The online magazine of Global Biodefense
EDITION: 24 MARCH 2020
Editor: Stephanie Lizotte
In This Edition
Inside, as usual, patient beds are near capacity, and the emergency department is filled with not only the usual mix of patients with trauma, stroke, chest pain and other concerns, but also dozens of people worried they might have COVID-19. I am an emergency and critical care physician who cares for patients in the emergency […] More
Approximately 500,000 testing swabs and supplies were flown by Air Mobility Command on March 19-20 from Aviano Air Base, Italy, to the FedEx hub in Memphis, Tennessee, to be distributed to medical facilities across the U.S. The mission follows the first Air Mobility Command-directed mission on March 16-17, which also transported 500,000 testing swabs in […] More
SARS-CoV-2 – the coronavirus that causes the disease COVID-19 – is completely new and attacks cells in a novel way. Every virus is different and so are the drugs used to treat them. That’s why there wasn’t a drug ready to tackle the new coronavirus that only emerged a few months ago. As a systems […] More
Digestive symptoms are common in COVID19, occurring as the chief complaint in nearly half of patients presenting to hospital according to a new descriptive, cross-sectional multicenter study from China by investigators from the Wuhan Medical Treatment Expert Group for COVID-19 published today in The American Journal of Gastroenterology. Most patients with COVID-19 present with typical […] More
U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee has called for an investigation into the Trump Administration’s delays in developing and deploying testing for the novel coronavirus in a letter sent today to Christi Grimm, Principal Deputy Inspector General at the Department of Health and Human Services […] More
There’s been some confusion recently on whether we should or shouldn’t take ibuprofen to treat symptoms of COVID-19 – especially after the World Health Organization (WHO) changed its stance. After initially recommending people avoid taking ibuprofen to treat symptoms of the new coronavirus disease, as of March 19 the WHO now does not recommend avoiding […] More
Scientists should start sequencing the genomes of coronavirus patients. We should look for DNA differences between patients who are severely affected and those with mild symptoms. This could allow us to predict who else would be vulnerable and advise them to take precautions. We may be able to use this knowledge against the coronavirus epidemic […] More
Since the COVID-19 pandemic began in Wuhan, China in December 2019, we have seen the virus spread to over 160 countries. Several countries have experienced large outbreaks, including China, South Korea, Italy, Iran, Spain and France, with the US and UK seeing rapidly increasing numbers. But most countries in the world have reported very few […] More
The virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is stable for several hours to days in aerosols and on surfaces, according to a new study from National Institutes of Health, CDC, UCLA and Princeton University scientists in The New England Journal of Medicine. The scientists found that severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) was detectable […] More
The FDA today took unprecedented measures to expand coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) diagnostics testing capacity by modifying policy originally issued on Feb. 29 which addresses laboratories and commercial manufacturers to expand the number and variety of diagnostic tests, as well as available testing capabilities in health care settings, and reference and commercial laboratories. Under the expanded policy, […] More
Women in Global Health (WGH), and Women of Color Advancing Peace and Security (WCAPS) have partnered to crowdsource a list of female health security experts, intended to address the glaring lack of women represented in the global response to the current coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. The list, dubbed “Operation 50/50”, is now available on the WCAPS […] More
On January 20, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, which emerged in Wuhan, China, last December, a global health emergency.1 In response to this fast-moving outbreak, countries around the world have been seeking to implement the most effective disease prevention measures and public […] More
It’s always been a question of when, and not whether, humanity would face another challenge on the scale of the 1918 flu pandemic. The novel coronavirus is shaping up to be that challenge, with events moving at an unnerving pace. Since emerging in Wuhan, China in late 2019, more than 125,000 cases and 4,600 deaths […] More
More than a dozen linguists assigned to the 341st Military Intelligence Battalion translated life safety and preparedness messages into multiple languages during February’s drill weekend to help people who don’t speak English figure out best practices for avoiding the novel coronavirus. The Washington Emergency Management Division reached out to the 341st Military Intelligence Battalion to […] More
