Health Security Today – 1 April 2020

Health Security Today is a summary of the insights from Global Biodefense on pathogens and preparedness for public health emergencies. Subscribe here to receive Health Security Today updates and the Global Biodefense Magazine — delivered right to your inbox.



FDA, NIH, Veteran Affairs Partner with America Makes for 3D Printing Innovations During Pandemic Response

Through this collaboration, the U.S. government and partners will aims to ensure that veterans and civilians have access to the most innovative medical solutions and technologies, including medical products that are manufactured close to the patient or at point-of-care. The FDA also issued FAQs on 3D Printing of Medical Devices During COVID-19 for entities who 3D print devices, accessories, components, and/or parts during the COVID-19 pandemic. READ MORE

Mapping Risks to the Drug Supply Chain During COVID-19 Pandemic: Critical Shortages Likely in U.S.

A list of critical drugs has been identified that are needed for acute care within a few hours to days or patient mortality rises; many of these drugs are made, formulated, packaged, or have an API made in China, India, Italy or other severely affected countries. READ MORE

The Role of the Science Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) in Pandemic Response

The complexity of the response is such that SAGE has to rely on other established groups to help it with formulating its advice, such as the New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group, Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modelling in the Department for Health and Social Care, and the independent Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Behaviours.  READ MORE

Blood Types and Coronavirus: Are People With Blood Group A Really at Higher Risk?

To date, we don’t have robust scientific evidence to prove that our blood group has a direct relationship with COVID-19 infection. In the recent observational study receiving a lot of attention, if several other parameters were factored in, such as the previous history of other – specifically immune or respiratory-related – diseases, the conclusions that blood group A had higher infection risk might have been different.  READ MORE

Pregnant in a Time of Coronavirus – The Changing Risks and What You Need to Know

This data is evolving fast. Two papers published March 26 describe finding coronavirus antibodies in three newborns of mothers with COVID-19. That could suggest they had been exposed to the virus in the womb, though the virus itself was not detected in their umbilical cord blood and researchers have raised questions about the type of test used. Researchers in an earlier study found no evidence of COVID-19 in the amniotic fluid or cord blood…  READ MORE


Duke Starts Innovative Decon of N95 Masks Using Vaporized Hydrogen Peroxide to Alleviate Shortages

The process uses specialized equipment to vaporize hydrogen peroxide, which permeates  the layers of the mask to kills germs, including viruses, without degrading the mask material. READ MORE

Reusable Respirators May Be a Suitable Alternative to Disposable Respirators

A reusable alternative to N95 respirators for which health care personnel can be rapidly assessed for fit (fit testing) and trained for use is needed. Elastomeric half-mask respirators (EHMRs), which provide the same level of respiratory protection as N95 respirators, are one alternative. READ MORE

NIAID Issues Notice of Special Interest for SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 Research

NIAID issued a NOSI this week seeking proposals for projects focusing on viral natural history, pathogenicity, transmission, as well as projects developing medical countermeasures and suitable animal models for pre-clinical testing of vaccines and therapeutics against SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19. READ MORE

Preventing COVID-19 From Overtaking Nursing Homes Requires Spending Money and Improving Infection Control

Medical professionals working in long-term care are alarmed by gaps in the government’s plans for protecting nursing homes and assisted living communities, particularly over the prospect that nursing homes will be forced to accept COVID-19 patients and aren’t required.  READ MORE


FDA Allows Emergency Use of Investigational Convalescent Plasma for Critical COVID-19 Patients

The agency will be using multiple pathways to support these efforts and has posted information for investigators wishing to study convalescent plasma for use in patients with serious or immediately life-threatening COVID-19 infections through the process of single patient emergency INDs. READ MORE

What We Know About ACE Inhibitors, High Blood Pressure and COVID-19

ACE inhibitors do not appear to directly affect the action of ACE2. Nevertheless, they may have indirect effects that could lead to an increase in the number of ACE2 receptors. This has led to concerns that ACE inhibitors may facilitate COVID-19 disease, particularly as these drugs are used in older people with other health issues who we know are at risk of more severe respiratory complications. READ MORE

5 Questions Answered About Chloroquine: An Unproven Drug Against Coronavirus

After the initial outbreak of MERS in 2012, scientists conducted random screens of thousands of approved drugs to identify one that might block MERS infection. Several drugs, including chloroquine, showed the ability to block coronaviruses from infecting cells in vitro. But these drugs were not extensively pursued because ultimately they did not show enough activity to be considered further. READ MORE

WUSTL Researchers Investigate Transfusion of Antibodies from Recovered Patients’ as COVID-19 Treatment

“This is how we used to prevent and treat viral infections like measles, mumps, polio and influenza, but once vaccines were developed, the technique understandably fell out of favor and many people forgot about it. Until we have specific drugs and vaccines for COVID-19, this approach could save lives.” READ MORE


+ The U.S. Government Efforts to Build Low-Cost Ventilators Hit Industry Resistance Over Past Decade

