Updates

S&T, EPA Are Helping Coast Guard Prepare to Clean Up Following an Anthrax Attack

If terrorists use anthrax as a bioagent on a ship or in a harbor, the U.S. Coast Guard must decontaminate the impacted area as quickly as possible to reduce the threat to personnel and civilians, while remaining ready to do its mission. The project Analysis for Coastal Operational Resiliency (AnCOR) aims to find the best, safest methods to decontaminate Coast Guard bases, stations, and vessels. The project is a partnership of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the Coast Guard.

NIST Launches Investigation of Face Masks’ Effect on Face Recognition Software

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) did a preliminary study to see how well face recognition algorithms identify people wearing masks. Even the best of the 89 commercial facial recognition algorithms tested had error rates between 5% and 50% in matching digitally applied face masks with photos of the same person without a mask.

CDC Releases New Resources and Tools to Support Opening Schools

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is releasing new science-based resources and tools for school administrators, teachers, parents, guardians, and caregivers when schools open this fall. The resources and tools support how to open schools safely by promoting behaviors that prevent spread, altering how a school and school day is structured, and outlining how to keep the school environment healthy through cleaning, proper ventilation, and other practices.

U.S. Army Awards $21.8M Production Contract to FLIR Systems for Nerve Agent Disclosure Spray

FLIR Systems Inc. announced it has been awarded $21.8 million on a contract with the United States Army to deliver its Agentase™ C2 disclosure spray. FLIR Agentase C2 spray quickly changes color on a surface if a chemical warfare agent is present. With faster and more targeted detection, military decontamination experts can locate trace levels of contamination and precisely mitigate the threat.

Probabilities, Not Promises: How Computer Models Are Used in Emergency Preparedness & Response

Models have many applications. Epidemiologists use them to predict disease outbreaks. Logisticians use them to estimate supply and demand. Meteorologists use them to forecast the path of severe weather. In most cases, models help officials make informed decisions, including those that affect emergency preparedness and response.

FDA Launches New Era of Smarter Food Safety Initiative, Releases Blueprint and Pilot Study

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced the New Era of Smarter Food Safety Blueprint. The blueprint outlines a path forward that builds on the work the FDA has already done through implementation of the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). The blueprint represents the next stage in this process to help ensure the safest food system in the world.

NIH Launches Clinical Trials Network to Test COVID-19 Vaccines and Other Prevention Tools

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), has established a new clinical trials network that aims to enroll thousands of volunteers in large-scale clinical trials testing a variety of investigational vaccines and monoclonal antibodies intended to protect people from COVID-19.

DHS Selects George Washington University to Pilot New Center of Excellence in Security Technology Transition

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate announced the selection of The George Washington University to lead a new Center of Excellence that will deliver a pilot Master of Business Administration program focused on security technology transition from federal research and development to operational use.

DHS Announces Grant Allocations for Fiscal Year 2020 Preparedness Grants

As part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) ongoing efforts to support state, local, tribal, and territorial partners, the FY 2020 grant awards will continue to focus on the nation’s highest risk areas. DHS identified four critical priority areas for attention in the FY 2020 grant cycle: cybersecurity, soft targets and crowded places, intelligence and information sharing, and emerging threats.

FDA Takes Action to Help Facilitate Timely Development of Safe, Effective COVID-19 Vaccines

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) took important action to help facilitate the timely development of safe and effective vaccines to prevent COVID-19. The FDA provides guidance with recommendations for those developing COVID-19 vaccines for the ultimate purpose of licensure. The guidance provides an overview of key considerations to satisfy requirements for chemistry, manufacturing and control, nonclinical and clinical data through development and licensure, and for post-licensure safety evaluation.