Homeland Security issues BAA for biological threat agent research

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security issued a broad agency announcement on December 14 for the competitive selection of research proposals related to characterization studies for biological threat agents.

DHS's Chemical and Biological Defense Division seeks technologies that will prevent and defend against biological and chemical attacks. The CBD's Threat Characterization and Attribution branch conducts threat and risk assessments, characterizes biological threats, and provides support on a scientific level to biodefense, chemical defense and intelligence communities. The Biological Threat Characterization Program supports the TCA by characterizing biological threats to support the four pillars of biodefense.

The BAA is meant to conduct studies and experimentation through the BTCP to address information requirements in biological threat characterization. The deliverables should have a positive influence on biological agent threat awareness, the prevention of and protection from biological agent incidents, the response and recovery from biological incidents, and surveillance and detection during biological incidents.

Because it is not feasible to develop medical countermeasures for each known toxin and pathogen, the research is meant to address the need for broader strategies that will address multiple toxins and pathogens for less than the expense of a single bioagent scenario.

One objective of the BAA is to provide technical intelligence on known gaps in knowledge of biological agents to more effectively understand the risk uncertainty of current and future biological agents. Another goal of the research is to find potential impacts that will guide the development of future countermeasures, detectors, drugs, vaccines and decontamination technologies.

The response date for the BAA is January 23.