The online magazine of Global Biodefense
EDITION: 11 MARCH 2020
Editor: Stephanie Lizotte
In This Edition
An international team led by University of British Columbia researcher Dr. Josef Penninger has found a trial drug that effectively blocks the cellular door SARS-CoV-2 uses to infect its hosts. The findings, published today in Cell, hold promise as a treatment capable of stopping early infection of the novel coronavirus that, as of April 2, has […] More
A therapeutic to treat novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is moving forward in development through a partnership announced Apr. 1 between BARDA, the Department of Defense Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear Defense (JPEO – CBRND), and SAb Biotherapeutics, Inc. (SAb), of Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Using an interagency agreement with JPEO’s Medical CBRN Defense […] More
Researchers at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases continue to work on medical countermeasures for the novel coronavirus as part of the Department of Defense COVID-19 research effort. While some of USAMRIID’s programs were temporarily suspended due to potential safety issues, their ongoing work with SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus, was never affected, […] More
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. The news was subsequently referenced […] More
The American Society for Microbiology (ASM), one of the largest life science societies in the world comprised of more than 30,000 members, expressed their concern in the following statement released today about the supply chain for critical components to execute diagnostics for novel Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). Clinical microbiologists and clinical labs are an essential […] More
A diagnostic test for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) – designed for use in a diagnostic system that can process up to 1,000 tests in 24 hours – will receive advanced development support from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR). The molecular diagnostic test […] More
Research published this week in the Annals of Internal Medicine suggests that persons infected with SARS-CoV-2, the newly-identified virus that causes coronavirus disease COVID-19, may be symptom-free for about 5 days on average, and should expect to experience symptoms within 12 days. The findings support current recommendations by the US Centers for Disease Control and […] More
In a report released this week, Making Bioweapons Obsolete: A Summary of Workshop Discussions, Sandia National Laboratories and the Council on Strategic Risks outline the discussion and recommendations that came out of the Making Bioweapons Obsolete workshop hosted last fall at Sandia. The one-day meeting brought together government, national laboratories, academia, industry, policy and entrepreneur communities […] More
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs, Greg Ibach today announced additional measures to control and eradicate African Swine Fever (ASF) if the virus is ever detected in the U.S. ASF is a highly contagious and deadly viral disease affecting both domestic and feral (wild) pigs. ASF does not affect human […] More
Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a list of EPA-registered disinfectant products that have qualified for use against SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19. “Using the correct disinfectant is an important part of preventing and reducing the spread of illnesses along with other critical aspects such as hand washing,” said EPA Administrator […] More
The European Defense Agency marked a new phase in its biological detection, identification and monitoring (T&E Bio DIM) project with a 26 February kick-off meeting to commence Phase 2. In Phase 1 of the project, participants defined requirements and criteria for T&E of biological DIM equipment. Based on this framework, Phase 2 is programmed over […] More
A potential drug target has been identified in a newly mapped protein of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). A potential drug target has been identified in a newly mapped protein of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The structure was solved by a team including the University of Chicago (U of C), the U.S. […] More
Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) today introduced legislation to conduct or support comprehensive research for the creation of a universal coronavirus vaccine. Senator Markey’s legislation calls for a total investment of $1 billion – $250 million for each of fiscal years 2020 through 2023 for the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) at […] More
On February 17, 2020, the Philippine National Police (PNP) announced that criminal charges had been filed against an individual who was caught spreading misinformation about coronavirus 2019 (Covid-19) on social media. The individual was arrested after he was identified as the author of a Facebook post stating that an alleged coronavirus patient had died at […] More
