above ground, as in Aleppo – to be hit by bombs and bullets. It is the civilians who suffer most, with no gas masks or other means to protect themselves. CW break the will of civilians to resist. They hand victory to the attackers, which is a risk worth taking if there is no punitive action expected. Even now, Assad still uses CW because he is happy to take the odd cruise missile strike as a penalty for their use.

Medical response Ghouta

Ghouta was probably the first masscasualty chemical attack since Saddam’s CW massacres at Halabja in March 1988. We have had to relearn all the lessons of that atrocity. The UOSSM (Union of Medical Care and Relief Organisations) hospital in East Ghouta dealt with most of the casualties from the August 2013 attack. Of the nine doctors working that morning, seven subsequently died from secondary contamination. Many of the first responders also became casualties. There were no detectors, and by the time people realised this was a chemical attack it was too late for many. The other significant lesson was decontamination. Many contaminated casualties were taken into the hospital to be treated rather than cleaned in the open. This is still a challenge in Syria – having a hot zone outside the hospitals – as snipers and air attack are a constant threat. It took the Ghouta attack to combine the first responders – predominantly the indomitable White Helmets – with our doctors, and to work out joint operating procedures.

Khan Shaykhun

Peshmerga General wearing the Avon FM 50.

The next significant nerve agent attack occurred at Khan Shaykhun in April 2017, killing more than 58 people, including 11 children, and injuring over 300. Thankfully here only one first responder became a casualty. We put simple detectors in the hospitals and taught everyone to use a solution of 0.5% chlorine to decontaminate casualties and equipment. By then, however, in a terrible irony, the Syrian regime was dropping chlorine  CBNW 2020/01 65


SPECIAL FOCUS: MEDICAL COUNTERMEASURES messaging. Getting the medical countermeasures right and the staging, reception and treatment of contaminated casualties is fundamental to having effective mitigation to a chemical attack, be it from terrorists or state on state. Most Western militaries have paid lip service to CW defence – especially the medical aspects – since the Cold War. Thankfully, this is now changing – but it must gather pace with better-informed risk management to create and maintain operational tempo. Most elite militaries

in the form of multiple barrel bombs on civilian neighbourhoods, killing many – again, mainly children – who are most susceptible to this toxic vapour.

On the front line with the Peshmerga engaged in a fight with Daesh.

Salisbury

The Salisbury nerve agent incidents also illustrated the fact that a comprehensive medical response to a chemical attack is key to successful outcomes, but that there will always be unknowns to factor in. Salisbury District Hospital did not have contamination issues. This was not because – as reported by some – it was geared up for an accident at DSTL Porton Down, but because all UK NHS hospitals have long had protocols for dealing with contaminated casualties. However, for some time medics at Salisbury did not know what the poison was and treated the patients on the basis of instinct and intuition. Initially believed to be possible drug overdose, the treatment applied was fortuitously similar to the recommended procedures had nerve agent been identified from the start. One positive outcome from this brazen attack on British soil was that we now know a great deal more about Novichok agents and how to treat them, making them a lesser threat in future.

Basic medical response

From a medical perspective an effective detection system is crucial. In Syria we found the simplest systems are sometimes the most effective. In the many exercises I participated in during my military career, decontamination was ignored at best. We have relearned in Syria that most casualties are likely to come from cross-contamination or 66 CBNW 2020/01

Sarin bomb crater at Khan Shaykhun, 17 April 2017.

secondary contamination. Therefore, decontamination must be pivotal to any CBRN treatment system from beginning to end. The CBRN threat environment has dramatically changed in the past five years from very low probability plus huge impact to high probability and high impact. This is officially recognised in recent, but confidential, UK Government threat assessments. CW are firmly in the terrorist armoury, and the world is now aware of a highly advanced and toxic Russian CW programme and undeclared stockpile. We could lose this battle through misinformation if we are not agile and flexible with our internal and external

like the MOD now require the best PPE available and effective operating procedures to enable operations in a contaminated battlespace. This will come as no surprise to Special Forces and other specialist operatives, but needs to be embedded in the whole force across all ‘Lines of Development.’ These dreadful weapons must be removed from the world’s battlefields and terrorist armouries. As most NATO countries have paid lip service to CW, much has been forgotten. ❚❙ Col. Hamish de Bretton Gordon is a Chemical Weapons Expert and Advisor to NGOs in Syria & Iraq.


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SPECIAL FOCUS: MEDICAL COUNTERMEASURES NUCLEAR ACCIDENT

SKYFALL Andy Oppenheimer tracks the effects of a rocket explosion in Russia last August

On 8 August, an explosion occurred at the Nyonoksa missile test range in the far north of Russia on the White Sea. Five nuclear engineers were killed and six others were injured. The background radiation levels in the city of Severodvinsk 40 km from the explosion were reported to spike to 16 times the norm

R

eports immediately following the event indicated that the explosion was most likely the result of an unsuccessful test of the 9M730 Burevestnik (NATO: SSC-X-9 Skyfall) nuclear-powered cruise missile – one of President Vladimir Putin’s sabre-rattling ‘nuclear vengeance weapons’ he announced in 2018. As with most things Russian, the incident is still cloaked in secrecy and contradictions on the nature of the explosion, the radiation levels, and the cause abound.

Radiation spike

The Severodvinsk city administration said the radiation level rose to 2 microsieverts/hour for about 30 minutes on 8 August then returned to the area's natural level of 0.1 microsieverts/hour. Emergency officials issued a warning to all workers to stay indoors and close windows. According to the Russian weather service Rosgidromet, readings for gamma radiation at six testing stations in Severodvinsk 47 km east of the Nyonoksa missile range (pop. 180,000) ranged from four to 16 times the normal 68 CBNW 2020/01

Severodvinsk (red dot) is on the coast of the White Sea, just below the Arctic Circle.

rate of 0.11 microsieverts/hour. The radiation spike soon exposed the original reports by emergency service agencies, which blamed the explosion on an accident at a nearby military ammunition depot, as misleading. Subsequent statements by official sources in Moscow and St. Petersburg were equally evasive. Authorities said that radiation levels shortly after the blast were higher than normal for about 40 minutes then returned to normal background radiation.

©CIA/wiki

In contrast, Rosgidromet said the spike lasted for two-and-a-half hours. Initial reports from the Russian state nuclear energy corporation Rosatom stated that the explosion was from a test of a "radioisotope source of energy." Rosatom officials told the St. Petersburgbased Northern Russia news outlet Fontanka that the mishap involved the test of "a nuclear battery." A test failure was the widely accepted explanation for the incident. US


SPECIAL FOCUS: MEDICAL COUNTERMEASURES

©Wikipedia/Planet Labs Inc.

Above: Satellite photos of the Nyonoksa missile testing site.

©Wikipedia

Below & Right: Background radiation levels in the city of Severodvinsk 40 km from the explosion were reported to spike to 16 times the norm.

