Under the Dome

State gets $3 million from feds for bio-threat early warning system

U.S. Rep. David Price, D-Chapel Hill, announced that NC will receive an additional $3 million in federal funding for a state bio-threat early warning system known as NCB-Prepared (or North Carolina Bio-Preparedness Collaborative).

NCB-Prepared's goal is to be able to detect symptoms of outbreaks that could indicate a bioterror attack, highly contagious disease, food-borne illness, or other public safety threat, Price’s office said in a release.

The project was started in 2010 with $5 million from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and North Carolina State University lead it. Other public- and private-sector participants include the N.C. Division of Public Health, the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Durham and SAS, a business analytics and software development company headquartered in the Research Triangle Park.

“I am very pleased to announce DHS’s decision to fund this innovative public-private partnership because it addresses a hole in our disaster preparedness,” Price said in the release. “By pooling data from systems that currently ‘don’t talk to each other,’ NCB-Prepared will help first responders and health professional see the whole picture and act decisively to end the threat posed by a health incident or biological or chemical attack. NCB-Prepared will also give responders the information they need to calibrate the least disruptive, most-effective disaster response possible.”

He added: “With our research universities and high-tech businesses, our area is uniquely suited to the kind of public-private collaboration needed to complete a project of this complexity.”

Price is the most senior Democrat on the House Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee.
— Renee Schoof, McClatchy Washington Bureau

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