• Emerging VirusesNew, $125 Million Project Aims to Detect Emerging Viruses

    A new project, funded with $125 million from USAID, aims to detect and characterize unknown viruses which have the potential to spill over from wildlife and domestic animals to human populations. The 5-year project is expected to yield 8,000 to 12,000 novel viruses, which researchers will then screen and sequence the genomes of the ones that pose the most risk to animal and human health.

  • Anthrax AttacksAnthrax Attacks: 20 Years On

    Twenty years ago this month the United States experienced the scary anthrax letter attacks, which targeted major media outlets and members of Congress.

  • Pandemic preparednessApollo Program-Style Pandemic Preparedness Plan

    Last week, the Biden administration announced a new biosecurity plan which it likened to the Apollo program of the late 1960s. This $65 billion proposal would be one of the largest investments in public health in American history and would “remake the nation’s pandemic preparedness infrastructure in the wake of Covid-19.”

  • Chem-bio weaponsParasites Fight Chemical and Biological Weapons

    Harnessing parasites to help soldiers and first responders counter chemical and biological weapon attacks in war zones.

  • Epidemic early warningPath Towards a Global Pathogen Early Warning System

    The world’s ability to detect, track, and analyze disease threats has improved considerably over the past several decades, the COVID-19 pandemic drove home a terrible reality: the systems we had in place are still deeply insufficient for halting the rapid spread of a novel pathogen fast enough to prevent a staggering level of damage. 

  • Public healthIs it a Virus or Bacteria? New Tech Rapidly Tests for Pathogens

    The first line of defense against pandemics is the ability quickly to detect the presence or absence of previously unknown pathogens. DHS S&T is exploring a new technology that can discriminate between bacterial and viral infections using only a single drop of blood per patient.

  • SuperbugsCountries' Shortcomings in Tackling Antibiotic Resistance Spotlighted

    By Chris Dall

    A new report indicates that while the world’s leading economies have been talking a good game when it comes to addressing antimicrobial resistance (AMR), they have yet to translate that talk into substantive action.

  • COVID-19 originsLet Scientific Evidence Determine Origin of SARS-CoV-2: Presidents of the National Academies

    Earlier this week, the leaders of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine issued a statement about the ongoing debate regarding the origins of the COVID-19 virus. “We urge that investigations into the origins of SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 be guided by scientific principles, including reliance on verifiable data, reproducibility, objectivity, transparency, peer review, international collaboration, minimizing conflicts of interest, findings based on evidence, and clarity regarding uncertainties” they write.

  • Pandemic preparednessThe Future of U.S. Pandemic Preparedness

    By Michelle Grundahl

    On May 26, 2021, the National Biodefense Science Board (NBSB) held a (virtual) public meeting that discussed actions that the United States needs to take to be better prepared for the challenges posed by public health emergencies such as pandemics, “Disease X,” and other biological threats.

  • BOOKSHELF: The Anthrax attackInvisible Scourge: The Investigation, Legacy, and Lessons of the 2001 Anthrax Attacks

    By Al Mauroni

    The anthrax incidents of 2001 represented a major milestone for the national security community, in that they highlighted the vulnerabilities of the United States to a very unique domestic threat. While the number of initial casualties were few, the anthrax-filled letters created a nation-wide panic because they were unattributed, and the biological agent was perhaps the most dangerous organism that had been weaponized. This “invisible scourge” also shook the public health community, which was not prepared to respond to deliberate biological threats.

  • Food securityNew Biodefense Lab to Focus on Food Security

    The University of Nebraska has launched a 5-year project to help safeguard the U.S. food supply. The project will address agricultural and natural resources security, defense, and countermeasures; biological defense in support of the U.S. Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security and other government stakeholders; development and deployment of biosurveillance, biodetection and diagnostic tools; and pandemic preparedness related to human, livestock and crop plant diseases that could result in disruptions to the U.S. and global food systems.

  • Food securityProtecting the U.S. Food Supply Chain

    An attack on our food supply—whether from intentional tampering, or due to contagious animal disease—could be dangerous to human health and could cause long-lasting economic impacts. DHS S&T is working to protect the U.S. food supply chain – from the farm to the table.

  • BiosensorsNew Biosensor Detect Toxins and More

    A new device is not quite the Star Trek “tricorder” medical scanner, but it’s a step in the right direction. The Portable EnGineered Analytic Sensor with aUtomated Sampling (PEGASUS) is a miniaturized waveguide-based optical sensor that can detect toxins, bacterial signatures, viral signatures, biothreats, white powders and more, from samples such as blood, water, CSF, food, and animal samples.

  • VirusesNew Tool Assesses Risk of Wild-Life Origin Viruses

    Researchers have a developed a new framework and interactive web tool, SpillOver, which “estimates a risk score for wildlife-origin viruses, creating a comparative risk assessment of viruses with uncharacterized zoonotic spillover potential alongside those already known to be zoonotic.”

  • BiosecurityMonitoring Current and Future Biological Threats

    DHS S&T has awarded $199,648 to Mesur.io Inc., for analysis and reporting of outbreak-related data. The Mesur.io project proposes to adapt their Earthstream Platform to provide DHS and NBIC with data that tracks metrics related to an outbreak or emergence to predict various risks of a biological threat.