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
Diane Meyer, RN, MPH, Editor
July 31, 2018

From October 1-4, 2018, the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security is offering an expenses-paid biosecurity fellowship opportunity in conjunction with SynBioBeta 2018: The Global Synthetic Biology Summit. The program is sponsored by the Open Philanthropy Project. 

Up to 30 emerging leaders from around the world who are interested in the nexus of biosecurity and synthetic biology will be sponsored to attend SynBioBeta 2018, to hear from and meet with practicing experts, and to discuss biosecurity as it relates to synthetic biology at special events with both peers and senior leaders. Fellows will have conference registration, travel, lodging, food, and transportation costs covered by the program.

Applications are due by Wednesday, August 15, before 11:59 PM EST.

Public Health & Healthcare Preparedness
CDC Warns Travelers to Somalia of Polio Risk.  A recent polio outbreak in Somalia has prompted the CDC to issue a travel notice for those who plan to travel to the country.  (Outbreak News Today, 7/29/18)
NIH Commits Up to $45.5M to Fund Genome Editing Technology Projects.  The National Institutes of Health announced that it has set aside up to $45.5 million over the next four fiscal years to fund a series of grants as part of its Somatic Cell Genome Editing program.  (Genome Web, 7/27/18)
HHS Official Who Spread Conspiracy Theories Forced Out.  Ximena Barreto -- a Donald Trump political appointee who used social media to spread conspiracy theories about a supposed pizza shop sex ring and made other inflammatory remarks -- was escorted from Health and Human Services Department headquarters Friday, according to an individual with knowledge of the situation. Barreto joined HHS in December 2017 as a deputy communications director.  (Politico, 7/27/18)
FDA Announces Two Initiatives to Modernize Drug Quality Programs. The FDA has announced two new voluntary programs - the Quality Metrics Feedback Program and the Quality Metrics Site Visit Program - in response to stakeholder requests for continued dialogue on quality metrics, and to provide methods for industry to engage and inform the FDA's use of them in the future.  (FDA, 7/26/18)
Praise For The Global HIV Program That Trump Wants To Cut. The multi-billion dollar program to combat HIV and AIDS globally has been slated for cuts by the Trump administration. But researchers and African health officials credit the program started by President George W. Bush with helping to change the trajectory of the AIDS epidemic.  (NPR, 7/25/18)
Tickborne Diseases are Likely to Increase, Say NIH Officials. The incidence of tickborne infections in the United States has risen significantly within the past decade. It is imperative, therefore, that public health officials and scientists build a robust understanding of pathogenesis, design improved diagnostics, and develop preventive vaccines, according to a new commentary in the New England Journal of Medicine from leading scientists at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.  (NIH, 7/25/18)

