HHS Acquiring Burn Treatments, Funding Others' Development

"These products are intended to offer greater options and help create a continuum of care in a mass casualty incident. Together, they have the potential to eliminate resource-intensive steps, shorten hospital stays, and improve patient outcomes," said BARDA Director Robin Robinson, Ph.D.

Four new products to treat severe burns will be developed and acquired under contracts with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, according to a recent announcement from HHS that said the products will enhance the available treatment options for disaster response and are being designed to find uses in routine clinical burn care.

ASPR's Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) will buy one product that is currently available commercially and fund late-stage development and procurement of the other three. All of the products will be added to the Strategic National Stockpile or managed by vendors to help protect people from burn injuries resulting from radiological and nuclear threats.

"The detonation of an improvised nuclear device would produce intense heat, resulting in many patients with severe burns. The treatments for such burns require complex procedures including surgical skin grafting that is resource-intensive and technically demanding. With only 127 burn centers nationwide, a mass casualty incident of this scale could easily overwhelm the nation's burn care infrastructure," according to the Sept. 30 announcement.

"To protect health and save lives from the impacts of multiple types of disasters, we have to address critical challenges in burn care," explained BARDA Director Robin Robinson, Ph.D. "These products are intended to offer greater options and help create a continuum of care in a mass casualty incident. Together, they have the potential to eliminate resource-intensive steps, shorten hospital stays, and improve patient outcomes."

The first product, Silverlon, could improve care for burn patients before they reach the hospital and can receive a surgical treatment for their burn injuries. It is manufactured by Argentum of Geneva, Ill., and is a long-acting silver-impregnated nylon bandage available commercially and used widely to cover acute wounds and first- and second-degree thermal burns. The other three products are being developed to address challenges in burn care treatment; BARDA will fund pivotal clinical studies necessary for the companies to submit applications for approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

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