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today issued a new policy for certain laboratories seeking to develop diagnostic tests for coronavirus in order to achieve more rapid testing capacity in the U.S. The guidance issued today describes a policy enabling laboratories to immediately use tests they developed and validated in order to achieve more rapid testing […] More
The World Health Organization (WHO) recently declared an international public health emergency over the global outbreak of the novel coronavirus. One day later, the Wellcome Trust research charity called for researchers, journals and funders around the world to share research data and findings relevant to the coronavirus rapidly and openly, to inform the public and […] More
Visit our new resource page for the novel coronavirus outbreak:
Biosecurity + Biodefense Jobs
Do you have a passion for public service? The United States Secret Service (USSS) is looking for you! The USSS is a premier law enforcement organization with…
A post-doctoral position in recombinant vaccine research to combat emerging infectious disease is available immediately at the cutting-edge Bristol Synthetic Biology Centre, BrisSynBio, a leading UK and…
Leidos Life Sciences Division is currently looking for a Life Scientist-Decontamination Expert to perform research at the Plum Island Animal Disease Center (PIADC), Plum Island NY under…
Omer Research Group is involved with a diverse complement of vaccine research, ranging from field and clinical trials to epidemiological studies and studies on vaccine acceptance and…
Organization and Job ID Job ID: 309092 Directorate: National Security Division: Signatures Science & Technology Group: Chemcial & Biological Signature Sciences Summary The Pacific Northwest National Laboratory…
Superbugs & Superdrugs 2020
Due to ongoing concerns over COVID-19 this conference is now available with remote access only
30-31 MARCH 2020
SMi invites you to join an international gathering of industry experts sharing their experience and expertise on the challenges & solutions to antimicrobial resistance.
Contracts, Grants + Innovation Challenges
Mar 13: PrecisionFDA Challenge Deadline Gaining new insights by detecting adverse event anomalies using FDA open data.
Mar 31: EZ BAA Deadline: Novel Coronavirus Rapid Diagnostic Concise abstract submissions due for BARDA development funding of SARS-CoV-2 molecular diagnostics.
Apr 6: Influenza Data Processing and Outreach Contract proposals due for the Influenza Data Processing and Communication Center (iDPCC).
Apr 7: CEPI-EDCTP Seeks Proposals for Lassa Virus Vaccines Applications invited for large-scale collaborative projects which include one or more clinical trials (phase II to III) aiming to accelerate the clinical development of Lassa candidate vaccines.
Apr 9: Radiation/Nuclear Medical Countermeasures Development Supports MCMs to mitigate and/or treat tissue injuries resulting from exposure to ionizing radiation
Apr 9: Therapeutic Products for Biodefense, AMR Infections, and Emerging Infectious Diseases Supports development of promising new therapeutics to address infections caused by NIAID Category A, B, and C priority pathogens and select bacterial and fungal infections.
Apr 9: Advanced Development of Diagnostics for Biothreats and EID BAA topic supports development of novel, rapid sample-to-answer candidate diagnostic products that will address biodefense and pandemic preparedness.
Apr 24: JLABS @ Washington DC Innovations for Pediatric Influenza Intervention Innovators within the fields of pediatric oncology, pediatric surgery and influenza are invited to submit innovative ideas for grant funding, use of bench equipment and J&J mentorship at JLABS for 1 year.
Apr 30: EZ-BAA for COVID-19 Rapid Diagnostic BARDA rapid development funding of COVID-19 molecular diagnostics – must utilize platforms already cleared by the FDA.
Apr 30: BARDA BAA Medical Diagnostics and Countermeasures for SARS-CoV-2 This BAA amendment seeks biomedical and biopharma solutions to the immediate COVID-19 pandemic.
May 4: Global Health Security Partnerships – Lab Capacity Building CDC grant program to strengthen lab workforce, improve biorisk management, outbreak response globally.
Jul 2: NIBIB Technology Accelerator Challenge: Handheld Diagnostics Anticipated to be released this month, this innovation competition will spur design and development of non-invasive, handheld, digital diagnostic devices that will target anemia, sickle cell disease, malaria, and other blood-related diseases.
Pharmaceutical Cargo Security Initiative Health Care Supply Chain Survey The purpose of this survey is to gather information from pharmaceutical owners and operators regarding the coronavirus outbreak, including concerns and challenges.
