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Kathleen A. Cornely
Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Providence College
Biological Terrorism: The Anthrax Scare of 2001

In the weeks following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, anthrax-laced envelopes were mailed to individuals in government and the news media. Thousands were treated for exposure, and five people were killed. At the same time, scientists solved the last remaining pieces of the anthrax puzzle and the mechanism of infection of the anthrax toxin is now well understood. Developed for a second-semester biochemistry course, this case presents students with a wealth of biochemical, microbiological, and immunological material to analyze. It also explores important societal issues related to national preparedness against bioterrorist attacks, funding for biodefense research, and the use and misuse of antibiotic therapy.