Preparedness Pulsepoints | Monitoring USG action on readiness and response
Published by the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security
Sanjana Ravi, MPH, Editor
March 12, 2018
Public Health & Healthcare Preparedness
NIH Experts Call for Transformative Research Approach to End Tuberculosis. Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, and Robert W. Eisinger, Ph.D., special assistant for scientific projects at NIAID, discuss the need to modernize TB research by applying new diagnostic, therapeutic, and vaccine approaches. (NIH, 3/9/18)

Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) Building Capacity and Networks to Address Emerging Infectious Diseases in the Americas. This announcement will continue the mutually beneficial partnership between the Centers for Disease Control Prevention and PAHO. Activities will focus on enhancing the global alert and response systems through improving infectious disease surveillance and response; enhancing knowledge generation, innovation, and tools for improved management that build public health infrastructure and strengthen regional health leadership and collaboration; sharing knowledge, tools and other resources in support of applied epidemiology; strengthening regional and national public health networks to enhance inter-sector cooperation for preparedness and management of public health risks; and developing improved infectious disease surveillance, prevention and control strategies. (, 3/9/18)
Cooperative Agreement on Immunization with the World Health Organization. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have provided support to WHO to provide technical programmatic assistance to national governments on global immunization activities. (, 3/9/18)
Noncongenital Zika Virus Disease Cases - 50 US States and the District of Columbia, 2016. In 2016, a total of 5,168 noncongenital Zika virus disease cases were reported from US states and the District of Columbia. Most cases (4,897, 95%) were in travelers returning from Zika virus-affected areas. A total of 224 (4%) cases were acquired through presumed local mosquitoborne transmission, and 47 (1%) were acquired by other routes.  (CDC, 3/9/18)
Innovations for Improving Health System Performance. The United States Agency for International Development is issuing this Broad Agency Announcement to seek participants to co-create, co-develop, co-invest, and collaborate on research and development interventions to identify new approaches for improving health system performance, which move past traditional approaches and include new ways to ensure knowledge management of advances in the field. (, 3/8/18)
Remarks from FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD, as Prepared for an Oral Testimony Before the US House Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Hearing "Examining US Public Health Preparedness for and Response Efforts to Seasonal Influenza." While we should continue to focus on the discovery of a new breakthrough vaccine, we also must consider what immediate and intermediate steps we can take to enhance the production of existing licensed vaccines. And what should be done to invest in advanced domestic manufacturing to ensure new and existing technologies are scalable so that manufacturers can meet domestic and global demand.   (FDA, 3/8/18)
NIAID Scientists Assess Transmission Risk of Familial Human Prion Diseases to Mice. Familial human prion diseases are passed within families and are associated with 34 known prion protein mutations. To determine whether three of the unstudied mutations are transmissible, scientists from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health, exposed research mice to brain samples from three people who died from a familial prion disease. (NIAID, 3/8/18)
Monoclonal Antibodies for Emerging Infectious Diseases - Borrowing from History. Drs. Hilary D. Marston, Catharine I. Paules, and Anthony S. Fauci (NIAID) examine how recent conceptual and technological advances in monoclonal antibody development could have an enormous impact on the field of infectious diseases, particularly in the context of emerging infectious disease outbreaks, in which the process of vaccine development for new pathogens may be difficult and prolonged. The rapid development and strategic deployment of effective, highly specific preventive and therapeutic interventions have the potential to alter the course of an epidemic.  (New England Journal of Medicine, 3/7/18)
The CDC Can't Fund Gun Research. What if That Changed? Policymakers in Washington have little information about what causes gun violence, how it can be prevented or reduced, and who is most at risk. But that could change. The February 14 killings in Parkland, Florida led a bipartisan group of lawmakers to consider repealing the Dickey amendment and resuming government-backed gun-research.  (Wired, 3/7/18)
FDA Approves First Tests to Screen for Tickborne Parasite in Whole Blood and Plasma to Protect the US Blood Supply. FDA today approved the Imugen Babesia microti Arrayed Fluorescent Immunoassay, for the detection of antibodies to Babesia microti (B. microti) in human plasma samples, and the Imugen Babesia microti Nucleic Acid Test, for the detection of B. microti DNA in human whole blood samples. These tests are intended to be used as donor screening tests on samples from individual human donors, including volunteer donors of whole blood and blood components, as well as living organ and tissue donors. (FDA, 3/6/18)
USDA Ends Required Reporting of Swine Enteric Coronavirus Diseases. The United States Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is rescinding the Swine Enteric Coronavirus Diseases Federal Order and will no longer require producers, veterinarians or laboratories to report cases to Federal animal health officials. (USDA, 3/6/18)
Emergency Department Data Show Rapid Increases in Opioid Overdoses. Data from emergency departments (EDs) show that the US opioid overdose epidemic continues to worsen, according to the latest Vital Signs report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (CDC, 3/6/18)

