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  • Emerging Infections & Biothreats

    Public health emergencies caused by infectious threats have the potential to kill thousands or millions of people. These threats can emerge naturally as outbreaks or pandemics, such as influenza (pandemic and seasonal), severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), extremely-drug resistant (XDR) tuberculosis, New Delhi metallo-b-lactamase 1 (NDM1), antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections, and HIV/AIDS. Or, they can emerge deliberately through bioterrorism, such as the 2001 anthrax attacks or potential threats posed by smallpox, tularemia, and plague. Infectious threats can undermine not only patient care and public health, but also national security. Influenza pandemics, for example, have a long history of devastation in terms of lives lost, hospitalizations, and destabilizing national economies. 

    Each day, infectious diseases physicians and scientists serve on the front lines in protecting us from such threats. IDSA advances U.S. preparedness and response initiatives by promoting appropriate action by health care providers, strengthened public health and research efforts, development of life-saving countermeasures (vaccines, drugs and diagnostics), and implementation of appropriate non-therapeutic control measures.

    Pandemic and Seasonal Influenza Principles

    IDSA’s Efforts on Public Health Emergencies and Biothreats

    9/30/2016

    IDSA Statement on Passage of Continuing Resolution and Zika Funding

    The Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) welcomes the action taken by Congress to prevent a government shutdown and provide $1.1 billion for responses to the continuing spread of the Zika virus. The full and continuous operation of Federal agencies, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health, is critical to our nation’s safety and wellbeing. Additionally, the overdue resources the bill provides for global and domestic Zika responses must be put to work immediately.
    5/17/2016

    IDSA Zika Vote Statement (PDF)

    IDSA urges Congress to pass the strongest emergency bill possible to combat Zika and to reject efforts to fund the Zika response at the expense of equally critical health funding.
    6/1/2015

    IDSA Co-Authors Brief on Preparedness for Emerging Infections (PDF)

    IDSA joined Trust for America's Health (TFAH) and the UPMC Center for Health Security calling for the United States to take additional steps to prepare for MERS-CoV and other emerging infections.  The brief argues that public health and healthcare systems cannot afford to become complacent in preparing for infectious disease threats and that system-wide preparedness is needed for potential outbreaks.
    2/3/2015

    IDSA Submits Testimony To Congress Urging Better Investments for Seasonal and Pandemic Influenza Preparedness (PDF)

    In connection with a February 2015 Congressional hearing, "Examining the US Public Health Response to Seasonal Influenza," IDSA submitted written testimony highlighting the importance of building a strong public health infrastructure to protect the public from severe illness and death caused by seasonal influenza.  The letter urges a greater investment in public health preparedness as well as research and development programs for influenza vaccines and antivirals.
    1/28/2016

    IDSA Comments on Clinical Trial Design in Emerging Infectious Diseases (PDF)

    IDSA responded to an FDA and NIAID request for public comments on how to improve clinical trial designs under the unique conditions in emerging infectious diseases.  IDSA provided recommendations on addressing informed consent, striving for standard of care, and the importance of tailoring a clinical trial based on the specific circumstances of each outbreak as well as the intervention being studied.
    9/14/2015

    IDSA Comments on the Addition of Avian Influenza to the Select Agent List (PDF)

    IDSA responded to an HHS Notice of Proposed Rule Making to add influenza viruses that contain A/Gs/Gd/1/96 Hemagglutinin (HA), including wild-type viruses, as non-Tier 1 select agents and viruses that have additionally made transmissible among mammals by respiratory droplets in a laboratory as Tier 1 select agents.  IDSA supported this proposal, and reaffirmed the importance of maintaining a balance between the public health risk of impeding research with these viruses against the public health risk of an accidental laboratory risk or act of bioterrorism.
    5/20/2014

    IDSA Submits Comments on 2015-2018 Draft National Health Security Strategy (PDF)

    IDSA submitted comments to the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) on the agency's 2015-2018 draft National Health Security Strategy (NHSS).  IDSA applauds the agency's comprehensive approach to national security and the inclusion of "One Health" principles in the strategy, while offering substantive comments on various components of the NHSS most relevant to ID physicians and their patients.
    4/23/2013

    IDSA Comments on Institutional Oversight of Life Sciences Dual Use Research of Concern (PDF)

    IDSA Supports the principles underlying the draft U.S. Government (USG) policy, but urges the USG to re-define the scope of oversight and provide much more specific guidance, analytical tools and other resources to assist institutions in implementation.
    7/7/2016

    IDSA Endorses Legislation to Bolster Mosquito Abatement (PDF)

    Senators Angus King (I-ME), Bill Nelson (D-FL), and Richard Burr (R-NC) introduced the Strengthening Mosquito Abatement for Safety and Health (SMASH) Act.  The bill renews approval for existing programs that assist state and local public health departments in preventing mosquito-borne illnesses such as Zika.  IDSA provided a letter supporting the legislation.
    2/19/2016

    IDSA Recommendations on Addressing the Zika Virus Outbreak (PDF)

    In response to the current Zika virus outbreak in the Americas, IDSA developed policy recommendations on how best to address Zika virus both within the US and globally.  These recommendations aim to ensure adequate federal support to strengthen our public health prevention and control, diagnostic development, medical countermeasures research and development, and global health activities.  IDSA relayed these recommendations in a letter to the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, which held a hearing on the Zika virus outbreak on February 24.
    2/3/2015

    IDSA Submits Testimony To Congress Urging Better Investments for Seasonal and Pandemic Influenza Preparedness (PDF)

    In connection with a February 2015 Congressional hearing, "Examining the US Public Health Response to Seasonal Influenza," IDSA submitted written testimony highlighting the importance of building a strong public health infrastructure to protect the public from severe illness and death caused by seasonal influenza.  The letter urges a greater investment in public health preparedness as well as research and development programs for influenza vaccines and antivirals.
    11/13/2012

    Groups Urge Congress to Reauthorize Pandemic and All Hazards Preparedness Act (PAHPA) (PDF)

    IDSA joined over 40 health organizations and companies to urge Congress to reauthorize PAHPA, which includes key preparedness programs such as the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), the BioShield Special Reserve Fund, Public Health Emergency Preparedness grants, and the Hospital Preparedness Program.
    1/25/2013

    Renewing the Project BioShield Act: What Has it Brought and Wrought? (PDF)

    Dr. Robert Kadlec writes that Project BioShield has achieved its strategic objectives and merits continued support and funding.  He argues that the President and Congress should affirm its value as a critical insurance policy against potential chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear attacks.
    3/13/2012

    The Project Bioshield Act: Issues for the 112th Congress (PDF)

    Grotton, Congressional Research Service March 13, 2012.

    A report on the Project Bioshield Act that gives the federal government new authorities over the development, procurement, and use of medical countermeasures against chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) terrorism agents.  Congress is currently considering whether these authorities have sufficiently contributed to national preparedness to merit extension.

    10/4/2011

    Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) Strategic Plan 2011-2016

    The BARDA Strategic Plan defines a set of core principles that will improve BARDA's ability to manage resources efficiently, strengthen public-private partnerships, and promote the broad categories of countermeasures that BARDA is most interested in pursuing to protect health and save lives in a public health emergency.
    9/7/2011

    Biodefense since 9/11: The Price of Protection

    Hayden, Nature vol. 477 no. 7363 September 7 2011 150-152.

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