Science and Technology Challenges to Realize the National Bio-Surveillance Strategy

Monday, 17 February 2014
Grand Ballroom F (Hyatt Regency Chicago)
Jason J. Paragas , Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Livermore, CA
Achieving biosecurity from synthetic and naturally occurring infectious diseases remains incomplete. Efforts to develop specific medical countermeasures have been slower then needed due to the reality that the process is at best expensive, difficult and has an astonishingly low success rate.  However biosecurity is not simply vaccines and small molecules, but is a layered system of protective elements that together mitigate the risk to the population and the citizen. Other sectors have examples of how systems of systems work to protect society. Fire and police protection, cyber security, and automobiles are significant exemplars. In the life sciences sector, our efforts to stunt the yearly impact of influenza virus infections hints at the potential that a layered defense to infectious disease can play. In the absence of specific medical countermeasure we might be able to improve our biosecurity through investments in biosurveillance. Biosurveillance is a concept that is interpreted in wildly different ways. In short, biosurveillance provides the critical early warning to act, what are the disease vectors during event, and the metrics for recovery.  Recently, the Whitehouse published the National Strategy for Biosurveillance. This document provides the critical guiding principles to frame the science and technology efforts for the invention and integration of the current and future constellation of sensors, data, and knowledge to inform decision makers to save lives. When will we know we are successful, when the weather community looks to the biosurveillance system as the benchmark for delivering knowledge to decision makers.