In This Edition

Coronavirus Surveillance: The Team Behind the Unique Coding System for Disease Tracking

The Regenstrief Institute provides the backbone of the LOINC terminology system and jumped into action to help case tracking for the novel coronavirus As public…

Feinstein Requests HHS Plan to Protect Against Infectious Disease Outbreaks

Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today wrote a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services requesting information on steps the department is taking to protect the…

DNA Synthesis Risk Reduction: New Report Outlines Framework for Global Safeguards

In 2019, the Nuclear Threat Initiative and the World Economic Forum organized an international expert Working Group on Preventing Illicit Gene Synthesis to develop the…

Suspending Threats in Mid-Air: Army Laser Beam Capable of Detecting Chem-Bio Warfare Agents

Using a single laser beam, Army researchers recently developed a technique capable of detecting and characterizing any type of airborne particles, whether naturally occurring or…

Thailand Confirms Novel Coronavirus in Traveler from Wuhan City

Chinese health authorities release nCoV-2019 full genome; transparency facilitates global biosurveillance efforts. On January 11, 2020, Chinese health authorities preliminarily identified more than 40 human…

Mystery China Pneumonia Outbreak Likely Caused by New Human Coronavirus

Since December 2019, there has been a cluster of 59 cases of pneumonia in Wuhan, eastern China. The pneumonia is associated with a previously unidentified…

Revocation of Emergency Use Authorizations of Zika, Ebola Diagnostics

OraSure and DiaSorin diagnostics received other classifications for use which removed them from EUA eligibility. The following is a summarized notice which appeared in the…

Glo Germ, Party-Poppers, and a Black Light: Biologists Develop Rad Plan to Test Protective Suits

Necessity is the mother of invention. When the U.S. Army Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) School’s Joint Experimentation and Analysis Division (JEAD) needed to…

Foreign Interference in NIH Research: Policy Implications

The following report from the Congressional Research Service was published on December 19, 2019. The Congressional Research Service (CRS) is a federal legislative branch agency,…

51 FDA Approved Medical Countermeasures Backed by BARDA

Many health security threats involve bacteria or chemicals for which clinical trials cannot be performed in humans. To overcome this hurdle, U.S. Biomedical Advanced Research…

HHS Declares Public Health Emergency for Puerto Rico Following Earthquakes

Assets are available to assist health authorities and healthcare facilities, including medical teams from the National Disaster Medical System and the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, along with their…

Emory University to Lead Infectious Diseases Clinical Research Consortium Leadership Group

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) has selected Emory University to lead a new effort aimed at developing vaccines and other therapies…

Fresh Approach to an Old Problem Yields Clues to Tularemia Virulence

Francisella tularensis, also called rabbit fever, is an equal opportunity pathogen: it causes the disease tularemia in humans, rabbits and rodents, among others. Despite years…


“To contain a naturally occurring outbreak, a lab accident, or a bioterrorist attack, the first response has to be the health system that identifies the pathogen, does the surveillance, finds its origin, and promotes measures to limit its damage. We must expand and sustain funding for the GHSA, the world’s vehicle for building resilient public health infrastructure.”

 Ambassador Jimmy Kolker, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (former)

Source: Ending the Cycle of Crisis and Complacency in U.S. Global Health Security – A Report of the CSIS Commission on Strengthening America’s Health Security


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Biosecurity + Biodefense Jobs

Senior Medical Director – Infectious Diseases and Vaccines

Based in Cambridge, MA, BioNTech US serves as BioNTech’s North American headquarters and is an important part of our global effort to pioneer the development of next-generation immuno-oncology therapies.…

Postdoc in Molecular Biology of Vector-Borne Pathogens

Be part of an interdisciplinary team focused on analysis and detection of insect vectors and insect-borne pathogens of vegetable and seed crops in the Pacific Northwest USA.…

Countering Biological Weapons Threat – CSR Team Member

The Council on Strategic Risks (CSR) seeks to hire a full-time team member focused on addressing biological weapons threats. CSR is open to diverse expertise and a range…

CBRNE Chem/Bio Research Scientist

Battelle’s CBRNE Business Line is seeking a scientist who possesses a strong background in chemistry, biology, or biochemistry. The successful candidate will conduct information acquisition activities and…


