Notations From the Grid (Mid-Week Edition): Out & About on Health Security Courtesy Johns Hopkins University


New from the Center 

Join us on May 26, at 11am (ET) for the Capitol Hill Steering Committee on Pandemic Preparedness and Health Security webinar: U.S. Leadership for a Pandemic-Free Future: Technologies to End Biological Threats.
For military technology and materiel, the United States has the best-in-the-world R&D, large reserves, and domestic supply chains. As we’ve seen, the Covid-19 pandemic caught the Unites States flat-footed, rushing to respond to a crisis to save lives and livelihoods. By investing in specific, known technology innovations, the United States can protect American lives while regaining its claim to international leadership in science and technology, innovation, public health, and national security. During this webinar we will explore how the federal government can prioritize investments in available and future technologies to ensure nothing like the Covid-19 pandemic, or worse, could ever happen again.


Clinical Practice 

Comparable Environmental Stability and Disinfection Profiles of the Currently Circulating SARS-CoV-2 Variants of Concern B.1.1.7 and B.1.351 (The Journal of Infectious Diseases) The emergence of novel SARS-CoV-2 B.1.1.7 and B.1.351 variants of concern with increased transmission dynamics has raised questions regarding stability and disinfection of these viruses. In this study, we analyzed surface stability and disinfection of the currently circulating SARS-CoV-2 variants B.1.1.7 and B.1.351 compared to the wild type. Treatment with heat, soap and ethanol revealed similar inactivation profiles indicative of a comparable susceptibility towards disinfection. Furthermore, we observed comparable surface stability on steel, silver, copper and face masks. Overall, our data support the application of currently recommended hygiene concepts to minimize the risk of B.1.1.7 and B.1.351 transmission.

Public & Global Health

India Promises More Vaccines as Daily COVID-19 Deaths Stay Above 4,000 (Reuters) Some Indian states said on Sunday they would extend COVID-19 lockdowns to help contain the pandemic, which has killed more than 270,000 people in the country, as the federal government pledged to bolster vaccine supplies. The number of deaths from COVID-19 in the past 24 hours in India has risen more than 4,000 for the fourth time in a week, with Sunday's 311,170 new infections representing the lowest single-day rise in more than three weeks. Federal health officials warned against any complacency over a "plateauing" in the rise of infections, however, and urged states to add intensive care units and strengthen their medical workforces.

India Confirms Few Serious COVID-19 Vaccine Adverse Events (Precision Vaccines) India's Union Health Ministry confirmed in a statement today the National Adverse Event Following Immunisation committee has completed an in-depth case review of 498 serious and severe events related to COVID-19 vaccines, reported the Tribute India. Two vaccines that have been granted emergency use authorization by the Central Drugs Standard Control Organization in India are Covishield® (AstraZeneca's vaccine manufactured by Serum Institute of India) and Covaxin® (manufactured by Bharat Biotech Limited).

The COVAX Facility Will Deliver its 65 Millionth Vaccine Dose This Week. It Should’ve Been At Least Its 170 Millionth. The Time to Donate Excess Doses is Now (UNICEF) The COVAX Facility – the global COVID vaccine equity scheme – will deliver its 65 millionth dose in the coming days. It should have been at least its 170 millionth. By the time G7 leaders gather in the UK next month, and as a deadly second wave of COVID-19 will likely continue to sweep across India and many of its South Asian neighbours, the shortfall will near 190 million doses  

Covid Variant from India Could Become Dominant in the UK ‘In a Matter of Days,’ Posing Unknown Dangers (CNBC) The coronavirus variant that first emerged in India could become the dominant strain of the virus in the U.K. in a matter of days, scientists have warned. The U.K. is detecting a rapid spread of the Covid variant “B.1.617” that first emerged in India last October and is seen as responsible for a wave of infections that has engulfed the south Asian nation in recent months.

Science & Technology 

A Rapid, Accurate, Scalable, and Portable Testing System for COVID-19 Diagnosis (Nature) The need for rapid, accurate, and scalable testing systems for COVID-19 diagnosis is clear and urgent. Here, we report a rapid Scalable and Portable Testing (SPOT) system consisting of a rapid, highly sensitive, and accurate assay and a battery-powered portable device for COVID-19 diagnosis.

Public & Global Health

How COVID is Changing the Study of Human Behaviour (Nature) During the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, Jay Van Bavel, a psychologist at New York University, wanted to identify the social factors that best predict a person’s support for public-health measures, such as physical distancing or closing restaurants. He had a handful of collaborators ready to collect survey data. But because the pandemic was going on everywhere, he wondered whether he could scale up the project. So he tried something he’d never done before.

Government Affairs & National Security

Biden Boosts COVID-19 Vaccine Commitment to Other Countries to 80 Million Doses (Boston Globe) President Joe Biden said Monday that the U.S. will share an additional 20 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines with the world in the coming six weeks. The doses would come from existing U.S. production of Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccine stocks. It would mark the first time that U.S.-controlled doses of vaccines authorized for use in the country will be shared overseas, as domestic demand for the shots has dropped significantly in recent weeks. “We know America will never be fully safe until the pandemic that’s raging globally is under control,” Biden said at the White House.

Global Health Security

Cyclone Hits India On Deadliest Day Of Pandemic (NPR) On the same day the country confirmed its highest-ever daily death toll from COVID-19, it was also hit by a deadly storm. Cyclone Tauktae barreled into India's west coast overnight packing wind gusts of up to 130 miles per hour — some of the strongest on record — before weakening over land later Tuesday.

Other 21st Century Threats

Hurricane Sandy left a trail of destruction across the northeastern United States in 2012. The storm zigged and zagged up the coast before making landfall just north of Atlantic City on October 29. Sandy’s final toll: 159 deaths and $75 billion in damages to homes and businesses stretching from Maryland to New Hampshire. Quickly dubbed Superstorm Sandy, it was the fourth-most-costly US hurricane on record, according to federal figures. Some government agencies have even used Sandy as an example of what the future may look like in a world where a warmer atmosphere and warmer oceans fuel more powerful hurricanes that are able to wreak damage across wider areas.


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