WHO report calls H5N1 vaccine stockpiling premature

first_imgNov 2, 2006 (CIDRAP News) – A group of influenza experts convened by the World Health Organization cautioned today that governments shouldn’t stockpile “pre-pandemic” H5N1 influenza vaccines now, because too little is known about the requirements for an effective vaccine.The group of 22 scientists, who met for 2 days in September, “agreed that governments should not rush to place orders for pre-pandemic vaccines when so many fundamental scientific questions are still outstanding,” says their report.The United States and some other countries have been stockpiling H5N1 vaccines, despite lack of assurance that they would be effective against a pandemic strain. Switzerland recently announced plans to buy enough vaccine for the entire Swiss population.The 16-page report, titled “Influenza Research at the Human and Animal Interface,” emphasizes the continuing seriousness of the threat posed by the H5N1 virus. The meetings on which it was based involved many of the world’s leading experts on influenza.The experts agreed that “the seriousness of the present situation, including the risk that a pandemic virus might emerge, is not likely to diminish in the near future,” the document states.The report also warns that if the H5N1 virus becomes a pandemic strain, it could remain as lethal for humans as it is now, depending on how it acquires the ability to spread from person to person. The current case-fatality rate, with 256 cases and 152 deaths, is about 59%.If the virus becomes more transmissible by acquiring genes from a human-adapted flu virus, its deadliness “would most likely be reduced.” But if it remains “a wholly avian virus” that adapts to humans through a series of mutations, it could remain as deadly as it is now, the experts say.The report says that vaccine development results so far “have not been promising,” in part because H5N1 viruses have branched off into a number of diverse subgroups, and vaccines that seem to work against one clade, or group, don’t work well against others.Many fundamental questions about vaccine development remain to be answered, the group concluded. For example, scientists need to determine which adjuvant (general immune system stimulant) works best and to define what kind of observed immune response indicates an adequate level of protection against the actual virus.The experts say the idea of intradermal injection (injecting vaccine just under the skin instead of into muscle) as a way to stretch vaccine supplies “does not look promising and is not likely to be suitable for worldwide use.”The document cites an urgent need for international standards for evaluating the efficacy of pandemic vaccines. “On such an important matter, it is unwise to leave assessments of appropriate vaccines to competing manufacturers,” it states.The report describes human H5N1 disease as “fundamentally different” from ordinary flu, marked as it typically is by progressive viral pneumonia, acute respiratory distress, and sometimes diarrhea and liver dysfunction. The disease’s severity may be a result of the “cytokine storm,” or flood of chemical messengers causing intense inflammation in the lungs, but it is not clear whether the cytokine storm is the cause or the result of extensive tissue damage and disease.Some other observations and recommendations in the wide-ranging report are as follows:A simple, rapid, and reliable diagnostic test for use in the field and at the patient’s bedside is urgently needed.Research is needed to determine what makes children and young adults especially vulnerable to infection.Recent serologic studies have shown very little evidence of asymptomatic or mild H5N1 infections in humans. All healthcare workers studied in Thailand tested negative, and samples submitted from Djibouti, Nigeria, Kazakhstan, and Mongolia for testing at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention were all negative. However, some family members of patients in Vietnam tested positive.Studies are needed to determine if a genetic predisposition increases the risk of human infection or of human-to-human transmission among blood relatives.Resistance to the first-choice antiviral drug, oseltamivir, has been seen in a few patients, but studies show a low rate of oseltamivir-resistance mutations in H5N1 viruses in birds. Resistance to amantadine, the second-choice antiviral, varies among H5N1 strains.Mallard ducks are now seen as the leading vectors in the geographic spread of H5N1; mute swans are highly susceptible to the disease but probably don’t spread it.Regarding poultry outbreaks in China, “the situation is severe and not yet fully under control,” and vaccination of the entire poultry population is needed.To control H5N1 disease in poultry, vaccination, coupled with appropriate monitoring, should be used when culling is impracticable.Scientists who track the disease in ducks should adjust their sampling procedures to reflect that ducks now shed more virus in their respiratory secretions than in feces.The experts’ warning against stockpiling of H5N1 vaccines was hailed by infectious disease expert Michael T. Osterholm, PhD, MPH, as appropriate advice in view of the virus’s genetic variability.”I think this report will result in a pause in what I think has been a recent epidemic of vaccine results by press release,” said Osterholm, director of the University of Minnesota Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, publisher of the CIDRAP Web site.He also said the report makes clear that the risk of a severe pandemic like that of 1918 still exists. “Some have suggested that talking about any kind of pandemic other than [the moderate pandemic of] 1957 or 1968 was tantamount to scaremongering,” but the report makes clear that from a virologic standpoint, the H5N1 virus could remain highly deadly while evolving into a pandemic strain, he said.”This is a really thoughtful report, and it adds a tremendous amount to the ongoing discussion,” Osterholm said.See also:Nov 2 WHO report “Influenza Research at the Human and Animal Interface”last_img read more

