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Biodefense Readiness - Where Are We Today?


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2018 Annual Meeting of the Council of Sponsoring Institutions
Rachel E. Levinson, MA
Ex Officio Member, Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense
Executive Director, National Research Initiatives, Arizona State University

Published in: Government & Nonprofit
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Biodefense Readiness - Where Are We Today?

  1. 1. Biodefense Readiness - Where Are We Today? 73rd Annual Meeting of the Oak Ridge Associated Universities Council of Sponsoring Institutions March 8, 2018 Rachel E. Levinson, MA Ex Officio Member, Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense Executive Director, National Research Initiatives, Arizona State University
  2. 2. Biological Threats Continue 2 White House reports need to enhance lab biosafety security OCT 2015 France – PM Valls expresses concern re: BW NOV 2015 U.S. Army uses poor protocols re: inactivated anthrax DEC 2015 DNI Clapper says at greater risk re: dual-use and tech FEB 2016 Morocco – Animal material seized from terrorists FEB 2016 Kenya foils ISIL plot re: anthrax attack APR 2016 Belgium seizes animal material from terrorists APR 2016 CIA Director Brennan says ability to respond lags behind tech JUN 2016 First case of Zika in the US due to local virus’ spread JUL 2016 UN Sec General says world ill- prepared for biological attack AUG 2016 Ivory Coast lifts bushmeat ban due to risk of starving > Ebola SEP 2016 Madagascar – plague JAN 2017 FEMA CDP discovers trainees exposed to ricin over past 5 years FEB 2017 Syria – releases sarin APR 2017 Liberia - Unexplained cluster of deaths May 2017 Democratic Republic of the Congo – Ebola May 2017 Nigeria, Kenya – Cholera July 2017 Uganda, Kenya – Marburg virus disease October 2017 Evidence that North Korea is producing BW OCT 2017 Nigeria – Monkeypox DEC 2017
  3. 3. Spectrum of Biodefense 3 Prevention and Deterrence Preparedness Detection and Surveillance Response Attribution Recovery Mitigation
  4. 4. • Established in 2014 • Purpose: to assess gaps and provide recommendations to improve U.S. biodefense • Perspectives provided at four day-long meetings with academia, advocacy, government, and industry 4 Study Panel Background
  5. 5. Report Released October 2015 • Determined where the U.S. is falling short of addressing biological events – intentionally introduced, accidentally released, and naturally occurring 5
  6. 6. Challenge of Leadership • The Nation does not afford the biological threat the same level of attention as it does other threats • No centralized leader • No comprehensive strategic plan • No all-inclusive dedicated budget 6
  7. 7. Challenge of Leadership • The Nation lacks a single leader to: • Control • Prioritize • Coordinate • Hold agencies accountable for working towards common national biodefense • This weakness precludes sufficient defense against biological threats 7
  8. 8. Need to Elevate Coordination • Inter-governmental and multi-disciplinary efforts needed • No centralized, effective leadership directing and harmonizing efforts • This can largely be resolved through: • The leadership of the Vice President of the United States • Establishment of a White House Biodefense Coordination Council 8
  9. 9. Need to Elevate Collaboration • U.S. biodefense is not – nor should it be – a solely Federal function • Impact of biological events, while felt nationally, will be addressed locally • Federal government must aid in strengthening SLTT capabilities, and increasing support to and access by SLTT, for biodefense 9
  10. 10. Need to Drive Innovation • Need much greater focus on innovation than ever before, because: • Biological threats imminent • Biological vulnerabilities existing too long • Complexity of threat requires equally complex solutions • Requires prioritization and funding to maintain any realized successes and pursue opportunity and innovation 10
  11. 11. Report Conclusions • Critical mass of biological crisis • Myriad biological threats, vulnerabilities, and consequences increase risk to the Nation • Dramatic improvements within reach if we: • Follow a national blueprint for biodefense • Establish leadership • Engage in major reform efforts that build on good work already in place and innovates where it is not 11
  12. 12. 2nd Report Released December 2016 • Determined that biological events were outpacing Federal efforts to defend the nation • Provided status of Federal implementation of Panel recommendations 12
  13. 13. 3rd Report Released October 2017 • Provides specific recommendations for protecting animal agriculture – part of one of the largest sectors of the U.S. economy 13
  14. 14. 4th Report Released February 2018 • Describes need for integrated budget to increase return on investment • Determines success of National Biodefense Strategy depends on sufficiently funding top priority activities 14
  15. 15. 9/30/2016 15 The Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense will release three reports this year on attribution of biological crime, terrorism, and warfare; SLTT ability to respond to large-scale biological events; and federal progress in implementing the recommendations.
  16. 16. 9/30/2016 16
  17. 17. Recommendations from Blueprint for Biodefense
  18. 18. 1. Institutionalize biodefense in the Office of the Vice President 2. Establish a Biodefense Coordination Council at the White House, led by VPOTUS 3. Develop, implement, and update a comprehensive national biodefense strategy 18 Recommendations
  19. 19. 4. Unify biodefense budgeting 5. Determine and establish a clear congressional agenda to ensure national biodefense 6. Improve management of the biological intelligence enterprise 7. Integrate animal and One Health approaches into biodefense strategies 19 Recommendations (continued)
  20. 20. 8. Prioritize and align investments in medical countermeasures among all Federal stakeholders 9. Better support and inform decisions based on biological attribution 10.Establish a national environmental decontamination and remediation capacity 20 Recommendations (continued)
  21. 21. 11.Implement an integrated national biosurveillance capability 12.Empower non-federal entities to be equal biosurveillance partners 13.Optimize the National Biosurveil- lance Integration System 14.Improve surveillance of and planning for animal and zoonotic outbreaks 21 Recommendations (continued)
  22. 22. 15.Provide emergency service providers with the resources they need to keep themselves and their families safe 16.Redouble efforts to share information with SLTT partners 17.Fund the PHEP cooperative agreement at no less than authorized levels 22 Recommendations (continued)
  23. 23. 18.Establish and utilize a standard process to develop and issue clinical infection control guidance for biological events 19.Minimize redirection of Hospital Preparedness Program funds 20.Provide the financial incentives hospitals need to prepare for biological events 23 Recommendations (continued)
  24. 24. 21.Establish a biodefense hospital system 22.Develop and implement a Medical Countermeasure Response Framework 23.Allow for a forward deployment of Strategic National Stockpile assets 24 Recommendations (continued)
  25. 25. 24.Harden pathogen and advanced biotechnology information from cyber attacks 25.Renew U.S. leadership of the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention 26.Implement military-civilian collaboration for biodefense 25 Recommendations (continued)
  26. 26. 27.Prioritize innovation over incrementalism in medical countermeasure development 28.Fully prioritize, fund, and incentive the medical countermeasure enterprise 29.Reform Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority contracting 26 Recommendations (continued)
  27. 27. 30.Incentive development of rapid point-of-care diagnostics 31.Develop an 21st Century-worthy environmental detection system 32.Renew and overhaul the Select Agent Program 33.Lead the way toward establishing a functional and agile global public health response apparatus 27 Recommendations (continued)