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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


    IDSA Pledges Support to U.S. Ebola Response Coordinator Ron Klain (PDF)

    In a letter to newly-appointed U.S. Ebola Response Coordinator Ron Klain, IDSA President Dr. Stephen Calderwood outlined the Society's Ebola response efforts to date and volunteered IDSA's expertise and resources to help the federal government coordinate the U.S. and global response.

    IDSA Seasonal and Pandemic Influenza Principles for U.S. Action (PDF)

    IDSA's Pandemic and Seasonal Influenza Principles for United States Action are to educate and federal policymakers and assist the US Department of Health and Human Services' Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and other agency officials, about how best to prepare for and respond to seasonal and pandemic influenza.

    IDSA Statement on Doxycycline Medkits (PDF)

    At a joint meeting of FDA advisory committees regarding development of a doxycycline home MedKit, IDSA provided a public statement on prepositioning in the event of an anthrax release.

    IDSA Testimony on Medical Countermeasures Enterprise Review (PDF)

    Dr. Andy Pavia testified on behalf of IDSA at a September 29, 2010 hearing of the Senate Labor-Health and Human Services-Education Appropriations Subcommittee examining the Public Health Emergency Medical Countermeasures Enterprise review completed by the Department of Health and Human Services in August 2010.

    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.

    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.

    IDSA Comments on HHS H5N1 Select Agent Proposal (PDF)

    IDSA advocates balancing the public health risk of impeding the conduct of H5N1 research against the public health risk of an accidental laboratory release or act of bioterrorism.  IDSA recommends that naturally occurring H5N1 viruses and vaccine strains be regulated as HHS select agents with current biosafety and biosecurity regulations, while H5N1 viruses that have been engineered for greater transmissibility or pathogenicity be regulated as Tier 1 select agents, and with increased biosafety and biosecurity restrictions.

    IDSA Comments on FDA Development of Multiplexed Diagnostics (PDF)

    FDA sought comments on options being considered for the performance validation of highly multiplexed microbiology/medical countermeasure (MCM) diagnostic devices.  In responding to the FDA concept paper, IDSA addressed the clinical and public health need for better infectious diseases diagnostic devices, clinical considerations for device design, and key issues for device validation.

    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, wich 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.

    IDSA Urges Timely Reauthorization of Pandemic and All Hazards Preparedness Act (PAHPA) (PDF)

    IDSA sent a letter to key congressional negotiators urging them to quickly pass PAHPA reauthorization and to include a Senate provision creating a Strategic Investor to leverage venture capital for the development of new medical countermeasures.

    IDSA Comments on Preparedness Legislation (PDF)

    IDSA sent a letter to congressional sponsors of House and Senate legislation to reauthorize the Pandemic and All Hazards Preparedness Act (PAHPA) urging that key provisions from each chambers' proposal be included in the final legislation.

    IDSA Letter to Senate Sponsors of the Pandemic and All Hazards Preparedness (PAHPA) Reauthorization Act (PDF)

    IDSA commends the PAHPA Reauthorization Act and encourages new provisions to incentivize antibiotic R&D, provide federal leadership to explore options for public private partnerships to focus on early antibiotic discovery research, and strengthen influenza preparedness and response.

    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.

    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.


    Information Sharing and Collaboration: Applications to Integrated Biosurveillance--Workshop Summary

    Public Workshop Summary, Institute of Medicine Workshop on Information Sharing and Collaboration:  Applications to Integrated Biosurveillance November 30, 2011.


    Summary of an Institute of Medicine workshop exploring the information-sharing and collaboration processes needed for the nation's integrated biosurveillance strategy.


    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.


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