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Fighting through the pain – the untold story of Jared Ramnarayan

first_imgBy Stephan SookramONCE you speak of racing and its Guyanese link, you tend to think of the Jeffreys, Mings, Vieiras and Kings; and, given their popularity, you’d be right. From their exploits locally and on the North American and European stages, they have done well for themselves,But there is another name that has quietly been making stirs on the North American scene. The name is Jared Ramnarayan.Finishing second in the Final of the ROK Seniors class of the Canadian National Championships and fourth overall represented the greatest stride in his two-year career.But his determination and pushing through the pain that really underscores his mindset, his battles with low points and his ability to turn those into positives really make him special.INJURY SCARE“At the start of the 2019 season, it was rough for me. Having been taken out during both of the opening races of the weekend, I just went through a low point.”The lowest of lows came with his rib injury.“I got a rib injury in one of my races two months in, so we cut it (training) down to once a week.”“The track surface wasn’t smooth; it wasn’t perfect so when everyone is pushing at 100%, you’ve got to suck it up. Just driving from Wednesday to Sunday, on a surface like that destroys your body.”“Over the season, I never really came back 100%. It was a matter of giving myself enough of a break between races to come back at different times. It would hurt for 3-4 days after. So if I raced Sunday, I’d take the week off and the next weekend I would start getting back into a kart.”He said times of doubt over his racing career stepped in, “I started to fall off (the pace) and then mentally I started breaking myself down. You say to yourself, ‘I don’t know if I am physically able to do this anymore’. The guys in front of me are just finding an extra tenth of a second and I’m pulling my hair out just trying to find this tenth.“But every time I came back, I came back faster, I came back stronger and if I lose now, I will take the ‘L’ now, learn from it and come back faster, better, stronger.”TOTALLY WORTH ITHe described that second-place finish at the Canadian Nationals as the brightest moment in his racing career so far.Jared Ramnarayan (361) challenges for a spot.“For sure it was worth it. (Canadian) Nationals came around and at one point I was fighting for the lead but I ran out of laps.“It didn’t sink in for a good week. I still couldn’t believe it happened but I’ve had a different mentality going into a race that I’ve had so I have not been outside of the top five since that race.”“There is just so much work that went into it and it was my first podium ever. It has always slipped away from me but for it to be as big as that and to be Canada’s National Number 2, it was such a great feeling.”2019 SEASON2019 was his breakout season after doing a lot of ‘learning’ in the year 2018.Together with his Professional Racing Ontario team (PRO), he finished second in the ROK Seniors Final of the Canadian National Championships, finishing the year fourth overall.“Basically from the start of our season, for the first two to three months, I was in the kart twice a week when there were no races.”Working with former Canadian Champion Daryl Timmers, Ramnarayan said was tough but worth it, as the PRO brand has been successful in the past.“I have no intention of leaving PRO. Daryl and Curtis Fox work so well with me and I progress and as long as I see progression, I’ll continue to work with them.”He noted that the relationship with his mechanics and data guys for the year was key in 2019 adding, “It’s not just a team; it’s a family.”BIG PLANS FOR 2020 INCLUDING GUYANA 2020, for Jared begins in just a week’s time. He heads to Florida for some pre-season tours with the Canadian series restarting in May.“I’m definitely going to be cutting down on my races, because I did like 30 race weekends in 2019. We are going to be cutting down to roughly 10 or 12 but all major events.“We are also going to be testing some shifters to potentially move to that which is ideally where I’d want to be“I drove a shifter for the first time during this trip that I was on, so for sure, now that I am finishing up school, I have more time to travel, more time for racing and maybe you can see me.”“It’s a lot of focus, everything in my head disappears. Nothing else matters until that flag drops – just the guys in front of me whom I am chasing. I don’t look behind me, I don’t think about what’s happening behind me, I just think forward.”last_img read more