SOCMED Highlights


Joint Civil & DoD CBRN Symposium

18-19 MARCH 2020

  • Driving Medical Countermeasures Development to Limit the Adverse Health Effects of CBRN Incidents
  • Modernizing Capabilities for Rapid and Accurate Threat Detection + Assessment
  • Supporting Enhanced Warfighter and Emergency Personnel Protection



MERS CoV Coronavirus

Japan Confirms First Case of New China Coronavirus 2019-nCoV

Japan’s Health Ministry said in a statement on Jan. 15 that a Chinese man in his 30s tested positive for the novel pneumonia-like coronavirus (2019-nCoV). The man returned to Japan on Jan. 6 after traveling to the central Chinese city of Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak. The man, who came down with a fever […] More

MERS-CoV Coronavirus

China Reports First Death From Novel Coronavirus Outbreak in Wuhan

Chinese state media on Saturday reported the first known death from a new virus that has infected dozens of people in China and set off worries across Asia. Forty-one people have been found to have the new virus, a coronavirus, and seven patients are still in severe condition, the health commission said, according to the […] More

Attacks on Health Care Monthly News Brief

At least 424 attacks on health care occurred in the DRC between January and November 2019. Numbers of reported incidents increased following the Ebola outbreak in August 2018. While the majority of attacks on health care in 2019 have occurred in the context of the Ebola response and in Ebola-affected areas, many occur in the context […] More

The Future Biosecurity Implications of Thousands of Samples Taken During Outbreaks

We learned from the 2014–16 West Africa Ebola outbreaks that during the emergency, the future biosecurity implications of of sample collection is given very little consideration. It is impossible to be sure where they all are and whether they have been secured, posing the obvious risk of accidental exposures and potential for malicious use. In […] More

An Ancient Legend Could Provide a New Weapon in Fight Against Deadly Bacteria

Five miles from the border with the Republic of Ireland, there’s a longstanding belief among parishioners that the earth Father McGirr was buried under had almost miraculous curative powers. “The good father is said to have been a faith healer,” says Gerry Quinn, a microbiologist who grew up in the area. “On his deathbed he […] More


Ricin – A Bad Seed from This Podcast Will Kill You

This Little Virus Went to the Market – TWiV provides updates on the new coronavirus causing respiratory disease in China, the current influenza season, and the epidemic of African swine fever, including determination of the three-dimensional structure of the virus particle.

Journal Watch

Scientists Create Decoy Molecule that Neutralizes Arenaviruses

Scientists Create Decoy Molecule that Neutralizes Arenaviruses

A host of disease-causing viruses called arenaviruses lurk in animal populations in various parts of the world, sometimes crossing over into humans. When they do…

Survivors of Ebola Virus Disease Develop Polyfunctional Antibody Responses

Survivors of Ebola Virus Disease Develop Polyfunctional Antibody Responses

Monoclonal antibodies can mediate protection against Ebola virus (EBOV) infection through direct neutralization as well as through the recruitment of innate immune effector functions. However,…

Children in Many Lower Income Countries Receive Average of 25 Antibiotic Prescriptions by Age 5

Children in Many Lower Income Countries Receive Average of 25 Antibiotic Prescriptions by Age 5

Children in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) are receiving an average of 25 antibiotic prescriptions during their first five years of life, an excessive amount that could harm…


Jan 14-15: NIST Meeting on UV Disinfection Technologies and HAIs

NIST is co-hosting a 2-day meeting 14-15 Jan 2020 with the International Ultra Violet Association (IUVA) focused on examining measurement, standards, technology and data research needs to promote innovation in the effective use and implementation of ultraviolet-C (UVC) technology in healthcare settings. Learn more.

Jan 23: National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB) Meeting

The National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB) will convene 23-24 January 2020 in Bethesda, Md. The meeting will be open to the public, with attendance limited to space available. The meeting will also be videocast. January 23: 12:30 PM – 5 PM Eastern January 24: 9 AM – 2:30 PM Eastern. Learn more.