Countries fighting outbreaks of the novel coronavirus disease COVID-19 should consider using the antibodies of people who have recovered from infection to treat cases and provide short-term immunity—lasting weeks to months—to critical health care workers, argue two infectious disease experts, including Arturo Casadevall, MD, PhD, Alfred and Jill Sommer Professor and Chair of the Department […] More
In the most comprehensive, structure-based approach to date, a team of scientists may have discovered a new family of antidotes for certain poisons that can mitigate their effects more efficiently compared with existing remedies. Poisons such as organophosphorus nerve agents and pesticides wreak havoc by blocking an enzyme essential for proper brain and nerve function. […] More
As an epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak, China has launched an unprecedented effort to control the disease, locking down Wuhan in the province of Hubei — a megacity of 11 million people. These measures may have helped protect against transmission, but whether patients’ information has been properly protected remains in question. Personal information, such as […] More
A new study led by a Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University (XJTLU) researcher in the wake of the SARS-CoV-2 epidemic indicates that for patients with mild COVID-19, prescribing corticosteroids has no clinical benefit. The small-sample observational study of 31 patients with mild COVID-19 was conducted in designated hospitals in Wuhu, Anhui province, China, from 24 January to […] More
The American Red Cross is asking for healthy, eligible individuals who are feeling well to give blood or platelets. This helps maintain a sufficient blood supply and prevent shortages as COVID-19 coronavirus cases rise in the U.S. People can make an appointment to donate blood by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). Type O and platelet donations are especially needed right now.
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…
In order to determine the spectrum of disease in children, researchers evaluated children infected with SARS-CoV-2 and treated at the Wuhan Children’s Hospital. Of the 1391 children assessed and tested from January 28 through February 26, 2020, a total of 171 (12.3%) were confirmed to have SARS-CoV-2 infection. The median age of the infected children […] More
Certain aspects of the pathogenesis of SARS-CoV-2 can only be studied in detail in animal models, where repeated sampling and tissue collection is possible. Here, we show that SARS-CoV-2 causes respiratory disease in infected rhesus macaques, with disease lasting 8-16 days. Pulmonary infiltrates, a hallmark of human disease, were visible in lung radiographs of all […] More
A total of 199 patients with laboratory-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection underwent randomization; 99 were assigned to the lopinavir–ritonavir group, and 100 to the standard-care group. This trial found that lopinavir–ritonavir treatment added to standard supportive care was not associated with clinical improvement or mortality in seriously ill patients with Covid-19 different from that associated with standard […] More
We currently lack serological assays suitable to specifically detect SARS-CoV-2 antibodies, of critical importance to determine seroprevalence in a given population, define previous exposure and identify highly reactive human donors for the generation of convalescent serum as therapeutic. Importantly, the assays described here do not require handling of infectious virus, can be adjusted to detect […] More
Identifying the closest viral relatives of SARS-CoV-2 circulating in animals will greatly assist studies of viral function. The genomic features described here may explain in part the infectiousness and transmissibility of SARS-CoV-2 in humans. Although the evidence shows that SARS-CoV-2 is not a purposefully manipulated virus, it is currently impossible to prove or disprove the […] More
Within two months, SARS-CoV-2, a previously unknown coronavirus, has raced around globe, infecting over a 100,000 people with numbers continuing to rise quickly. Effective countermeasures require helpful tools to monitor viral spread and understand how the immune system responds to the virus. Publishing in the March 16, 2020, online issue of Cell, Host and Microbe […] More
There is now grave concern regarding the Italian national health system’s capacity to effectively respond to the needs of patients who are infected and require intensive care for the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 SARS-CoV-2 pneumonia. The percentage of patients in intensive care reported daily in Italy between March 1 and March 11, 2020, […] More
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.
