Monitoring USG action on readiness and response
Published by the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security
Editors: Diane Meyer, RN, MPH; Lane Warmbrod, MS, MPH; & Amanda Kobokovich, MPH
New from the Center for Health Security
Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security 2018 Annual Report. Back in 1998, our Center was founded on the belief that we should do everything possible to protect people’s health from biological threats by developing effective policy, programmatic, and scientific tools that can diminish the impact of pandemics and other disasters. As we celebrated our Center’s 20th anniversary in 2018, we had the opportunity to reflect on the progress made over the past 2 decades as well as to undertake a series of new initiatives that we believe will help to push forward progress on these issues. We’re proud to share some of the Center’s past milestones and highlight our current work in this annual report. Read more .
April 16, 2019
Public Health & Healthcare Preparedness
NEWS
BARDA Extends Strategic Partnership with JLABS. The Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) will collaborate with Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JLABS to develop and maintain a specialized innovation zone at the new JLABS @ Washington, DC campus that will be dedicated to the advancement of medical countermeasures aimed at securing our nation from chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear threats, as well as from pandemic influenza and emerging infectious diseases. (Global Biodefense, 4/14/2019)
REPORT
Notes from the Field: Hepatitis A Outbreak Associated with Drug Use and Homelessness — West Virginia, 2018. In March 2018, the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department in West Virginia began investigating a cluster of reported hepatitis A virus infections. Twelve specimens tested by CDC’s Division of Viral Hepatitis laboratory confirmed that patients were infected with an HAV strain (genotype 1B) reported in ongoing hepatitis A outbreaks in multiple states, primarily among persons who use drugs and persons experiencing homelessness. (MMWR, 4/12/2019)
REPORT
Notes from the Field: Acute Hepatitis A Virus Infection Among Previously Vaccinated Persons with HIV Infection — Tennessee, 2018. Complete immunization against hepatitis A requires 2 doses of a monovalent vaccine or 3 doses of a combined hepatitis A and hepatitis B vaccine; approximately 90% of vaccinated persons achieve protective antibody levels after a single dose of either product. However, persons living with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection might not develop the same level of immunity after hepatitis A virus vaccination as do immunocompetent persons.  (MMWR, 4/12/2019)
PRESS RELEASE
Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health Announces Reorganization. Today, the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health announced its new structure aimed at strengthening its public health portfolio with a more streamlined organization poised to provide stronger cross-cutting, science-based, health-promoting leadership on our nation’s most important public health topics. (HHS,4/10/2019)
NEWS
Billion-Dollar Medicare Fraud Bust: FBI Announces Results of Operation Brace Yourself. FBI and Department of Justice officials today announced the disruption of one of the largest Medicare fraud schemes in US history. An international fraud ring allegedly bilked Medicare out of more than $1 billion by billing it for unnecessary medical equipment—mainly back, shoulder, wrist, and knee braces. (FBI.gov, 4/9/2019)
PRESS RELEASE
FDA Protecting the Nation Through Medical Countermeasures. The work to protect and promote public health at the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) takes many forms—from ensuring the safety and efficacy of medical products, to advancing a safe and nutritious food supply. (FDA, 4/9/2019)

NEWS
JILA's 5-Minute Sample Processing Enhances DNA Imaging and Analysis. JILA scientists have developed a fast, simple sample preparation method that enhances imaging of DNA to better analyze its physical properties and interactions. (NIST, 4/8/2019)
NEWS
CSU Researchers Discover New Technique to Test for Viral Infections. A team of Colorado State University researchers has developed technology that can detect extremely small amounts of antibodies in a person’s blood.  (CSU,4/8/2019)
Homeland Security & Disaster Preparedness
PRESS RELEASE
DHS Announces Funding Opportunity for Fiscal Year 2019 Preparedness Grants. On April 12, Senior Official Performing the Duties of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Deputy Secretary David P. Pekoske announced the release of Fiscal Year 2019 Notices of Funding Opportunity for eight DHS preparedness grant programs totaling more than $1.7 billion. The grant programs provide funding to state, local, tribal, and territorial governments, as well as transportation authorities, nonprofit organizations, and the private sector, to improve the nation’s readiness in preventing, protecting against, responding to, recovering from and mitigating terrorist attacks, major disasters, and other emergencies. (DHS, 4/12/2019)
PRESS RELEASE
Schumer And Leahy Introduce Bill To Provide Assistance To All Disaster-Impacted Areas, Including the Midwest, Southeast, And Puerto Rico. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Senate Appropriations Committee Vice Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) Thursday introduced a comprehensive, emergency disaster supplemental appropriations package that would provide relief to all American citizens from recent natural disasters. (Senate Appropriations Committee, 4/11/2019)
MEETING
Biodefense Summit: Implementation of the National Biodefense Strategy. The Biodefense Summit aims to engage the biodefense stakeholder community to inform national biodefense enterprise efforts to counter biological threats, reduce risk, prevent, prepare for, respond to, and recover from biological incidents. The Summit will inform implementation of the National Biodefense Strategy. (PHE.gov, 4/9/2019)
REPORT
FEMA Grants Modernization: Improvements Needed to Strengthen Program Management and Cybersecurity. FEMA awarded more than $22 billion in grants for four major disasters in 2017 alone. It manages these and other grants in numerous, disparate information technology systems that it has been attempting to modernize. (GAO, 4/9/2019)
Radiological & Nuclear Disaster Preparedness
NEWS
Bill Would Give Congress Oversight of Transfer of Nuclear Information. A bipartisan group of senators introduced a bill that would ensure that Congress has the authority to review all materials related to the transfer or nuclear technologies and information. (Homeland Preparedness News, 4/12/2019)
REPORT
Modernizing the Nuclear Security Enterprise: NNSA Is Taking Action to Manage Increased Workload at Kansas City National Security Campus. In the United States, nuclear weapons contain over 80 percent non-nuclear parts. Most of these parts are procured or produced by the National Nuclear Security Administration's site in Kansas City.  (GAO, 4/12/2019)
REPORT
Priority Open Recommendations: Nuclear Regulatory Commission. This report outlines our 4 priority open recommendations for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission as of April 2019. (GAO, 4/4/2019)
WORKSHOP
Public Health Radiation Preparedness Capacity Building Workshop in Washington State. The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Washington State Department of Health, are hosting a technical assistance and capacity building workshop on radiation preparedness for public health preparedness and emergency management officials. (NACCHO, 4/2019)
Science & Technology Policy
NEWS
Three Teams Qualify to Compete in DARPA Launch Challenge. The DARPA Launch Challenge aims to fundamentally shift military space capabilities to enable on-demand, flexible, and responsive launch of small payloads. Three competitors successfully completed the qualification phase and will attempt to launch to low-Earth orbit from two different U.S. locations within a matter of weeks.  (DARPA, 4/10/2019)