(ATLANTA BUSINESS CHRONICLE) -- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention plans to establish a public database in Atlanta of the bacteria Bacullus anthracis, which cause the deadly disease anthrax.
The agency has published a request-for-quote to hire a contractor for the project.
The move comes just weeks after the CDC made world headlines when 75 workers at its Atlanta campus were treated for possible exposure to anthrax.
In the published notice of its plans for the anthrax database, CDC says "It is essential to be able to rapidly genotype B. anthracisand compare to a robust database in order to gain insight into the possibility of an unexplained case being a bioterrorism event and into the potential origin of the strain."
Currently, genotyping -- or determining the genetic makeup -- of various strains of B. anthracis is done in various laboratories around the world using different techniques, the CDC says. Multiple laboratories have databases using different methods but no single method is used and deposited into a public database. When presented with a new strain of B. anthracis, the CDC now has to check its own database and other laboratories' databases for comparisons.
The CDC says it wants to develop the capacity to genotype B. anthracis at CDC. It hopes to determine and analyze the genomic sequence of up to 500 different strains.
"The establishment of a public database is essential in order to get data from around the world, particularly countries that have difficulty sharing strains, and is needed to make rapid/effective strain comparisons," the CDC says.
In 2011, the CDC got called in to investigate an individual in Minnesota who became infected with anthrax. The source of the infection was never discovered.