April 11, 2017

Public Health & Healthcare Preparedness
Surveillance Systems to Track Progress Toward Polio Eradication - Worldwide, 2014-2015.
This report, compiled by CDC researchers, presents poliovirus surveillance data from 2014 and 2015, focusing on the 20 countries in the African Region and six in the Eastern Mediterranean Region that reported a WPV or circulating VDPV (cVDPV) case during 2011-2015, including Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, which were most affected by the 2014-2015 Ebola virus disease (Ebola) outbreak.  (MMWR, 4/8/17)
Update on Zika Virus-Associated Birth Defects and Evaluation of All US Infants with Congenital Zika Virus Exposure - US Zika Pregnancy Registry, 2016.
In collaboration with state, tribal, local, and territorial health departments, CDC established the US Zika Pregnancy Registry (USZPR) in early 2016 to monitor pregnant women with laboratory evidence of possible recent Zika virus infection and their infants. This report includes an analysis of completed pregnancies (which include live births and pregnancy losses, regardless of gestational age) in the 50 US states and the District of Columbia (DC) with laboratory evidence of possible recent Zika virus infection reported to the USZPR from January 15 to December 27, 2016.  (CDC, 4/7/17)

PRISM Identifies Vaccine Safety Issues.
PRISM is a cooperative effort between FDA's Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research and its partners in the health care and medical insurance communities. It analyzes health insurance claims data from four national healthcare plans: Aetna, HealthCore (Wellpoint), Humana, and OptumInsight (United Healthcare).  (FDA, 4/7/17)
Pandemics, Personnel, and Politics: How the Trump Administration is Leaving Us Vulnerable to the Next Outbreak.
The Trump Administration has dragged its feet in appointing senior officials to key Federal agencies responsible for preparing and responding to a pandemic or bioterrorist attack. (Global Biodefense, 4/6/17)

See also
Strengthening Global Health Security and Ending AIDS.
PEPFAR is accelerating progress toward controlling the AIDS epidemic. The program has strengthened the ability of countries with sizable HIV/AIDS burdens to swiftly address other outbreaks, such as Ebola, avian flu, and cholera, ultimately enhancing global health security and protecting America's borders.  (Department of State, 4/6/17)
Ebola: New Trial Launched in West Africa to Evaluate Three Vaccination Strategies.
The French National Institute of Health and Medical Research (Inserm), the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), in collaboration with health authorities in Guinea and Liberia, are launching a large clinical trial of candidate Ebola vaccines under the aegis of the PREVAC international consortium (Partnership for Research on Ebola VACcination).  (NIAID, 4/6/17)
Connecting Neighbors in Need to Loved Ones: Communications after Superstorm Sandy.
When Hurricane Sandy hit the New York metro area in October of 2012, it left severe damage in its wake. Tens of thousands of area residents were displaced or without power. Many roads were impassable due to damage or debris. Communications infrastructure was damaged beyond immediate repair.  (ASPR, 4/5/17)
DTRA Seeks Laboratory Services for WMD Stand-Off Detection Testing.
The Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) is seeking potential sources for chemical and biological counter-weapons of mass destruction (CWMD) laboratory analysis services.  (Global Biodefense, 4/5/17)
10 Ways CDC Gets Ready for Emergencies.
CDC tries to get ahead of, and manage, complex responses that touch many lives through ever changing circumstances. In an ideal world the health in every community would be at a level that would make recovery and reliance easier. The reality is that emergencies happen in all kinds of environments and populations.  (CDC, 4/3/17)
Fogarty Protects Americans by Building Pandemic Response Capacity in Ebola-Hit West Africa.
A new Fogarty program is aimed at strengthening scientific expertise at institutions in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone so that when the next outbreak comes, they will be prepared to rapidly respond. The goal is for US scientists to partner with their African counterparts to plan research training programs that would enable quick implementation of therapeutic or vaccine trials when the next infectious disease threatens.  (Fogarty, 4/17)
House Advances Agro-Terrorism Preparedness Bill.
The bill requires the Secretary of Homeland Security to enhance the preparedness capabilities of the nation's food, agriculture, and veterinary systems against high-risk events like disease and terrorism. The bill also authorities the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to collaborate with other agencies to ensure the food, agriculture, and animal sectors are integrated into DHS's domestic preparedness policy initiatives.  (Homeland Preparedness News, 3/29/17)

