April 18, 2017
CALL FOR APPLICATIONS: SB7.0 Biosecurity Fellowship

The Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security announces an exceptional near-term opportunity for emerging leaders who wish to prepare for and contribute to ongoing discussions regarding biosecurity. Specifically, from 13-16 June 2017, in conjunction with the Seventh International Meeting on Synthetic Biology taking place in Singapore (www.sb7.info), we are offering an expenses-paid program focused on synthetic biology and biosecurity. The program is being sponsored by the Open Philanthropy Project, and organized by the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security in coordination with the BioBricks Foundation, SynBioBeta, & the National University of Singapore.

Public Health & Healthcare Preparedness
HHS Secretary Price Authorizes Emergency Use of Nerve Agent Antidotes.
Price determined that there is a significant potential for a public health emergency affecting national security or the health and security of US citizens living abroad, and that involves nerve agents or certain insecticides (organophosphorus and/or carbamate).  (Global Biodefense, 4/17/17)

US Army Seeks Continuation of Forum on Microbial Threats.
The US Army Medical Research and Materiel Command is seeking participation in a committee composed of the nation's top scientists, engineers and other experts, in order to discuss key stakeholder issues surrounding antimicrobial resistance. (Global Biodefense, 4/14/17)
Addressing Emerging Zoonoses and Strengthening Animal and Human Health Systems.
The purpose of this agreement is to assist FAO in building capacities of national governments and regional authorities to address emerging and re-emerging zoonotic diseases at the animal-human-ecosystem interface, poverty associated endemic zoonotic diseases, transboundary animal diseases (TADs), and other public health threats such as antimicrobial resistance.  (Grants.gov, 4/13/17)
Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria and Food Animals.
John Neuman, a director in GAO's Natural Resources and Environment team, recently discussed findings regarding federal oversight of antibiotic use in food animals.  (GAO, 4/13/17)
Miniature Liver on a Chip Could Boost US Food Safety.
The US Food and Drug Administration has started testing whether livers-on-a-chip - miniature models of human organs engineered to mimic biological functions - can reliably model human reactions to food and food-borne illnesses.  (Nature, 4/12/17)

Possession, Use, and Transfer of Select Agents and Toxins-Addition of Bacillus cereus.
On September 14, 2016, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) published in the Federal Register (81 FR 63138) an interim final rule and request for comments which added Bacillus cereus Biovar anthracis to the list of HHS select agents and toxins as a Tier 1 select agent. CDC received two comments, both of which supported the rule change.  (Federal Register, 4/12/17)
66th Annual EIS Conference.
CDC's Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) will host the 66th Annual EIS Conference from April 24-27 in Atlanta. During the event, EIS officers-also known as CDC disease detectives-describe the investigations they conducted over the past year.  (CDC, 4/12/17)
HHS Sponsors New Zika Diagnostic Test, Boosting National Testing Capacity.
The US Department of Health and Human Services' Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response today announced an $8.9 million agreement with Siemens Healthineers, a Tarrytown, New York-based company to further develop a Zika virus test that could expand the nation's testing capacity for the virus and potentially lead to lower costs for patients.  (Department of Health & Human Services, 4/12/17)
Health Professional Support Program for Children with Congenital Zika Virus (ZIKV) Infection.
The purpose of this program is to provide workforce development and interdisciplinary clinical consultation to health professionals caring for children with ZIKV in Puerto Rico, American Samoa, the US Affiliated Pacific Basin, and the US Virgin Islands, and support the delivery of interdisciplinary clinical care in those territories and jurisdictions.  (Grants.gov, 4/12/17)
Longitudinal Peripheral Blood Transcriptional Analysis of a Patient with Severe Ebola Virus Disease.
During the recent outbreak, a health care worker with severe Ebola virus disease was evacuated to the NIH Clinical Center, where he received supportive care and had longitudinal blood samples drawn up to almost a year after infection. NIH scientists performed transcriptomic analyses on these blood samples to see how his body responded to the virus through the different phases of infection and recovery, and compared them to clinical symptoms and viral loads.  (Science Translational Medicine, 4/12/17)

Neither Rain nor Sleet nor Snow Stops Wildlife Disease Biologists From Collecting Samples.
Since 2006, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service's Wildlife Services program (WS) has been a leader in a national, multiagency effort to monitor wild birds for highly pathogenic avian influenza. Between July 2015 and March 2016, WS and its partners tested more than 45,000 apparently healthy wild birds for avian influenza in targeted areas throughout the United States. Monitoring is ongoing, with peak sampling periods during fall and winter seasons.  (USDA, 4/12/17)
USDA Announces $462,000 to Support Disaster Preparedness.
The US Department of Agriculture's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) today announced $462,000 in available funding to decrease the impact of disasters through cooperative extension programming. Funding is made through NIFA's Smith-Lever Special Needs Competitive Grants Program.  (USDA, 4/11/17)
National Organization to Strengthen and Support a Network of Immunization Program Managers.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announces the availability of funds to support immunization program managers through CDC-RFA-IP17-1703, National Organization to Strengthen and Support a Network of Immunization Program Managers.  (Grants.gov, 4/11/17)
How the CDC Stops Foodborne Illness From Spreading.
Operated by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), PulseNet is a network of laboratories and a database that works to protect diners from foodborne illness in the US.  (Eater, 4/11/17)
FDA Lashes Out at Mylan for Dismal Quality Control at HIV Drug Facility.
In a letter to Mylan, the FDA outlined several violations at the facility, based in Maharashtra, India, and warned Mylan to shape up. Specifically, the FDA said that investigators found that facility employees inexplicably invalidated quality control data that showed that drug batches didn't meet standards.  (Ars Technica, 4/11/17)

