New report calls for increase in government aid for countermeasures

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' newly released "Public Health Emergency Medical Countermeasure Enterprise Review: Transforming the Enterprise to Meet Long Range National Needs" report outlines several areas where medical countermeasures for bioterror are lacking and recommends new approaches.

“Our nation must have a system that is nimble and flexible enough to produce medical countermeasures quickly in the face of any attack or threat, whether it’s a threat we know about today or a new one,” U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said. “By moving towards a 21st century countermeasures enterprise with a strong base of discovery, a clear regulatory pathway, and agile manufacturing, we will be able to respond faster and more effectively to public health threats.”

The review identified a need to upgrade science and regulatory capacity at the Food and Drug Administration and found that U.S. must find ways to speed up manufacturing processes for multiple medications or vaccines as opposed to those that are only used to produce only one type of countermeasure.

The most promising research and development on countermeasures, the review found, is currently being done by small, emerging biotech companies that have little experience in large-scale manufacturing.

The Centers of Innovation for Advanced Development and Manufacturing, to aid these companies, will serve as a resource in bringing products to market and helping the government increase the number of new countermeasures available.

The federal government also needs to do a better job in nurturing discoveries in their earliest stages ,the review says, which will allow the discoveries to be pushed to greater maturity.

HHS, to aid in nurturing new discoveries, has announced that it will create new teams at the National Institutes of Health to identify promising research and facilitate its translation into vaccines, drugs and treatments to keep Americans safe.

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