Joint Statement on Global Health Security Agenda Cooperation. Given the collective threat posed by certain highly pathogenic infectious diseases - whether through naturally occurring outbreaks or deliberate or accidental release - the governments of the United States and Australia have formed a multi-sectoral partnership to strengthen health security in the Indo-Pacific Region.  (, 7/25/18)
Expanding the Human Genome Engineering Repertoire. The purpose of this Funding Opportunity Announcement is to solicit applications proposing research on the development of novel and optimized alternatives to existing in vivo genome editing complexes.  (, 7/25/18)
Targeted Programmatic Support Across Countries under the Global Fund to Fight HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and under the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). The goal of this NOFO is comprehensive and cost-effective targeted technical support for the acceleration of evidence-based HIV prevention and treatment program implementation, as well as aligned health systems issues.  (, 7/25/18)
US Is Unprepared for the Health Challenges of Climate Change, Experts Warn. From the spread of insect-borne disease to the risks to public health centers and outpatient facilities from environmental disasters, public health professionals on Capitol Hill told congressional staffers there is much work to be done to prepare for potential health risks to the American public at the federal, state and local levels.  (Scientific American, 7/23/18)
Difficult-to-Treat Resistance in Gram-negative Bacteremia at 173 US Hospitals: Retrospective Cohort Analysis of Prevalence, Predictors, and Outcome of Resistance to All First-line Agents. Resistance to all first-line antibiotics necessitates the use of less effective or more toxic "reserve" agents. Gram-negative bloodstream infections harboring such difficult-to-treat resistance may have higher mortality than phenotypes that allow for ≥1 active first-line antibiotic.  (CID, 7/23/18)
US Global Health Assistance: FY2001-FY2019 Request. The Strategic National Stockpile Preparedness Course is a five-day course designed to give Federal, state, and local officials information on how to best plan and prepare for a public health emergency and how to use and manage the Strategic National Stockpile in response to a terrorist attack, natural disaster, or technological accident.  (Congressional Research Service, 7/9/18)
Highly Infectious Disease Training Week. The Highly Infectious Disease Training Week, hosted by FEMA's Center for Domestic Preparedness, is intended to broaden the training experience of healthcare responders beginning with the first recognition of illness, and continues through treatment, isolation and recovery. The training will take place the week of August 27-31, 2018 at the CDP campus in Anniston, Alabama.  (FEMA, 7/18)
Board of Scientific Counselors: Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response. The Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response's Board of Scientific Counselors will be hosting a web conference on August 30, 2018, 2-5 PM EST. Registration is required.  (CDC, 7/18)
Strategic National Stockpile Preparedness Course. The Strategic National Stockpile Preparedness Course is a five-day course designed to give Federal, state, and local officials information on how to best plan and prepare for a public health emergency and how to use and manage the Strategic National Stockpile in response to a terrorist attack, natural disaster, or technological accident.  (NACCHO, 7/18)
Homeland Security & Disaster Preparedness
DARPA Develops Disaster Robots to Help During National Emergencies. The field of robotics is now advancing to the point where we can begin to rely on them for assistance in rescue and reconnaissance missions. Now, DARPA is spearheading this project. Dubbed "SHRIMP," DARPA's SHort-Range Independent Microrobotic Platforms will eventually help out in times of need and disaster.  (DARPA, 7/27/18)
BITMAP Bill Advances House Committee. The House Homeland Security Committee has advanced the Biometric Identification Migration Alert Program (BITMAP) Authorization Act of 2018. BITMAP is a US Immigration and Customs Enforcement/Homeland Security Investigations-led program established in 2011 under Obama Administration, enabling partner-country law enforcement officers to collect and share biometric and biographic data on special interest individuals to identify potential threat actors.  (Homeland Preparedness News, 7/26/18)
Royce Formally Requests Administration Comply with Chemical and Biological Weapons and Warfare Elimination Act. In a letter to the President, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA) continued to press for Russia to be held accountable for its likely use of chemical weapons in recent attacks on civilians in the United Kingdom.  (Foreign Affairs Committee, 7/26/18)
FEMA Chief: Some Parts of Puerto Rico Response Not Present, but Agency Was "Phenomenal." The official death toll from Hurricane Maria and its aftermath, according to the Puerto Rican government, was 64, but CNN reported in May that an academic report in the New England Journal of Medicine put the number of deaths at 4,645.  (CNN, 7/24/18)
 Altered Pentagon Climate Change Report Spurs Bipartisan Action from Lawmakers. More than 40 lawmakers have penned a letter to Secretary of Defense James Mattis requesting both that mentions of climate change in military reports remain intact and that strategic defense plans acknowledge the effects of climate change on national security.   (Think Progress, 7/24/18)

Partnership for Disaster Health Response. Awards will focus primarily on building and maturing the partnerships that are required to effectively prepare for and respond to the management of patients in disasters, including those that facilitate rapid expansion of medical surge capacity of the existing healthcare system, coordination of patient and resource movement to support the response, and the swift involvement of specific clinical specialists.  (, 6/14/18)
Science & Technology Policy
Urgent Actions Are Needed to Address Cybersecurity Challenges Facing the Nation. GAO has identified four major cybersecurity challenges and 10 critical actions that the federal government and other entities need to take to address them. GAO continues to designate information security as a government-wide high-risk area due to increasing cyber-based threats and the persistent nature of security vulnerabilities.  (GAO, 7/25/18)
This Week's Hearings

There are no hearings scheduled for this week. 



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