BSBD 641 Bio And Information Technology

Policy Memo: What is the Threat?

BSBD 641 – Summer 2020




1. Select ONE (Chosen in week 1 discussion) infectious disease threat to the US (natural or deliberate). It can be a disease that is endemic to the US or one that could be accidentally or deliberately introduced. Select a disease that infects humans or animals.

2. Describe why this is a threat. This can be based on historical weaponization (for deliberate threats) or it can be a natural or emerging disease threat. Briefly describe key characteristics of the pathogen and the possible impacts. Try to identify the most probably impacts (not just the most extreme). This section should include both (a) relevant scientific information, and (b) impact assessments (likely morbidity and mortality due to susceptibility or other factors)

3. Describe three different courses of action to respond to the threat. This is not intended to be simple or simplistic. Identify three real options to respond to the threat posed by the pathogen. Your options can range from developing medical countermeasures (if there is time); controlling the disease at its source(s); to improving detection and response capabilities.

4. Assess these three courses of action. What will do the most to mitigate the threat? Are the required actions feasible (cost, resources, politics)? Who will need to be involved – and will they have an incentive to participate? Identify major risks and benefits (e.g., what if HHS will not fund a research study? What if another country will not allow the US to perform vaccine trials where the disease is endemic? Etc…)

5. Make a recommendation. Make a recommendation as to what to do and why.

6. Describe what it will take to implement the one recommendation. Identify at least 3 immediate (or near-term) actions that would need to be taken to implement your recommendation.



· This is a memo, format accordingly.

· Only 2-3 single-spaced pages in 11 or 12-point font (Times New Roman)

· Each student must select a different pathogen

· APA format for references



Policy Memo: Grading Rubric (100 points)


FORMAT (20 points): Structure and writing is clear and professional. References are in APA format.

THREAT DESCRIPTION (10 points): Scientific information is relevant; impacts are carefully considered.

COURSES of ACTION (40 points): Options are distinct, address the threat, and are feasible.

ASSESSMENT (10 points): Risks and benefits of each option are clearly described.

RECOMMENDATION (10 points): Recommendation is well-argued.

IMPLEMENTATION (10 points): Actions recommended are logical.

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