Creating an IT System for Faster Bioterrorism Response

Client Situation

Swift and decisive action. That’s what it will take to respond to a bioterrorist attack, which is the mandate of the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) at the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD). DTRA’s goal is to make the world safer by anticipating and developing ways to mitigate potential chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and high-yield explosive threats.

With this mission, DTRA wanted to reduce the time required to respond to bioevents, It sought biomedical research support, web development, and integration services to deliver a prototype IT infrastructure so users could search for and rate the capabilities of multiple pharma organizations to develop responses targeting varied scenarios.

The Digital Infuzion Solution

To that end, DoD created the Engineered Pathogen Identification Countermeasures (EPIC) project. Digital Infuzion, in partnership with SRI International, was contracted to help develop tools—a web-based system and a client/server-based application—to support DTRA in enhancing its capabilities and reducing the time it would take to develop countermeasures in response to bioevents. 

The resulting Technology Matrix Management System (TMMS) and a Concurrency Process Flow Diagram Design Tool (CPFD Design Tool) provide:

  • The ability to input and capture relevant data about pharma organizations in a central, web-based location
  • Streamlined support to quickly develop a custom-tailored countermeasure plan
  • A wiki-like interface that data providers and reviewers can use to submit, validate, and publish data for search, retrieval, and analysis
  • Protection of proprietary or confidential organizational information

At delivery, the system had over 3,100 nodes or pages of submitted information, more than half of which had been reviewed, curated, approved, and published.


Combined, the TMMS and CPFD Design Tool provide valuable IT support to counter disease outbreak from bioterrorism.

  • Making complex data accessible 
    • Functioning like an e-catalog, the TMMS allows users to collect and consolidate descriptions and ratings of technologies, methods, and relevant data from participating local and international biotechnology and pharma companies.
  • Categorizing medical countermeasures
    • Government and commercial organizations can use a wiki-like interface to input a wide range of data regarding six major categories of bioevent countermeasures: Small Molecule, Monoclonal Antibody, Polyclonal Antibody, Subunit, DNA, and RNA interference (RNAi).
  • The ability to 'see' solutions
    • The CPFD Design Tool allows users to turn hundreds of pages of process description into a graphic visualization of the process flow. Users can browse and query the TMMS in real time to determine the combinations of technology, solutions, and processes are the best “ingredients” in a plan for responding to a bioevent.
  • Faster review, better analysis
    • The design tool provides a way to quickly integrate TMMS data into a graphic visualization for path analysis. Users can then review and assess options for creating faster, cheaper, more reliable, and optimum countermeasures.
  • Better Preparation 
    • These insights advance health emergency preparedness through activities such as bio-terrorism simulations, emergency response training, and exercise support.