Industry + Partner News
First Rapid, Point-of-Care and Near-Patient Molecular Test for Detection of Virus that Causes COVID-19 Cepheid today announced it has received Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the U.S.…
Ventec Life Systems and GM in cooperation with StopTheSpread.org, the nation’s coordinated private sector response to the COVID-19, are collaborating to enable Ventec to increase production of…
Canon Medical Systems announced the start of development of a rapid genetic testing system for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). This project is part of a research program…
Ridgeback Biotherapeutics and Drug Innovations at Emory (DRIVE) LLC, a not-for-profit biotechnology company wholly owned by Emory University, today announced a collaboration to rapidly advance into human…
GenMark Diagnostics, Inc. today announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for the company’s ePlex SARS-CoV-2 Test. GenMark’s test…
Abbott announced today that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for the company’s molecular test for novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Abbott is…
Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc. today announced the latest progress in its efforts to discover and develop a novel multi-antibody cocktail that can be administered as prophylaxis before exposure…
PharmaJet has announced that it received a $9.6 million dollar contract award from the Joint Science and Technology Office of the U.S. Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA).…
Vaxxas, a clinical-stage biotechnology company commercializing a novel vaccination platform, today announced the publication in the journal PLoS Medicine of groundbreaking clinical research indicating the broad immunological…
Molecular diagnostics company Co-Diagnostics, Inc. announced today that a new FDA policy released last night aimed at expediting the availability of COVID-19 diagnostics will allow the company…
Companies will jointly develop BioNTech’s mRNA-based vaccine candidate BNT162 to prevent COVID-19 infection. Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE today announced that the companies have agreed to a…
Contracts, Grants + Innovation Challenges
Rapid teaming of public health professionals alongside the technology community’s talent to contribute to the world’s response to COVID-19.
Concise abstract submissions due for BARDA development funding of SARS-CoV-2 molecular diagnostics.
Contract proposals due for the Influenza Data Processing and Communication Center (iDPCC).
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.
Supports MCMs to mitigate and/or treat tissue injuries resulting from exposure to ionizing radiation
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.
BAA topic supports development of novel, rapid sample-to-answer candidate diagnostic products that will address biodefense and pandemic preparedness.
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.
BARDA rapid development funding of COVID-19 molecular diagnostics – must utilize platforms already cleared by the FDA.
This BAA amendment seeks biomedical and biopharma solutions to the immediate COVID-19 pandemic.
CDC grant program to strengthen lab workforce, improve biorisk management, outbreak response globally.
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.
Investors are looking at big losses in two “pandemic bonds,” issued by the World Bank’s International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) in 2017, which were designed to pay out funds to countries that need help to contain a pandemic.1 The global COVID-19 pandemic will almost certainly trigger the riskier of two tranches of catastrophe bonds […] More
At the White House briefing Wednesday on efforts to combat COVID-19, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said that he had just visited the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute for Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) at Fort Detrick, Maryland, and was briefed on its work on antiviral drugs and vaccines. But USAMRIID scientists have privately complained about their lack […] More
Last week, Florida health officials found themselves overwhelmed. The state’s disease experts were working around the clock to trace the rapidly spreading coronavirus, and the state needed more of them. In an unprecedented gathering of resources, the state recruited 100 professors and students from five universities to help track the spread of COVID-19. Those professors […] More
If the US forgoes contact tracing in favour of aggressive social-distancing measures alone, the country risks the outbreak worsening, and lockdown measures such as school and business closures dragging on for longer than they would otherwise. Across the United States, overwhelmed health departments are failing to diagnose people with COVID-19 and do the detective work […] More
A universal flu vaccine has eluded scientists for decades. Unlike other viruses, influenza has a rapid-fire mutation rate and thousands of different strains, which complicates the process. With several candidates now in development and a fresh batch of federal funding, researchers say a universal flu vaccine could be within reach. Saint Louis University runs a […] More
NASA leadership announced on Mar. 14 enactment of Stage 2 of the agency’s Response Framework for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis. In Stage 2, telework is strongly encouraged for employees who can work remotely. Employees who are cleared may take home their laptop computer, power cord, NASA badge, and any other equipment needed to work […] More
READING + RESOURCES
→ A Frontline Guide for Local Decision-Makers COVID-19 Local
→ COVID-19 Treatment and Vaccine Tracker Milken Institute
→ How the Coronavirus Could Take Over Your Body (Before You Ever Feel It) NY Mag Intelligencer
PODCASTS + VIDEOS
→ Don’t Touch Your Face: Lockdown Foreign Policy Daily podcast covering all aspects of COVID-19
→ Tracking COVID-19 Harverd T.H.Chan School of Public Health On-demand video recording of recent forum.
