To address the growing threat from infectious diseases as well as to properly equip Department of Defense service members who regularly deploy worldwide to provide assistance in all manner of high-risk environments, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) launched the Pandemic Prevention Platform program (P3). All performer institutions are now on contract and moving forward with the program’s goals of developing technology to halt the spread of pandemic infectious diseases.
Data from emergency departments show that the U.S. opioid overdose epidemic continues to worsen, according to the latest Vital Signs report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Overall, emergency department visits for suspected opioid overdoses increased 30 percent in the United States, from July 2016 through September 2017.
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) announced its SIGMA+ program, an expansion of the existing SIGMA program, which detects radiological and nuclear materials. With SIGMA+, DARPA seeks to develop new sensors and networks that alert authorities to chemical, biological, and explosive threats as well.
The team that first unveiled the rapid, inexpensive, highly sensitive CRISPR-based diagnostic tool called SHERLOCK (Specific High-sensitivity Enzymatic Reporter unLOCKing) has greatly enhanced the tool’s power, and has developed a miniature paper test that allows results to be seen with the naked eye – without the need for expensive equipment. This study was released by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and supported in part by the National Institutes of Health and the Defense Threat Reduction Agency.
The Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate (DHS S&T) has created the Next Generation First Responder (NGFR) Integration Handbook, which outlines a “plug-and-play,” standards-based environment that enables commercially developed technologies to integrate with existing first responder infrastructure. DHS S&T invites industry to review the handbook and provide feedback to improve the level of detail of the technical specifications that will deliver interoperable technology to the first responder marketplace.
Robert Kadlec, M.D., Assistant Secretary for Preparedness & Response, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, discussed the concept of a regional disaster health response system that is capable of responding more effectively and efficiently to the ever-increasing array of 21st century health security threats. Building readiness and response capacity for these threats is his main priority and the catalyst for creating a regional disaster health response system.
The New York Emergency Management Department hosted an emergency preparedness workshop for dozens of New York City faith leaders. The idea was to train faith leaders who would in turn, train their worshippers in emergency preparedness.
Dräger announced that the All Hazards Training Center at The University of Findlay in Findlay, Ohio, known to industry as Findlay All Hazards, has chosen Dräger to provide safety equipment and training expertise to support Findlay’s professional and academic programs.
The DHS Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) is currently developing a Predictive Threat Model to help U.S. Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine Operations Center more quickly and efficiently identify and stop nefarious aircraft. The targets here are small, noncommercial flyers such as general aviation small aircraft, general aviation jets, ultralights, and unmanned aircraft systems.
The Center for Domestic Preparedness’ Chemical, Ordnance, Biological and Radiological Training Facility (COBRATF) Biological program has been accredited by the American Biological Safety Association (ABSA) International. ABSA inspectors visited the COBRATF, a Biosafety Level 2 facility, in 2017, and evaluated its biological program management system, safety program, operating procedures, facilities, laboratory, and work practices.