HHS publishes annual Project BioShield report

The latest annual report on Project BiosShield was recently published by HHS and the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness Response, covering the development of countermeasures in the year 2009.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the report says, has spearheaded the drive to ensure the United States has medical countermeasures available for the country to respond to a chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear attack, according to HomelandSecurityNewswire.com.

The HHS has successfully assisted in delivering the first human vaccine for avian flu, as well as treatments for anthrax, radiation exposure and botulism to the Strategic National Stockpile, the report says. There are also efforts in place to develop a smallpox vaccine as well as other countermeasures for the SNS.

Nicole Lurie, the assistant secretary for preparedness and response, told HomelandSecurityNewswire.com that Project BioShield still needs to produce adaptable distribution plans in order to quickly deliver countermeasures for every American.

In 2009, antitoxins for anthrax and botulinum were procured for the SNS through existing contracts with the Biomedical Advanced Research Development Authority. In March 2009, there was a successful solicitation of support for the procurement of 1.7 million courses of smallpox antiviral drugs.

The project has run into trouble, however, developing and procuring a next generation anthrax vaccine.

The report describes streamlining procedures conducted by HHS with reference to grants, contracts and cooperative measures in developing countermeasures, including the use of Section Four of the BioShield Act to speed the process along safely, HomelandSecurityNewswire.com reports. Section four of the BioShield Act allows the secretary of HHS to issue emergency use authorization for products that are unapproved.