Jamaica Plain, MA, United States
Jamaica Plain, MA, United States

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Hodge D.R.,S and T BOD STOP 0201 | Prentice K.W.,S and T BOD STOP 0201 | Ramage J.G.,Washington Technology | Prezioso S.,Centers for Disease Control and Prevention | And 17 more authors.
Biosecurity and Bioterrorism | Year: 2013

Ricin, a heterodimeric toxin that is present in the seeds of the Ricinus communis plant, is the biothreat agent most frequently encountered by law enforcement agencies in the United States. Even in untrained hands, the easily obtainable seeds can yield a highly toxic product that has been used in various types of threats, including "white-powder" letters. Although the vast majority of these threats are hoaxes, an impediment to accurate hazard assessments by first responders is the unreliability of rapid detection assays for ricin, such as lateral flow assays (LFAs). One of the complicating factors associated with LFAs is the incorporation of antibodies of poor specificity that cross-react with near-neighbors or with plant lectins that are capable of nonspecifically cross-linking the capture and detector antibodies. Because of the compelling and critical need to promote the interests of public safety and public health, the Department of Homeland Security conducted a comprehensive laboratory evaluation study of a commercial LFA for the rapid detection of ricin. This study was conducted using comprehensive inclusivity and exclusivity panels of ricin and near-neighbor plant materials, along with panels of lectins and "white-powders," to determine the specificity, sensitivity, limits of detection, dynamic range, and repeatability of the assay for the specific intended use of evaluating suspicious white powders and environmental samples in the field. © 2013 Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.


Ramage J.G.,Booz Allen Hamilton | Prentice K.W.,Booz Allen Hamilton | Carter A.J.,Washington Technology | Datta S.,Washington Technology | And 21 more authors.
Biosecurity and Bioterrorism | Year: 2014

Abrin is a heterodimeric toxin present in the seeds of the Abrus precatorius plant. The easily obtainable seeds can yield a highly toxic product that can be used in various types of biocrimes and terrorism-related activities, including "white-powder" letters. Although the vast majority of these threats are hoaxes, the lack of rapid and reliable detection assays for abrin, such as lateral flow assays (LFAs), can be an impediment to accurate and rapid hazard assessment. One of the complicating factors associated with LFAs is the use of antibodies of poor affinity and specificity that cross-react with near neighbors or that bind to plant lectins, which are capable of nonspecifically cross-linking the capture and detector antibodies. Because of the critical need to promote public safety and public health, we conducted a comprehensive laboratory evaluation of a commercial LFA for the rapid detection of abrin. This study was conducted using comprehensive inclusivity and exclusivity panels of abrin and near-neighbor plant materials, along with panels of lectins, related proteins, white powders, and environmental background material, to determine the sensitivity, specificity, limit of detection, dynamic range, and repeatability of the assay for the specific intended use of evaluating suspicious white powders and environmental samples for the presumptive presence of abrin. © 2014, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. 2014.


Krone L.M.,Tufts University | Brown C.M.,State Laboratory Institute | Lindenmayer J.M.,Tufts University
Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association | Year: 2014

Objective-To estimate the proportion of independent small animal veterinary medical practices in Massachusetts that use electronic veterinary medical records (EVMRs), determine the purposes for which EVMRs are used, and identify perceived barriers to their use. Design-Survey. Sample-100 veterinarians. Procedures-213 of 517 independent small animal veterinary practices operating in Massachusetts were randomly chosen for study recruitment. One veterinarian at each practice was invited by telephone to answer a hardcopy survey regarding practice demographics, medical records type (electronic, paper, or both), purposes of EVMR use, and perceived barriers to adoption. Surveys were mailed to the first 100 veterinarians who agreed to participate. Practices were categorized by record type and size (large [≥ 5 veterinarians], medium [3 to 4 veterinarians], or small [1 to 2 veterinarians]). Results-84 surveys were returned; overall response was 84 of 213 (39.4%). The EVMRs were used alone or together with paper records in 66 of 82 (80.5%) practices. Large and medium-sized practices were significantly more likely to use EVMRs combined with paper records than were small practices. The EVMRs were most commonly used for ensuring billing, automating reminders, providing cost estimates, scheduling, recording medical and surgical information, and tracking patient health. Least common uses were identifying emerging infectious diseases, research, and insurance. Eleven veterinarians in paper record-only practices indicated reluctance to change, anticipated technological problems, time constraints, and cost were barriers to EVMR use. Conclusions and Clinical Relevance-Results indicated EVMRs were underutilized as a tool for tracking and improving population health and identifying emerging infectious diseases. Efforts to facilitate adoption of EVMRs for these purposes should be strengthened by the veterinary medical, human health, and public health professions.

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