I Was Wrong on Ebola Response, Global Threat of Flu, DURC Policies

See what we’re reading this week at Global Biodefense on topics including reflections on the Obama administration handling of the Ebola outbreak; 1918 pandemic flu review; and bat genome research to compare antiviral mechanisms in the animal with those of people.


Florida Gov Candidate: I Was Wrong on Ebola Response

Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) admitted he was wrong for criticizing then-President Obama over his handling of the Ebola outbreak. “I was just wrong about that. I think that the way the [Centers for Disease Control] and some of the folks in government handled it was actually an example of government getting the job done. So I’m totally willing to just be honest and admit if I call it wrong.” The Hill

Experts Review 1918 Pandemic, Warn Flu is Global Threat

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) partnered with Emory University to mark the 100th anniversary of the 1918 flu with a symposium about influenza pandemics: when and if they will strike, how ready the United States is to confront a pandemic, and how to do so. CIDRAP

Who is Responsible for the Vaccination of Migrants in Europe?

A report from WHO exploring the provision of immunization services to migrants and refugees in the WHO European Region 1 provides a stark reminder that European health services are a long way off adapting to the rapid demographic shift that the region has witnessed in the past two decades. The Lancet


What Bats Are Teaching Us About Immunity to Viruses

Scientists from USAMRIID are studying DNA from Egyptian fruit bats in the hopes of answering those questions. And they’ve developed a bat genome that’s helping them compare antiviral mechanisms in the animal with those of people. Fierce Biotech

Decision Support for Evidence-Based Integration of Disease Control

Development of an application available on the internet with a simple user interface, to support on-the-ground decision-making for integrating disease control, given local conditions and practical constraints. The researchers present a proof of concept for malaria and schistosomiasis. PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases

Where Does the Flu Come From? The South

Back in February, researchers at University of Chicago published findings drawn from scads of data related to the American flu season. Looking at health care records from nine flu seasons, they painted a picture of the disease’s march across the country. Chicago Magazine

Multi-Hospital Outbreak of a MERS-CoV Deletion Variant, Jordan

An outbreak of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) in Jordan in 2015 involved a variant virus that acquired distinctive deletions in the accessory open reading frames. We conducted a molecular and seroepidemiologic investigation to describe the deletion variant’s transmission patterns and epidemiology. Open Forum Infectious Diseases

Discovery of Malaria Parasite Survival Genes Offers New Targets

Scientists have identified the core genes that are essential for the deadliest malaria parasite to survive, revealing new targets for drugs or vaccines to fight the potentially deadly disease they cause in people. Reuters


Dual Use Research of Concern and Potential Pandemic Pathogen Care and Oversight

CSE’s White Paper on Promoting Integrity in Scientific Journal Publications

One additional area that has emerged with advances in science, technology, and global exchange of information is consideration of “dual use research.” This is research with a legitimate scientific purpose that may be misused to pose a threat to public health and/or national security. Everyone has a stake in the responsible management of DURC, but especially individual researchers, institutions and institutional groups (e.g., institutional biosafety committees), funding agencies, scientific societies, government/regulatory bodies, journal editors, and the global scientific community.  Council of Science Editors

Is Regulation Preventing the Development of Therapeutics That May Prevent Future Pandemics?

Gain of function (GOF) research is critical for microbiological research in determining causal relationships between a mutation and its phenotype. In 2012, two studies describing GOF mutations facilitating the transmission of highly pathogenic avian influenza in ferrets set off a firestorm of debate ultimately resulting in a ‘pause’ of active GOF research and its future funding. Future Medicine

Dual Use Research of Concern Policy – University of California

Example academic DURC policy on life sciences research that, based on current understanding, can be reasonably anticipated to provide knowledge, information, products, or technologies that could be directly misapplied to pose a significant threat, with broad potential consequences, to public health and safety, agricultural crops and other plants, animals, the environment, material, or national security. University of California

Studying Pathogenic Viruses: Risk vs. Reward

Scientists who experimentally confer such advantages to these pathogenic viruses must anticipate the possible dangerous consequences of gain-of-function research and take biosafety measures to secure their labs. In order to assess the biological risk associated with working with emerging, pathogenic viruses, scientists must be familiar with the characteristics of the viruses being studied. The equipment and procedures followed in the laboratories should then be adapted to deal with the level of risk a particular virus presents. Life Sciences Journal of Boston College


NIAID Director, Radiation and Nuclear Countermeasures Research Program

The RNCP director is responsible for providing a broad range of scientific leadership, management, and guidance for the planning, development, implementation, and evaluation of research on radiation/nuclear medical countermeasures. The director leads a robust extramural research program that includes basic and translational research, radiation biodosimetry, and a focused infrastructure resource for product development. NIAID

GMU Biodefense – Food Security

Interested in biodefense and food security? GMU’s Biodefense graduate program is just the place. This course analyzes threats to food security globally including those related to climate change and environmental degradation; animal and plant diseases; access to clean water; agricultural terrorism; and antimicrobial resistance. Philip Thomas will be teaching BIOD726 this fall. Pandora Report

Biocontainment Manager Sought at National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratories

The position is responsible for conducting and overseeing all tests, verification and certification of critical containment systems for the high and maximum containment laboratory facilities at NEIDL. In addition to Bio Safety Level (BSL)-2 and BSL-3 laboratories, the NEIDL houses BSL-4 laboratories that will operate at the highest level of containment. Boston University Human Resources

Do You Know the Next STAT Wunderkind? Nominate a Superstar Now

STAT Wunderkinds 2018 is our yearly hunt for the best and brightest in biomedicine — the young postdocs, fellows, and early career industry scientists who are making waves and turning heads. These are the researchers who are making strides in everything from public health to artificial intelligence, all in the quest to cure disease and to make our lives healthier and happier. STAT


NLM Announces 2018-2019 Associate Fellows

The world’s largest biomedical library The Associate Fellowship Program is a one-year residency fellowship at NLM on the campus of the National Institutes of Health offering a robust educational and leadership experience, ranging from formal lectures and presentations to projects in operations, research and development, policy, and data analysis. U.S. National Library of Medicine

Vet Student Completes IIAD Externship

The Institute for Infectious Animal Diseases (IIAD) is committed to developing training materials and fostering a learning community in the veterinary industry. In conjunction with this commitment, the Institute recently hosted a veterinary student externship. Institute for Infectious Animal Disease

Barbara Bush On Why Global Health Needs Authentic Leaders, Not Just Tech

Between innovation and eradication lies an “unsexy middle.” And that’s where leaders come in. The launch of AMPLIFY in late 2015 aimed to shift perspectives in global health by sharing stories not usually told from voices not usually heard. Bright Magazine

Seven from MIT named National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellows

Seven MIT graduate students have been awarded 2018 National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate (NDSEG) Fellowships. They are among 69 fellows nationwide offered the highly competitive awards. MIT News

K-State VetMed Gains Membership to Clinical and Translational Science Award One Health Alliance

The alliance’s mission is to advance the understanding of diseases shared by humans and animals. The alliance leverages the expertise of physicians, research scientists, veterinarians and other professionals to find solutions for medical problems and to address the well-being of humans, animals and the environment. Kansas State University

Ebola Outbreak in Bikoro, Democratic Republic of Congo

Ebola Outbreak Confirmed in Democratic Republic of Congo

Biodefense Funding Contract Awards

NIH Awards Contract for Management of Biocontainment Facility at Fort Detrick