Partners + Industry News
Profusa, a digital health company that is pioneering the next generation of personalized medicine, today announced the initiation of a study that will use the Company’s minimally…
LabCorp® is making its LabCorp 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), NAA test available today for ordering by physicians or other authorized healthcare providers anywhere in the U.S. The…
Daniel Menichella, CEO of biopharmaceutical company CureVac, was today invited to the White House to discuss strategies and opportunities for the rapid development and production of a…
Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. and QIAGEN N.V. today announced that their boards of directors, as well as the managing board of QIAGEN N.V., have unanimously approved Thermo…
Pfizer Inc. announced that today Pfizer’s Chief Scientific Officer Mikael Dolsten participated in a meeting with other pharmaceutical companies about various ways to develop vaccines and therapeutics…
The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced the temporary suspension of trading in the securities of Eastgate Biotech Corp. (“ETBI”) (CIK #0001099574) at 9:30 a.m. EST on…
Four research teams at Columbia University will share a $2.1 million grant to mount an aggressive effort to identify potential antiviral drugs and antibodies for use against…
Synedgen, a biotechnology company using glycochemistry to develop drugs that enhance and mimic the innate immune system, today announced a poster presentation at the upcoming National Institutes…
Humanetics Corporation (Humanetics) announced today that it has entered into a definitive agreement with DSM Nutritional Products Ltd of Kaiseraugst Switzerland to acquire all of DSM’s assets…
Researchers working under DARPA’s Pandemic Preparedness Platform (P3) are racing to apply their experimental techniques to a true pandemic playing out in real time. The clock begins ticking as soon as a blood sample is taken from a person who has fully recovered from the disease of interest. Then the researchers screen that sample to find […] More
Today, Ways and Means Democrats requested that Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Commissioner Charles Rettig provide the Committee with an update on the impact of the coronavirus on the tax return filing season. Chairman Richard E. Neal (D-MA) and every Democrat who serves on the Ways and Means Committee signed the letter. “Specifically, we are concerned […] More
During a two-week visit to China in early February for the World Health Organization, Dr. Bruce Aylward saw how China rapidly suppressed the coronavirus outbreak that had engulfed Wuhan, and was threatening the rest of the country. Do we know what this virus’s lethality is? We hear some estimates that it’s close to the 1918 […] More
While working to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 within the United States, the Department of Health and Human Services is currently being forced to shift money from other activities. Congress will surely provide emergency supplemental funding now that the administration has requested additional resources. The good news is that Congress authorized a Public Health Emergency Fund for […] More
Vice President Mike Pence told Fox News on Feb. 29 the government had contracted 3M Co to produce an extra 35 million respiratory masks a month. He urged Americans not to buy the masks, which he said were only needed by healthcare workers. Honeywell International Inc is the other major U.S. mask producer.1 He also […] More
Conspiracy theories infect us faster than the virus itself, it seems. This time, the basic idea behind all of them is that the origins of COVID-19 in Wuhan, home to the Wuhan Institute of Virology, is suspicious. From there, some claim that it escaped the lab accidentally after being used in a regular, if risky, […] More
Plague is a communicable rodent-borne disease caused by Yersinia pestis that is primarily a wildlife disease that occasionally spills over to the human population, resulting in seasonal surges in human cases and localized outbreaks. Today, Y. pestis is present in at least 26 countries, with more than 30 different flea vectors and over 200 mammal […] More
Current tests for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, look for genetic material of the virus, for instance in saliva or nasal, oral, or anal swabs, using the Polymerase chain reaction (PCR). However, these tests can’t identify people who went through an infection, recovered, and cleared the virus from their bodies.1 Serology testing, on the […] More
