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; Divya Hosangadi, MSPH & Amanda Kobokovich, MPH
January 1, 2019
Public Health & Healthcare Preparedness
Emergent Applies for FDA Approval of Anthrax Vaccine. Emergent BioSolutions submitted an application to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for potential emergency use of a new anthrax vaccine the company recently developed. The vaccine, called NuThrax, is being developed as an anthrax vaccine for post-exposure prophylaxis of disease resulting from suspected or confirmed Bacillus anthracis, or anthrax, exposure. (Homeland Preparedness News, 12/28/18)
Ramping Up the Response to Ebola. Though there are clear signs that global preparedness for epidemics has been strengthened, efforts to contain the DRC outbreak have not been sufficient. Additional human and financial resources are needed to prevent this outbreak from becoming a major epidemic. (NEJM, 12/27/18)
2018 in Review: CDC Looks Back at the Year's Most Pressing Health Threats. From the opioid overdose epidemic to foodborne disease outbreaks and antimicrobial resistance to the Ebola virus outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), CDC worked around the clock - and around the globe - to protect Americans from health threats in 2018. Here's a closer look at some of the biggest health issues that CDC tackled in 2018. (CDC, 12/21/18)
Deadly Marburg Virus Found in Sierra Leone Bats. Five Egyptian rousette fruit bats tested positive for active Marburg virus infection. Scientists caught the bats separately at locations in three health districts: Moyamba, Koinadugu and Kono. There have been no reported cases of people sick with Marburg in Sierra Leone, but the virus's presence in bats means people nearby could be at risk for contracting Marburg virus. Marburg virus is a cousin to Ebola virus that causes a similar, often fatal disease in people. (CDC, 12/21/18)
Secretary Perdue Statement on United Nations' Designation of 2020 as International Year of Plant Health. US Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today commends the United Nations' decision to designate 2020 as the International Year of Plant Health. The United States, along with 90 other countries, co-sponsored this resolution to raise awareness of plant health issues and strengthen global efforts in the face of increased trade and climate change. (USDA APHIS, 12/20/18)
Every year, at least two million Americans are sickened by serious infections caused by antimicrobial-resistant (AMR) pathogens, such as MRSA. And, at least 23,000 people die as a direct result of these infections. Optimizing how medically important antimicrobial drugs are used and limiting their use to only when necessary to treat, control or prevent disease will help to preserve the effectiveness of these drugs for fighting disease in both humans and animals. (FDA, 12/18/18)
Homeland Security & Disaster Preparedness
HHS, in Partnership with Industry, Releases Voluntary Cybersecurity Practices for the Health Industry. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released the "Health Industry Cybersecurity Practices (HICP): Managing Threats and Protecting Patients" publication. The four volume publication, aims to provide voluntary cybersecurity practices to healthcare organizations of all types and sizes, ranging from local clinics to large hospital systems. (HHS, 12/28/18)
Puerto Rico's Recovery Brings Opportunity to Improve. As 2018 ends, Puerto Rico's transformation from hurricanes Irma and Maria has pivoted toward making the island stronger and more resilient. The island's long-term recovery envisions enhanced infrastructure and communities more capable of withstanding events like the 2017 hurricanes. The Government of Puerto Rico and FEMA have collaborated on several recovery projects that meet these objectives. (FEMA, 12/27/18)
Holiday Reflections on Disaster Recovery in Puerto Rico. HHS' commitment to supporting Puerto Rico's recovery is unchanged. We're still going to be there to help work with our state and local counterparts to understand and address the major recovery barriers and what are the ways that we, collectively, can try to mitigate those barriers to deal with what's happening now. (ASPR PHE, 12/21/18)
Senate Votes to Authorize the DHS Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction Office. Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen M. Nielsen released the following statement today after the US Senate passed the Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction Act of 2018 (H.R. 7213).  The House unanimously passed this bill earlier this week.  This legislation permanently establishes the Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction (CWMD) Office within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), granting it needed authorities to protect the American people against evolving WMD threats. (DHS, 12/18/18)
Radiological & Nuclear Disaster Preparedness
Argentum Receives BARDA Grant to Advance Research Into Radiation Exposure Treatment, Technology. The US Department of Health and Human Services has awarded Argentum Medical - a company whose invention is widely-used by the military to treat wounds and burns - $8.4 million to continue research on their product to determine its efficacy on radiological injuries after emergency.  (Homeland Preparedness News, 12/20/18)
Science & Technology Policy
ImmuneChip: Engineering Microphysiological Immune Tissue Platforms.The purpose of this Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) is to promote the development of in vitro platforms that recapitulate components of the human immune system. Applications that qualify for this funding will focus on engineering 3-D in vitro microphysiological immune system tissues, adding immune system responsiveness to existing in vitro platforms, and/or in vitro modeling autoimmune diseases and inflammation.  (, 12/27/18)
What to Expect in 2019: Science In The New Year. Gene-editing, open access and a biosafety rethink are set to shape research.  (Nature, 12/21/18)
Establishing the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard. US Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard. The National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Law, passed by Congress in July of 2016, directed USDA to establish this national mandatory standard for disclosing foods that are or may be bioengineered. The Standard requires food manufacturers, importers and certain retailers to ensure bioengineered foods are appropriately disclosed. (USDA, 12/20/18)
This Week's Hearings
There are no hearings this week.


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