National biological defence research and development programme

1. State the objectives and funding of each programme and summarize the principal research and development activities conducted in the programme. Areas to be addressed shall include: prophylaxis, studies on pathogenicity and virulence, diagnostic techniques, aerobiology, detection, treatment, toxinology, physical protection, decontamination and other related research.

Methods are developed for detection, identification and analysis of bacteria, viruses and toxins, and for prediction and management of consequences of potential biologic agent release. Field trial capacity for outdoor biological detection is established in order to successfully evaluate B-detection instruments using BW-simulants and occasionally to train military personnel in using biodetection equipment.

More specifically:

Analysis of biological agents and toxins

The R&D activities focus on development of sampling, preparation of mixed CBRN samples, rapid identification methods for biothreat agents and medical countermeasures focusing on antivirals. The analysis methods are based primarily on different types of DNA and RNA methods, and to some extent on immunological methods. In addition, volatile organic compound (VOCs) signatures are under evaluation for rapid identification of bacteria.

Also high-resolution genomic forensic analysis of biothreat pathogenic agents for verification purposes is performed. In this context, statistical frameworks for calculation of evidence values for attribution purposes are developed. The scientific research focuses on understanding the movement of pathogens and associated diseases through a population and geography (epidemiology), and the changes associated with the propagation of pathogens over time (evolution).  The toxin analysis research involves development of sensitive methods for toxin preparation and mass spectrometric or immunological detection of protein toxins as ricin and Botulinum neurotoxins.

These activities are funded by the Ministry of Defence (12.2 MSEK), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (4.7 MSEK), the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (2.3 MSEK), the US Defence Threat Reduction Agency, DTRA (0.6 MSEK), the European Commission (1.8 MSEK and External research funding 1.2 MSEK) 

Detection of B-agents

Here the objective is to discover the presence of health threatening levels of biological substances in the air before they have negative impact on mission effectiveness, and also to provide timely information to initiate sampling and permit forces to adopt an appropriate level of individual and collective protection. The need for close to real-time, automatic measurements excludes the requirement for characterisation of the hazard substances.

The research in the area has been focused on Laser Induced Fluorescence spectroscopy (LIF), Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS). The combined LIF + LIBS system is used to measure spectral signatures from different biological aerosol (Simili substances) and interferents. Different data extraction/classification algorithms are thereafter evaluated. Test and evaluation facilities are developed in order to continuously evaluate the different steps of the biodetector development and also to be able to evaluate commercial biodetectors.

Together with the Swedish Armed Forces National CBRN Defence Centre, we have access to a specific outdoor facility suitable for large scale field trials. In this facility bioaerosols of simulant agents can be studied under field conditions. However, during 2020, no such biological field trial was performed.

The B-detection activities are mainly funded by the Ministry of Defence (2.0 MSEK).

Environmental fate of potential biological warfare agents

This project investigates the properties of potential biological warfare agents with relevance for persistence in the environment, potential further dispersal and potential maintenance of virulence. Virulence properties are evaluated in cell and animal infection models. The objective is to increase the understanding of the environmental fate of the organism after, for instance, a deliberate or accidental release of the pathogen in a specific milieu. Such knowledge will in turn provide a basis for related threat and risk assessments for civilian preparedness including decontamination issues.

These activities are funded by the Ministry of Defence (7.4 MSEK), US Defence Threat Reduction Agency, DTRA (2.6 MSEK). Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (0.7 MSEK), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (1.0 MSEK).

3. Are aspects of these programmes conducted under contract with industry, academic institutions, or in other non-defence facilities?
4. If yes, what proportion of the total funds for each programme is expended in these contracted or other facilities?
5. Summarize the objectives and research areas of each programme performed by contractors and in other facilities with the funds identified under paragraph 4.
6. Provide a diagram of the organizational structure of each programme and the reporting relationships (include individual facilities participating in the programme).

Swedish Defence Research Agency (FOI) Div. of CBRN Defence and Security:

Diagram Upload
7. Provide a declaration in accordance with Form A, part 2 (iii) for each facility, both governmental and non-governmental, which has a substantial proportion of its resources devoted to each national biological defence research and development programme, within the territory of the reporting State, or under its jurisdiction or control anywhere.