Over the last 15 years, BARDA has leveraged unique partnerships, funding, strong technical expertise, and interagency coordination to strengthen the medical countermeasure pipeline so products reach late-stage development support and, ultimately, become available to protect Americans and save lives during a national disaster.
A suite of tools used by the United States Coast Guard and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, better known as the ADCIRC Prediction System (APS), played an integral role in accurately predicting the storm surges, flooding, wind and wave interactions, and speed of tides and currents associated with both Hurricane Florence and Michael.
The U.S. government reached a milestone in its long-standing efforts to defend the country against potential use of chemical weapons: the first U.S. Food and Drug Administration clearance of a product to manage certain blister injuries caused by sulfur mustard, commonly known as mustard gas.
The United States, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is providing more than $38 million in additional assistance to help end the ongoing Ebola outbreak in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), including $15 million in new funding to the World Health Organization.
Saving lives in a public health emergency requires cutting-edge medical countermeasures: medications, vaccines, diagnostics, and more. In some types of emergencies, like an act of bioterrorism, some of those medical products have no commercial market. In 2004, Congress passed the Project BioShield Act to create a market for products necessary for disaster response but with limited or no commercial market.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) announced $35 million in funding opportunities for a new DHS Center of Excellence for Terrorism Prevention and Counterterrorism Research. Accredited U.S. colleges and universities are invited to submit proposals as the center lead or as an individual partner to work with the lead institution in support of the center’s activities.
If a radiological dispersal device (RDD), or “dirty bomb,” ever explodes in the United States, emergency crews may be better prepared because of a simulator developed by a Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory visualization technologist. Called the RDD Studio, the model was developed by the Lab’s Ryan Chen to provide a detailed simulation of what an optimal response to an RDD would look like.
As some 300,000 cheering race fans packed the stands at this year’s Indianapolis 500, behind the scenes an advanced network of sensors kept constant vigilance, providing security officials real-time awareness of any potential weapon-of-mass-destruction/terror threat. The deployment marked the first time that DARPA’s SIGMA+ network seamlessly integrated radiological and chemical sensors with biological threat sensors from the Department of Homeland Security’s Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction Office.
A sensor for detecting toxic gases is now smaller, faster, and more reliable. Its performance sets it up for integration in a highly sensitive portable system for detecting chemical weapons. Better miniature sensors can also rapidly detect airborne toxins where they occur, providing key information to help emergency personnel respond safely and effectively to an incident.
The Thomas Fire in December 2017 claimed two lives, burned 281,893 acres, and destroyed more than 1,000 structures before it was contained on 12 January 2018. The Montecito Fire Protection District (MFPD), a small coastal community in California, saw the loss of only seven structures, a remarkably low number given the extreme fire behavior it experienced. The low fire loss was due to the successful mitigation strategies the Montecito community pursued for over two decades beginning in 1994.