Homeland Security & Disaster Preparedness
Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program, Fire Prevention and Safety Grants.
The Department of Homeland Security Federal Emergency Management Agency's Grants Programs Directorate is responsible for the implementation and administrations of the Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) Program. The purpose of the AFG Program is to enhance the safety of the public and firefighters with respect to fire and fire-related hazards.  (Grants.gov, 4/10/17)
DHS S&T Opens New Explosives Detection Lab.
On April 5th, the Science and Technology Directorate officially opened a new Test & Evaluation Laboratory building at the Transportation Security Laboratory (TSL). Located at the William J. Hughes FAA Technical Center in Egg Harbor Township, N.J., the new building expands TSL's reinforced laboratory space for conducting tests of explosives detection systems.  (Department of Homeland Security, 4/7/17)
USDA Authorizes Emergency Grazing in Response to President Trump’s Directive.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), acting in response to a directive from President Donald J. Trump, today authorized emergency grazing on Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) lands located in Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas - the three states which were most heavily impacted by ongoing wildfires which began on March 6, 2017.  (USDA, 4/6/17)
Louisiana Flood Response Blasted by Congress After State, FEMA "Fell on its Face," Lawmaker Says.
The hearing was billed as a deep-dive into the Federal Emergency Management Agency's response to the floods nearly eight months into the recovery process, but most of the heat came down on the state.  (The Advocate, 4/5/17)
FirstNet's Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network Moves Forward.
On March 30, 2017, FirstNet announced a public-private partnership with AT&T to build a dedicated interoperable
wireless broadband network for use by public safety agencies nationwide. Under terms of the 25-year agreement, FirstNet will provide AT&T with up to $6.5 billion for initial network construction over the next five years. 
(Congressional Research Service, 4/4/17)
New York City Worries Over Trump's Proposed $667 Million Cut to FEMA.
In his budget blueprint for 2018, Trump eliminates or reduces state and local grant funding by $667 million for programs that FEMA runs that he says are "unauthorized by Congress"-such as FEMA's Pre-Disaster Mitigation Grant Program, which seeks to reduce chances of future catastrophes, natural and manmade.  (The Observer, 3/31/17)

Radiological & Nuclear Disaster Preparedness
NNSA to Conduct Aerial Radiation Assessment Survey Over Boston.
On April 11 through April 14, the US Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) will conduct low-altitude helicopter flights around Boston to measure naturally occurring background radiation. The measurement of naturally occurring radiation to establish baseline levels is a normal part of security and emergency preparedness (NNSA, 4/7/17)
New Radiation Detection System Operational at Major US Port.
Recently a new radiation detection system began operating at the Trans Pacific Container Service Corporation (TraPac) terminal at the Port of Los Angeles in California. The new system automatically scans inbound cargo for nuclear and other radioactive material.  (Department of Homeland Security, 4/6/17)

Science & Technology Policy
In Washington, a Push for Science in the "National Interest" Puts Some on Edge.
That idea was not a new one - it was codified in the law that created the NSF, which funds $7.5 billion annually in research. But the inclusion of the clause has made many scientists fearful that the agency's work could be politicized or be micromanaged.  (STAT, 4/10/17)
Congress and FDA Nominee Heap Love on "Adaptive Trials."
In 2006, Scott Gottlieb, then a deputy commissioner at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), stood before an audience of clinicians and researchers to sing the praises of a new approach to drug trials. Instead of locking in a study's design from the start, researchers could build in options that would allow them to adjust along the way, based on the data they had collected.  (Science, 4/7/17)
FDA Approves 23andMe's At-Home DNA Tests for 10 Diseases.
The FDA's decision, which is sure to stir up controversy, is a big turnaround from 2013, when the FDA singled out 23andMe, ordering the company to stop marketing its over-the-counter gene test.  (NBC, 4/6/17)
Why President Trump Needs to Finally Name a Science Advisor.
 Dr. John P. Holdren explains 
the roles that senior scientists and technologists have historically played in the White House, and why it would be unwise in the extreme for the president to let the current vacuum in science advice in the White House persist.  (STAT, 4/5/17)
Federally Funded R&D Center Funding Rebounded in FY 2015.
The nation's 42 federally funded research and development centers reported spending $18.5 billion on research and development (R&D) in Fiscal Year (FY) 2015, their first rebound after several years of declining or flat expenditures, according to a new report from the National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics.  (National Science Foundation, 4/4/17)
Plan to Cut Funding for Biomedical Research Hits Opposition in Congress.
A proposal by President Trump to cut federal spending for biomedical research by 18 percent - just months after Congress approved bipartisan legislation to increase such spending - has run into a buzz saw on Capitol Hill, with Republicans and Democrats calling it misguided.  (New York Times, 4/3/17)
The 2017 FDA Science Forum.
The 2017 FDA Science Forum will be held on Wednesday and Thursday, May 31-June 1, 2017 on FDA's White Oak campus. The Forum will highlight the breadth and depth of cutting-edge science FDA conducts and will demonstrate how FDA's scientific research informs our regulatory decision-making.  (FDA, 4/17)
FDA Post-Doctoral Contract Fellowship.
Post-Doctoral contract fellowship through the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) position. Research Fellowship to work on "Understanding immune responses following vaccination and viral infection in humans: Studies on Ebola, Zika, Pandemic Influenza & other Respiratory Viruses."  (FDA, 4/17)
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There are no hearings scheduled for this week.


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