November 28, 2017
Tom Inglesby and Benjamin Haas

The Trump administration has opportunities to make substantial headway on pandemic risks at the national and international levels. Its budget, biodefense strategy, approach to high-consequence research, and engagement on the BWC are all key. The means exist to diminish the spread of pandemics -- through science, intelligence, medical and public health preparedness, diplomacy, and smart governance. For the national security and health of the country, the Trump administration should fully commit to these efforts.

Public Health & Healthcare Preparedness
Members Appointed to New Tick-Borne Disease Working Group.
The Working Group was established by the 21st Century Cures Act to improve federal coordination of efforts related to tick-borne diseases. Members will review all HHS efforts related to tick-borne diseases to provide expertise and help ensure interagency coordination and minimize overlap, examine research priorities and identify unmet needs.  (Department of Health & Human Services, 11/22/17)
NIH Scientists and Collaborators Find Infectious Prion Protein in Skin of CJD Patients.
The study results raise questions about the possible transmissibility of prion diseases via medical procedures involving skin, and whether skin samples might be used to detect prion disease.  (NIH, 11/22/17)

Beyond the Dirty Dozen: A Proposed Methodology for Assessing Future Bioweapon Threats.
 Defense policy planners and countermeasure developers are often faced with vexing problems involving the prioritization of resources and efforts. This is especially true in the area of Biodefense, where each new emerging infectious disease outbreak brings with it questions regarding the causative agent's potential for weaponization. This s
tudy was designed to provide a concise and east-to-apply set of criteria that could be used by NATO nations to evaluate emerging infectious disease threats with respect to their weaponization potential.  (Military Medicine, 11/21/17)
The US President's Malaria Initiative, Plasmodium falciparum Transmission and Mortality: a Modelling Study.
Although significant progress has been made in reducing malaria transmission globally in recent years, a large number of people remain at risk and hence the gains made are fragile. Funding lags well behind amounts needed to protect all those at risk and ongoing contributions from major donors, such as the President's Malaria Initiative (PMI), are vital to maintain progress and pursue further reductions in burden.  (PLOS, 11/21/17)
FDA Approves First Two-Drug Regimen for Certain Patients with HIV.
 The US 
Food and Drug Administration today approved Juluca, the first complete treatment regimen containing only two drugs to treat certain adults with human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) instead of three or more drugs included in standard HIV treatment.  (FDA, 11/21/17)
DoD Accelerating Innovation in Military Medicine Research.
The Accelerating Innovation in Military Medicine (AIMM) Research Award is intended to support highly creative and conceptually innovative high-risk research with the potential to accelerate critical discoveries or major advancements that will significantly impact military health and medicine. AIMM initiative funding supports novel research concepts and other efforts that initiate or enhance potential game-changers that may not be supported by other funding mechanisms or core programs. Applications using synthetic or systems biology-based approaches are highly encouraged.  (, 11/21/17)
CDC's Collaboration with Academia to Strengthen Public Health Workforce Capacity.
The purpose of this NOFO is to enhance educational and training programs around immunizations; to implement, promote, assess and revise immunization educational programs based on recommendations by experts in immunization and training education resources to be able to efficiently and effectively create reliable training materials and resources for health professionals; and collaborate with partners to build the capacity of immunization providers by providing educational programs that offer continuing education credit to meet licensing or credentialing requirements.  (, 11/21/17)
Bavarian Nordic Announces Exercise of Clinical Option by the US Government Under Contract for Freeze-Dried Imvamune Smallpox Vaccine.
 Bavarian Nordic 
announced today that the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority has exercised an option under the recently announced contract for freeze-dried IMVAMUNEĀ®. The option, which represents approximately USD 37 million of the total contract of up to USD 539 million, will cover development costs associated with the Phase 3 study required for the eventual approval of the freeze-dried product.  (Bavarian Nordic, 11/21/17)
BARDA Supports a Rapid, Deployable, Sensitive Diagnostic Platform to Diagnose Anthrax.
In the wake of an anthrax attack, medical responders need to quickly determine who has been infected so that they can be effectively treated. A rapid, accurate diagnostic test is an essential tool for doctors and other health professionals to effectively triage people who may be infected with anthrax.  (ASPR, 11/20/17)

