Updates

NACCHO Releases Public Health Priorities for the Biden-Harris Transition Team and 117th Congress

The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO), on behalf of the country’s nearly 3,000 local health departments, released a transition document providing recommendations to the Biden-Harris Administration and the 117th Congress.

BARDA Partners With Invirsa to Develop a Treatment for Ocular Conditions Associated With DNA Damage, Including Sulfur Mustard Injury

The Biomedical Advance Research and Development Authority (BARDA) is partnering with Invirsa to develop the company’s investigational product INV-102 to treat ocular conditions associated with DNA damage to include sulfur mustard injury. Sulfur mustard is a type of chemical warfare agent that causes blistering of the skin and mucous membranes on contact. There are currently no FDA-approved drugs to treat sulfur mustard ocular injury.

Upcoming S&T Guidance Will Improve Critical Infrastructure Resilience

It is easy to understand the importance of “critical infrastructure,” such as telecommunications, energy, transportation, and emergency services, but what is often overlooked are the underlying technologies that enable them. One such technology is Position, Navigation, and Timing (PNT) services. The Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) Resilient PNT Conformance Framework addresses this, and is planned for public release by the end of the year.

USGS Unveils Mobile Flood Tool for the Nation

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) announced the completion of a new mobile tool that provides real-time information on water levels, weather, and flood forecasts all in one place on a computer, smartphone, or other mobile device. The new USGS National Water Dashboard (NWD) provides critical information to decision-makers, emergency managers, and the public during flood events, informing decisions that can help protect lives and property.

Pandemic Influenza Preparedness: Partnering With Schools

On any given day, educational institutions house more than 20% of the U.S. population. This equates to more than 60 million students, faculty, and staff. The Santa Clara County Public Health Department Advanced Practice Center created the Pandemic Influenza School Planning Toolkit to assist local public health agencies in partnering with schools within their jurisdictions for pandemic emergency preparedness planning.

Power Hawk - The “Jaws of Life” for Bomb Squads

A tool developed by the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate called Power Hawk enables bomb technicians to be at a safe distance from an explosive device during procedures. What makes Power Hawk so special is that the bomb itself is not destroyed while being rendered safe. Since the components are left intact, the authorities can recover valuable forensic evidence to help lead law enforcement to the arrest of the bomber.

FDA Publishes List of Essential Medicines, Medical Countermeasures, Critical Inputs Required by Executive Order

As the U.S. Food and Drug Administration continues working to address the current pandemic, they are also looking ahead to prepare for the next potential public health emergency. A recent executive order directed the agency, in consultation with federal partners, to identify a list of essential medicines, medical countermeasures, and critical inputs that are medically necessary to have available at all times in an amount adequate to serve patient needs and in the appropriate dosage forms.

Indianapolis Testing Advances Capabilities of Chemical, Biological Threat Detection Sensors

Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's (DARPA) SIGMA+ program conducted a week-long deployment of advanced chemical and biological sensing systems in the Indianapolis metropolitan region in August 2020, collecting more than 250 hours of daily life background atmospheric data across five neighborhoods that helped train algorithms to more accurately detect chemical and biological threats. The testing marked the first time in the program the advanced laboratory grade instruments for chemical and biological sensing were successfully deployed as mobile sensors, increasing their versatility on the SIGMA+ network.

BARDA Awards Medical Countermeasures Clinical Studies Network

Biomedical Advance Research and Development Authority (BARDA) is pleased to announce the recipients of the Medical Countermeasures Clinical Studies Network (CSN) contract awards. The Pandemic and All Hazards Preparedness Act of 2006 established the support development and acquisition of medical countermeasures (MCMs) to prevent or treat the medical consequences of chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear threats, pandemic influenza, and emerging infectious diseases. These MCMs include vaccines, therapeutics, diagnostics, and medical devices.

U.S. Department of Education Announces Rescission of and Replacement for the 2016 Handbook for Campus Safety and Security Reporting

Secretary Betsy DeVos announced the rescission of and replacement for the 2016 Handbook for Campus Safety and Security Reporting (Handbook). The Department determined that “much of the guidance provided was outside of the scope of the relevant statutory and regulatory authority.” The announcement also provided an overview of a new Clery-related Appendix of the Federal Student Aid Handbook.