October 10, 2017

Public Health & Healthcare Preparedness
"Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Infections is Fundamental to US Biodefense": BARDA Director.
The Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, part of the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response at the US Department of Health and Human Services, will sponsor the next stages of development of an antibiotic that not only holds potential as a treatment for infections from certain types of drug-resistant bacteria but also may be able to combat infections caused by bacteria used in biowarfare.  (Outbreak News Today, 10/8/17)
From Cut-Off to Connected: HHS and the US Army Work Together to Protect Health in Utuado, Puerto Rico following a landslide.
Disaster Medical Assistance Teams from HHS and U.S. Army Urban Search and Rescue Teams worked together to organize a combined mission to reach the 148 residents of the community.  (ASPR, 10/7/17)
The Role of Healthcare Professionals in Protecting Older Adults against Influenza.
During this COCA Call, presenters will share easy-to-use education materials available to support healthcare professionals in discussing flu prevention with older adult patients. The call will take place on Thursday, October 12, 2017, 2-3 PM EST.  (CDC, 10/6/17)

Breaking Down the US Global Health Budget by Program Area.
The US Government is the largest donor to global health in the world and includes support for both disease-specific (HIV, tuberculosis, malaria, and neglected tropical diseases) and population-specific (maternal and child health, nutrition, and family planning and reproductive health) activities, and global health security, which addresses emerging threats such as pandemic influenza.  (Kaiser Family Foundation, 10/5/17)
As ACA Enrollment Nears, Administration Keeps Cutting Federal Support of the Law.
Supporters of the Affordable Care Act see the president's opposition even to changes sought by conservative states as part of a broader campaign by his administration to undermine the 2010 health-care law. In addition to trying to cut funding for the ACA, the Trump administration also is hampering state efforts to control premiums.  (Washington Post, 10/5/17)
EPAP Activation: Puerto Rico 2017.
The Emergency Prescription Assistance Program, a federal program managed by the Department of Health and Human Services, provides an efficient way for community pharmacies to process claims for prescription medications, vaccines, and limited durable medical equipment provided to individuals who are from a disaster area declared by the President and who do not have any form of health insurance coverage.  (ASPR, 10/5/17)
Secretary Tillerson Lauds Global Health Security Agenda.
In a keynote speech in Washington, DC, yesterday at the Grand Challenges network annual meeting, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson voiced support for US collaboration on global infectious disease issues, including ongoing efforts to battle threats such as HIV and malaria.  (CIDRAP, 10/5/17)
Monoclonal Antibodies Against Zika Show Promise in Monkey Study.
Using blood samples from an individual previously infected with Zika virus, scientists funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health, have developed an antibody-based Zika virus therapeutic that protected monkeys from infection.  (NIH, 10/5/17)

The Critical Role of Biomedical Research in Pandemic Preparedness.
 According to Drs. HIlary D. Marson, Catharine I. Paules, and Anthony S. Fauci, a
 critical component of effective pandemic preparedness is biomedical research, including domestic and international research capacity. The research enterprise complements other elements of preparedness by improving understanding of the pathogenesis of infectious diseases and by developing interventions in the form of diagnostics, treatments, and vaccines.  (JAMA, 10/4/17)
Los Alamos National Laboratory Reveals Potential in Tracking Disease Spread in Real Time.
Nick Generous, digital epidemiologist in the Information Systems and Modeling group at Los Alamos National Laboratory and his team of researchers have proceeded with the idea that the toll from disease can be lowered with knowledge of impending threats. The key to that could lie in prediction algorithms based on internet and symptom searches made in conjunction with analysis of traditional data sets.  (Homeland Preparedness News, 10/4/17)
BARDA, Applied Research Associates Team Up to Develop Reusable Respirator for Public Health Emergencies.
Under the agreement, which spans 15 months for a total of $1.97 million, Applied Research will both design and test a respirator prototype hybrid using the existing N95 Filtering Facepiece Respirator and a half-mask elastomeric respirator.  (Homeland Preparedness News, 10/4/17)
Investigational New Drugs: FDA's Expanded Access Program.
AO testified that while FDA has provided some guidance to manufacturers, it does not fully explain the few instances when it would use these data on adverse reactions.  (GAO, 10/3/17)
Blue Ribbon Study Panel: US Not Prepared to Identify Perpetrators of Biological Crimes, Terrorism, Proliferation, and Warfare.
"Effective prosecution depends on the ability to quickly and accurately attribute crimes to their perpetrators," said Ken Wainstein, meeting chair, and former Homeland Security Advisor and United States Attorney. "In the aftermath of a biological attack, we need to find out who did it, how they did it, what disease agent they used, and where they obtained it. The biological threat is real and growing, and the Nation needs this attribution capability now."  (Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense, 10/3/17)
HHS Broadens Support to Shore Up Health Care Facilities Impacted by Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico.
To further aid health care facilities in Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricanes Irma and Maria, the US Department of Health and Human Services has implemented a three-tiered strategy as part of the Trump Administration's ongoing relief efforts.  (Department of Health & Human Services, 10/2/17)