The laboratory at the Shanghai Public Health Clinical Centre from which researchers conducted the first genome sequence of the deadly coronavirus that causes COVID-19 was immediately ordered to close for “rectification” after Professor Zhang Yongzhen’s team published the genome sequence on open platforms in January. One source at the laboratory said the closure has hampered […] More
Whistleblower Complaint Details Chaotic Handling of U.S. Quarantine Logistics, Potential Community Exposures
HHS deployed personnel from the Administration for Children and Families, who have little to no experience in infection prevention protocols, to help process repatriated citizens at quarantine sites. Officials at the Department of Health and Human Services sent more than a dozen workers from the Administration for Children and Families, or ACF, to receive the […] More
A person in California who was not exposed to anyone known to be infected with the coronavirus, and had not traveled to countries in which the virus is circulating, has tested positive for the infection.1 The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Wednesday reported the first possible case of community spread of […] More
In a world ill-prepared for a potentially life-threatening, easily transmitted disease like COVID-19, the most effective way to mitigate the pandemic’s impact is to focus on supporting health care systems that already are overburdened. This is the main reason every country’s top priority should be to protect its health care workers. Governments should also conduct […] More
While it’s true that America has long been under-prepared for a pandemic, the risks right now appear to be especially high. Many signs point to the US retreating from supporting the global and public health efforts that can prevent epidemics of diseases like Lassa fever (which has, since January, been linked with 913 suspected cases and […] More
One of the pioneers of the field of microbial archaeology is geneticist Johannes Krause, founding director of the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in Jena, Germany. Earlier this month, he published a paper in Nature Communications tracing the spread of the Black Death, which killed half the European population — 30 million […] More
Public-health officials in the U.S. are striving to keep tabs on thousands of Americans who have quarantined themselves at home after returning from mainland China to curtail the new coronavirus, adding to an epidemic response that is straining already-stretched local departments. Local health officials check in daily by email, phone or text. They arrange tests […] More
Excerpt from The Pandora Report: An attack on the food supply gives the perpetrating group several benefits. The psychological and economic effect of targeting food supplies would be substantial; such an attack would be relatively low cost when compared to the economic effects it could cause; and would allow a weaker group to lessen the […] More
READING + RESOURCES
→ Myanmar Should Finally Come Clean About its Chemical Weapons Past—With US Help Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists
PODCASTS + VIDEOS
→ How To Prepare Your Healthcare System For A New Coronavirus Science Friday – Infection prevention epidemiologist Dr. Saskia Popescu and public health expert Dr. Jennifer Nuzzo talk about the practical steps of preparing for a COVID-19.
→ Pandemics and National Security War on the Rocks – Conversation with Dr. Michele Malvesti, VP at the Financial Integrity Network and visiting professor of practice at the University of Texas at Austin, and Dr. Julie Schafer, the chief technology officer for Flu Lab.
→ Dr Cassidy Nelson on the 12 Best Ways to Stop the Next Pandemic 80,000 Hours – Cassidy Nelson, a medical doctor and research scholar at Oxford University’s Future of Humanity Institute, explains 12 things her research group think urgently need to happen.
→ Virus Hunter, Searching for Missing Ebola Patient in West Africa PBS Frontline – Dr. Lamine Koivogui and his team were sent to investigate a mysterious, deadly disease spreading through Guinea in March 2014. Almost immediately, something went very wrong.
→ How Are Hospitals Preparing for COVID-19? Public Health On Call – Experts from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health offer science and evidence-based insights on the novel coronavirus crisis response.
