Enabling Rapid Response and Sustained Capability with Medical Countermeasures to Mitigate Risk of Emerging Infectious Diseases: An Institute of Medicine Workshop

When: March 26, 2015 - March 27, 2015 (8:30 AM Eastern)
Where: National Academy of Sciences Building (RM 125) • 2101 Constitution Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20418

Topics Biomedical and Health Research, Public Health, Global Health
Activities: Forum on Medical and Public Health Preparedness for Disasters and Emergencies, Forum on Microbial Threats, Forum on Drug Discovery, Development, and Translation
Boards: Board on Health Sciences Policy, Board on Global Health

Workshop Background:

With the 2014 Ebola outbreak affecting several countries around the globe, and with many nations simultaneously following the MERS-CoV cases in the Middle East and other biological threats to see if and how they develop, a need for a mechanism to enable rapid medical countermeasure production is apparent. There is currently no operational business model to do this, and the present approach of tracking threats to see if they reach an arbitrary threshold to take action could have an adverse impact on getting needed countermeasures developed and distributed to target populations in a timely fashion. The Public Health Emergency Medical Countermeasures Enterprise (PHEMCE) in 2009 brought about new strategies and partnerships in countermeasure development. However, it did not solve all challenges, and recent decreases in funding may prove to negate some initial successes. In between events such as H1N1 Influenza outbreaks, mission capabilities need to be sustained so capacity is not lost when the next event emerges. Additionally, many regulations and policies have been developed in response to past events, instead of looking forward to potential future needs and creating capabilities and partnerships in a systematic manner.

 This workshop, hosted by the Forum on Medical and Public Health Preparedness for Catastrophic Events, the Forum on Drug Discovery, Development, and Translation, and the Forum on Microbial Threats will bring together public and private stakeholders to discuss how to achieve rapid and nimble medical countermeasure development for new and emerging threats. Discussions will include real-world case studies to elucidate how past events were handled from a policy, budget, and operational standpoint, and contribute to a better aggregate picture of how future “worst case scenarios” might unfold. This workshop will examine principles that either enable or challenge strong public/private partnerships and consider the needs of the private sector to successfully ramp up research, development, and production in a rapid and nimble manner once a threat warrants the need.

Workshop Objectives:

  • Discuss the Nation’s capacity to rapidly develop novel medical countermeasures (MCMs), delineate preparedness gaps, and identify areas requiring policy development
    • Consider sustainability of the advances made by the PHEMCE and supporting programs in the face of recent financial changes and implications
  • Frame achieving preparedness for emerging infectious disease threats as a national security imperative.
    • Discuss the ethical, economic, and global dimensions of these threats.
  • Discuss case studies of past incidents of emerging threats to understand government and private sector decisions and lessons learned.
    • Evaluate potential strategies for rapid development, translation, and response in terms of regulatory pathways, financing and market opportunities, and the value proposition to private sector partners.
    • Discuss the integration of “One Health” efforts into ongoing threat assessments prior to a declared emergency.
  • Consider how to operationalize next steps for the public and private sector to coordinate a more rapid and nimble response to global emerging threats.
    • Discuss common elements across a range of threats
    • Consider the sustainability of business models to keep stakeholders invested

    For questions regarding this workshop, please contact Megan Reeve at

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