Discussion Questions

Week 4:

Question 1: Read and Discuss within your group: Communicating with the Public about Emerging Health Threats Lessons from the Pre-event Message Development Project.pdf

2. Read “Scientists Brace for Media Storm around Controversial Flu Studies” (Science, 2011).  Read: “Benefits and Risks of Influenza Research: Lessons Learned” (Science, 2012) Read “Call to censor flu studies draws fire” (Nature, 2012)  Read “Scientists call for 60-day suspension of mutant flu research”  (Nature, 2012) Read the actual statement here: “Pause on avian flu transmission studies” (Nature, 2012) Read “Creating a Mammalian-Transmissible A/H5N1 Influenza Virus: Social Contracts, Prudence, and Alternative Perspectives” M. Osterholm, D. Relman in JID (2012). Read “The Science of Security Versus the Security of Science” N. Bouvier in JID (2012) Gain of Function Perspectives “Risks and Benefits of Gain of Function Research” by Arturo Casadeval and Michael J. Imperiale (editorial) “White Paper – The Gain of Function Research: Ethical Analysis” by Michael J. Selgelid (commissioned by the NSABB) NSABB’s “Framework for Conducting Risk and Benefit Assessments of Gain-of-Function Research” (2015)

Discussion: Read the above articles and state and defend your position regarding:

1. Would you call this gain of function research?

2. Should this information have been published?  Why or why not? Use additional resources to back up your response.

For additional notes: For a very in-depth, 1000-page analysis, you can see the “Risk and Benefit Analysis of Gain of Function Research” by Gryphon Scientific (commissioned by the NSABB)

Question 2: Also…The US Government instituted a moratorium on all GOF work in October 2014 in reaction to the publication of the research and subsequent outcry. It was subsequently lifted, but no other country followed the US move.

Week 11 Question 1. Discussion (1 of 2 for the week): Is the US Government doing enough to develop new medical countermeasures for emerging infectious diseases? If you could select a single medical countermeasure as a top priority for funding, resources, and fast-track approval, which one would it be and why? Read the two documents below. The PHEMCE SIP, though dated, will give you a fairly thorough overview of where we are with medical countermeasures development – and who is doing what. It is a long document, but you will emerge knowing quite a lot about what the US is doing in this critical area.  1. As a foundation, read HSPD-18 – Medical Countermeasures Against Weapons of Mass Destruction (2007) 2. To understand the US Government’s approach to MCM development, read the 2017-2018 PHEMCE Strategy and Implementation Plan. Notes just for the curious:  Read about the development of platform technologies for vaccine development in “Novel Vaccine Technologies: Essential Components of an Adequate Response to Emerging Viral Diseases” (JAMA, March 2018) Read about new efforts to collaborate to develop vaccines. This article is about The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI). You can read more about CEPI’s Approach as well.

Question 2: Discussion (2 of 2 for the week): What is ONE improvement that could be made to the Strategic National Stockpile that would enhance distribution? You can make recommendations to improve delivery methods; improve “staging” of MCMs, increase the “surge” capability, etc…  Developing and manufacturing MCM’s is part of being able to respond. A critical next step is being able to get MCMs to those in need in time to make a difference.  This discussion will cover the current US MCM distribution strategy at the federal, state, and local levels. Read this chapter: “Medical Countermeasures Distribution and Dispensing in Response to the 2009 H1N1 Influenza Pandemic” It is part of a NAS workshop summary. Read: The Nation’s Medical Countermeasure Stockpile. This is the summary of a workshop held in 2016. The only major change in practice is that ASPR now manages the stockpile instead of the CDC. (Downloading the entire book is free – continue as “guest”) Week 12 Question 1:  Take a position on whether the US should prioritize Global Health as a National Security objective. Why or why not?  The Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA) “is an effort by nations, international organizations, and civil society to accelerate progress toward a world safe and secure from infectious disease threats; to promote global health security as an international priority; and to spur progress toward full implementation of the WHO IHRs, the OIE PVS pathway, and other relevant global health security frameworks.” There is a GHSA Homepage with a lot of information. Please read all 11 Action Packages that describe how the GHSA members intend to translate political support into action.  The question remains, though… will we get there from here? Read Time magazine, “The World is not Ready for the Next Pandemic” (May 2017)

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