©Wikipedia

Intelligence assessed that the blast occurred during a mission to salvage a nuclear-powered Burevestnik missile from the ocean floor. The missile had also been lost during a previous test. There was an explosion on one of the vessels involved in the mission, which caused a reaction in the missile's nuclear core, leading to the radiation leak. At 06:00 UTC (local time 09:00, 8 August) at the infrasound station in Bardufoss in Troms, Norway, the event was also registered on seismic data, that is, it was coupled to the ground. Fishermen also witnessed the accident: one saw a 100-m column of water rise into the air after the explosion and another saw a large hole in the side of a ship at the

explosion site. On the day of the blast, the Russians extended sea lane closure around the Nyonoksa missile test range.

Medical response

Two of the patients who died en route to Moscow were military personnel who succumbed to radiation sickness,

according to the independent Meduza news website. Three victims were treated at the Semashko Medical Center in Arkhangelsk, which had radiation treatment expertise and employed hazmat suits. Three others were taken to the Arkhangelsk Regional Clinical Hospital, 

"My colleagues found themselves in front of the victims with jack s***, not even a simple respirator. No one said anything [to the doctors]; they weren't even warned. They were abandoned and left to fend for themselves." CBNW 2020/01 69


SPECIAL FOCUS: MEDICAL COUNTERMEASURES Left: The Burevestnik or Skyfall missile is believed to be powered by a nuclear reactor.

©Anton Novoderezhkin/TASS

Right: Russia’s Foreign Ministry. ©Russian Defence Ministry

where the hospital staff were not warned of the radiation exposure. One doctor publicly confirmed that staff were forced to treat radiation victims without basic equipment or full information about this aspect of the accident. Of several Arkhangelsk Regional Hospital staff flown to Moscow for radiation testing, one doctor tested positive for cesium-137. However, the levels remain unknown as the medical staff were forced to sign non-disclosure agreements. Videos of ambulances transporting the wounded, apparently with radiation burns, to a Moscow hospital showed the vehicles shielded with plastic tarps. Widespread concerns spread that a Chernobyl-type incident had occurred. On 14 August a cardiovascular surgeon at the Arkhangelsk hospital posted a statement on the Vkontakte social media network criticising the authorities for their handling of the entire incident. According to the independent Moscow Times, doctors treating the radiation victims were told to “get to work” after raising exposure concerns. The Arkhangelsk regional hospital had to be decontaminated after traces were found of cesium-137, an unnamed medical worker told the independent Novaya Gazeta newspaper. One week after the incident, residents of a nearby village were being advised to evacuate but they were not informed about the full extent of contamination. Many locals were reported as rushing to panic-buy iodine, depleting stocks at pharmacies in Arkhangelsk and Severodvinsk.

“The patients’ escorts told us that they’d all been decontaminated. The escorts said, ‘There's no danger. Get to work.’” Misinformation

Russian officials stated the explosion on 8 August was a result of a failed test of an 70 CBNW 2020/01

Bottom Right: A cruise missile test-firing in Russia's Arctic north.

"isotope power source for a liquid-fuelled rocket engine." Initially the Defence Ministry had involved a liquid-fuel rocket engine, and gave the death toll as two, without specifying who the victims were. Later, Rosatom said the test had involved a "radio-isotope propellant source" and had taken place on an offshore platform. Rosatom stated the engineers had completed testing, but suddenly a fire broke out and the engine exploded, throwing the men into the sea. Radiation levels rose because of a “battery failure.” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov declined to elaborate on the test details, merely stating "accidents, unfortunately, happen."

"Back then we were all told that 'there has a been an event.' But there was no truthful explanation to warn people properly of the danger they were in.” Chernobyl parallel

Some locals told Russian media they were asked to leave their homes a day before the missile crashed “ahead of planned military exercises.” Severodvinsk officials, quoted by the Interfax news agency, later confirmed the evacuation order, then other Russian officials dismissed reports of an evacuation as "complete nonsense."

Hazardous weapon

The accident raised questions about yet another Russian covert weapons programme. Some arms control institutes, however, expressed scepticism over Moscow's capabilities – both financial and technical – to field the weapon. Russia has not yet successfully

©Russian Defence Ministry

tested the Burevestnik. The “isotope power source” aspect infers that the Russians have developed a nuclear reactor small enough to fit inside a missile and would use radiation to heat the liquid fuel for propulsion. But of chief concern to public health, a nuclear-powered cruise missile presents the greatest risk of a catastrophic nuclear accident – rated by most military analysts as posing a danger to the Russian population, as demonstrated by the Nyonoksa incident. Speculation ensued about the propulsion system that appeared to be the cause of the August explosion. US experts familiar with similar attempts in the 1950s and 1960s by the Americans to explore this technology said it was unworkable and unfeasible, as well as unacceptably hazardous. The American programme was cancelled in part due to concerns over radioactive pollution. An unshielded reactor core would leave a trail of radioactive emissions and contaminants along its flight path. It would appear that Russian designers’ warnings were, however, ignored. zy

According to US military intelligence, only one of 13 known tests of the Burevestnik missile had been moderately successful through early 2019.

©GlobalSecurity.org


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SPECIAL FOCUS: MEDICAL COUNTERMEASURES EBOLA The 2013-2016 West African outbreak caused almost 30,000 cases of Ebola virus disease and over 11,000 deaths, most occurring in the countries of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. While devastating, a number of positive lessons were learnt fighting this massive outbreak

E

All photos ŠCDC Public Health Image Library

considerable decrease in known death rates, to about 40%. However, it should be noted that the case-fatality (death) rates for Ebola can be difficult to estimate precisely in countries where an optimal healthcare system does not exist, and those ill with Ebola may avoid healthcare altogether.

DRC: Ebola returns

Regrettably, a new Ebola epidemic is now raging in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in central Africa, a massive country over ten times the geographic size of the UK. This outbreak has been declared a health emergency by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Previous Ebola outbreaks in the DRC were well managed, resulting in rapid containment of the spread of the virus. One of the earliest outbreaks known occurred in this country in 1976. Health authorities here have a considerable amount of experience dealing with this disease. This was certainly demonstrated during the May 2018 outbreak in Bikoro in the DRC. An immediate rapid public health response halted that epidemic, and was declared over in July 2018 with 54 Ebola cases and 33 deaths. Since August 2018, over 3,250 cases have occurred, with 2,171 deaths, resulting in a 67% case-fatality rate. Examining the death rate in the current

bola haemorrhagic fever is at the top of the charts as the world’s most horrifying infectious disease. Books such as The Hot Zone and Crisis in the Red Zone by Richard Preston helped bring it international notoriety. Death can occur one to two weeks after initial symptoms, with hallmark profuse internal and external bleeding.

