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Logo of apmAdvances in Preventive Medicine
Adv Prev Med. 2012; 2012: 149737.
Published online 2012 March 26. doi:  10.1155/2012/149737
PMCID: PMC3318197

The Need for Continued Development of Ricin Countermeasures


Ricin toxin, an extremely potent and heat-stable toxin produced from the bean of the ubiquitous Ricinus communis (castor bean plant), has been categorized by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as a category B biothreat agent that is moderately easy to disseminate. Ricin has the potential to be used as an agent of biological warfare and bioterrorism. Therefore, there is a critical need for continued development of ricin countermeasures. A safe and effective prophylactic vaccine against ricin that was FDA approved for “at risk” individuals would be an important first step in assuring the availability of medical countermeasures against ricin.

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