We need the right data • diagnostics • vaccines before outbreaks become epidemics.
IQT Roundtable: Capabilities Required for Pandemic Response
On August 12, 2021, In-Q-Tel (IQT) convened a virtual Roundtable meeting to examine the technologies used to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic and other epidemics, to discuss what needed capabilities were missing from the Covid response, and how these critical needs might be addressed. Roundtable participants included experts drawn from several United States government (USG) agencies, academia, private-sector technology companies, and members of the IQT/B.Next team. This paper provides background and details high-level takeaways from this important Roundtable discussion.
B.Next COVID-19 Test Database
This database is a tool for those who need to quickly obtain information about COVID-19 test kits and services for use in the United States. The database includes molecular tests that have received Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), whether they are kits that can be purchased by lab managers, or tests performed as a service by laboratories, whether sourced from manufacturers, or developed for their own use (so called laboratory-developed tests, or LDTs).
COVID-19 Case Investigation and Contact Tracing: Considerations for Using Digital Technologies
Co-published by B.Next and the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO), this guide aims to help health officials think through critical functionalities needed for case investigations and contact tracing, technological options, and issues of implementation in adopting these technologies. It also addresses the latest topic of focus: the Apple/Google exposure notification application programming interface. The background and key considerations included are intended to inform decision-making for technology-enabled enhancement of case investigation and contact tracing capacity.
Be a Hero: Wear a Mask
B.Next colleagues, Joseph Buccina and Dan Hanfling, M.D., urge the general public for greater adherence to mask wearing – among social distancing and hand washing – as critical steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and encourages the U.S. Government to re-evaluate the development, production, and distribution of masks (and other personal protective equipment) to ensure their availability while reducing the country’s dependence on foreign suppliers in the likely event of a future outbreak.
IQT Tech-Enabled Contact Tracing and Privacy Roundtable Discussion
Responding to the COVID-19 pandemic necessitates the adoption of traditional public health measures for disease control, including rapidly tracing the contacts and locations of infected individuals to prevent further spread. Leveraging technology can accelerate the scale and speed of this essential public health measure, and many organizations have announced plans to launch or support contact tracing initiatives though their underlying technologies, workflows, and privacy architectures. In April 2020, B.Next and In-Q-Tel convened members of the public health and technology communities for a virtual roundtable – learn more.
Challenges of Interpreting Test Results and Implications for COVID-19
Diagnostic tests are a critical tool to contain epidemics, to support medical care, and for public health measures. Understanding when they are accurate and inaccurate is necessary for understanding which individuals have the virus, need isolation, and need their contacts traced.
Leveraging Sensors to Monitor COVID-19 Symptoms Remotely
B.Next’s experts from healthcare, government, and industry leveraged its knowledge and expansive network to create the following high-level guide that maps sensors in commercial products to key vital signs and explores ways to capitalize on the smart products that may supplement digital health efforts in response to COVID-19.
To Fix the COVID-19 Testing Gap, Take a Lesson from GM (or the Pentagon)
Co-written by B.Next and Jeremy Konyndyk, this article explores how aggressive testing can be essential to prevent an outbreak and safely bring the U.S. economy out of lockdown.
Precision Medicine 101
This white paper covers precision medicine 101 and explores the aspirations to develop medical treatments to the individual character of each patient, applications and future directions, and precision medicine in China.
Rapid Expert Consultation on Crisis Standards of Care for the COVID-19 Pandemic
In response to a request from the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine convened a standing committee of experts to help inform OSTP on critical science and policy issues related to emerging infectious diseases and other public health threats. The standing committee includes members with expertise in emerging infectious diseases, public health, public health preparedness and response, biological sciences, clinical care and crisis standards of care, risk communication, and regulatory issues. This publication, co-authored by B.Next’s Dr. Dan Hanfling, articulates the guiding principles, key elements, and core messages that undergird Crisis Standards of Care decision-making at all levels.
Fever Screening – Public Health Protection or Security Theater?
Thermal imaging devices to detect travelers who have elevated temperatures and hence might be harboring a contagious disease, have been deployed during several infectious disease outbreaks. It is being deployed again at US borders and elsewhere in attempts to contain the spread of the coronavirus emanating from Wuhan, China. Screening potentially exposed individuals in order to limit disease spread is a fundamental pillar of public health response to outbreaks. The focus on fever detection at borders is more theater than protection, however.
Digital Health Roundtable
The capabilities required to manage a large-scale epidemic are multifaceted, complex and range across a number of critical domains – the ability to detect and recognize the presence of disease in the community; the capacity to design, manufacture and deliver life-saving medical countermeasures, including therapeutics and vaccine; and the process by which healthcare services can be delivered to the population-in-need in a scalable fashion that maintains the highest possible standard of care.