Death rate decrease

The international response to stop the spread of this devastating outbreak began haltingly, but was eventually successful. One estimate put the total cost of containing this epidemic at $53 billion. The case-fatality rate of Ebola virus disease was long thought to approach 90%. The international health intervention efforts to stem the West African Ebola outbreak brought about a

An epidemiologist In full PPE implements a rapid diagnostic test in the field to quickly test for the presence of Ebola virus.

Ebola returns

Zyg Dembek explains how new medical countermeasures will offer hope for the Central African Ebola crisis 72 CBNW 2020/01

UN helicopter delivers lab specimens to Bo, Sierra Leone, where CDC established an Ebola diagnostic field laboratory during the 2014 West African Ebola virus outbreak.


SPECIAL FOCUS: MEDICAL COUNTERMEASURES African Ebola epidemic, it would appear that the ‘bad old days’ of Ebola virus have returned. Given that the virus causing this outbreak is genetically different than in Bikoro, that might not be far from the truth.

Unrest hampers response

However, this ongoing outbreak is located in an area of civil unrest, hampering national and international humanitarian efforts to contain and end it. In the northeast section of the DRC near the border with Uganda, within the provinces of North Kivu, South Kivu and Ituri, armed clashes by rebels continue to endanger civilians and

healthcare workers while the Ebola epidemic rages on. While international efforts continue to attempt to end this outbreak, numerous rebel groups operate in this area with impunity, continuing a cycle of violence against the inhabitants. These include the ISIS-inspired and funded Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), that wages conflict in Uganda and the DRC, and is rsponsible for over 2,000 deaths in the last five years. An Ebola outbreak occurring in a conflict zone is a public health nightmare. It’s no surprise that the current Ebola outbreak in the northeastern DRC has raged on for the past year. Notwithstand-

Demonstrating use of the Rapid Diagnostic Test (RDT) for Ebola virus at Guinea’s Youmou Prefecture Hospital, selected for a 2016 RDT-Ebola pilot study due to its proximity to the earliest recorded cases in Guinea’s Forest Region.

ing, international health authorities are determined to end this outbreak.

Joint agency effort

The WHO is working in the DRC with an international alliance of health partners, including the DRC’s National Institute for Biomedical Research (INRB), its Health Ministry, the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), the Alliance for Medical Action (ALIMA), the International Medical Corps (IMC), Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), and others. In addition to researching the best treatments for Ebola, other efforts by team members and partners in the field are critical in improving survival rates. Teams of epidemiologists and community members work with communities to identify cases and provide care as quickly as possible. The teams ensure contacts are vaccinated against disease and their  health is monitored for three weeks.

This Russian UN helicopter transported 5,000 Ebola specimens from CDC’s field lab in Bo, Sierra Leone to Atlanta in December 2014. The dome-shaped containers (dry shippers) were charged with liquid nitrogen to keep specimens at -196° C.

In September 2019 travellers in Goma file through the DRC-Rwanda border crossing. Preventing cross-border spread is vital to help Congolese authorities battle the outbreak.

CBNW 2020/01 73


SPECIAL FOCUS: MEDICAL COUNTERMEASURES Active case finding, contact tracing, and community acceptance of these teams are vital to ending the outbreak. Effective public health measures almost necessarily interfere with human behaviour, religion, traditions and politics, and can be difficult to implement. With inherent difficulties in locating and treating Ebola patients in a conflict zone, new vaccination efforts and medical countermeasures are crucial. A number of medical countermeasures are in use here.

Vaccines

During the 2013-2016 West African Ebola

outbreak, Ebola vaccine candidates were prioritised for clinical trials. While those vaccine trials did not have a significant impact on that Ebola epidemic, they did provide useful information on vaccine safety, immunogenicity and human efficacy. During that outbreak, over 93,000 people were vaccinated with Merck’s VSV-EBOV vaccine (a recombinant vesicular stomatitis virus-Zaire Ebola virus vaccine) to attempt to interrupt human transmission chains. Two vaccine candidates are now being used in the current Ebola outbreak in the DRC: the VSV-EBOV vaccine, and an experimental Ad26.ZEBOV/MVA-BN vaccine from Johnson and Johnson, introduced into the DRC beginning in October 2019, with 500,000 doses donated to the vaccine study. The Ad26.ZEBOV/MVA-BN vaccine is composed of two vaccine components, Ad26.ZEBOV derived from human adenovirus expressing the Ebola virus Mayinga variant glycoprotein, and MVA-BN modified virus Vaccinia Ankara – Bavarian Nordic Filo-vector. Ebola vaccination efforts were once limited to certain high-risk groups, including medical personnel and aid workers supporting outbreak management, laboratory workers, and medical 74 CBNW 2020/01

Right:: Newly built Ebola treatment centre in Goma, DRC in July 2019 is part of CDC and MSF’s international partnership to help Congolese health authorities battle a year-old outbreak of Ebola. Bottom Left: The CDC’s office in Goma, the hub for the agency’s response to the DRC Ebola outbreak. Bottom Right:: In January 2015 at Freetown-Lungi International Airport, Sierra Leone, outgoing Air Côte d'Ivoire passengers wash their hands with a dilute chlorine solution. Some airlines requested additional hand washing before boarding.

personnel in countries with outbreaks. The international response to the current DRC outbreak is changing that rationale for control. The current vaccination effort in northeastern DRC attempts to establish ring vaccination using these Ebola vaccines. Ring vaccinations control an outbreak by vaccinating enough people to form a ring of immunised persons around each infected individual. The hallmark example of the effectiveness of ring vaccination technique is its successful use to control smallpox virus, which eventually led to this virus’s global eradication in 1980. Over 230,000 individuals have received Merck’s VSV-EBOV vaccine to date. As of late 2019, there has been a steady decline of the weekly number of reported Ebola cases in the DRC. However, new cases continue to occur in areas previously unaffected or where Ebola transmission was thought to have ended. It will likely be months before this latest Ebola epidemic runs its course.

New drugs

Four investigation drugs have also been

used in Ebola patients in this outbreak, beginning in November 2018. As of August 2019, two of these drugs were retained for this purpose, as they had demonstrated effectiveness in this study: REGN-EB3 (Regeneron Pharmaceuticals), which is composed of three monoclonal antibodies targeting Ebola virus, and mAb114 (Ridgeback Biotherapeutics), a human monoclonal antibody to the Zaire ebolavirus glycoprotein. Their promise in offering hope to Ebola patients is unprecedented, with the REGN-EB3 and mAb114 clinical trials resulting in 34% and 35% mortality rates, respectively. Preliminary results indicate that patients treated soon after becoming ill had improved recovery prospects. With this international health teams’ continued efforts, and the effective use of the new Ebola vaccines and anti-Ebola therapeutics, this outbreak may be over in the coming months. If so, it will be due to the teams’ persistence coupled with these new pharmaceutical interventions in the face of the combined enemies of disease and insurgents. ❚❙ Col (Ret) Zygmunt F. Dembek is an epidemiologist and biochemist. He has written extensively on biodefence and has conducted international biodefence training on five continents.


