Wednesday, February 25, 2009
While government apologists are still trying to pretend there is a case that Bruce Ivins was the anthrax killer, tests by Sandia National Laboratories have exonerated him.
As the publisher of the prestigious scientific journal Nature writes:
At a biodefence meeting on 24 February, Joseph Michael, a materials scientist at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, New Mexico, presented analyses of three letters sent to the New York Post and to the offices of Senators Tom Daschle and Patrick Leahy. Spores from two of those show a distinct chemical signature that includes silicon, oxygen, iron, and tin; the third letter had silicon, oxygen, iron and possibly also tin, says Michael. Bacteria from Ivins' RMR-1029 flask did not contain any of those four elements.
Two cultures of the same anthrax strain grown using similar processes — one from Ivins' lab, the other from a US Army facility in Utah — showed the silicon-oxygen signature but did not contain tin or iron. Michael presented the analyses at the American Society for Microbiology's Biodefense and Emerging Diseases Research Meeting in Baltimore, Maryland.
It had previously been known that the killer anthrax contained silicon - an agent for weaponizing anthrax. But I have never previously read that the killer samples also contained iron and tin.
In addition, as Nature points out:
Ravel also sequenced the genome of a Bacillus subtilis strain that was found in one of the letters. That sample did not match a B. subtilis strain found in Ivins' lab, says Bannan, but the bacterial contamination still could have come from somewhere else in Ivins' institution.There is simply no credible evidence incriminating Ivins.