Drug Delivery Workshop
This paper reports on a November 5, 2019 Workshop that explored opportunities and obstacles associated with technologies that facilitate timely response to infectious disease outbreaks through the rapid design and manufacture of vaccines against newly emergent pathogens.
Understanding Artificial Intelligence Applications in Bioscience and Biotechnology
This paper reports on a November 15, 2018 Roundtable that explored opportunities and obstacles associated with applications of artificial intelligence to bioscience, biotechnology and their application to biomedicine.
Poster: Secure Interrogation of Genomic Databases — ASM Biothreats 2018
We developed the Secure Interrogation of Genomic Databases (SIG-DB) algorithm to enable the interrogation of a privately held database with a sequence of interest to determine the presence of similar sequences, without compromising the query or database information.
GEMstone 2.0: Secure Interrogation of Genomic Databases — Project Report
IQT Labs has explored the application of secure computational information sharing techniques to enable a “query in place” approach while still maintaining the privacy of both query and database entities.
GEMstone 2.0: Detecting Evidence of Genetic Engineering — Project Report
IQT Labs B.Next and Lab41 have explored how applying machine learning (ML) approaches to DNA sequence analysis may provide “triage” tools that enable users to quickly assess the likelihood that the genome of a suspect organism has been engineered.
The Promise of Ubiquitous DNA Sequencing: Sequencers as Sensors
This paper explores how new DNA sequencing technology is poised to transform epidemic detection and management through the broad availability of inexpensive, portable, and increasingly powerful devices.
Interactive Data Visualization for Public Health Applications: An Evaluation of Plotly’s Capabilities
This report outlines the methods and results of a B.Next project with Plotly, a company that creates open source tools for visualization, to further develop their existing web-based interface to create interactive cross-filtering visualizations with multivariate datasets for non-coders.
Tackling the Next Epidemic: Data Technology to the Rescue
Integrating novel and available data technologies into public health practice will improve situational awareness, help shape outbreak interventions more precisely, facilitate faster and more efficient response activities, and save lives.
Tech Corner – A Technology Overview from IQT Portfolio Company Quanterix
To supplement the IQT Quarterly’s focus on technology trends, Tech Corner provides a practitioner’s point of view of a current challenge in the field and insight into an effective response.
The Weakest Link in Diagnostics May Be the Sample Itself
In the past two decades, two trends have given rise to a revolution in the next generation of diagnostic technologies.
Five Major Challenges for Pandemic Prediction and Prevention
Pandemics (diseases that spread globally) are rare events that are often devastating, causing substantial mortality and economic damage. Just like hurricanes or earthquakes, efforts to understand the origins of pandemics and predict their emergence would help reduce their impact and ultimately prevent them.
IQT Lab B.Next and the National Security Implications of 21st Century Life Sciences
B.Next, an IQT Lab, will explore a complex and increasingly urgent problem: how can we rapidly detect and quench epidemics of infectious disease.
In Silico Vaccine Design: Accelerating the Response to BioThreats and Emerging Infectious Disease
Smallpox, polio, measles — control of these lethal diseases is possible because of vaccines.
Early Warning for Infectious Disease Outbreaks: A Q&A with Larry Madoff
An interview with Larry Madoff, Editor of The Program for Monitoring Emerging Diseases (ProMED-mail).
Capabilities and Problems Associated with Detecting Engineered Microorganisms & Deducing Function
This paper reports on a September 15, 2016 Roundtable Discussion convened by B.Next, an IQT Lab.
Portable Sequencing for Infectious Disease Detection, Diagnosis, Discrimination, & Discovery
This paper reports on a February 28, 2017 Roundtable Discussion convened by B.Next, an IQT Lab.
The Biorevolution is Enabling New Opportunities
We are living through a period of what may justly be called a revolution in our understanding of living organisms and how they operate.
Biothreats Need to be Recognized as a Top National Security Concern
Large-scale, lethal epidemics are becoming more frequent, affecting more people, and spreading faster and farther than has been the case historically.
Outbreaks, Attacks and Accidents: Combatting Biological Threats
Testimony to the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigation.
Building an effective defense against biological threats: the Technology Advantage
The United States faces significant and growing national security threats from increasingly frequent and disruptive natural epidemics of infectious disease.
On our Radar: Defeating Infectious Disease
Why do outbreaks of infectious disease occur? Can we predict them? How do they spread? How can we respond to outbreaks more effectively? What is the role of technology in this response?