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SPECIAL FOCUS: MEDICAL COUNTERMEASURES

ANIMAL DISEASE

Deborah Carr looks at the threat to human health from African Swine Fever

The

monster

that hitchhiked African Swine Fever (ASF) has been called the ‘Ebola virus of pigs.’ It has spread globally in Europe and Asia, killing millions of them. Although the virus does not infect humans, it is an example of a devastating disease spread globally by human activity, causing economic instability and unintended consequences Not quite the Lion King

In the Disney movie The Lion King, one of the Simba’s sidekicks was Pumbaa, a flatulent African wart hog. Wart hogs and ASF share a symbiotic relationship: the virus lives in juvenile warthogs and also in the soft ticks (Ornithodoros moubata) that shelter in the warthogs’ burrows and draw blood meals from them. ASF seldom causes illness in wart hogs. Not so with other swine species. The virus attacks the circulatory and immune systems to cause death within days. Some pigs die suddenly, while others show such signs as fever, diarrhoea, difficulty breathing, and reddened or blotchy skin. Sick pigs shed the virus in oronasal fluid, urine, faeces, and blood. Massive environmental contamination occurs when blood is shed between fighting pigs, or if a pig develops bloody diarrhea, or if a carcass is butchered. The 76 CBNW 2020/01

virus is able to overwinter in a dead wild boar and then be spread when another pig cannibalises the carcass. It persists for three to six months in uncooked pork. It survives in undercooked meat-containing human food waste (swill) fed to pigs. ASF can survive for several days in the environment. The cooler the temperature, the longer it persists. It is spread by contaminated vehicles, feed, clothing, and equipment. All of this plays a role in how the virus came to leave its home in sub-Saharan Africa and spread to the rest of the world.

Spread of ASF

In 2007, ASF arrived in the Republic of Georgia, possibly through imported contaminated pork products. From there it travelled to the Caucasus region of Eurasia, spreading to wild boar and domesticated swine in Western and Eastern Europe. In 2018 the Eurasian strain of the virus was detected in domestic pigs in China. Since then it has spread to pigs in several Asian countries. The virus’s jump across thousands of miles is thought to be due to human transportation of contaminated items, food products, and the transport of infected live pigs. Initial outbreaks occurred in backyard operations that, in addition to having poorer biosecurity than larger, more modern facilities, also tended to be located near large cities where they had access to waste materials for swill. China is believed to have lost 200

Wild boar herd.

©iStock, Getty Images

million pigs to the virus, about half of their estimated national herd. Elsewhere in Asia over six million pigs have been culled.

Second-order effects

In countries reliant on pork for their protein needs, the deaths of millions of pigs and trade loss has led to economic strain and food insecurity. China supplies nearly 80% of the active pharmaceutical ingredients needed to manufacture heparin, which is used to prevent the formation of life-threatening blood clots and is derived from pig intestines. The drastic loss of pigs in China has led to concerns about a possible global shortage of this vital drug. Militaries have found themselves involved in the ASF response, either directly (South Korea enlisted its military to track and trap infected wild boars along the Demilitarized Zone) or indirectly (a military camp in Belgium was forced to curtail activities when ASF-infected dead wild boars were found on its grounds).

Removing an unwanted guest

Reportedly China has developed two ASF vaccine candidates and is working feverishly on clinical trials and vaccine development. However, ASF is a large virus containing over 150 proteins. The average virus has only ten to twelve. This makes it hard for researchers to determine which proteins are involved


SPECIAL FOCUS: MEDICAL COUNTERMEASURES

Pig carcasses in a market, Hong Kong. ©iStock, Getty Images ©iStock, Getty Images

Modern pig raising facility.

to test for the virus and kill infected pigs. Controlled hunting and fencing are used to prevent virus spread in wild boar. Care must be taken when removing carcasses from the forest to prevent further spread of ASF. ASF is truly the monster that hitchhiked, relying on humans to travel globally. It will take concerted human effort to quash this monster. ❚❙ Backyard pig sty, Guizhou, China. African Swine Fever prevention poster. ©World Organization for Animal Health (OIE)

in infection and which ones the body will make antibodies against, both of which are critical to know to create an effective vaccine. With over twenty genotypes of the virus, one vaccine won’t protect against all of them. In the absence of a vaccine, the only way to control ASF is to prevent it from entering a country in the first place. However, illegal movement of infected pigs and pork products makes this a challenge. ASF-contaminated pork has been confiscated from air travellers in South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, and Australia. ASF-infected pig carcasses have washed up in Taiwan, presumably the result of dead pigs being dumped into Chinese waters. The only option once ASF appears is

©iStock, Getty Images

Deborah Carr DVM, MPH, ACVPM currently works as a contractor for the US Department of Defense. Her areas of interest include zoonotic diseases, public health, and biosurveillance. CBNW 2020/01 77


SPECIAL FOCUS: MEDICAL COUNTERMEASURES

Gone

VACCINES

but not forgotten Dr Phillip L. Gomez examines 21st-century preparedness for the historical threat of smallpox “Somebody would reconstruct, say, a smallpox virus and have that spread, and that would not only kill millions, it could potentially kill billions.” Bill Gates on bioterrorism, Jan 28, 2017, PBS

©SIGA Technologies

Smallpox is a deadly killer that was responsible for approximately 300 million deaths worldwide in the 20th century alone. Naturally occurring smallpox was successfully eradicated in 1980 following coordinated global vaccination campaigns. While this was an historic public health tour-de-force, our planet is not entirely free of variola

78 CBNW 2020/01

©iStock/Getty Images

T

he significant threat caused by variola, the virus that causes smallpox, results from its lethality and ability to spread rapidly from human to human. With a potential fatality rate of 30%, variola remains one of the top five most deadly viruses on the planet. It is also highly contagious, readily spreading from person to person through speaking, breathing or touching and is transmissible through direct contact with infected fluids and contaminated objects. The 14-day window during which an individual is infected but asymptomatic makes it difficult to isolate or treat infected individuals before they infect others. A recent model estimated that each individual infected with smallpox could infect between five and seven people if

Timeline of smallpox infection and potential interventions. Vaccine must be administered within 3-5 days of infection yet symptoms don’t appear until 14 days after infection. TPOXX® antiviral is FDA-approved for the treatment of active smallpox infection and is under evaluation for potential use as a post-exposure prophylactic that could be administered to individuals exposed to smallpox during the 14-day window before symptoms would appear in those who have become infected.

not effectively vaccinated or treated.