Journal Watch + Research Updates
An essential element in the critical national infrastructure required to safely and securely address the threat of emerging infectious diseases is the existing national network of academic…
This study examines the baseline public comprehension and perceptions of bioterrorism, as well as the underpinning, trusted information sources in the Republic of Serbia. Results demonstrate overall…
A novel method for quantitative detection of biologically active abrin toxin is presented utilizing a low-cost CCD detector system for colorimetric and fluorometric measurements. Research is by…
Efforts to mitigate biothreats require development of efficient countermeasures which in turn relies on fast and accurate methods to detect the biological agents in a range of…
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recognize that the deliberate release of biological toxins and highly infectious agents into the public sphere remains a threat…
The outbreak of 2019-novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) that is caused by SARS-CoV-2 has spread rapidly. Development of SARS-CoV-2-based vaccines is urgently required. This work aims to share…
African swine fever (ASF) is a devastating infectious disease in swine that is severely threatening the global pig industry. An efficacious vaccine is urgently required. Here, researchers…
Since its release in 2019, researchers have utilized the Genome Detective Typing Tool application to produce a number of phylogenetic clusters and genotypes for emergent viruses that…
This is the first molecular and serological study on this virus after the initial identification of 2019-NCoV from 7 patients diagnosed with unidentified viral pneumonia. The researchers…
Clinicians from the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID) emphasize in this correspondence that no single indicator may be effectively used to decide on de-isolation of a…
The novel methodology and findings described here highlight the fate of infectious virus outside the respiratory tract as an important parameter for understanding influenza transmission. Direct measurements…
In 2014, a tiered network of facilities to manage patients with Ebola virus disease (EVD) was established in the United States, with 56 hospitals designated as Ebola…
Mar 12: Center for the Study of WMD Spotlight Seminar: Coronavirus and Biosecurity
The panel will feature experts in the fields of bioterrorism, biosurveillance, and infectious disease who can provide timely context for the outbreak. Learn more
Mar 18: Next Evolution: Overhauling Key Elements of Biodefense
The Bipartisan Commission on Biodefense will discuss the Federal Select Agent Program, BioWatch, and the Hospital Preparedness Program at this meeting in DC (and webcast). Learn more
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 20: Superbugs & Superdrugs 2020
Bringing industry leaders together to discuss the strategies in place that reduce AMR, evaluate the role pharmaceutical companies and funding bodies play in reducing AMR, learn about new diagnostics approaches to identify AMR and consider novel candidates and alternatives to anti-microbials. Register now
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.
May 28-29: Critical Public Health Value of Vaccines in the Age of Pandemics
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine Board on Global Health will host a 1.5-day public workshop May 28-29 that will examine the current state of vaccine preventable diseases and the impact of vaccine access and hesitancy globally, and the multidimensional drivers and impacts of declining vaccine confidence. Learn more
Sign up to receive weekly insights from the team at Global Biodefense.
Latest News from Global Biodefense
Two doses of an experimental vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) induced robust immune responses and rapidly controlled the coronavirus in the upper and…
Nuclear-derived techniques, such as tests using real time reverse transcription–polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), are important tools in the detection and characterization of viruses. The IAEA…
U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin is raising questions for U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar about the use of funding appropriated by Congress to…
The July 4 holiday weekend usually means cookouts and big gatherings in Texas, but right now, the state is facing a public health catastrophe. Hospitals…
After sustained declines in the number of COVID-19 cases over recent months, restrictions are starting to ease across the United States. Numbers of new cases…
We know a lot about the symptoms of severe COVID-19, but relatively little about what happens after someone recovers. Could there be long-term effects? Let’s…
A library of molecules with unique structural and chemical features inhibit the novel coronavirus polymerase, a key drug target for COVID-19 SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus causing…
A study of COVID-19 in the quarantined Italian town of Vò, where most of the population was tested, reveals the importance of asymptomatic cases. The…
Changes in blood platelets triggered by COVID-19 could contribute to the onset of heart attacks, strokes, and other serious complications in some patients who have…
“We need more testing supplies, more testing, and more personal protective equipment for workers on the frontlines of this pandemic.” U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI)…
Smallpox was a terrible scourge on humanity, killing hundreds of millions of people over the centuries. But its origin remains obscure. Egyptian mummies from 3,000…
Sports leagues may want to consider calling a timeout on reopening their doors to fans, based on new West Virginia University-led research that links an uptick…