• Investments in Nature Needed to Stop the Next Pandemic: Experts

    A group of leading scientific experts from the U.S., Latin America, Africa and South Asia released a report outlining the strong scientific foundations for taking actions to stop the next pandemic by preventing the spillover of pathogens from animals to people. Among other findings, the report notes that protecting forests and changing agricultural practices are essential, cost-effective actions to prevent pandemics.

  • Focusing on Zoonotic Diseases

    Experts warn that zoonotic diseases—diseases caused by germs that spread from animals to people—are a growing and increasingly dangerous threat to global public health. Veterinarian and PNNL data scientist Lauren Charles talks animal-borne diseases—and how biosurveillance can help combat them

  • Parasites Fight Chemical and Biological Weapons

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

  • Medicine Manufacturing Limits Poses Risk to U.S. Health Security

    More than 80 percent of the active ingredients in medicines the U.S. Food and Drug Administration deems essential for public health have no U.S. manufacturing source. Essential medicines include antibiotics, antivirals, blood pressure pills, steroids and many others. This vulnerability of the U.S. public health care system is not only matter of health care security, but of national security as well.

  • Members of Scientific Journal Editorial Board Resign over China Genetics Papers

    Eight members of the editorial board of Molecular Genetics & Genomic Medicine have resigned after the journal published several controversial papers which “critics fear could be used for DNA profiling and persecution of ethnic minorities in China.”

  • Water Systems Vulnerable to Cyberthreats

    In February, a hacker tried to manipulate the water utility’s computers in Oldsmar, Fla. so that the level of lye in the water would be raised. Joel Griffin writes that “had the perpetrator not been caught…. this cyber-attack could have resulted in actual physical harm to residents and potentially even deaths. The simplicity of this cyber-attack … also illustrates the gravity of the situation facing water utilities,” as they try to implement contemporary IT security solutions to decades-old equipment ad operational technology.

  • New Book Helps Readers Spot Online Health Scams

    UBC’s Dr. Bernie Garrett, the author of a new book on health scams, misinformation, and disinformation, says that “Scam marketers are well-versed in modern advertising techniques and the psychology of persuasion. They know all the triggers that can help sell a product.” He adds that, during the COVID period, such scams “definitely have proliferated, and this has been aided by social media… Unfortunately, people can post misinformation on social media with no real consequences.”

  • Protecting Lives on the Wildland Fire Line

    Unlike first responders who fight structural fires, wildland firefighters are unable to use the current standard respirator systems, which are heavy, limited to 45 minutes of air and are too bulky. Since the current standard equipment for respiratory protection is a bandanna, DHS S&T and partners designed the Wildfire Respirator around a lightweight mask covering just the mouth and nose, relying on filtration rather than on heavy tanks of compressed air.

  • Smartphone Screens Effective Sensors for Soil or Water Contamination

    The touchscreen technology used in billions of smartphones and tablets could also be used as a powerful sensor, without the need for any modifications.

  • Surgeon General Urges ‘Whole-of-Society’ Effort to Fight Health Misinformation

    “Misinformation is worse than an epidemic: It spreads at the speed of light throughout the globe, and can prove deadly when it reinforces misplaced personal bias against all trustworthy evidence,” said National Academy of Sciences President Marcia McNutt. “Research is helping us combat this ‘misinfodemic’ through understanding its origins and the aspects of human nature that make it so transmittable.”

  • 5 Million Deaths a Year Linked to Abnormal Temperatures

    More than five million extra deaths a year can be attributed to abnormal hot and cold temperatures, according to a new study.

  • Sen. Rubio Urges Senate to Pass Genomics Data Security Act

    Senator Marco Rubio urged the Senate to pass his Genomics Data Security Act following a new Office of Inspector General’s (OIG) report, which found that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) did not consider national security risks for any CMS programs. Rubio noted that Chinese and Russian labs may be receiving federal dollars to processing Americans’ genomic data.

  • More Than 100 Deaths Tied to Heat Wave in Pacific Northwest

    More than 100 deaths in Oregon, Washington, and y British Columbia may have been caused by hyperthermia, authorities say, as the region continues to experience record-shattering high temperatures.

  • Let 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.

  • The Future of U.S. Pandemic Preparedness

    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.