See also: 
Empowering Nurses to Protect Themselves and Their Patients: Disaster Preparedness through the Seasons. This webinar will address how nurses can be prepared to maximize patient safety, decrease occupational exposures, and  prevent the spread of infections in a their schools, healthcare facilities, and communities during an outbreak or disaster. The webinar will take place on Friday, March 16, 2018, 2-3 PM EST. Registration is required.  (CDC, 3/18)
Homeland Security & Disaster Preparedness
Senate Committee Approves DHS Reauthorization Bill. The first-ever Department of Homeland Security (DHS) reauthorization bill cleared the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on Wednesday with bipartisan support.  (Homeland Preparedness News, 3/9/18)

Radiological & Nuclear Disaster Preparedness
NRC Issues Annual Assessments for Nation's Nuclear Plants. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has issued annual letters to the nation's 99 commercial nuclear power plants operating in 2017 regarding their operational performance throughout the year. All but three plants were in the two highest performance categories. (NRC, 3/5/18)
Science & Technology Policy
Balancing Safety and Innovation for Cell-Based Regenerative Medicine. Drs. Peter Marks and Scott Gottlieb (Food & Drug Administration, FDA) describe regenerative medicine as a field that involves replacing, engineering, or regenerating human cells, tissues, or organs to establish, restore, or enhance normal function. It is an area with great promise that goes directly to the role of the FDA in helping to facilitate the availability of safe and effective treatments. (New England Journal of Medicine, 3/8/18)
This is Why the IARPA Director Doesn't Worry About Self-Aware Artificial Intelligence. With the current speed of technological advancement, poorly designed computer programs are a bigger existential threat than a highly intelligent, vengeful machine overlord, according to Jason Matheny, director of the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity.  (Nextgov, 3/8/18)
Free Software Can Help Spot New Forms of Fentanyl and Other Illegal Drugs. To control fentanyl, which mimics heroin but is far more potent, forensic chemists need to identify it. But when they encounter a new type of fentanyl, called a fentanyl analog, it will not yet be in the chemical databases they use to identify illegal drugs. Now, the National Institute of Standards and Technology has released a free software tool to help.  (NIST, 3/7/18)
This Week's Hearing
Modernizing Export Controls: Protecting Cutting-Edge Technology and US National Security. US House Committee on Foreign Affairs. 3/14/18, 10 AM. Rayburn 2172. More
National Laboratories: World-Leading Innovation in Science. US House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology. 3/14/18, 10 AM. Rayburn 2318. More
A Review and Assessment of the Fiscal Year 2019 Budget Request for Department of Defense Science and Technology Programs. US House Committee on Armed Services, Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities. 3/14/18, 3:30 PM. Rayburn 2118. More
Preparedness, Response, and Rebuilding: Lessons from the 2017 Disasters. US House Committee on Homeland Security. 3/15/18, 10 AM. House Capitol Visitor Center, Room 210. More
An Overview of the National Science Foundation Budget Proposal for Fiscal Year 2019. US House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology. 3/15/18, 10 AM. Rayburn 2318. More


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