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Special Olympics Nigeria to Represent Africa in Chicago

first_imgUNIFIED FOOTBALL CUPSpecial Olympics Nigeria’s Male Unified football team has been selected to represent African region in the inaugural male unified football tournament to mark the 50th anniversary of Special Olympics in USA.The unified football cup which is scheduled to hold on July 20, 2018 in Chicago, is one of the several events lined up to mark the anniversary of the global body founded in 1968. The first-ever Special Olympics Unified Cup was presented by Toyota on July 17, 2018.The tournament will feature 24 teams (eight women’s teams and 16 men’s teams) comprised of people with and without intellectual disabilities from around the globe – hence the theme, Unified. SO Nigeria is one of the over 170 countries which have affiliations with the Special Olympics.According to an official of SO Nigeria, Exxon Mobil Nigeria, a strong supporter of inclusion, has already contributed towards the purchase and branding of the team’s kit and travel attires for the tournament.“Exxon Mobil Foundation has also displayed its support for inclusion through the Skillz for Life programme where people with and without intellectual disabilities are given quality health education on malaria and HIV/AIDS and taught life skills.In 2016, Exxon Mobil sponsored the Youth Empowerment Initiatives where athletes were empowered with skills such as photography, beadwork and more.On July 20, 2018, Special Olympics will honour its history and celebrate its future with the lighting of the Special Olympics Eternal Flame of Hope monument outside Soldier Field, home of the first games, to symbolise the on-going mission of inclusion.On July 21, the first-ever Global Day of Inclusion will be held at Soldier Field, a family event open to all.Later that evening, Special Olympics will host the Inclusion Fest Concert featuring internationally acclaimed music acts.Across the world, iconic buildings are switching their lights red to raise awareness for the need for inclusion.In Lagos, Nigeria, The Civic Centre and Civic Towers will be light up RED for inclusion on the evening of July 20, 2018.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegramlast_img read more

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MoPlay declared insolvent following licence suspension

first_img Share Gambling.com maintains momentum against COVID-19 impacts August 19, 2020 Following the suspension of its operator licence last week, Addison Global’s MoPlay brand has confirmed that the business is now insolvent and has halted customer withdrawals.The operator had its licence suspended after the UK Gambling Commission said in a statement that it suspected ‘that Addison Global Limited has breached a condition of the licence (section 120(1)(b) and is unsuitable to carry on the licensed activities (section 120(1)(d) of the Act)’.Since the suspension, MoPlay has ceased processing withdrawals, with the site now offline in the UK.“Due to financial difficulties, we are unable to process withdrawals,” a message on the MoPlay website said. “We draw your attention to clause 9 of our terms and conditions which refers to the status of funds in the event of insolvency.”Clause 9 of MoPlay’s terms and conditions added: “Funds will be held separate from company funds in a mixture of bank accounts and reserve funds which we hold with our payment processors. However, if there was ever a situation where we became insolvent, your funds would not be considered separate to the other company assets and you may not receive all your funds back.”Addison Global was founded in 2017 by former William Hill innovation lead Juergen Reutter seeking to launch a mobile-first challenger sportsbook brand competing against established tier-1 betting incumbents. Submit Successful summer leaves Leadstar positive over industry’s recovery August 18, 2020 StumbleUpon Share UKGC data reveals ‘notable recovery’ for sports betting July 6, 2020 Related Articleslast_img read more

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