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We are pleased to announce the opening of the application process for the 2018 class of the Emerging Leaders in Biosecurity Initiative. We invite you to circulate this call for applications among your colleagues and students. Applications will be accepted through December 22, 2017. Learn More and Apply

Today's Headlines: November 10, 2017

Domestic Preparedness & Response

Puerto Rico Death Spike, But Few Are Attributed to Hurricane ( New York Times) Almost 2 months after Hurricane Maria tore through Puerto Rico, there were more signs of how unsettled the situation remains here and how grievous the toll of the storm was. FEMA said that it was finalizing extraordinary plans to fly about 3,000 residents of Puerto Rico still living in shelters to New York and Florida. Go to article


Government Affairs & National Security

New Deal Would Keep Pentagon Out of Product Approvals ( Axios) Lawmakers are approaching a bipartisan deal to resolve the ongoing dispute over whether to let the Defense Department approve medical products in an emergency, Sen. Patty Murray told me yesterday. Go to article


Global Health Security

The Poverty-Related Neglected Diseases: Why Basic Research Matters (PLOS: Biology) Together, malaria and the neglected tropical diseases kill more than 800,000 people annually, while creating long-term disability in millions more. International support for mass drug administration, bed nets, and other preventive measures has resulted in huge public health gains, while support for translational research is leading to the development of some new neglected disease drugs, diagnostics, and vaccines. Go to article

Enhancing Ebola Virus Disease Surveillance and Prevention in Countries Without Confirmed Cases in Rural Liberia: Experiences from Sinoe County During the Flare-Up in Monrovia, April to June, 2016 ( PLOS: Current Outbreaks) We conducted a descriptive study to describe the key interventions implemented in Sinoe County, the capacity available, the implications for the reactivation of the multi-sectoral EVD control strategy, and the results of the same. We also conducted a cross-sectional study to analyze the impact of the interventions on the surveillance and on infection prevention and control. Go to article


Medicine & Public Health

Snapshot of H7N9 Patients Highlights Importance of Early Antivirals ( CIDRAP) A retrospective review of confirmed H7N9 avian influenza infections from China's Guangdong province to learn more about the demographics, disease severity, and treatment found that early oseltamivir treatment was linked to fewer ICU admissions and deaths. A research team from the Guangdong Province Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported their findings yesterday in the International Journal of Infectious Diseases. Go to article

Influenza Vaccination in Preventing Outbreaks in Schools: A Long-Term Ecological Overview ( Vaccine) Influenza vaccination is the most effective way to reduce the incidence of influenza infections. However, the role of influenza vaccination, such as school-based influenza vaccination, in preventing the influenza outbreaks in schools remains unclear now. Go to article

State and Local Implementation Strategies for Increasing Access to Contraception During Zika Preparedness and Response--United States, September 2016 ( MMWR) Zika virus infection during pregnancy is a cause of microcephaly and other serious brain abnormalities. To support state and territory response to the threat of Zika, CDC's Interim Zika Response Plan outlined activities for vector control; clinical management of exposed pregnant women and infants; targeted communication about Zika virus transmission among women and men of reproductive age; and primary prevention of Zika-related adverse pregnancy and birth outcomes by prevention of unintended pregnancies through increased access to contraception. Go to article


Science & Technology

Biopreparedness and Biosecurity with Gigi Kwik Gronvall ( Meet the Microbiologist) Gigi Kwik Gronvall talks to MTM about the importance of biopreparedness. Gronvall discusses her work in creating policies around potential natural, accidental, and man-made pandemics. She describes her experiences running pandemic thought exercises that help researchers, public health workers, and governmental officials apply preparedness ideas to real-world simulations. Go to article

Genomes Rewrite Cholera's Global Story ( Science) By sequencing and comparing hundreds of bacterial genomes, researchers have shown that all of the explosive epidemics of cholera in Africa and the Americas in the past half-century arose after the arrival of new strains that had evolved in Asia. The work, published in two Science papers this week, could put to rest an old debate about the role of environmental factors in cholera's global burden. Go to article

See also: Integrated View of Vibrio cholera in the Americas ( Science) The cholera pathogen, Vibrio cholerae, is considered to be ubiquitous in water systems, making the design of eradication measures apparently fruitless. Nevertheless, local and global Vibrio populations remain distinct. Now, Weill et al. and Domman et al. show that a surprising diversity between continents has been established. Go to article

See also: Genomic History of the Seventh Pandemic of Cholera in Africa ( Science) The seventh cholera pandemic has heavily affected Africa, although the origin and continental spread of the disease remain undefined. We used genomic data from 1070 Vibrio cholerae O1 isolates, across 45 African countries and over a 49-year period, to show that past epidemics were attributable to a single expanded lineage.  Go to article

Ethical Principles for the Use of Human Cellular Biotechnologies ( Nature Biotechnology) Recent developments in bioengineering promise the possibility of new diagnostic and treatment strategies, novel industrial processes, and innovative approaches to thorny problems in fields such as nutrition, agriculture, and biomanufacturing. As modern genetics has matured and developed technologies of increasing power, debates over risk assessments and proper applications of the technology, and over who should have decision-making power over such issues, have become more prominent. Go to article

Public Views on Gene Editing and Its Uses ( Nature Biotechnology) Rapid advances in genome editing and its potential application in medicine and enhancement have been hotly debated by scientists and ethicists. Although it has been proposed that germline gene editing be discouraged for the time being, the use of gene editing in somatic human cells in the clinical context remains controversial, particularly for interventions aimed at enhancement. Go to article


Other 21st Century Threats

Nuclear Accident Sends 'Harmless' Radioactive Cloud Over Europe ( The Guardian) A cloud of radioactive pollution over Europe in recent weeks indicates that an accident happened in a nuclear facility in Russia or Kazakhstan in the last week of September, the French nuclear safety institute IRSN has said. Go to article
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