Monitoring USG action on readiness and response
Preparedness Pulsepoints | Monitoring USG action on readiness and response
Published by the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security
Sanjana Ravi, MPH, Editor
May 15, 2018
May 15, 2018

The Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security is hosting Clade X, a pandemic tabletop exercise, from 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. on Tuesday, May 15. The exercise will illustrate high-level strategic decisions and policies needed to prevent a severe pandemic or diminish its consequences should prevention fail. 

A livestream of the exercise will be available on the Center's page on Facebook. We hope you and many others interested in biosecurity will join us online and share the link in your networks. 

You can also follow #CladeX on Twitter for updates.

Public Health & Healthcare Preparedness
NEWS
Army Developing Implantable Sustained-Release Malaria Countermeasure. On behalf of WRAIR, the US Army Medical Research Acquisition Activity (USAMRAA) has announced intentions to negotiate on a sole source contract with the Southwest Research Institute for the production of customized subdermal implants with a specific combination of a drug of choice and ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA) copolymer using the patented technology ProNeura. (Global Biodefense, 5/13/18)
NEWS
Stem Cell Clinics That Blinded Women and Used Smallpox Vaccine Go to War with Feds. In this weeks' filings, the Department of Justice alleged that both clinics were manufacturing stem cell treatments without FDA approval and proof of safety and efficacy were putting thousands of patients at risk and in some cases caused harm. The DOJ is seeking permanent injunctions against the two clinics in separate filings. (Ars Technica, 5/11/18)
NEWS
Ebola Returns Just as the White House Loses its Top Biodefense Expert. This week, three things happened with painfully ironic synchronicity. First, the Democratic Republic of the Congo revealed that it is facing down its ninth Ebola outbreak. Second, President Trump asked Congress to rescind a $252 million pot that had been put aside to deal with Ebola. And third, global health expert Tim Ziemer unexpectedly departed the National Security Council, where he served as senior director for global health security and biodefense. With Ziemer gone, oversight of the strategy now falls to Andrea Hall, the senior director for weapons of mass destruction and biodefense, according to an administration official with knowledge of the matter.  (The Atlantic, 5/11/18)

See also:
PRESS RELEASE
Trump Administration Releases Blueprint to Lower Drug Prices and Reduce Out-of-Pocket Costs. Not only are costs spiraling out of control, but the scientific landscape is changing as well. Securing the next generation of cures for the next generation of American patients will require radical reforms to how our system works. Our blueprint will bring immediate relief to American patients while also delivering long-term reforms. (Department of Health & Human Services, 5/11/18)

See also:
RESEARCH
Study Upends Conventional View of Opioid Mechanism of Action. When researchers funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) used a novel molecular probe to test the common assumption that opioids used to treat pain act only on the same surface receptors as endogenous opioids, they discovered that medically used opioids also bind to receptors that are not a target for the naturally occurring opioids. (NIH, 5/10/18)

RESEARCH
Investigational Testing for Zika Virus Among US Blood Donors. Because of the potential severe clinical consequences of Zika virus (ZIKV) infection, the large numbers of asymptomatic travelers returning from ZIKV-active areas, the detection of ZIKV nucleic acid in blood, and reports of transmission of ZIKV through transfusion, in 2016 the Food and Drug Administration released recommendations for individual-unit nucleic acid testing to minimize the risk of transmission of ZIKV through blood transfusions.  (New England Journal of Medicine, 5/10/18)
BLOG
What's in Your State's Disaster Management Plan? 4 Ways to Incorporate Mental and Behavioral Health into Disaster Planning. A recent analysis by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services found that 64% of the state emergency response plans that are available online do not adequately plan for behavioral health needs. Behavioral health services - the provision of mental health, substance abuse, and stress management services to disaster survivors and responders - is a critical component of disaster response.  
(ASPR, 5/9/18)
RESEARCH
Despite Mutations in Makona Ebola Virus, Disease Consistent in Mice, Monkeys. Using two different animal models, National Institutes of Health scientists have determined that certain mutations stabilized early during the epidemic and did not alter Ebola disease presentation or outcome. (NIAID, 5/8/18)

See also:
Recently Identified Mutations in the Ebola Virus-Makona Genome Do Not Alter Pathogenicity in Animal Models (Cell Reports, 5/18)
WEBINAR
Be Antibiotics Aware: Smart Use, Best Care. Speakers will discuss efforts to measure and improve antibiotic prescribing through antibiotic stewardship so that these medications are only prescribed when needed. Antibiotic stewardship also aims to ensure that the right antibiotic, dose, and duration are selected when they are needed. Join CDC to hear lessons learned from improving antibiotic use in pediatrics, and what providers and health systems can do to improve use for adults. The webinar will take place on May 15, 2018,1 PM EST. (CDC, 5/18)
Homeland Security & Disaster Preparedness
BLOG
2018 Predicted to be Challenging Wildfire Year. The USDA Forest Service is well prepared to respond to wildfires in what is currently forecast to be another challenging year. In 2018, the agency has more than 10,000 firefighters, 900 engines, and hundreds of aircraft available to manage wildfires in cooperation with federal, tribal, state, local, and volunteer partners. (USDA, 5/11/18)
NEWS
Pentagon Revised Obama-Era Report to Remove Risks from Climate Change. Internal changes to a draft Defense Department report de-emphasized the threats climate change poses to military bases and installations, muting or removing references to climate-driven changes in the Arctic and potential risks from rising seas, an unpublished draft obtained by The Washington Post reveals. (Washington Post, 5/10)
NEWS
Los Alamos Rolls Out Biodefense Program with University of Nebraska. This partnership will specifically deal with looking into the diagnosis and detection of infectious disease agents using biosensors. (KOB4, 5/8/18)
Radiological & Nuclear Disaster Preparedness
NEWS
Inside the Secret Cities that Created the Atomic Bomb. The Manhattan Project, the program that developed the first nuclear weapons during World War II, worked out of three purpose-built cities in Tennessee, New Mexico, and Washington state. (CityLab, 5/10/18)
Science & Technology Policy
REPORT
Artificial Intelligence and National Security. Although AI has the potential to impart a number of advantages in the military context, it may also introduce distinct challenges. AI technology can facilitate autonomous operations, lead to more informed military decision-making, and will likely increase the speed and scale of military action. However, it is also unpredictable, vulnerable to unique forms of manipulation, and presents challenges to human-machine interaction. (Congressional Research Service, 4/26/18)
This Week's Hearings
Using Technology to Address Climate Change. US House Committee on Science. 5/16/18, 10 AM. Rayburn 2318. More
Global Health Supply Chain Management: Lessons Learned and Ways Forward. US House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations. 5/17/18, 1 PM. Rayburn 2172. More
The Health Care Workforce: Addressing Shortages and Improving Care. US Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions. 5/22/18, 10 AM. Dirksen 430. More
 

 

facebook icon   twitter icon
Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security logo