A 21st-century threat

Existing lab stocks of variola are not entirely accounted for and could potentially fall into the hands of organisations or individuals that could use these stocks for bioterror purposes. In 2016, researchers in Canada successfully reconstituted horsepox, an extinct poxvirus related to variola, using 


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SPECIAL FOCUS: MEDICAL COUNTERMEASURES

ŠSIGA Technologies

chemically synthesized DNA fragments purchased online. Total cost: $100,000. The 2018 publication of their reconstitution protocol added to the growing concern that a similar approach could be used to synthesise variola. In addition to the potential use of variola in the context of bioterrorism, the recent fire at a Russian laboratory housing a known variola stock is a stark reminder that a smallpox pandemic could be triggered accidentally. While the fire did not spread to the building in which the virus is housed, its occurrence underscored the fact that while the risk of an accidental release of variola is extremely low, it is not zero.

Today’s smallpox challenges

As much as smallpox was a global health challenge until its eradication in 1980, it would pose an even greater threat today, for several reasons. First, routine smallpox vaccinations and boosters were halted following eradication of naturally occurring variola infection, resulting in a current global population in which the vast majority of individuals are believed to have no immunological protection against the variola virus. Additionally, globalisation has eliminated many natural barriers to the spread of infection by catalysing rapid movement of millions of people within cities, between countries, and across and 80 CBNW 2020/01

within continents. The resurgence of measles in the United States and around the world is a tangible example of how quickly diseases can spread in a global community.

Vaccination is not enough

Although vaccination will be a critical countermeasure to ultimately contain an outbreak, alone it is not sufficient. It would be of limited utility for those exposed to smallpox prior to immunisation. This is because vaccine would need to be administered within three to five days of infection to be effective as therapy. However, symptoms do not appear until 14 days after infection. While a recently approved vaccine indicated for at-risk populations has an improved safety profile compared with traditional vaccine, it would not be practical to use during a smallpox outbreak because it requires two doses administered four weeks apart for it to be fully effective. Rigorous storage conditions for that vaccine, which must be frozen, could also present obstacles for rapid deployment. One example highlights these challenges. Most first responders are not vaccinated against smallpox and those responders who become infected would likely pass the four-day window for post-infection vaccination before ever knowing that they were infected.

Above: An individual infected with smallpox (shown in black) could infect between five and seven people (shown blue) if not effectively vaccinated or treated. Infection can be fatal in 30% of infected individuals (shown in red) if not treated.

This not only puts these heroic individuals at increased risk for morbidity and mortality, it also has the potential of compromising the effectiveness of the response itself to a smallpox outbreak – by sidelining the very professionals most needed in a time of crisis, or having them inadvertently becoming the agents spreading the deadly infection before realising the risk that they pose. Given the potential for rapid spread of infection following the intentional or accidental release of smallpox, effectively preparing in advance is essential for protecting human survival and health.

First smallpox therapeutic

Vaccines will play a critical role in the event of a potential smallpox outbreak and stockpiling vaccines is an essential component of preparedness. Importantly, even with vaccination, published models have shown that the use of antiviral therapy during a smallpox outbreak could significantly reduce fatalities and morbidity in those diagnosed with smallpox while limiting its spread in a susceptible population. In July 2018, the US Food and Drug


SPECIAL FOCUS: MEDICAL COUNTERMEASURES ©D-Keine ©Callista Images

Top Left: Smallpox is a deadly killer that was responsible for approximately 300 million deaths worldwide in the 20th century alone.

©D-Keine

Administration (FDA) approved TPOXX® (tecovirimat) for the treatment of active smallpox infection, and the drug is included in the US Strategic National Stockpile. TPOXX has a mechanism of action that is present in other members of the poxvirus family and has profound specificity for inhibiting viral maturation, preventing release and spread of viral particles to other cells. In cell culture models, TPOXX has demonstrated potent activity against variola, as well as monkeypox and other orthopoxviruses – and has an excellent efficacy profile in multiple animal models of poxvirus infection. Although clinical trials of TPOXX in treating smallpox in humans was not feasible due to the lack of naturally occurring disease and ethical issues related to intentionally infecting people with variola, the drug has demonstrated efficacy in humans under compassionate use protocols to treat vaccine complications, including cases involving US military service members. As the first and only FDA-approved smallpox therapy, TPOXX empowers

Given the potential for rapid spread of infection following the intentional or accidental release of smallpox, effectively preparing in advance is essential for protecting human survival and health.

governments to more effectively protect their citizens in the event of a smallpox outbreak. It has the attributes of an ideal smallpox therapy in that it is a small-molecule drug with long shelf life. This makes it easy to store; is stable without need for refrigeration, making it easy to transport; and it is formulated as an easily administered oral capsule. An intravenous formulation is in development for those unable to take oral medications. TPOXX is also currently being evaluated under a US Department of Defense contract for potential use as a post-exposure prophylactic for smallpox that could be used to potentially prevent or mitigate smallpox in individuals with known variola exposure. Future approval of TPOXX in this indication would further enhance smallpox preparedness and response strategies.

Active preparation

Given the potential for rapid spread following an initial variola infection, vaccine and antiviral therapy should be stockpiled in advance. Replenishing stockpiles in a timely manner is also

Top Right: Existing lab stocks of variola are not entirely accounted for and could potentially fall into the hands of organizations or individuals that could use these stocks for bioterror purposes.

critical for maintaining adequate levels of these essential medical countermeasures. In the event of an actual smallpox outbreak, the deployment and administration of vaccine and antiviral therapy stockpiles should be done through the coordinated activities of local, state and national agencies to ensure that they are used to benefit the greatest number of people possible. Protecting those who protect us is also essential, and first responders should be monitored for smallpox symptoms and treated immediately with TPOXX if they develop active smallpox infections. Knowing how deadly smallpox can be, it is incumbent upon those in the position to protect human health to invest in preparedness against a potential smallpox attack.❚❙ Phillip L. Gomez, PhD has served as SIGA’s Chief Executive Officer since 2016 and established the Vaccine Production Program against HIV, SARS, Ebola, West Nile Virus, and Influenza at the Vaccine Research Center at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the NIH. CBNW 2020/01 81


SPECIAL FOCUS: MEDICAL COUNTERMEASURES ©Frmatt/Wikipedia

EMERGENCY SERVICES Left: First responders from St. John Ambulance and local Fire Departments assist paramedics during an exercise near Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada in November 2008. Below: Air ambulances taking critically ill and injured patients to hospital or transferring patients between hospitals save lives every day.

So that others may live Frank G. Rando explains the vital role of emergency responder services and their administration of medical countermeasures in a CBRN event ©Walter Siegmund/Wikipedia ©US Army/Joshua Ford

"And by a prudent flight and a cunning save A life which valour could not from the grave A better buckler I can soon regain, But who can get another life again?"

A combat medic with 581st Medical Brigade out of Fort Hood assesses a role-player’s notional injuries during an interagency CBRN field training exercise at Retama Park in San Antonio in August 2018.

