Updates

HHS Invests in Modernizing U.S. Manufacturing Capacity for Pandemic Influenza Vaccine

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a six-year, $226 million contract to increase capacity to produce recombinant influenza vaccine in the United States. The contract is in accordance with the 19 September 2019 presidential executive order to enhance national security and the public health by modernizing influenza vaccines and technologies.

FDA Launches App for Health Care Professionals to Report Novel Uses of Existing Medicines for Patients With Difficult-to-Treat Infectious Diseases

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced the global launch of CURE ID, an internet-based repository that will allow the clinical community to report their experiences treating difficult-to-treat infectious diseases with novel uses of existing FDA-approved drugs through a website, a smartphone, or other mobile device.

New Self-Assessment Tool Helps Identify Next Generation 911 Readiness

A new self-assessment tool is available to help emergency communication centers (ECC) and public safety answering points (PSAP) administrators and oversight personnel evaluate a system’s Next Generation 911 (NG911) maturity state and understand the next steps necessary to continue deployment. The NG911 Self-Assessment Tool is now available online at 911.gov.

Core Capability Development Sheets Updated

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) released a new set of 48 Core Capability Development sheets updated with standardized targets for the prevention, protection, and mitigation mission areas. FEMA’s Core Capability Development Sheets provide tools that organizations can use to build or sustain their capabilities and close identified gaps.

Stopping Fentanyl at the Border: Can Chemical Detectors Help?

Large quantities of the synthetic drug fentanyl flow into the country at ports of entry along the Southwest border, according to the Drug Enforcement Agency. As this drug drives a nationwide overdose epidemic, law enforcement agencies are considering technologies that might help stem the flow. Scientists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology have tested whether a chemical detection technology called ion mobility spectrometry can be used to screen vehicles for fentanyl.

Preparing Children With Special Healthcare Needs for an Emergency

Having children with special healthcare needs means that parents must think ahead, plan ahead, and prepare their children for an emergency where they may not be with them, or where they may not have access to the comforts of home and the routine they are used to. These are tips on preparing for an emergency, and how that emergency may impact transportation and reunification.

More People in the United States Dying From Antibiotic-Resistant Infections Than Previously Estimated

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released its updated Antibiotic Resistance Threats in the United States Report (AR Threats Report), which shows that there were nearly twice as many annual deaths from antibiotic-resistant infections as CDC originally reported in 2013. CDC’s 2019 report establishes a new national baseline of infections and deaths from antibiotic-resistant germs. The new report categorizes the top antibiotic-resistant threats based on level of concern to human health: urgent, serious, or concerning.

FDA Issues Final Guidance for Development of Smallpox Treatments as Part of Critical Preparedness Efforts

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued final guidance, “Smallpox (Variola Virus) Infection: Developing Drugs for Treatment or Prevention,” which is designed to assist drug manufacturers designing studies to appropriately establish the safety and efficacy of drugs to treat or prevent smallpox infection. Although smallpox was declared eradicated in 1980, concerns exist that it could remain in unknown locations or be used as a biological weapon.

Gene Editors Could Find New Use as Rapid Detectors of Pathogenic Threats

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) newest biotechnology funding opportunity aims to incorporate gene editors into detectors for distributed health biosurveillance and rapid, point-of-need diagnostics for endemic, emerging, and engineered pathogenic threats. The goal of the “Detect It with Gene Editing Technologies” (DIGET) program is to provide comprehensive, specific, and trusted information about health threats to medical decision-makers within minutes. This will prevent the spread of disease, enable timely deployment of countermeasures, and improve the standard of care after diagnosis.

HHS Advances Development of Tests to Distinguish Bacterial From Viral Infections Across Multiple Healthcare Settings

A novel diagnostics technology will receive advanced development support from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). This technology reads gene expression patterns in the immune system to distinguish bacterial infections from viral infections and determines the severity within minutes. Rapid information on whether an infection is viral versus bacterial will help doctors make earlier, better-informed decisions about whether to treat the infection with or without antibiotics.