See also:
10 Years of Progress: USAID Neglected Tropical Diseases Program.
Preventing and controlling NTDs is central to ending extreme poverty in the next two decades. Investments in global health, like USAID's NTD Program, target the symptoms of and pathways out of poverty, as well as provide valuable assistance for our partners to effectively deliver services. (NeglectedDiseases.gov, 10/17)
Don Wright Designated Acting Secretary of the US Department of Health and Human Services.
"I am honored to have the opportunity to serve the American people and the Administration in this role," Dr. Wright said.  "I look forward to ensuring that the important work of the Department in support of the President's agenda continues to move forward during this interim period."  (Department of Health & Human Services, 9/29/17)


Homeland Security & Disaster Preparedness
NIST MEP Awards Emergency Funding to Help Manufacturers Recover from Hurricane Harvey.
The Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership, a program of the US Commerce Department's National Institute of Standards and Technology, has awarded $3 million in funding to help manufacturers begin the long road to recovery from Hurricane Harvey.  (NIST, 10/6/17)
White Details DoD Assistance to Hurricane-Ravaged Puerto Rico.
DoD continues to support the Federal Emergency Management Agency, as well as federal government and civilian agencies, following the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria, White said.  (Department of Defense, 10/5/17)

USDA Brings Key Resources to Individuals and Communities Hit by Recent Hurricanes.
Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue today announced employees and agencies in the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) continue to offer vital resources to help citizens and communities recover from the devastating effects of hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria.  (USDA, 10/6/17)
FEMA Has Yet to Authorize Full Disaster Help for Puerto Rico.
Two weeks after Hurricane Maria tore through Puerto Rico, the situation on the island remains dire: Only 5 percent of the electrical grid has been repaired, only 17 percent of cellphone towers are working, and more than half of residents don't have running water.  (Vox, 10/3/17)

See also:
White House to Seek Almost $30 Billion in New Disaster Response Funding.
The funding request includes $12.77 billion in disaster recovery funds, $577 million to address wildfires, and $15 billion to fund the flood insurance program. It is not expected to seek budget cuts to offset the new spending.  (Washington Post, 10/3/17)
FirstNet Delivers Official Notice of State Plans to Governors.
Governors have until Dec. 28 to choose to either accept the FirstNet/AT&T plan to deploy the network or begin the process by which the state will deploy its own Radio Access Network (RAN) that must be interoperable with the FirstNet network.  (Homeland Preparedness News, 10/3/17)
Economic Impact of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.
Severe storms often dampen economic activity in the short term by disrupting the consumption and production of goods and services. Severe weather impacts the consumption of goods because of limited mobility and availability of these goods during the event.  (Congressional Research Service, 10/2/17)

Radiological & Nuclear Disaster Preparedness
Health and Human Services Department Sponsoring Development of Two Radiation Exposure Tests.
The Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, a component of ASPR, established a $25 million contract with the Menlo Park, California-based SRI International to support the development of its biodosimetry diagnostic test.  (Homeland Preparedness News, 10/5/17)

Science & Technology Policy
Improvements in the Relationship Between the FBI and Scientific Community.
In an effort to bridge the gap between the scientific and law enforcement communities, and to encourage collaboration, the FBI Weapons of Mass Destruction Directorate launched a dynamic biosecurity outreach initiative. Results from a more recent survey in 2016 suggests that such efforts may be paying off.  (Federation of American Scientists, 10/5/17)
Clarification of the Food and Drug Administration and Environmental Protection Agency Jurisdiction Over Mosquito-Related Products; Guidance for Industry; Availability.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA or Agency) is announcing the availability of a guidance for industry #236 entitled "Clarification of FDA and EPA Jurisdiction Over Mosquito-Related Products." This guidance provides information regarding regulatory oversight of mosquito-related products, defined as those articles for use in or on mosquitoes.  (Federal Register, 10/5/17)
DARPA Wants Mobile Technologies to Combat Small Drones.
US military convoys in dangerous territory risk attack from small drones readily available for purchase, and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) wants to be able to deploy a mobile system to combat them in about three to four years.  (Foreign Policy, 10/5/17)
Health Experts Urge NIH to Renew Gun Research Funding After Las Vegas Shooting.
A spokesperson for the NIH told STAT that the renewal of the funding program "is still under consideration," and the agency will keep accepting gun violence research proposals "submitted to existing general funding opportunity announcements."  (STAT News, 10/3/17)
This Week's Hearings

Assessing First Responder Communications. US House Committee on Homeland Security, Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, Response, and Communications. 10/12/17, 10 AM. Capitol Visitor Center 210. More


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