Medical countermeasures (MCMs) biologicals, drugs and devices are used to counter CBRN-related and emerging health threats. A public health emergency is the likely result of terrorist or state use of CBRN agents or an infectious disease outbreak 82 CBNW 2020/01

O

ARCHILOCHUS

n the front lines our first-responder emergency services – the most relevant to public health threats – are the pre-hospital emergency medical services. Prior to the 1970s, civilian ambulance services in many areas were merely transport services rendering only rudimentary first-aid care to trauma and medical patients, with some simply being ‘scoop and run’ operations. In the 1970s the concept of emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and advanced emergency medical technicians or paramedics capable of providing higher levels of care in the field and in transport arose. This was with the aim of changing the tide of pre-hospital morbidity and mortality caused by traumatic injuries 


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significantly lower than civilian highway death rates due to trauma incurred in motor vehicle accidents. This resulted in a sentinel White Paper, Accidental Death and Disability in America: The Neglected Disease of Modern Society (1966), which influenced much of the thought and improvements in pre-hospital emergency medical care over subsequent decades.

Tactical and disaster medicine

Above: Donning a Level A CBRN suit during an integrated base emergency response capability training exercise at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, August 2015. Right: A 1-mL ampoule containing 0.5 mg atropine – an essential antidote to nerve agent/cholinergic toxidrome.

sustained in traffic accidents. Poor outcomes from out-of-hospital cardiac arrests were another reason to develop a standard national training curriculum. Ambulances were upgraded to mobile intensive care units (MICUs) or ‘mobile emergency rooms’ – or fire department-based paramedic rescue units in cities such as Los Angeles, Seattle, Columbus, and New York.

Evolution of EMSS

Emergency medical services systems (EMSS) were also created throughout the US and abroad, consisting not only of field-based mobile assets, but also fixed medical treatment facilities (MTFs) with the latest sophisticated emergency medical, trauma and critical care units. These models were based on other EMS projects such as Dr. Pantridge's ‘Flying Ambulance’ dispatched from the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and the mobile cardiac care unit responding out of New York City's St.Vincent's Hospital under medical direction by William Grace, M.D. In addition, cumulative data derived from combat medicine during the Vietnam War indicated that, due to frontline medical care provided by trained medics and corpsmen – combined with rapid helicopter medevac assets and early surgical interventions at forward combat hospitals – the morbidity and mortality attributed to battlefield injuries were 84 CBNW 2020/01

As the civilian world experienced a barrage of asymmetric threats and terrorist attacks, and as novel and exotic pathogens evolved and made cross-species jumps and infected humans, this ‘new normal’ generated a need for tactical, disaster and ©Wikipedia operational medicine as specialty areas of emergency and pre-hospital medicine. To refine even further and to accommodate the medical response to WMD/CBRNE threats, counterterrorism medicine rose to meet the special needs and challenges presented by these agents of war and terrorism. Throughout the world, military and civilian units and specialist teams have been formed to detect, diagnose, decontaminate, triage, treat and transport those exposed and affected by CBRN threat agents, emerging infectious diseases, and other public health emergencies such as accidental hazardous materials spills or releases. For example, at local municipal or county levels EMTs and paramedics have cross-trained to become hazmat technicians or ‘tox-medics’ or ‘hazmedics’ trained in advanced clinical toxicology and antidotal therapies. A standard role for EMS personnel is to administer antidotes and prophylactic and therapeutic agents such as atropine, oximes and and anticonvulsants for nerve agent/cholinergic toxidrome or hydroxycobalamin (cyanide antidote).

Hot-zone operations

The current concept in patient management in CBRN events, promulgated by current military medical doctrine, is to enable field medical resources to commence life-saving interventions in the hot zone – such as administration of nerve agent antidotal therapy.

EMS agencies could be requested to participate in hot-zone operations if they are tasked and trained to do so – or to operate in the warm zone to conduct triage and other medical support functions in decontamination operations. Generally, though, EMS assets operate in the cold zone. EMS assets would also be providing supportive therapy such as administration of oxygen, airway management and IV therapy, as well as ongoing assessments and monitoring of victims.

Screening and prophylaxis

Another area for deploying EMS personnel would be in mass screenings and prophylaxis efforts involving biological agents. These EMS personnel would be located at points of dispensing and distribution (PODs). These locations would be stood up by public health departments and manned for the administration of prophylactic antibiotics or vaccinations in the aftermath of a bioterrorism event or disease outbreak. EMS agencies in the US are aware of the availability of Chempack resources. These are forward-deployed MCMs to counter nerve agent toxicity in a domestic chemical terrorism event. The Chempacks are held in the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS). All EMS personnel must be aware of SNS assets and how they are requested and deployed.

CBRN – novel and unexpected

In the last several years we have witnessed assassinations and attempted assassinations using rare or novel killer agents: VX, Novichok and polonium-210. EMS assets are essential in the planning and operational phases of public health emergencies, including terrorism and infectious disease. EMS is the intersection between public safety and public health. As such, EMS personnel use rapid biological assays to confirm infection, chemical monitoring devices, and assays to detect or diagnose chemical toxicants or validate exposures. They make use of MCMs that are specific for radiological and nuclear events. In CBRN events, EMS assets are of critical importance. So that others may live. zy Frank G. Rando is a national SME, trainer, and first responder with over 30 years’ experience in emergency management, tactical, disaster and special operations medicine, environmental health and safety, public safety, and counterterrorism.


SPECIAL FOCUS: MEDICAL COUNTERMEASURES

Ray

RADIATION

of

Hope Alicia G.B. Smith and Gary A. Flory explain how to counter the countermeasure myths abounding in radiological and nuclear emergencies

Many Americans currently hold deep misunderstandings of radiological materials and their risks, as well as ensuing countermeasures. This begs for clear explanation of the different types of ionising radiation and the current FDA-approved countermeasures to deal with overexposure to radiation

D

uring the Cold War, the Soviet Union and the United States participated in an arms race to produce the most massive thermonuclear devices and delivery capabilities. At the end of the Cold War, the US dismantled civil defence and removed radiological discussions from school curricula. This educational system vacuum is one that news media, social media and entertainment media gladly filled. The best spokespeople able to counter the countermeasure myths are those educated and trained in radiological safety in the medical fields, especially those practising in CBRN specialties and emergency managers (EM).

Type of radiation exposure

Ionising radiation emits subatomic particles or rays as the atoms in the radioactive substance seek to become more stable. There are two physical forms radiation takes: electromagnetic radiation and particle radiation. 86 CBNW 2020/01

The two strongest examples of electromagnetic radiation are gamma rays and X-rays. Particle radiation forms have mass and energy and are fast moving, such as alpha radiation and beta radiation. What they all have in common is the ability to damage living cells that are exposed to too many or for too long.

Gamma rays or gamma photons

Gamma rays are part of the electromagnetic spectrum and their energy can be measured and may be referred to as a photon. Gamma photons are given off by certain radioactive elements as their nuclei seek to become more stable through radioactive decay. They have high penetrative power and can pass through a human body. The bone marrow and immune system cells, hair cells, and gastrointestinal cells are especially vulnerable to gamma radiation overexposure. Examples of isotopes of primary concern to the CBRN and EM communities are cobalt-60 and cesium-137. These sources are used in medical treatment, research and imaging, construction, and the food safety industries.