Jan 28-29: Tick-Borne Disease Working Group (TBDWG) Meeting

The 11th meeting of the Tick-borne Disease Working Group (TBDWG) will be held in Washington D.C. and by webcast. Established by Congress in 2016 as part of the 21st Century Cures Act, TBDWG provides subject matter expertise for review of federal efforts related to all tick-borne diseases, helping to improve interagency coordination and minimize overlap. Learn more

Jan 28-30: ASM Biothreats 2020 Conference

The leading annual conference on biodefense, biosecurity and biological threats, ASM Biothreats, will be held January 28–30, 2020 in Arlington, Virginia. Register now!

Feb 3: Advancing EUA IVD Products Toward Full Marketing Status

The Medical Device Innovation Consortium (MDIC) will host a workshop on 3 Feb 2020 at the FDA White Oak campus to explore key considerations for using real world data to help support in vitro diagnostic (IVD) products available under emergency use authorization (EUA) to advance to full marketing status. Learn more

Feb 25-26: Developing MCMs to Treat Acute and Chronic Effects of Ocular Chemical Toxicity

A U.S. Trans-Agency Scientific Meeting on Developing Medical Countermeasures to Treat Acute and Chronic Effects of Ocular Chemical Toxicity will be held Feb 25-26, 2020 at the NIAID Conference Center in Rockville, Md. Learn more

Mar 3-5: Mitigating the Impact of Blast-related Burn Injuries: From Prolonged Field Care to Rehabilitation and Resilience

The 9th DoD State-of-the-Science Meeting on Blast Injury Research will be held March 3-5, 2020 in Arlington. The meeting will address epidemiology and outcomes of blast-related burn injuries; prevention and acute management of blast-related burn injuries; prolonged field care and chronic care; and transforming research. Learn more REGISTRATION IS FULL

Mar 18-19: Joint Civil & DoD CBRN Symposium

An annual gathering of the most respected minds in the CBRN defense community, including operational leaders, intelligence providers, key policymakers and solution providers from Industry and Academia. Register now

Mar 26-30: Decennial 2020 – International Conference on Healthcare Associated Infections

Held once every ten years, the Decennial Conference reviews the advances of the previous decade and the opportunities and trends for the fields of healthcare epidemiology, infectious diseases, and infection prevention and control for the future. Learn more

Mar 31-Apr 3: Preparedness Summit 2020

The NACCHO will host this year’s 2020 Preparedness Summit from 31 March – 3 April 2020 in Dallas, Texas.

Apr 20-24: Achieving Data Quality and Integrity in Maximum Containment Laboratories Training Event

This BSL-4 training event 20-24 April is co-sponsored by the FDA and UTMB Galveston National Lab. Learn more.



Jan 16: Abstracts Deadline NACCHO 360

The National Association for County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) will host their annual conference July 7–9, 2020, in Denver, Colorado. Abstracts must be submitted by January 16 at 11:59 pm (EST). Learn more.

Jan 17: Public Comments Due: Tick-Borne Disease Working Group (TBDWG) Meeting

The public will have an opportunity to present their views to the Working Group during the meeting’s public comment session or by submitting their views in writing. Learn more.

Jan 31: Registration Deadline: Developing MCMs to Treat Acute and Chronic Effects of Ocular Chemical Toxicity

Trans-Agency Scientific Meeting Feb 25-26 sponsored by the NIH Chemical Countermeasures Research Program (CCRP) in collaboration with the National Eye Institute (HHS/NIH/NEI) and U.S. Army Medical Research Institute for Chemical Defense (DoD/USAMRICD). Learn more.

Feb 20: Deadline – DARPA Personalized Protective Biosystem (PPB) *

The PPB program will develop an integrated ensemble that simultaneously reduces protective equipment needs while increasing protection for the individual against existing and future chemical and biological (CB) threats. The capability to provide unburdened CB protection will maximize time on target for the warfighter and the stability operator, provide operational flexibility, extend mission duration, and enable military operations in austere environments regardless of the threat. PPB will consist of lightweight materials that protect the warfighter from exposure to any CB threat while simultaneously providing a second layer of protection, at the tissue barrier, with bio-molecular, commensal organisms, or other technologies that protect the skin, eyes, and airway from CB threats. PPB will improve mission execution by solving the current (“state of the art”) protective equipment limitations, including threat-specific vulnerabilities, thermal/logistical burdens, exposure risks during equipment removal/decontamination, and on-demand availability during unexpected threat situations. Notice ID HR001120S0015

