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University of Maryland College Park Campus. MF-D 8/31/06.
The University of Maryland, College Park (The Daily Record/Maximilian Franz)

UMD research will try to prevent weaponization of flu

A $5 million grant will help researchers at the University of Maryland School of Public Health develop ways to find out if laboratory workers are trying to make flu-based bioweapons.

The team, which will include faculty from both the University of Maryland, College Park and the University of Maryland, Baltimore, will test skin, air and hair samples.

“We can find signatures left by the exposures lab workers may have had, which could enable us to detect influenza threats” said Donald Milton, professor of epidemiology and biostatistics and leader of the research team, in a statement.

Part of the research will involve trying to detect residue from anti-flu drugs in hair samples and testing lab workers’ skin for evidence that they have been in contact with ferrets, which are often used to study influenza because they are vulnerable to the same strains as humans.

The grant was awarded by the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity, part of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.