Skip to main content

Military Health System

Important Notice about Pharmacy Operations

Change Healthcare Cyberattack Impact on MHS Pharmacy Operations. Read the statement to learn more. 

AFHSD’s GEIS collect data worldwide to support force protection

Image of Medical personnel scanning forehead of soldier with thermometer. Kuhina Talimalie, 735th Air Mobility Squadron, uses a no-touch thermometer on a U.S. Air Force airman to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 among service members and the public. (Photo by Air Force Tech Sgt. Anthony Nelson Jr.)

Throughout 2020, the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Division and its Global Emerging Infections Surveillance branch continued to work with partners across the globe in their efforts to combat COVID-19 and protect military readiness. That work goes on even as vaccines for the disease have begun to be administered.

“We continue to fund worldwide respiratory pathogen surveillance studies and COVID-19-specific projects to understand the burden of disease and collect strains from infected cases across the globe,” said Navy Capt. Guillermo Pimentel, Global Emerging Infections Surveillance (GEIS) branch chief. These studies “allow the DOD to conduct advanced characterization of this novel coronavirus and support public health authorities of partner host nations.”

These efforts have allowed the Department of Defense to collect “critical information” for force health protection, and have allowed GEIS surveillance projects to reach approximately 80 countries, with its “principal strength being these partnerships with allies and demonstration of a field presence in key geographic locations of military relevance,” Pimentel added.

The data collected from surveillance studies are being used to “initiate, as well as to further adjust or modify, regional infectious disease protection guidance to maintain our forces ready to carry out their mission in each respective combatant command’s area of responsibility,” the GEIS chief said.

GEIS is also funding respiratory pathogen surveillance projects that provide data related to the burden of respiratory diseases to U.S and host nation militaries.

GEIS continues to fund COVID-19 genomic sequencing efforts from DOD service members and foreign nationals, Pimentel said. These sequencing efforts are at DOD labs in Cambodia, Thailand, Peru, and Kenya. By going outside the continental U.S., GEIS is better able to track the spread and impact in support of the combatant commands.

GEIS partners have sequenced more than 350 novel coronavirus isolates and have provided sequencing support to “multiple outbreaks in the Navy and Army,” he noted.

The Armed Forces Health Surveillance Division and its branches also continue to monitor influenza and other major health events and outbreaks that are of military relevance. In connection with academic partners and the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, the Integrated Biosurveillance Branch has a near real-time mapping application called the Health Surveillance Explorer that can be used to better respond to seasonal or pandemic influenza viruses, “estimate their impact on the readiness of the force, plan personnel requirements and implement interventions,” said IBB Chief Juan Ubiera.

GEIS’s military partners in its sequencing and tracking efforts are the Army (Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases), Navy (Navy Medical Research Center, Naval Health Research Center) and Air Force (U.S. Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine).

One partner from USAFSAM, Dr. Anthony Fries, a bioinformaticist from the Air Force Research Laboratory’s 711th Human Performance Wing at Wright-Patterson, Ohio, said the AFRL continues to increase the sequencing of SARS-CoV-2 viruses “to assess what viral diversity is circulating in our service members.” Fries noted his lab has sequenced more than 800 patients with COVID-19.

“While the impact and optimism surrounding vaccines cannot be overstated…we are positioning our sequencing activities to see how this virus responds to a population that will soon have robust protection to it from these new vaccines,” Fries said. “From an evolutionary perspective, we’re hoping that this virus’s limited ability to diversify itself could restrict its ability to avoid our efforts to stop it with the new vaccines.”

Air Force Maj. (Dr.) Jameson Voss, chief, Air Force Medical Service Precision Medicine, Air Force Medical Readiness Agency, added: “We need to understand the genetic changes in the virus to ensure diagnostic, vaccine, and other countermeasures are still working.”

You also may be interested in...

Article Around MHS
May 11, 2023

USAMMDA Team Equips a Worldwide Force

Leaders with the U.S. Army Medical Materiel Development Activity and Regional Training Site-Medical stand for a group photo during a hospital conversion fielding at Fort Gordon, Georgia, on March 7. USAMMDA’s Force Sustainment Directorate, which worked for more than a year to coordinate the hospital center shipment, is responsible for the wholesale procurement, production, fielding, sustainment, and recovery of medical sets, kits, and outfits.  (Photo by Rick Bower, U.S. Army)

In the multi-domain battlefields of today and tomorrow, the U.S. Army’s supply priorities include more than the food, weapons, and cotton gauzes that have sustained American warfighters during past wars. A select team with the U.S. Army Medical Materiel Development Activity—the U.S. Army’s premier medical development command—work each day to field the ...

Article Around MHS
May 9, 2023

U.S. Army Medical Logistics Command Recognized for Role in Afghan Humanitarian Mission

U.S. Army Sgt. Jason Smith, a paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne Division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team, talks with a group of Afghan children during an Afghan-led clearing operation on April 28, 2012, in the Ghazni province of Afghanistan. (Photo by U.S. Army Sgt. Michael J. MacLeod)

U.S. Army Medical Logistics Command was awarded a meritorious unit citation for supporting missions in and following the military’s withdrawal from Afghanistan. AMLC’s role in the largest evacuation of noncombatants in U.S. military history included support to U.S. coalition and contractor personnel, as well as thousands of Afghans following two ...

Article Around MHS
Apr 25, 2023

U.S. Army Field Medical Laboratory Leaders Meet with Polish Counterparts in Warsaw

Leaders from the 1st Area Medical Laboratory meet with their Polish counterparts at the Polish Epidemiological Response Center in Warsaw, Poland. The command team from the 1st Area Medical Laboratory visited Poland in support of the U.S. Army Europe-Africa Surgeon Cell’s regional engagement efforts. (Courtesy photo)

Leaders from the U.S. Army’s only deployable medical field laboratory recently met with medical officials and chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear experts from the Polish Armed Forces. The command team from the 1st Area Medical Laboratory visited Poland in support of the U.S. Army Europe-Africa Surgeon Cell’s regional engagement efforts.

Article Around MHS
Apr 11, 2023

Navy Entomology Center of Excellence Arms the Department of Defense’s Experts in the Fight for Public Health

U.S. Air Force Capt. Deanna Scheff (left) receiving pesticide application training from U.S. Air Force Ensign Benfry DeJesus (right) during the largest inter-agency pesticide certification course delivered in nearly five years on Naval Air Station Jacksonville. (Photo by U.S. Navy Lt. Nicholas Johnston)

Navy Entomology Center of Excellence staff trained and equipped active duty preventive medicine and civilian pest control personnel representing U.S. Navy, U.S. Air Force, and U.S. Army during the largest inter-agency pesticide certification course delivered in nearly five years on Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Florida, Jan. 23.

Article Around MHS
Apr 7, 2023

New Center a ‘Seismic Shift’ in Army Fitness

U.S. Army Col. Kent Solheim, 165th Infantry Brigade commander, pauses for a moment while climbing a rope during the “Kay Workout of the Day” at the Drill Sergeant Timothy Kay Soldier Performance Readiness Center. (Photo by Robert Timmons, Fort Jackson Public Affairs Office)

The Drill Sergeant Timothy Kay Soldier Performance Readiness Center, “represents a seismic shift” towards how the U.S. Army approaches how troops are trained, evaluated, and sustained, said U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Jason E. Kelly, Fort Jackson’s commander. “It is an investment in individual soldier preparedness.” The Drill Sergeant ...

Last Updated: July 11, 2023
Follow us on Instagram Follow us on LinkedIn Follow us on Facebook Follow us on X Follow us on YouTube Sign up on GovDelivery