Immune system response could be key to fighting bioterror

Experts are contending that the best way to prepare for biological warfare is to develop a population with robust immune systems.

Researchers from the Texas A&M University are hoping to prove that theory by investigating ways to better arm humans against attacks from dangerous toxins, reports. The Defense Threat Reduction Agency, part of the Department of Defense, recently began funding their research with a $12.2 million contract.

The team from Texas A&M is seeking to discover which genes allow toxins and microbes to take over cells in order to develop drugs that can protect people from biological warfare agents such as botulinum, rabies and brucella.

Geneticists plan to screen thousands of lines mouse cells, each one having a missing gene. The strongest cells will be developed in living mice in order to test how resistant they are these agents, reports.

“It’s not like we can just give them a shot of antibiotics and send them home,” Deeann Wallis, a molecular geneticist and project manager for the research, said, according to

The experts are hoping that their research can discover a cure to rabies in particular. Though now rare in the United States, some 60,000 people around the world die from the disease every year.