Three Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) scientists have been selected as finalists for the Service to America Medals during Public Service Recognition Week this year, the group announced Monday.
David Boucher, Ph.D.; Dan Wolfe, Ph.D.; and John Lee, Ph.D., who served as leaders of the Ebola Medical Countermeasures Taskforce, worked with government and private sector partners to research and develop therapeutics, vaccines, and diagnostic tests for Ebola.
The three have been nominated as finalists for the 2021 Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medals, the “Sammies,” awarded by The Partnership for Public Service, a nonprofit focused on building a more effective and efficient government. They are all finalists in the Science and Environment Category.
“In early 2014, the world had limited diagnostics and only preclinical stage vaccines and therapeutics to diagnose, prevent, or treat Ebola. Today the U.S. has four FDA-approved, cleared, or licensed medical countermeasures to combat Ebola, and some of those technologies are being applied in the COVID-19 pandemic,” BARDA Director Gary L. Disbrow said. “Products from (their) work have been used to halt the spread of the deadly Ebola virus in West and Central Africa and avert the possibility of a pandemic. While most of the world has been focused on COVID-19, this team continued to work with our private industry partners and agency colleagues to be sure that the world was able to respond swiftly and effectively when new cases of Ebola emerged last year and again this year.”
World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus recently announced the end of the 12th Ebola outbreak in the easter Democratic Republic of the Congo. Still, they stressed the need for continued vigilance to prevent its return.
“Today’s declaration of an end to the latest Ebola outbreak in the in Democratic Republic of the Congo is a testament to the professionalism, sacrifices, and collaboration by hundreds of true health heroes, in particular the Congolese responders,” Tedros said. “The World Health Organization is committed to helping national and local authorities, and the people of North Kivu, prevent the return of this deadly virus and to promote the overall health and well-being of all at-risk communities.”
Disbrow thanked the Partnership for the nominations.
“I want to thank the Partnership for Public Service for honoring these scientists. Their work demonstrates the power of medical countermeasures to save lives not only in responding to public health emergencies but also in averting them,” he said.