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May 5th, 2017
The Growing Threat of Pandemics: Enhancing Domestic and International Biosecurity
A Scowcroft Institute of International Affairs White Paper

The threat posed by pandemics grows alongside increased globalization and technological innovation. Distant cultures can now be connected in a day’s time, and international trade links global health and economic prosperity. This report details nine priority areas and accompanying action items that will help to address current pandemic response problems.

Developing centralized leadership; coordinating existing agencies and departments; reforming WHO; and providing adequate funding to establish sufficient supplies, infrastructure, expertise ,and institutions are paramount to success in pandemic response.

The reports stresses that Foreign aid for global health and related investments has never been more important to international security and US national security

The Bush school of government and public services
Jan 13th, 2017
The N-terminal domain of Schmallenberg virus envelope protein Gc is highly immunogenic and can provide protection from infection
Kerstin Wernike, Andrea Aebischer, Gleyder Roman-Sosa & Martin Beer

Schmallenberg virus (SBV) is transmitted by insect vectors, and therefore vaccination is one of the most important tools of disease control. In our study, novel subunit vaccines on the basis of an amino-terminal domain of SBV Gc of 234 amino acids (“Gc Amino”) first were tested and selected using a lethal small animal challenge model and then the best performing formulations also were tested in cattle. We could show that neither E. coli expressed nor the reduced form of “Gc Amino” protected from SBV infection. In contrast, both, immunization with “Gc Amino”-encoding DNA plasmids and “Gc-amino” expressed in a mammalian system, conferred protection in up to 66% of the animals. Interestingly, the best performance was achieved with a multivalent antigen containing the covalently linked Gc domains of both, SBV and the related Akabane virus. All vaccinated cattle and mice were fully protected against SBV challenge infection. Furthermore, in the absence of antibodies against the viral N-protein, differentiation between vaccinated and field-infected animals allows an SBV marker vaccination concept. Moreover, the presented vaccine design also could be tested for other members of the Simbu serogroup and might allow the inclusion of additional immunogenic domains.

doi:10.1038/srep42500
Nature Scientific Reports 7, Article number: 42500 (2017)
Sep 22nd, 2016
Portable, On-Demand Biomolecular Manufacturing
Keith Pardee, Shimyn Slomovic, Peter Q. Nguyen, Jeong Wook Lee, Nina Donghia, Devin Burrill, Tom Ferrante, Fern R. McSorley, Yoshikazu Furuta, Andyna Vernet, Michael Lewandowsk

Synthetic biology uses living cells as molecular foundries for the biosynthesis of drugs, therapeutic proteins, and other commodities. However, the need for specialized equipment and refrigeration for production and distribution poses a challenge for the delivery of these technologies to the field and to low-resource areas. Here, we present a portable platform that provides the means for on-site, on-demand manufacturing of therapeutics and biomolecules. This flexible system is based on reaction pellets composed of freeze-dried, cell-free transcription and translation machinery, which can be easily hydrated and utilized for biosynthesis through the addition of DNA encoding the desired output. We demonstrate this approach with the manufacture and functional validation of antimicrobial peptides and vaccines and present combinatorial methods for the production of antibody conjugates and small molecules. This synthetic biology platform resolves important practical limitations in the production and distribution of therapeutics and molecular tools, both to the developed and developing world

Volume 167, Issue 1, p248–259.e12 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cell.2016.09.013
Cell

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