Biodetection Technologies, Management of Severe Flu Cases in ICU, History of Quinine

Biodefense Headline News

See what we’re reading at Global Biodefense on topics including recent papers on biodetection methods, management of severe flu cases in the ICU, and the history of quinine for treatment of febrile illness.


Outbreaks are Inevitable. Pandemics are Not.

The U.S. experienced supply chain breakdown when Hurricane Maria caused a disruption in the supply of small bag IV saline. The federal government needs to understand the United States’ critical supply chains. A disruption anywhere along the line could spell disaster worldwide. Science Alert

Pandemics Have an Edge in Our Most Vulnerable Countries

Responding is seldom as effective as preventing. We know that fragile states are the most likely places for outbreaks to emerge and that zoonotic diseases — those that pass from animals to humans — are responsible for the most dangerous outbreaks. We also know that an effective health system can help prevent, detect, and respond to outbreaks so they don’t become epidemics. The Hill

3 Ways Every Clinician Can Contribute to Pandemic Preparedness

Physician will often use the broad diagnosis of “viral syndrome” to explain any constellation of signs and symptoms that defies basic clinical and laboratory diagnosis. Almost all upper respiratory tract infections and gastrointestinal infections are labeled as such. However, leaving these usually minor illnesses without a specific microbiologic diagnosis may have important consequences. Doximity

Contemporary Management of Severe Influenza Disease in the Intensive Care Unit

While routine use of antiviral therapy is deployed in ambulatory outpatients, their use in the ICU in patients with hypoxemic respiratory failure is less well established. These therapies primarily target the neuraminidase protein, while contemporary research is increasingly demonstrating potential therapeutic benefits of targeting the hemagglutinin protein. Journal of Critical Care

Feedback Between Behavioral Adaptations and Disease Dynamics

This research considers the distribution of a limited antiviral stockpile between the private sector and the hospitals with the aim of meeting the following goals: keep the disease spread under control by treating the infected at the hospitals for free; sell the market stockpile at a nominal cost so the worried-well at home can buy the antivirals for prevention; and help recover the cost of the stockpile. Nature Scientific Reports


Narcolepsy and Adjuvanted Pandemic Influenza A (H1N1) 2009 Vaccines

In 2010, a safety signal was detected for narcolepsy following vaccination with Pandemrix, an AS03-adjuvanted monovalent pandemic H1N1 influenza (pH1N1) vaccine. This paper is a multi-country assessment of this possible association to inform policy on future use of adjuvants. Vaccine

Ology Bioservices Wins $8.4M DoD Award to Produce Anti-Ebola Medical Countermeasure

The antibody, designated mAb114, was developed at the Vaccine Research Center (VRC), part of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) with the National Institutes of Health, in part through funding previously provided by DARPA. Courier Express

Only Effective Vaccines Can Protect Us from Respiratory Viruses Because We’re Us

Ideally, we need our schools and workplaces to be very specific about what to do to prevent the spread of these viruses. Don’t come in if you’re are shedding virus? Sure. Stay away while you’re sick? Will do. But what defines these things in the public’s collective consciousness? How long should I stay away? How sick to I have to be? It’s highly likely we’re going to need some new research to answer this. Virology Down Under


Detection of Bioagents Using a Shear Horizontal Surface Acoustic Wave Biosensor

Ideally, assays for rapid detection of viral and other bioagents would not necessitate any pre-processing of the analyte. We describe herein a robust biosensor that combines the sensitivity of surface acoustic waves (SAW) generated at a frequency of 325 MHz with the specificity provided by antibodies and other ligands for the detection of viral agents. Google Patents

2D Fluorescence Spectra Measurement of Six Kinds of Bioagents Simulants

A small short-range fluorescence lidar working at wavelengths of 266nm and 355nm was designed and used to measure the two-dimensional fluorescence spectra of bioagents simulants in the amino acid segment and NADH segment, respectively. SPIE Digital Library

Fine Specificity Epitope Analysis by HX-MS Identifies Contact Points on Ricin Toxin

This report describes five new mouse monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) directed against an immunodominant region, so-called epitope cluster II, on the surface of ricin’s ribosome-inactivating enzymatic subunit, RTA. BioRxiv

Development and Testing of Enhanced Affinity Reagents for Use in Environmental Detection Assays

A phage-based library and the methods needed for isolation and production of thermostable antibodies were developed. These techniques leveraged the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency Antibody Thermos Program Immunoglobulin G (IgG) framework to be a scaffold of the antibody production pipeline. Defense Technical Information Center

Paper-Based Vertical Flow Immunoassay for Detection of Bio-Threat Pathogens

This VFI device utilizes a nanoporous nitrocellulose membrane encapsulated in a stainless steel filter holder. As the sample is pushed through the membrane, which is pre-functionalized with capture antibody, a sandwich assay is formed and colorimetric signal is generated to reflect the presence of target antigens. Through theoretical analyses of antigen-antibody binding process inside a porous membrane, we identified two critical factors – membrane pore size and sample flow rate that can be optimized to improve the assay sensitivity. Science Direct


Plague and Music in the Renaissance

Although largely absent from Europe after 1700, the plague had an immense existential, theological, and cultural impact on the late Middle Ages and the Renaissance. The outbreak that started in 1347 inaugurated the second plague-related pandemic, and for the next three and a half centuries the plague would prove to be the scourge of European life. Project Muse

The Fever Tree: Help Us Transcribe a Bit of History

Quinine is an alkaloid extracted from the bark of the Cinchona, or ’fever’ tree (Cinchona spp.) and if you’ve ever had a gin and tonic, you will be familiar with the bitter taste of the tonic which is provided by quinine. While it is now mainly used to add a flavour to the nation’s favourite tipple, the Cinchona tree bark once held a place as one of the most important drugs in history.

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