In order to determine the spectrum of disease in children, researchers evaluated children infected with SARS-CoV-2 and treated at the Wuhan Children’s Hospital. Of the 1391 children…
Certain aspects of the pathogenesis of SARS-CoV-2 can only be studied in detail in animal models, where repeated sampling and tissue collection is possible. Here, we show…
A total of 199 patients with laboratory-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection underwent randomization; 99 were assigned to the lopinavir–ritonavir group, and 100 to the standard-care group. This trial found…
We currently lack serological assays suitable to specifically detect SARS-CoV-2 antibodies, of critical importance to determine seroprevalence in a given population, define previous exposure and identify highly…
Identifying the closest viral relatives of SARS-CoV-2 circulating in animals will greatly assist studies of viral function. The genomic features described here may explain in part the…
Within two months, SARS-CoV-2, a previously unknown coronavirus, has raced around globe, infecting over a 100,000 people with numbers continuing to rise quickly. Effective countermeasures require helpful…
Mar: 24 The Role of Digital Health Technologies in Drug Development (Webcast)
The National Academies Forum on Drug Discovery, Development, and Translation and the Roundtable on Genomics and Precision Health will host a public workshop via webcast on Zoom on 24 Mar. Learn more.
Mar 24: World TB Day 2020
As we mark this day of Tuberculosis awareness, take a look at some of the latest research highlights here.
Mar 24-25 BIO Coronavirus Collaboration Initiative Virtual Summit
BIO is hosting a virtual summit to help companies working on COVID-19 treatments, diagnostics and vaccines to come together to discuss challenges and opportunities with government officials and other stakeholders. Learn more
Mar 25: Responding to COVID-19 Webinar: The Science of Social Distancing
The webinar will feature a panel of expert speakers, including: Nancy Messonnier, Marc Lipsitch, Mitch Stripling, and Howard Markel. Learn more
Mar 25: A Comprehensive Introduction to Medical Simulation (Webinar)
Join HDIAC on Wednesday, March 25, from 1200 to 1300 EDT for a live webinar presentation titled “A Comprehensive Introduction to Medical Simulation”. Learn more
Mar 26: Policy vs. Pandemics: Polarization and Public Health emergency Preparedness (Webcast)
George Mason University Schar School of Policy and Government will host this no-fee webinar event, “Policy vs. Pandemics: Polarization and Public Health Emergency Preparedness,” on March 26. Learn more
Mar 30-31: Superbugs + Superdrugs 2020 (Webcast)
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
26 Mar: APIC | AIHA Webinar – Ventilation, Surface Disinfection and PPE Considerations for the IP and IH
Town-hall style webinar to address occupational health and safety professionals’, industrial hygienists’ and infection preventionists’ questions about ventilation, surface disinfection, respirators, construction issues, occupational health and safety during the COVID-19 pandemic. 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
Jun 10-11: Joint Civil + DoD CBRN Symposium (New Dates)
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
Jun 28 – Jul 2 CSTE Annual Conference
The CSTE Annual Conference connects more than 1,700 public health epidemiologists from across the country and will include workshops, plenary sessions with leaders in the field of public health, oral breakout sessions, roundtable discussions, and poster presentations. Learn more
Aug 21-26 Preparedness Summit 2020
Join experts and stakeholders from across public health, healthcare, disaster relief, emergency management, and related fields nationwide. Learn more
Dec 15-17 SYNChronicity 2020 – National Conference for HIV, HCV, STI and LGBTQ Health (New Dates)
Brings together medical professionals, service providers, government officials, and health advocates to sync effective approaches to address HIV, HCV, STI, and LGBTQ health in the changing and dynamic health care landscape. Learn more
20-23 Apr 2021 ABSA’s 1st Biosecurity Symposium (New Dates)
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, ABSA’s 1st Biosecurity Symposium has been rescheduled and will now take place 20-23 April 2020 in Minneapolis, MN. Learn more
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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…