Anthrax is a serious infectious disease caused by a bacteria that can lie dormant in soil for decades. While anthrax occurs most often in humans handling animals (or animal products) infected with the bacteria, there have been several instances of anthrax being used as a bioterror agent. There has been a lull in anthrax coverage in recent years, but it remains an extremely dangerous bioterrorism weapon that should remain top of mind.
The influenza pandemic of 2009 and more recent threats involving Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Ebola revealed national preparedness gaps, a topic explored extensively at the George H.W. Bush Sixth China-U.S. Relations Conference in Houston. Remedies are essential to avoid future high-consequence emergencies that could threaten large segments of our populations, economies and infrastructure.
Public health threats know no boundaries, and global security depends upon preparedness and collaboration in establishing sustainable public health systems around the world, said a panel of high-ranking experts at the George H.W. Bush Sixth China-U.S. Relations Conference hosted by Texas A&M Health Science Center in Houston.
The social media hashtag #EndPandemics tied to this week’s 6th George H.W. Bush China-U.S. Relations Conference in Houston is more than a memorable phrase. It is indeed a specific objective — one that could be accomplished within the next decade, if there is bold and focused American leadership accompanied by strong international cooperation and transparent sharing of data.
For decades, the U.S. and China have collaborated on international health issues, and the timing has never been more pivotal to take that partnership to the next level, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H., told an audience of the world’s most elite physicians, scientists, policymakers, government officials and business leaders during the China-U.S. Relations Conference keynote address on May 12.
International collaboration and innovative partnerships with industry, government, speeding bench-to-bedside discoveries
Whether it’s an inhaled therapeutic that stimulates innate immunity of the lungs to prevent the spread of bacterial and viral infections, or a novel tuberculosis test that allows doctors to diagnose the infectious disease within minutes, the partnerships between academic institutions, their spinoff companies, industry, and government are the driving force behind advancing these products to the market — and on faster timelines than ever before.
Renaissance of natural products-based drug research gains momentum with international partnerships and a focus on anti-infective agents
While natural products form the basis of more than half of the therapeutic drugs on the market today, this research arena is experiencing a modern-day renaissance, thanks to advances in synthetic and analytic chemistry, as well as to the major advances in molecular biology and genomics.
Cheryl Lyn Walker, Ph.D., Welch Chair of Chemistry and director of the Texas A&M Institute of Biosciences and Technology, was recently named Outstanding Distinguished Scientist for 2015 by the Texas A&M University Chapter of Sigma Xi. The coveted award is bestowed upon one scientist each year who exhibits exemplary accomplishments in science and engineering.
The Texas A&M Health Science Center is hosting the Tropical and Infectious Diseases Impacting Texas conference in Corpus Christi, Texas, Friday, April 24 and Saturday, April 25, to provide physicians and other health professionals with the knowledge necessary to identify and treat infectious diseases.