Critical Mission for Biodefense
Congress seeks to improve our Nation's emergency preparedness with Project BioShield, which provides the government with the ability to develop, acquire, stockpile, and make available the medical countermeasures needed to protect the U.S. population against a public health threat. Under Project BioShield, the U.S. Government seeks to make balanced acquisitions of the most urgently needed medical countermeasures, within the constraints of the budget.
In support of this goal, the Public Health Emergency Medical Countermeasures Enterprise (PHEMCE) is responsible for coordinating the research, development, procurement, stockpiling, and deployment of medical countermeasures needed to protect the public in the event of a public health emergency. Mission areas include:
- Defining and prioritizing requirements for public health emergency medical countermeasures
- Focusing research, development, and procurement activities on the identified requirements
- Establishing deployment and response strategies for medical countermeasures in the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS).
HHS works in close collaboration with key partners, including the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Defense. HHS also works to promote open communication of U.S. Government needs to industry, an essential partner in Project BioShield. The availability of a substantial, long- term funding source was designed to provide the incentive for industry to respond to U.S. Government requirements and develop critical medical countermeasures for the American public.
Since the enactment of the Project BioShield, BARDA has awarded numerous contracts for late-stage development and acquisition of CBRN medical countermeasures. Medical countermeasures have been procured thus far under Project BioShield include anthrax vaccine, two anthrax antitoxins, a botulinum antitoxin, a smallpox vaccine for immunocompromised individuals, and radionucleotide chelators (liquid potassium iodide for pediatric use and Ca++ and Zn++ DTPA).
Other medical countermeasures of interest for procurement under Project Bioshield in the near future are for treatment of acute radiation syndrome associated neutropenia, chemical threats and radiation-induced thermal burns.