XDR Typhoid Spreads in Pakistan, Lyme Disease Vaccine Phase 1, Freeze-Dried Plasma Approval

See what we’re reading this week at Global Biodefense on topics including the spread of extensively drug-resistant typhoid in Middle East, Lyme disease vaccine Phase 1 trial, and FDA approval of freeze-dried plasma.



Advancing the FDA’s Medical Countermeasures Mission

Under the MCMi, the FDA is taking actions to address many of the challenges associated with countermeasure development, emphasizing the lack of adequate animal models to support the development of medical countermeasures against many potential biothreats, and sufficient biomarkers to assist in supporting the extrapolation of data generated in animal models to humans. FDA Voice

Crucial Steps Forward: Enhancing Global Health Security Through Engagement Programs

A summary of the recent National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) meeting on the future of global health security, disease surveillance, and biosecurity, as well as the challenges and gaps that exist in meeting international and domestic health security missions and mandates. Pandora Report

Repackaging Malaria to Refresh and Drive Motivation Towards Elimination

After successes in reducing malaria burden over the last 20 years, efforts toward reaching the 2030 elimination goals are being threatened. The number of annual cases has not actually been reduced since 2011. If history has taught us anything, it’s that when we take our foot off the pedal- especially regarding funding for control programs- malaria resurges with a vengeance. BugBitten

Report Cites Progress, Gaps in Global AMR Efforts

Of the 154 countries responded to a survey on antimicrobial resistance, 93 (60.4%) have developed a national action plan, 51 (33.1%) say they are currently working on a plan, and 10 (6.5%) have made no progress. Fifty-nine countries have progressed to implementing their national action plans, and 40 have received government approval. CIDRAP


‘Frightening’ Drug-Resistant Strain of Typhoid Spreads in Pakistan

More than 2000 people in Pakistan have been infected with extensively drug-resistant (XDR) Salmonella typhi in the past 6 months. Only one oral antibiotic, azithromycin, works against the XDR strain, and the other options—expensive intravenous (IV) drugs—are impractical for widespread use in Pakistan and other low-income nations. Science

Salmonella-Tainted Raw Turkey Sickens 90 Across 26 States

The CDC is investigating the multistate outbreak in which raw turkey from “a variety of sources” was contaminated with Salmonella Reading, leading to infections in 26 states. Nearly half of those who have become ill have been hospitalized. Washington Post

The ‘End of AIDS’ is Not Even Nearly in Sight, Experts Warn

New figures released Thursday by the United Nations’ AIDS agency reveal that current progress toward preventing new HIV infections and AIDS-related deaths is too slow to control the disease and meet ambitious global targets. Devex

McDonald’s Salad Outbreak Widens to 9 States

An outbreak of intestinal illness linked to eating salads from McDonald’s is widening. A week after health officials first alerted the public, the count of cases tied to the cyclospora parasite has increased to 163 people, three of them hospitalized, and now includes residents from 10 states. CBS News


CRISPR Is Overcome When Viruses Gang Up on Bacteria

Bacteria can fend off viral infections by chopping up their DNA with their CRISPR-based immune system, but sufficient numbers of phages can overwhelm microbes’ defenses. In two papers published in Cell this week, scientists report that part of phages’ strategy appears to be an “altruistic” method of invasion, in which viral genomes that never succeed in replicating nonetheless impair bacterial immunity and facilitate infection by other viruses. The Scientist

Foodborne Bacteria: Potential Bioterrorism Agents

Paper describing bacterial species causing food poisoning in the context of a potential bioterrorist attack. Reviews their morphological and biochemical characteristics, as well as the treatment and possible prevention measures. IntechOpen

Canine Distemper Virus Spread and Transmission to Naive Ferrets

Morbilliviruses such as measle, rinderpest, and canine distemper virus (CDV) initially target immune cells via the signaling lymphocyte activation molecule before spreading to respiratory epithelia through the adherens junction protein nectin-4. However, the roles of these receptors in transmission from infected to naive hosts have not yet been formally tested. Journal of Virology