+ Gavi Board Calls for Bold Engagement to Respond to COVID-19

+ ASM COVID-19 International Summit Sets Research Priorities

+ “This May Be the Tip of the Iceberg”: Why Japan’s Coronavirus Crisis May Be Just the Beginning Vox

+ As Hotspots Clamor for Abbott Laboratories’ Quick Tests, Trump Officials Debate Where to Send Them WaPo

+ Navigating the Covid-19 Pandemic: We’re Just Clambering into a Life Raft. Dry Land is Far Away STAT

+ USAMRIID Restored to Full Operations Frederick News Post

+ The Lost Month: How a Failure to Test Blinded the U.S. to COVID-19 NY Times

+ VA Workers Sue for Hazardous Duty Pay During Pandemic Military Times

+ COVID-19 Spread in Prisons Could Overwhelm Connecticut Hospitals Hartford Courant


University of Washington Releases Predictive Model for Hospital Utilization and Deaths Due to COVID-19

The forecast predicts that 41 states will need more ICU beds than what is currently available, 11 states may need to increase their ICU beds by 50% or more before the current wave of the pandemic ends (defined as fewer than 10 deaths per day nationwide). READ MORE

+ See also: Thread by Carl T. Bergstrom

Cue Health Awarded Federal Contract for 25-Minute Nasal Swab COVID-19 Test

Under new funding from BARDA, the company will accelerate development and manufacturing of the rapid, user-friendly point-of-care test which is part of a platform with integrated intervention options such as telemedicine call-up. Such a system could ultimately be deployed to schools, clinics, eldercare facilities and homes. READ MORE

BARDA Collaborates with DiaSorin, Mesa Biotech to Develop COVID-19 Rapid Diagnostics

The Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority announced multiple actions this week for funding and technical assistance to rapidly advance commercial molecular POC diagnostics for COVID-19. Mesa Biotech has an existing CLIA-waived influenza POC system; and DiaSorin has a platform with cleared RSV and influenza tests. READ NOW

COVID-19 Tests: How They Work and What’s in Development

The contrast between accurate but laborious lab tests vs less accurate but portable rapid tests is not a new challenge during a novel outbreak. As with vaccines, it’s absolutely vital that any test is accurate and safe, and that takes time and money. Inaccurate tests in the current outbreak could be devastating. READ MORE

U.S. Approves Abbott Labs’ Five-Minute Point-of-Care Coronavirus Test

FDA issued an EUA on Mar. 27 for the fastest available molecular POC test for COVID-19. Abbott will be making ID NOW COVID-19 tests available this week to healthcare providers in urgent care settings in the U.S., where the majority of ID NOW instruments are in use today. READ MORE

DoD Looks to Panther Fusion System for High-Throughput Coronavirus Diagnostics

The Armed Forces is looking to ramp up testing capabilities at WRAIR with acquisition of the Hologic system. The Pentagon confirmed in a briefing Mar. 26 that the active duty COVID-19 case count had quadrupled in the past week, bringing DoD totals to 280 members of the military, 62 contractors, 134 Defense Department civilians and 98 military dependents. READ MORE

Cambridge University to Spearhead £20 Million Alliance to Map Spread of COVID-19 Coronavirus

Samples from patients with confirmed cases of COVID-19 will be sent to a network of sequencing centers to monitor changes in the virus at a national scale, enable clinicians and public health teams to rapidly investigate clusters of cases in hospitals, care homes and the community, to understand how the virus is spread and implement appropriate infection control measures. READ MORE

Diagnostic Hoax: FDA Has Not Announced EUA for Bodysphere 2-Min Test

Reuters published a short report based on a poorly written press release on BusinessWire (since removed) from an unverified company claiming to have received an Emergency Use Authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for a 2-minute COVID-19 test. The FDA however, has not issued such an EUA. READ MORE




  • Clinicians caring for cancer patients with COVID-19: The COVID-19 and Cancer Consoritium (CCC19) is a new collaboration of over 50 respected institutes collecting case data to help inform cancer patient care. Access the survey to report data here.
  • NIH grant and FOA applicants: Grants with due dates between 9 March and 1 May will will accept applications through 1 May under a new Late Application policy given the extraordinary circumstances surrounding the pandemic. For Funding Opportunity Announcements that expire prior to May 1, 2020, NIH will extend the expiration date for 90 days to accommodate the submission of late applications and will be adjusted to allow NIH to receive applications.
  • COVID-19 survivors willing to donate plasma, researchers working on convalescent plasma protocols: The National COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma Project website is now live and collating key scientific papers, resources and the latest guidance.
  • Resource for parents: Live youth informational web events, multiple dates, tailored to age-groups: Hofstra: What Every Kid and Teen Needs to Know About the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19).

Disclaimer: Information is provided as a courtesy from external sources and is subject to change. Please check with original source at the link for the latest information.



Catalog of Civil Society Assistance to States Parties In Support of Article X of the Biological & Toxins Weapons Convention Stimson Center

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USAMRIID Gears Up to Fight COVID-19

JPEO-CBRND, BARDA Partner with SAb Biotherapeutics to Develop COVID-19 Therapeutic