X-rays

The difference between gamma and X-ray radiation is in how it is produced. Gamma radiation is emitted from the nuclei of radioactive atoms during radioactive decay, while X-rays are externally induced by bringing atoms to lower energy states. X-rays are used in medical imaging,

©Wikimedia 'Radiation/Rays' ©Mariel Foulds

security imaging and construction. An overexposure to X-rays can cause cell damage in tissues. The damage caused depends upon the area overexposed, the length of time of the exposure and the health of the person overexposed.

Alpha particles

Alpha particles are considered the heaviest as they have the mass of 2 protons and 2 neutrons and a positive charge. They are sometimes represented as a helium ion (He+2). They have the weakest penetration of all the types of radiation. Alpha particles can be stopped with a sheet of paper, a person’s skin, or even just air space. However, and this is an important factor sometimes overlooked with alpha: if they are introduced inside a person’s body through ingestion or a wound, they can be extremely damaging. Different chemicals are attracted to different organs inside a living body. Some may concentrate in the liver, some the muscles, others in the kidney or others in bone and connective tissue. The classic example of alpha radiation poisoning was the killing of Alexander Litvinenko in November 2006 with polonium-210, which was put into a pot of tea. An example of an alpha emitter is americium-241, which is a man-made element and used in home smoke detectors. It has a half-life of 432 years. This means that it takes 432 years for it to become halfway stable and emit half of the alpha particles that it did when first formed.


SPECIAL FOCUS: MEDICAL COUNTERMEASURES Americium-241 is a one of the fission products following a plutonium accident or nuclear detonation. The human body treats ingested or inhaled americium-241 as a heavy metal and concentrates it in the bones and liver.

Beta particles

Beta particles can be an electron or positron that move at near the speed of light and are often emitted with a gamma ray. They are more penetrating than alpha particles so can cause skin burns. Beta emitters are used for quality control in industry and for medical treatment and imaging purposes. They can be  much more damaging if ingested or Left: Baker nuclear weapons test on Bikini Atoll, Micronesia. Top Right: Alabama Air National Guardsmen train during Vibrant Response CBRN drill.

©Wikimedia ©US Army

Right: US Army Reserve CBRNE response training. Below: Experts respond to the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station disaster.

©Wikimedia

CBNW 2020/01 87


SPECIAL FOCUS: MEDICAL COUNTERMEASURES “The availability of safe and effective countermeasures against radiological/ nuclear threats currently represents a significant unmet medical need.” DR. VK SINGH, ARMED FORCES RADIOBIOLOGY RESEARCH INSTITUTE, BETHESDA, MD

Radiation contamination versus exposure.

©Center for Disease Control

calcium trisodium (Calcium-DTPA) injection and pentetate zinc trisodium (Zinc-DTPA) injection were approved in 2004 for emergencies involving plutonium, americium, or curium. Lastly, the FDA updated its guidance on potassium iodide as a prophylactic to prevent Iodine-131 uptake in the thyroid gland following a radioactive emergency event.

Debunking the myths Researchers continue to explore new countermeasures.

Following the failure of the Fukushima nuclear reactor in 2011, poison centres along the Western coast of the US and Canada had an increase in calls about ©C US DOE

inhaled, or introduced through a break in the skin. Beta emitters will be in fallout from fission products. An example of a beta emitter is iodine-131, which has a half-life of about eight days, meaning that in less than a month it will have reached a stable state and become xenon, a non-radioactive element and noble gas. Iodine-131 is used to diagnose and treat thyroid problems.

FDA-approved countermeasures

If a person is exposed to high levels of ionising radiation in a short time it can induce acute radiation sickness (ARS). ARS presents as Hematopoietic (H-ARS) with loss of immune and blood cells; Gastro-Intestinal (GI-ARS) with damage to or loss of mucosa; Cutaneous (C-ARS) with severe skin damage; and In 2015, the US Department of Health and Human Services sponsored a workshop to explore possibilities for new countermeasures to respond to the adversarial or terrorist use of a radiological or nuclear weapon. Some of the prospects include growth factors, cytokines, redox genes, and tissue renewal.

88 CBNW 2020/01

Neurovascular (N-ARS) with damage to the circulatory system and brain impairment. H-ARS now has three FDA-approved countermeasures: 1) Neupogen (filgrastim) – approved March 2015, 2) Neulasta (pegfilgrastim) – approved November 2015 and 3) Leukine (sargramostim) – approved March 29, 2018. All three of these products work to increase specifically neutrophil (a type of white blood cell) production to fight off infections. In the case of internal contamination, the specific isotope determines treatment. Three drugs have been approved to ‘decorporate’ or pull the radioactive isotopes from tissues, to be eliminated through the urinary or digestive tracts. Radiogardase (Prussian blue insoluble) capsules have been used for decades in the radiological industry for emergencies involving an ingestion or inhalation of cesium-137 or thallium, and was finally approved in 2003 by the FDA. Pentetate

iodine poisoning of children. Wellmeaning parents put potassium iodide in infant formula and fed them to their children. One packet of potassium iodide pills was sold on ebay for $500.00 USD during the mini social panic. By the time measurable amounts of Iodine-131 had reached the US coast, most had undergone one half-life. The myths and misunderstandings such as this one example could cost precious lives that those in the CBRN and EM preparedness communities seek to preserve. More voices are needed to counter the countermeasure myth that one pill will save all from radiation exposure. ❚❙ Alicia G.B. Smith is the Director of Northern Capital Region for Soulstone Enterprises, LLC. Gary A Flory is Agricultural Program Manager for the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality.


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ADVERTORIAL: ENVIRONICS

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I

n order to save and protect lives and provide reliable information for the purpose of different authorities about an incident or the risk of one, it is crucial to have effective and fast scene management including information gathering, assessment, and dissemination. Only the latest technology enables full situational awareness during chemical field operations. With Environics’ latest chemical detector, ChemProX, operators are no longer alone in the field – they are able to share real-time location as well as detection information between other team members and the mission command. The shared real-time information helps locate the source of contamination, determine the contaminated area, and establish safe zones. When commanding officers see the same real-time information as the first responder team, all necessary precautions and procedures can be completed while the team is still in the hot zone. ChemProX is an orthogonal detector for chemical detection and classification of CWAs and TICs. The detection network is expandable up to 10 detectors per group. The radio data enables sharing the measurement and GPS location data between the group members across over 1 km at distance. Every device in the group works as a repeater, enabling the creation of large detection networks even in dense forests or tightly built urban areas. ❚❙

React Media is proud to present CBNW Xplosive – an annual journal dealing with the multiple military and civilian threats caused by the constant deployment of Improvised Explosive Devices and explosives, and the evolving countermeasures to deal with them – and their instigators. Due out this Autumn, CBNW Xplosive analyses IED deployment in the increasing number of terrorist and insurgent conflicts occurring worldwide – and describes the latest breakthroughs in Counter-IED, counter-terrorism, and Explosives Ordnance Disposal equipment and training. Edited by CBNW editor Andy Oppenheimer IAExpE MIABTI, CBNW Xplosive features articles by leading counter-IED and counter-terrorist experts. It is distributed free and at all major defence and security trade shows, and is available online.