Feb 20: Deadline – DARPA Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) *

To provide game-changing capabilities to our warfighters, DARPA must have the tools to operate at the pace of innovation. In order to capitalize on small business innovation, DARPA is piloting a new approach to advertise SBIR and STTR funding opportunities on a “just-in-time” basis, outside of the three pre-determined announcements issued at the DoD level. SBIR and STTR Opportunities (SBOs) will be announced under this BAA. Only proposals submitted in response to an active corresponding SBO will be evaluated for funding. Notice ID: HR001119S0035

Feb 25: Deadline – DARPA BTO Detect It With Gene Editing Technologies (DIGET)

The goal of the DIGET program is to leverage advances in gene editing technologies to develop low-cost, high-trust, sensitive, multiplexed, rapidly reconfigurable, and fieldable diagnostics and biosurveillance technologies to address the need for timely and comprehensive threat detection surveillance to support Department of Defense (DoD) stabilization missions and outpace infectious disease. Notice ID: HR001120S0016

Feb 28: Registration Closes for Achieving Data Quality and Integrity in Maximum Containment Laboratories Training Event

Registration closes today for BSL-4 Training: Achieving Data Quality and Integrity in Maximum Containment Laboratories taking place April 20-24, 2020 in Bethesda, MD

Apr 6: Registration Opens for Training Event: Achieving Data Quality and Integrity in Clinical Trials Involving High-Consequence Pathogens in BSL-4

This no-fee course in late July 2020 is sponsored by the FDA and UTMB Galveston National Laboratory and hosted at the National Ebola Training and Education Center in Omaha. Learn more.


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Latest News from Global Biodefense

DoD Leverages Lung-on-a-Chip Technology for COVID-19 Research

DoD Leverages Lung-on-a-Chip Technology for COVID-19 Research

Military units conduct reconnaissance missions to obtain information – by visual observation or other detection methods – about the activities and resources of an enemy.…

Plague Outbreaks Picked Up Speed Over 300 Years

Plague Outbreaks Picked Up Speed Over 300 Years

Researchers who analyzed thousands of documents covering a 300-year span of plague outbreaks in London, England, have estimated that the disease spread four times faster…

Big Ideas: Rapidly Detecting Single Molecules with a Tiny Circular Light Racetrack

Big Ideas: Rapidly Detecting Single Molecules with a Tiny Circular Light Racetrack

My Little Sensor Lab at the University of Arizona develops ultrasensitive optical sensors for medical diagnostics, medical prognostics, environmental monitoring and basic science research. Our…

Inspirotec Expands Into RFU Innovation and Research Park

Inspirotec Expands Into RFU Innovation and Research Park

The $50 million Innovation and Research Park on the campus of Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science (RFU) secured its first occupant this month when Inspirotec, Inc. executed…

BARDA Awards Medical Countermeasures Clinical Studies Network Contracts

BARDA Awards Medical Countermeasures Clinical Studies Network Contracts

New contract awards by the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) will support three integrated components of the Medical Countermeasures Clinical Studies Network (CSN)…

Two Studies Show COVID-19 Antibodies Persist for Months

Two Studies Show COVID-19 Antibodies Persist for Months

More than 8 million people in the United States have now tested positive for COVID-19. For those who’ve recovered, many wonder if fending off SARS-CoV-2—the…

Inside the Lab: How Do Coronavirus Researchers Avoid Catching COVID-19?

Inside the Lab: How Do Coronavirus Researchers Avoid Catching COVID-19?

Around the world, virologists in labs are constantly handling samples of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, as part of our global quest to understand,…

The ‘One Health’ Concept Must Prevail to Allow Us to Prevent Pandemics

The ‘One Health’ Concept Must Prevail to Allow Us to Prevent Pandemics

It is both a concept, a strategy, and a goal. “One Health” has gradually established itself in the life sciences, veterinary medicine, and biomedical sciences.…