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In February 2017, the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security hosted a Track II dialogue on biosecurity between experts in India and the US in New Delhi, India. There are multiple goals for the dialogue: to expand knowledge and understanding between India and the US about biological threats; increase awareness and probability of exchanges for early warning and detection of unusual biological events; deepen relationships between participants to serve as technical resources to each other going forward; and to identify issues that may warrant official government-to-government priority. Read now

Today's Headlines: May 18, 2017
 
Biological Agents & Infectious Diseases

Tackling Ebola Outbreak in Remote Congo Presents Huge Challenge: WHO ( Reuters) An Ebola outbreak affecting up to 20 people in an extremely remote area in the Democratic Republic of Congo presents a high risk at a national level, the WHO said on Thursday. In an update on an outbreak that officials believe began in late April, the UN health agency said there were 2 confirmed and 18 suspected cases of Ebola infection. Go to article

Where Health Care Won't Go: A Tuberculosis Crisis in the Black Belt ( Harper's) It was a miserable January morning in Marion, Alabama, last year, with temperatures 20 degrees below average and freezing rain that sliced sideways. But that did not dissuade the people lining up outside the Perry County Health Department. There is no hospital in town. The nearest one, 20 minutes away in Greensboro, has minimal resources. Go to article

Saudi MOH Reports Two New Health Care Associated MERS Cases ( Avian Flu Diary) On Monday we looked at 4 weekend MERS cases, 3 of which were hospital acquired - and 2 of those asymptomatic. Cases were reported from Riyadh (n=3), and Bisha (n=1).  There have been persistent rumors (denied by the MOH) on social media of a larger outbreak in Bisha. Go to article

Outbreak of Zika Virus Infection in Singapore: An Epidemiological, Entomological, Virologial, and Clinical Analysis ( Lancet) An outbreak of Zika virus infection was detected in Singapore in August, 2016. We report the first comprehensive analysis of a national response to an outbreak of Zika virus infection in Asia. Go to article


Government Affairs & National Security

How a Trump Order on Abortion Could Hurt the Fight Against AIDS in Africa ( Washington Post) A Trump administration order took effect this week barring US aid for global health organizations that discuss or provide referrals for abortion. But the new policy put another program in the crosshairs: America's global HIV/AIDS effort. Go to article

Biomedical Research Benefits Bring House Members, NIH Leaders Together ( Global Health) Searching for solutions to illnesses and conditions spanning lifetimes and nations, while supporting the development of scientific careers, providing jobs and contributing to economies across America, leaders from the NIH who came to Capitol Hill brought much to unite, and little to divide the Republican and Democratic committee members who came to hear them this morning. Go to article


Global Health Security

G20 Health Ministers Seek to Avert Return to Pre-Penicillin Era ( Reuters) The world risks a return to the pre-penicillin era if leading nations do not cooperate to combat the threat from antibiotic-resistant bugs and means are not found to finance research into new, more effective medicine, Germany's health minister said. Go to article

Fogarty International Center, A Linchpin of Global Health Research ( JAMA Network) Small but mighty, the Fogarty International Center has had an oversized impact on improving health around the world for the last half century. By providing funding to advance international health research and train health researchers from the US and low- and middle-income countries, its efforts have benefitted patients worldwide, including the US. Go to article

US Health Official Lauds Liberia's Progress in Preventing, Detecting, and Response to Infectious Disease Threats ( GNN Liberia) Visiting US Secretary of HHS to Liberia, Dr. Thomas E. Price has lauded the efforts of the Liberian Government in the prevention, detection and response to infectious disease threats over the years. Go to article

UN Aids Yemenis in Embattled Mokha; Warns of Cholera's Spread Amid Crippled Health Systems ( UN News Centre) The US refugee agency today confirmed that for only the third time this year, its field teams were able to distribute humanitarian aid in the embattled district of Mokha, in Yemen's Red Sea governorate of Taiz. Go to article


Medicine & Public Health

Stockpiling Ventilators for Influenza Pandemics ( Emerging Infectious Diseases) In preparing for influenza pandemics, public health agencies stockpile critical medical resources. Determining appropriate quantities and locations for such resources can be challenging, given the considerable uncertainty in the timing and severity of future pandemics. Go to article

Sanofi Rejects US Army Request for "Fair" Pricing for a Zika Vaccine ( STAT) Sanofi Pasteur has rejected a request from the US Army to set an affordable US price for a Zika virus vaccine that the company is developing with American taxpayer funds, prompting an angry response from Senator Bernie Sanders. Go to article

Ebola Exposure, Illness Experience, and Ebola Antibody Prevalence in International Responders to the West African Ebola Epidemic 2014-2016: A Cross Sectional Study ( PLOS: Medicine) Healthcare and other front-line workers are at particular risk of infection with Ebola virus. Despite the large-scale deployment of international responders, few cases of Ebola virus disease have been diagnosed in this group. Go to article


Science & Technology

Misuse Potential and Biosecurity in Life Sciences Research ( Swiss Academy of Sciences) In the spring of 2016, life scientists from Swiss academic institutions exchanged their views on the misuse potential of biological research and on ways to address it. Go to article

Science Diplomacy Is More Vital Than Ever ( Scientific American) The US appears to be plunging headlong into a new era of isolationism. The White House wants to pull out of international agreements, including the Paris climate deal and the North American Free Trade Agreement. Go to article


Other 21st Century Threats

Why US Nuclear Sites Are a Ticking Time Bomb ( Nature) The US is still fighting the cold war. Thousands of its citizens had to take shelter last week because of the threat of radiation from nuclear weapons. But the opponent is no longer the Soviet Union. The enemy now is the legacy of an arms race and decades of government indifference to the mess that has been left behind. Go to article

Hakim Warns of International Inaction Towards Assad's Use of Chemical Weapons (National Coalition of Syrian Revolution and Opposition Forces) Secretary-General of the Syrian Coalition Nazir Hakim warned that international inaction towards the Assad regime's use of chemical and non-conventional weapons against the Syrian people risks creating security threats affecting the whole world. Go to article

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