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ADVERTORIAL: OBSERVIS / ORITEST

ObSAS LINK Connect your detectors into a network within minutes

O

bSAS LINK by Observis bridges the gap between modern and legacy technology. It connects all your handheld and portable CBRNe detectors into one modular monitoring system. You are free to choose the best technology for your needs, be it your current proven detectors and analysers, or entirely new next generation of devices. ObSAS LINK connects all of them creating a full monitoring network. ObSAS LINK provides network connectivity to virtually any device having data output capability. If a device doesn’t feature wireless connectivity, the ObSAS LINK adapter plugs into the detector’s physical communication port - thus providing the connection to the user’s mobile phone wirelessly over Bluetooth. A mobile application then displays the data the device is producing and sends it to ObSAS situational awareness system, through whatever available mobile network, using a secured connection. ObSAS LINK offers full modernisation of your existing detection devices at a fraction of the cost compared to buying new devices. The mobile app can communicate with several detectors simultaneously, providing rich, visualised view to the data produced by the devices. The mobile app displays the location and status of your team in real time, improving the situational awareness of the field personnel also. If a member of a team gets an alarm, the information is shared instantly to all team members on a map interface. ❚❙

Oritest

O

ritest Group designes CBRN solutions and makes R&D in new chemical detectors mainly with IMS Technology. Together with Oritest they form a strong team which offer complete CBRN solutions – everything from simple CWA detection paper to reconnaissance vehicles. Due to expanding activities in Germany, the subsidiary Oritest-Saxonia GmbH was established in Markkleeberg, Saxony. Our production is primarily based on our own know-how and on our R & D team. The company’s research team is the founder of more than 80 patents (mostly used in production) and more than 150 scientific publications. Our transformation of know-how is originally focused on the military sector – and we have now included the civil sector and protection of the environment. A novelty in our programme is the organisation of CBRN training which can be tailored to customer requests. ORITEST GROUP has an unambiguous character of small and medium-sized enterprise with the basic principle of

maintaining the maximum technological level in their field with a permanent focus on innovations that help not only to maintain but also strengthen the position on the world market, which is essential for the efficiency of the activity. In addition, it has built and maintains and strengthens a structure that provides maximum flexibility and performance over the long term. Two spheres of development, production and organizational relations are

established, maintained and strengthened, which define and fulfill the internal and external context. The character of SMEs is significantly determined by the applied and applicable organizational and relationship forms. The subject of activity is research, development, production and sale of means for protection against toxic chemical substances (including chemical warfare agents), especially in the area of their detection and decontamination. ❚❙ CBNW 2020/01 91


ADVERTORIAL: OUVRY / PAUL BOYE

Ouvry introduces a CBRN evacuation bag to transport contaminated victims in life-threatening emergencies Ouvry have launched a CBRN evacuation bag to safely transport victims in a life-threatening emergency, which allows the application of emergency medical care without contaminating medical staff or carriers

I

(ambulances, helicopters, etc)

t helps reduce the level of liquid and vapour contamination of the victim by incorporating two technologies: an active carbon microbeads filter media that adsorbs chemical vapours, and the DECPOL technology material that absorbs and destroys liquid contaminants. Its simple design makes it possible to evacuate the victim from the contaminated area and to stabilise his constants. The Milipol 2019 show awarded the Innovation Award to Ouvry in the Protection of First-Responders category for its CBRN evacuation bag. Ouvry specialises in the creation, engineering, production and maintenance of personal and respiratory

protection and CBRN decontamination systems. It offers innovative products for all intervention operators: soldiers or gendarmes, firefighters or rescue operators, first-responders or the armed forces, public or civil security forces, health, industry, infrastructure and

CLD 500

Developed by Paul Boyé Technologies, this Type 3 encapsulated coverall allows use in extreme climatic conditions and provides a very high level of protection against a large number of liquid and toxic war chemicals as well as infectious agents. This equipment has been chosen by many health services and civil defence all around the world Total protection, exceptional comfort The hood and torso are ventilated by an autonomous ventilation unit. The coverall integrates at back a Powered Air Purifying Respirator (PAPR) filtering blower unit fitted with combined twin filters. the coverall is also compatible with all CBRN blowers (> ou =110 l/min).

€’Improved comfort through air-ventilation of body surface. €’Improved protection through over-pressurization of the coverall. 92 CBNW 2020/01

Great features

The visor has excellent optical characteristics ensuring a wide field of view and increased resistance to chemical agents. There is better visibility than an overall + mask. The entry point is positioned on the front face of the body with a zipper under a velcro flap also offering a high level of protection. An assembly made by sealed ultrasonic welding is reinforced with sealing strips for greater mechanical and chemical resistance. The butyl gloves are fixed on the cuff with gasket clamp, which remains removable if needed. The socks (and over sleeves) are integrated. zy

public transport sites. Ouvry presents all the industrial architecture of a textile company with an international team, and affirms its commitment to industrial values of innovation, quality, technicality and professionalism. zy


ADVERTORIAL: RAFA

Rafa Emergency Medical Solutions for military and civil defense

R

afa is an Israeli pharmaceutical company that has developed, manufactured, marketed and distributed medicines for more than 80 years. For over 35 years, Rafa has been supplying auto-injector solutions for military and civil defence to the Israeli MOD and for the last decade also to other government bodies worldwide. Rafa is the sole supplier of Atropine Auto-Injectors to the US Government with the only FDA-approved atropine auto-injector available.* In addition, Rafa offers its partners end-to-end services from product development to commercial manufacturing, marketing and distribution.

Rafa Atropine Auto-Injector

only FDA-approved Atropine AutoInjector available.*

Extremely reliable and robust

The Rafa Atropine Auto-Injector demonstrated reliability of 99.999%** for successful activation. It is highly robust and complies with US DOD standards (MIL-STD-810).

Design for military and civilian defense use

With a simple two-step operation and an average dispensing time of no more than 0.5 seconds, the Rafa Atropine Auto-Injector is easy to use, does not require any special storage requirements (it can be stored at 15°-30°C), and can be used in any environment. ❚❙

A reliable and robust auto-injector for quick intramuscular self-injection of atropine solution in cases of nerve gas poisoning.

For further information visit: www.autoinjector.rafa.co.il Or contact us at ai@rafa.co.il

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*1mg and 0.5mg in registration phase and supplied under EUA **Based on fault tree analysis

The Rafa Atropine Auto-Injector is the

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