Combating Health-Related Cyber Security Threats with Health Systems Approaches

By |2021-07-12T11:01:53-10:00July 12th, 2021|

By Drs. Sebastian Kevany and Deon Canyon* Cyber Attacks on Health Systems A clear overlap between cyber security and public health realms was made evident during the cyber attacks on Ireland’s health system in May 2021.  Through an encryption process, hackers were able to disable the functionality of the Irish health system, putting lives at risk through the postponement of operations and other essential services. The challenge faced by the Irish government, and the public health system, was to weigh the trade-offs between paying ransom to the hacking group versus risking the release of protected public health information.  At the [...]

SARS-CoV-2 Mutations, Variants, and National Security

By |2021-05-07T08:34:56-10:00May 8th, 2021|

By Deon Canyon, Sebastian Kevany and Michael S. Baker * Mutations are caused by random, spontaneous errors in the RNA-based genetic code of viruses that occur as the virus replicates within a host. The process of continually emerging, small mutations is called antigenic drift. In influenza and Covid, these mutations are often noticeable by observing changes in viral surface proteins, otherwise known as antigens. The human immune system identifies and reacts to foreign antigens by producing antibodies that target the infection. Most vaccines work by presenting a harmless version of the foreign antigen to train the immune system to be [...]

An International Public Health and Virus Surveillance Network for National Security

By |2021-05-06T11:02:18-10:00May 6th, 2021|

By Deon Canyon, Sebastian Kevany and Michael S. Baker* Introduction The monitoring and surveillance of novel and variant, emergent and resurgent, infectious viral diseases is a core need for global health and national security. The United States has not, to date, put a priority on the funding and resourcing of private and public laboratories to identify and monitor Covid variants and mutations. While the U.K. sequences 10% of its positive cases, the U.S. currently only inspects around 0.3-1.5% of positive tests for the presence of viral mutations, which is lower than Gambia, Senegal and even Latvia. This created a “gaping [...]

Anti-Vaccine Sentiment – An Existential Disrupter of National and International Security

By |2021-03-25T11:52:16-10:00March 26th, 2021|

By Deon Canyon and Sebastian Kevany* Vaccine Fears versus Epidemic Containment There are at least 51 brands of viral vaccines containing inactivated or attenuated viruses. Inactivated vaccines prompt an immune response by introducing dead virus particles, while attenuated vaccines contain non-pathogenic live virus particles. These and other vaccines have been extremely effective around the world in preventing 6 million deaths annually, while in the United States, nine diseases have been reduced by 99%. People are unimmunized for various reasons. Most are children who miss out on basic immunization in developing nations due to lack of access. For instance, 190,000 children [...]

Looking Forward: Pandemic, Economic, Vaccine and Social Predictions for ‘Year Two’

By |2021-03-25T11:16:52-10:00March 25th, 2021|

By Sebastian Kevany and Deon Canyon* Summary:  Over a year in to the global pandemic, demand for prognoses and models that will assist in determining key decisions and planning remains as strong as ever – resulting in entire industries that provide forecasts, foresight and insight into possible future outcomes. This demand is in spite of the numerous failures of scientists, academics, politicians, and modelers to work out what is going to happen next.  Nonetheless, the authors attempt to advise on policy and planning decisions for professional activities over the coming six months, up to Autumn / Fall 2021. Never Make [...]

Planning for Military Involvement in an Indo-Pacific Pandemic Vaccination Program

By |2020-11-18T14:48:25-10:00November 18th, 2020|

This article addresses the pros, cons, and planning of military involvement in an Indo-Pacific Pandemic Vaccination Program. Summary The Indo-Pacific contains most of the world’s population and many frail health systems that may falter when it comes to implementing a vast global vaccination campaign against COVID-19. For decades, military medicine has pioneered vaccination programs and is aware of the complex ethical considerations involved. Military involvement in vaccination programs could do immeasurable harm to soft power efforts and international relations if mishandled. It is likely that the Oslo humanitarian doctrine, stipulating that foreign military assistance should only be used as a [...]

The Intersection of Global Health, Military Medical intelligence, and National Security in the Management of Transboundary Hazards and Outbreaks

By |2020-07-07T08:43:11-10:00July 1st, 2020|

This paper identifies the many forms of evolving surveillance techniques that could be used for prevention and early warning of global pandemic outbreaks, and the resistance to such monitoring. Excerpt: The COVID-19 pandemic-induced, shocking collapse of national and international trade, air travel, and tourism have rocked the world, and brought into stark relief the need for better health and disease surveillance. We have witnessed the global economy brought to its knees by the rapid spread of infection, resulting in widespread illness and many deaths. The rise in nationalism and isolationism, political use of the blame game, along with locked-down peoples [...]

A Health Security Pandemic Checklist for Developing Nations and Donors

By |2020-06-16T12:24:12-10:00June 12th, 2020|

In this paper, the authors provide a checklist for some of the measures that were proven effective during the COVID-19 pandemic and how developing countries may apply those measures to local conditions. Excerpt: The COVID-19 pandemic presents as a global, complex, public health emergency that varies in impact due to geography, variations in virulence over time and space, response preparation times, available resources, culture, religion, and a host of other possible confounders. Response systems that have shown encouraging quantitative results in one nation may thus be ineffective, or even counterproductive in other places. Developed nations have responded in a variety [...]

Urgent Policies Required to Grant Public Access to Protected Health Information during Emergency Disease Outbreaks and Pandemics

By |2020-06-10T13:45:09-10:00June 10th, 2020|

This OpEd discuss the pros and cons of using tracking apps to stay ahead of disease outbreaks, such as the COVID-19 pandemic. Excerpt: While some believe that contact tracing apps produce benefits as soon as users increase above 10 percent of a population, there remain PHI-related shortcomings in these approaches because such apps do not actually measure the circumstances that are known to be important in COVID-19 transmission. This lack of accuracy in granular data makes it difficult for both disease managers and individuals to benefit. Apps with inappropriately short infection-interaction algorithms will show too many people as possibly infected (as [...]

The Nexus Between the COVID-19 Pandemic, International Relations, and International Security

By |2020-05-26T15:46:02-10:00May 26th, 2020|

Excerpt: The extent to which other related global relationships, national entities, and supranational organizations have performed in the current case will only be clear in retrospect: it will quite possibly emerge that a combination of right- and left-wing polices – cherry-picking elements of travel and visa restrictions, greater health security and diplomacy investments, and other defensive and protective policy aspects from the two highly divergent sets of agendas -- will be the guiding paradigm for the decades to come. Despite the mutual antipathy between contemporary political perspectives in the United States, there are elements of each agendas -- what has [...]

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