Fellowships, Internships, and Learning Opportunities.
 CDC has issued calls for applications for a number of public health fellowship programs
(CDC, 11/15/17)

Homeland Security & Disaster Preparedness

Letter to the Honorable Paul D. Ryan from Mick Mulvaney (Director, Office of Management and Budget).
 This year's Atlantic hurricane season has resulted in historic, widespread destruction that continues to affect the lives of millions of Americans. 
At this time, the Administration is requesting additional fiscal year 2018 funding in the amount of $44 billion and the necessary authorities to address ongoing recovery efforts. (The White House, 11/17/17)


Private Flood Insurance and the National Flood Insurance Program.
 In statute,
many factors have made it uneconomic for the private insurance industry alone to make flood insurance available to those in need of such protection on reasonable terms and conditions.  (Congressional Research Service, 11/17/17)
Natural Disasters of 2017: Congressional Considerations Related to FEMA Assistance.
This Insight provides a short overview of issues Congress may consider in its oversight of the Federal Emergency Management Agency's federal assistance during the 2017 hurricane season (e.g., Harvey, Irma, and Maria) and other disasters (e.g., fires in California).  (Congressional Research Service, 11/2/17)

Science & Technology Policy
The FDA Says it's Illegal to Sell Do-It-Yourself Kits to Edit Human Genes. But What, Exactly, Does That Mean?
he Food and Drug Administration this week made an announcement that sounded quite definitive: It's illegal to sell do-it-yourself kits to edit human genes.  (STAT News, 11/24/17)

DARPA Develops Plants that Could "Sniff" Out Bio-Weapons.
DARPA is developing a project known as the Advanced Plant Technologies program. Engineers once tasked with using traditional gadgets to gather intelligence will now be working with botanists. The biggest feature of the project is using these plants in order to monitor environments, using rigged plants as early warning signs of potential biochemical hazards and weapons.  (Interesting Engineering, 11/24/17)

Donald Trump's Science Office is a Ghost Town.
In its 41-year-old history as the White House hub of innovation, the Office of Science and Technology Policy has never gone this long without a leader or official mandate.  (CBS News, 11/21/17)
Director of HHS Scientific Fraud Office is Out After Story 2-Year Tenure.
The controversial director of the office that polices research fraud in US-funded biomedical labs is temporarily moving to another agency. Kathy Partin has been removed after nearly 2 years as director of the US Office of Research Integrity in Rockville, Maryland.  (Science, 11/20/17)
Public Health Genomics Information is Now Easily Accessible Online.
The Public Health Genomics Knowledge Base (PHGKB), created by CDC's Office of Public Health Genomics, is an open-access, web-based, searchable information system. PHGKB systematically curates and updates information that bridges population-based research on genomics with clinical and public health applications.  (CDC, 11/20/17)
Climate Science Isn't Being Silenced Everywhere In Washington.
 EPA and DOE 
are headed by Trump appointees who were confirmed in their roles early in the president's term. In contrast, a handful of agencies without politically appointed heads, or whose political appointees have yet to enter office, haven't taken such steps - and in at least one case, an organization is expanding its climate science work.  (FiveThirtyEight, 11/17/17)
Summer Internship Program in Biomedical Research.
Summer programs at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) provide an opportunity to spend a summer working at the NIH side-by-side with some of the leading scientists in the world, in an environment devoted exclusively to biomedical research. Applications for summer 2018 are now open, and are due March 1, 2018.  (NIH, 11/17)
This Week's Hearings
The Front Lines of the Opioid Crisis: Perspectives from States, Communities, and Providers. US Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions. 11/30/17, 10 AM. Dirksen 430.  More

Implementing the 21st Century Cures Act: An Update from FDA and NIH. US House Committee on Energy & Commerce, Subcommittee on Health. 11/30/17, 10 AM. Rayburn 2123.  More

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