Authors recommend dedicated attention to and investment in “potentially transformative” technologies to complement traditional approaches to prevention, preparedness, and response
Strategic investment in 15 promising technologies could help make the world better prepared and equipped to prevent future infectious disease outbreaks from becoming catastrophic events.
This subset of emerging technologies and their potential application are the focus of a new report, Technologies to Address Global Catastrophic Biological Risks, by a team of researchers at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. The study is among the first to assess technologies for the purpose of reducing GCBRs—a special category of risk defined previously by the Center as threats from biological agents that could lead to sudden, extraordinary, widespread disaster beyond the collective capability of national and international organizations and the private sector to control.
“While systems to respond [to an outbreak] are in place in many areas of the world, traditional approaches can be too slow or limited in scope to prevent biological events from becoming severe, even in the best of circumstances,” wrote the Center authors. “This type of response remains critically important for today’s emergencies, but it can and should be augmented by novel methods and technologies to improve the speed, accuracy, scalability, and reach of the response.”
Through an extensive literature review and interviews with more than 50 experts, the Center project team identified 15 example technologies and grouped them into 5 broad categories that are significantly relevant to public health preparedness and response:
- Disease Detection, Surveillance, and Situational Awareness: Ubiquitous Genomic Sequencing and Sensing, Drone Networks for Environmental Detection, Remote Sensing for Agricultural Pathogens
- Infectious Disease Diagnostics: Microfluidic Devices, Handheld Mass Spectrometry, Cell-Free Diagnostics
- Distributed Medical Countermeasure Manufacturing: 3D Printing of Chemicals and Biologics, Synthetic Biology for Manufacturing MCMs
- Medical Countermeasure Distribution, Dispensing, and Administration: Microarray Patches for Vaccine Administration, Self-Spreading Vaccines, Ingestible Bacteria for Vaccination, Self-Amplifying mRNA Vaccines, Drone Delivery to Remote Locations
- Medical Care and Surge Capacity: Robotics and Telehealth, Portable Easy-to-Use Ventilator
The project team noted their list is not exhaustive or an endorsement of specific companies. The team used a modified version of DARPA’s Heilmeier Catechism to standardize the process of evaluating each technology and formulating guidance for funding decisions. That process informed the team’s high-level assessment of the readiness of each technology (from early development to being field-ready), the potential impact of the technology on GCBR reduction (from low to high), and the amount of financial investment that would be needed to meaningfully deploy the technology (from low to high). Details on these findings are included in the report.
Crystal Watson, DrPH, MPH, a senior scholar at the Center, Senior Analyst Matthew Watson, and Senior Scholar Tara Kirk Sell, PhD, MA, co-led the project team, which also included Caitlin Rivers, PhD, MPH; Matthew Shearer, MPH; former Analyst Christopher Hurtado, MHS; former Research Assistant Ashley Geleta, MS; and Tom Inglesby, MD, the Center’s director. Their work contributes new ideas to a field in need of innovation despite important, ongoing progress in both the public and private sectors to address pandemic risk.
“The adoption and use of novel technologies for the purpose of epidemic control and public health often lag well behind the innovation curve because they do not have a lucrative market driving their development,” wrote the authors. “This leaves unrealized opportunities for improved practice.”
They recommend creating a consortium of technology developers, public health practitioners, and policymakers tasked with understanding pressing problems surrounding pandemics and GCBRs and jointly developing technology solutions.
Receive an email update when we add a new CATASTROPHIC BIOLOGICAL RISKS article.
The Latest on: Catastrophic biological risks
via Google News
The Latest on: Catastrophic biological risks
- 15 emerging technologies that could reduce global catastrophic biological risks on October 10, 2018 at 7:19 am
Strategic investment in 15 promising technologies could help make the world better prepared and equipped to prevent future infectious disease outbreaks from becoming catastrophic events. This subset o... […]
- Report highlights 15 emerging technologies with potential to reduce global catastrophic biological risks on October 9, 2018 at 12:16 pm
Strategic investment in 15 promising technologies could help make the world better prepared and equipped to prevent future infectious disease outbreaks from becoming catastrophic events. […]
- Targeting abnormal signals suggests novel method to treat a rare childhood blood disease on October 9, 2018 at 7:32 am
Pediatric researchers studying the life-threatening blood disorder Fanconi anemia (FA) have devised a method to block the abnormal biological signals that drive ... They have a high risk for leukemia ... […]
- Sandeep Jauhar's Real-Life Tales From, and of, the Heart on October 8, 2018 at 12:07 pm
In this exclusive interview, he told MedPage Today that he wants people to understand "that our emotional lives are deeply important and relevant to our biological hearts ... and it was a sudden sort ... […]
- Study links subset of genetic variants to autism, intellectual disability on October 5, 2018 at 8:17 am
“The common [variant] signal is how much blast shielding do you have in response to that catastrophic ... modulate the risk from rare mutations, Girirajan says. “It would be important to know how such ... […]
- Cryptography techniques to screen synthetic DNA could help prevent the creation of dangerous pathogens on October 5, 2018 at 7:26 am
The current system for regulating dangerous biological agents is bypassed by ... with regard to whether the benefits outweighed the risks. It's been said that one benefit was highlighting that ... […]
- Rare fish pulled back from extinction on October 4, 2018 at 3:35 pm
“Things could have been catastrophic,” he said. Taylor McKinnon of the Center for Biological Diversity is doubtful about how healthy the razorbacks really are. The government’s reliance on hatcheries ... […]
- APNewsBreak: Another Rare Fish Pulled Back From Extinction on October 4, 2018 at 2:24 pm
"Things could have been catastrophic," he said. Taylor McKinnon of the Center for Biological Diversity is doubtful about how healthy the razorbacks really are. The government's reliance on hatcheries ... […]
- Saddam delay could be catastrophic on August 11, 2018 at 5:00 pm
He said that giving the dictator "time without end" could prove catastrophic. In a speech to troops in Kuwait, Mr Hoon said Saddam Hussein was capable of using chemical and biological weapons. He said ... […]
via Bing News