Study in Progress

Workshop on Strategies for Cost-Effective and Flexible Biodetection Systems

Nominations are now open for the workshop planning committee. Please visit this survey to submit your nominations. Nominations will be accepted until February 3, 2017.

Statement of Task

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine will convene an ad hoc committee to organize and plan a public workshop that will explore alternative cost-effective systems that would meet requirements for the BioWatch Program. Such systems need to be capable of being deployed by the Department of Homeland Security by 2021 and enable day-to-day environmental surveillance that would be of value to the public health and medical community. Specifically the ad hoc committee will develop the agenda for the workshop and identify and invite speakers and discussants to address the following questions:

1. What are the advantages and disadvantages of alternative cost-effective, flexible, and accurate surveillance systems that could be deployed to ensure that an environmental biothreat is detected as soon as possible, generates a confirmatory response that is acceptable to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state/local public health officials, and thus optimizes the amount of time available for making the decision to deploy an available medical countermeasure?

a. Are there specific considerations for indoor vs. outdoor surveillance systems?

2. What would need to be the specifications of a system that would be designed and deployed to enable detection of day-to-day functionality and value to the medical and public health communities to detect common threats (e.g., novel or known viruses, harmful volatile gases, etc.), as well as threat agents identified by intelligence assessments?

3. What is the current state of technology for biodetection systems using mass spectroscopy, and will the technology be advanced enough by 2021 that it could serve as an alternative to the currently planned polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based system?
a. In addition to mass spectroscopy, are there other technologies that may be available to use in place of PCR to enable greater flexibility of the detection system?

The committee may commission white papers to help inform discussions at the workshop related to the aforementioned questions. The papers will be made available to workshop participants at the event or in advance. A proceedings of the presentations and discussions at the workshop will be prepared by a designated rapporteur in accordance with institutional guidelines.