Buchanan Proposes Pandemic Response Fund.
 Rep. Vern 
Buchanan led a group of 20 bipartisan members of Congress last week in sending a letter to the chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies urging the creation of a $300 million fund designed to respond swiftly to disease outbreaks.  (Office of Rep. Vern Buchanan, 4/10/17)

The Department of Defense Chemical and Biological Defense Program: An Enabler of the Third Offset Strategy.
 Scientists from the Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical & Biological Defense, the US Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center, and National Defense University explain how 
the United States's investments in its Chemical and Biological Defense Program (CBDP) can be a critical enabler of the third offset strategy, which is a DOD initiative that seeks to maximize force capability to offset emerging threats.  (Health Security, 4/7/17)
Interim Guidance for Managing Occupational Exposures to Zika Virus for Healthcare Personnel.
To prevent occupationally-acquired infections and reduce the possibility of spreading infectious diseases, including Zika virus, in healthcare settings, healthcare providers should adhere to Standard Precautions for all patient care activities.  (CDC, 4/7/17)
HHS and Global Health in the Second Obama Administration.
Jimmy Kolker (Former Assistant Secretary for Global Affairs, US Department of Health & Human Services) describes how the second Obama administration recognized and used the comparative advantages of the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to expand partnerships with other governments fighting outbreaks and communicable diseases, to multiply American impact through reform of and collaboration with the World Health Organization, and to lay some groundwork for a more adaptable and sustainable global health workforce within HHS.  (Center for Strategic & International Studies, 4/6/17)

Homeland Security & Disaster Preparedness
System to Turn Deadly Chemicals into Harmless Dirt Makes Advances.
A DARPA program that is developing a field-deployable system for onsite neutralization of bulk stores of chemical warfare agents has successfully demonstrated a novel waterless soil-scrubbing technology that safely neutralized toxic chemicals simulating sarin, soman, and mustard agents.  (DARPA, 4/14/17)
DARPA Tasks BAE with Workaround to Secure the Power Grid in Event of Massive Attack.
The program, called Rapid Attack Detection, Isolation and Characterization Systems (RADICS), consists of a variety of technical capabilities. These include an ability to recognize or provide early warning of impending attacks, map conventional and industrial control systems networks, ad hoc network formation and analysis of control systems.  (Defense Systems, 4/13/17)
An Innovative Way to Encourage Disaster Preparedness: FEMA’s Public Assistance Deductible.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recently outlined a new framework for encouraging states to invest in disaster resilience and thus limit the growing costs of disasters.  (Union of Concerned Scientists, 4/12/17)

Radiological & Nuclear Disaster Preparedness
Nuclear Security: DOE Could Improve Aspects of Nuclear Security Reporting.
DOE's reports identified challenges that could affect the security at some of its sites, and we found that the agency is not fully prepared to address these challenges. Among other things, GAO recommended that DOE develop a plan to address physical security infrastructure needs-such as fences, alarms, and sensors-at its sites.  (GAO, 4/11/17)

Science & Technology Policy
FDA Allows Marketing of First Whole Slide Imaging System for Digital Pathology.
The US Food and Drug Administration today permitted marketing of the Philips IntelliSite Pathology Solution, the first whole slide imaging system that allows for review and interpretation of digital surgical pathology slides prepared from biopsied tissue.  (FDA, 4/12/17)
The Precision Medicine Era is Dawning.
The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) is excited to collaborate with the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Food and Drug Administration, the Office for Civil Rights (OCR), the Department of Defense, and the Department of Veterans Affairs on this endeavor so that technology can be used to facilitate the safe and secure access and sharing of data across the PMI.  (HealthIT.gov, 4/11/17)
Reagan-Udall Foundation for FDA Annual Public Meeting.
The Reagan-Udall Foundation, an independent 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization, was created by Congress for the purpose of advancing regulatory science, science that is critical to helping FDA accomplish its mission. The Foundation continually seeks new project and program ideas from FDA and other private and public organizations and individuals interested in advancing regulatory science. It fosters collaborations between patient groups, industry, academia, and FDA scientists to design and conduct regulatory science research.  (FDA, 5/4/17)
This Week's Hearings


There are no hearings scheduled for this week.


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