Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Video: Senate Subcommittee Hearing On The State of U.S. Public Health Biopreparedness


The full name of the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee hearing, held on June 15th is:

The State of U.S. Public Health Biopreparedness: Responding to Biological Attacks, Pandemics, and Emerging Infectious Disease Outbreaks

And it features a stellar panel of experts whose names are no doubt familiar to most of my readers:

Dr. Rick A. Bright
Director, Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority; Deputy Assistant Secretary, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response

Dr. Anthony Fauci
Director, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health

Rear Admiral Denise Hinton
Chief Scientist, U.S. Food and Drug Administration

Dr. Anne Schuchat
Principal Deputy Director, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The video is clocked at 2hrs and 12 mins, but the hearing doesn't get started until about 15 minutes in, and the opening 20 minutes are consumed by opening statements by subcommittee members, so the actual testimony doesn't begin until nearly nearly the 40 minute mark.

Much of this hearing was devoted to the handover of control of the Strategic National Stockpile (for background see Webinar: The Strategic National Stockpile) from the CDC to the HHS's Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR), and progress reports on vaccine development and point of care diagnostics.
But just over an hour into the video, each of the panel members was asked what biological threat keeps them up at night.  Not surprisingly influenza - or an influenza-like pandemic virus (i.e. SARS, MERS, etc.) - was at or near the top of many of their lists. 
While more than cordial, there were some tough questions asked of the panel, and it is always good to see how the real experts are assessing the current threat environment.

The full video (and accompanying documents) may be viewed at this link.

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