Oral Tecovirimat for the Treatment of Smallpox

Study investigates the efficacy of tecovirimat in nonhuman primate (monkeypox) and rabbit (rabbitpox) models in accordance with the FDA Animal Efficacy Rule, which was interpreted for smallpox therapeutics by an expert advisory committee. They also conducted a placebo-controlled pharmacokinetic and safety trial involving 449 adult volunteers. NEJM

Oropharyngeal Tularemia from Freshly Pressed Grape Must

Paper describes a cluster of cases of oropharyngeal tularemia that appears to have been caused by the consumption of freshly pressed grape must by grape harvesters volunteering at a vineyard in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany, in October 2016. NEJM

Pan-ebolavirus Antibody Recognizes Site of Broad Vulnerability on Ebolavirus Glycoprotein

Identification of monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) that are effective against multiple ebolaviruses are important for therapeutics development. Here researchers isolated mAbs from human survivors of ebolavirus disease and identified a potent mAb, EBOV-520, which bound to an epitope in the glycoprotein (GP) base region. Immunity

Assessment of Influenza Virus Exposure and Recovery from Contaminated Surgical Masks and N95 Respirators

This study demonstrates that influenza virus trapped on the outside of surgical masks and N95 respirators may pose an indirect contact transmission risk. Extraction and retention of influenza infectivity was attained by the addition of 0.1% SDS and 0.1% BSA, respectively. Journal of Virological Measures


FDA Approves Use of Freeze-Dried Plasma for Combat Medicine

While the FDA approval of the military use of freeze-dried blood plasma is new, the use of it is not. In March 2017, Lt. Col. Rebecca Carter, then chief of Air Force Special Operation Command’s medical modernization, said that the U.S. used freeze-dried plasma in WWII, but stopped when the use of the product was linked to hepatitis outbreaks because of the unreliable methods of donor screening at the time. Military Times

UK Study Finds No Flu Vaccine Protection Against H3N2 Last Season

Researchers found no significant effectiveness against H3N2, consistent with a drop in protection against that strain that other countries such as Canada and the U.S. have reported. They saw higher levels of protection against influenza B and 2009 H1N1 subtypes, especially in children in whom the vaccine was 60.8% effective against influenza B and 90.3% effective against 2009 H1N1. CIDRAP

Antibiotic Prescribing Failures in Urgent Care Centers

Prescribing habits are one of those culturally-engrained practices that can be difficult to alter. A new study has found that antibiotic stewardship is desperately needed in urgent care facilities. Pandora Report

Congo’s Ebola Outbreak is All But Over. Did an Experimental Vaccine Help?

Much of the credit goes to unusually rapid and vigorous surveillance, contact tracing, containment, and public education efforts by the DRC, WHO, and other international partners. But a new factor played an unknown, and perhaps important, role: an experimental vaccine, used for the first time early in an outbreak. Science

Lyme Disease Vaccine Candidate VLA15 Advances Through Phase 1 Trials

Valneva, a French biotech company focused on developing vaccines, has announced it has obtained successful Phase 1 results for its Lyme disease vaccine candidate, VLA15. The VLA15 vaccine targets the outer surface protein A (OspA) of Borrelia burgdorferi. It confers protection by creating antibodies that prevent Borrelia from migrating from the tick to the human after a bite occurs. Disease Daily

Vaccine Causing Polio in Africa? Context from an Expert

GMU Biodefense PhD alum Christopher K. Brown sat down with Lucien Crowder of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists to discuss vaccine derived polio and the implications of these outbreaks. Pandora Report


Who Knew the World Bank and the U.N. are Emoji Lovers?

Did you notice the emoji explosion on social media this week? Tuesday was World Emoji Day, and a lot of brands and celebrities weighed in. Groups that tackle global issues, from health to poverty, joined in. NPR

Open Data Repositories

This is a useful list of open dataset repositories related to health, medicine and epidemiology. List annotates which require registration or access approval and note data collections that may only be used for education but not research. Maarten van Smeden

CRISPR/Cas9 Editing - Research on Genome Damage

Genome Damage From CRISPR/Cas9 Gene Editing Higher Than Thought

New Ebola Species, Ricin and Abrin Biomarkers, Resurgence of HIV/AIDS