Updates

Researchers Discover Potential Antidote to Botulism

Researchers have identified a compound that strongly inhibits botulinum neurotoxin, the most toxic compound known. That inhibiting compound, nitrophenyl psoralen (NPP), could be used as a treatment to reduce paralysis induced by botulism. Botulinum neurotoxin is considered a potential bioweapon because there is no U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved antidote.

FDA Approval of Anti-Seizure Drug Provides a New Tool for Protecting Americans During a Chemical Attack

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval of the drug Seizalam® (midazolam injection) as an anti-seizure medication, protects Americans from a potentially deadly health effect of chemical weapons. Having this drug, developed by Meridian Medical Technologies, available in multi-use vials makes drug administration easier in emergencies involving a large number of people exposed to chemicals that cause prolonged seizures.

New Virtual Tool Gives Responders, Educators an “EDGE” on School Safety

First responders and educators now have a tool at their disposal to help ensure the safety of the nation’s schools, as well as the students and faculty within them. The Enhanced Dynamic Geo-Social Environment (EDGE), a virtual training platform, allows teachers, school staff, law enforcement officers, and others tasked with school security to create and practice response plans for a wide range of critical incidents.

CU Researchers Provide Resource for Patient Care in Chemical and Biological Attacks

The neurologic effects and treatment options for exposure to biologic and chemical agents are outlined in a newly published article by neurologists from the University of Colorado School of Medicine who collaborated on the article with military physicians. The authors describe how to recognize, diagnose, treat, and report exposures to anthrax, botulism, brucella, plague, smallpox, organophosphates, nerve agents, cyanide, or carfentanil.

FDA Approves New Drug to Treat Influenza

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Xofluza (baloxavir marboxil) for the treatment of acute uncomplicated influenza (flu) in patients 12 years of age and older who have been symptomatic for no more than 48 hours. Flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. When patients with the flu are treated within 48 hours of becoming sick, antiviral drugs can reduce symptoms and duration of the illness.

Public Safety Agencies Pilot Artificial Intelligence to Aid in First Response

The Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate’s Next Generation First Responder Apex program partnered with the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory to address capability gaps and develop the Assistant for Understanding Data through Reasoning, Extraction, and Synthesis (AUDREY). AUDREY is a state-of-the-art human-like reasoning system designed to assist first responders in synthesizing high-level data while at the scene of an emergency.

Protecting our Future: Emergency Preparedness and Children’s Mental Health

Among the many lessons learned during the 2017 Hurricane season, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recognized that addressing children’s mental and behavioral health needs is a major concern in hurricane-affected areas. CDC’s At Risk Task Force was established in 2017 to ensure identification and prioritization of the mental and physical health needs of at-risk populations, including children.

Disaster Recovery Reform Act of 2018 Transforms Field of Emergency Management

President Donald J. Trump signed the Disaster Recovery Reform Act of 2018 into law as part of the Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization Act of 2018. With the economic disruption and the cost of disasters on the rise nationwide, the Federal Emergency Management Agency worked closely with Congress over the past year as they considered, and ultimately passed, important reforms to federal disaster programs.

Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense Calls for Action to Support SLTT Response to Biological Events

A new report from the Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense recommends eight key steps that will increase the capability of the state, local, tribal, and territorial (SLTT) public and private sectors to share with the federal government the burden of preparing for, responding to, and recovering from large-scale biological events.

DHS Announces Strategy to Protect the Homeland from Electromagnetic Incidents

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced the release of the Strategy for Protecting and Preparing the Homeland Against Threats from Electromagnetic Pulse and Geomagnetic Disturbance. The Strategy lays out a clear vision and an approach for DHS to take to protect critical infrastructure and prepare to respond and recover from potentially catastrophic electromagnetic incidents.