Undeterred by Coronavirus Pandemic, Americans Prepare to Render Verdict on Trump

first_imgNEW HOPE, Pa. — Voters on both sides of the nation’s widening political divide prepared on Monday to render a verdict on President Trump’s four tumultuous years in the White House and, in particular, his management of the coronavirus pandemic that has upended American life for the past eight months.As Mr. Trump and Joseph R. Biden Jr. raced across the most important battleground states in a frenzied final push for votes, the 2020 election was unfolding in a country with urgent problems: an uncontrolled public health crisis, a battered economy, deep ideological divisions, a national reckoning on race and uncertainty about whether the outcome of the vote will be disputed.- Advertisement – In his own meandering and grievance-filled appearances, in which he lashed out against Nancy Pelosi, Adam Schiff, Hillary Clinton and the news media, Mr. Trump framed his re-election as an economic imperative to avoid “a deadly Biden lockdown” of the economy’s fragile recovery.“This is not the crowd of a second-place finisher,” Mr. Trump said in Scranton, Pa., where Mr. Biden will also appear on Election Day, in a sign of Pennsylvania’s potential to tip the election. On Monday, Mr. Biden dispatched his most potent surrogate, former President Barack Obama, to two of those states: Florida and Georgia. The former president campaigned for Mr. Biden and two Senate Democratic challengers in Georgia, then stumped for Mr. Biden in Florida. Democratic Party strategists are hoping to win the three Senate seats they need to wrest back control of that chamber, along with the White House, and enact a progressive agenda in 2021.The widening map had some Democrats coveting not only victory on Tuesday but also a landslide repudiation of Mr. Trump and his brand of Republicanism, including aspirations of flipping Texas for the first time since 1976. Election administrators braced themselves to pull off the twin challenges of holding an election during a pandemic and fending off efforts by a president who is trailing in the polls to undermine trust in the vote-counting process.“Please be patient,” Jim Kenney, the mayor of Philadelphia — the biggest city in one of the most important swing states — urged, predicting long lines on Tuesday. Both the Trump and Biden campaigns were readying armies of lawyers for a potentially prolonged fight.Voters were wracked with nervous energy. Katie Whelan, a high school history teacher from New Jersey, crossed the Pennsylvania border to knock on doors over the weekend for Mr. Biden in the key battleground. The previous night, she said, she had awakened from a panic dream involving Hillary Clinton and the dread of falling just short at the ballot box. “She was like, ‘Honey, I’ve been there,’” Ms. Whelan recalled Mrs. Clinton telling her in the dream.- Advertisement – Adding to her anxiety, Ms. Whelan could not tell if the nightmare was set in 2016 or 2020. “I stood over the sink and drank three pints of water,” Ms. Whelan said. “And I said to myself, ‘I better get canvassing.’” Updated Nov. 2, 2020, 8:53 p.m. ET Undeterred by the pandemic, Americans have already displayed an uncommon determination to have their voices and votes heard this year. Nearly 100 million cast their ballots in advance of Election Day, shattering records as they endured long lines at early voting sites or sent in their ballots by mail.Much of the country felt on edge, as if the often-predicted “most important election of a lifetime” had finally arrived. Ahead of the polls opening on Tuesday, businesses in cities from Denver to Detroit to Washington, D.C. were boarding up their windows with plywood as they readied for the possibility of civil unrest. Some governors were readying the National Guard. “Everyone is starting to panic,” Fernando Salas, a construction worker, said as he pounded nails into a plywood frame at a storefront in a trendy shopping district near Los Angeles.- Advertisement – Mr. Trump has signaled he may try to declare victory prematurely if the early tabulations favor him, and the Biden campaign held an unusual public briefing on the eve of the election to set expectations. At issue is not just the tallying of the vote but how fast certain states can count. Some key battlegrounds, such as Pennsylvania, are expected to take days while others, like Florida and North Carolina, will likely process most votes within hours.“Under no scenario will Donald Trump be declared a victor on election night,” Jen O’Malley Dillon, Mr. Biden’s campaign manager, bluntly declared.As polling places were set to open on Election Day, Mr. Trump’s road back to the White House was plainly narrower than Mr. Biden’s pathway. Polls show Mr. Trump trailing nationally and in most of the key battlegrounds needed to reach the 270 electoral votes required to win the presidency.Mr. Trump has been forced to defend not just the three Northern industrial states — the former “blue wall” of Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan — that he flipped in a surprise victory four years ago but also an array of diversifying states across the Sun Belt and the South, including Florida, Arizona, North Carolina, Georgia and even Texas.Those latter five states combine for 109 Electoral College votes, nearly all of which analysts believe Mr. Trump must win. In the final stretch, both parties were zeroing in on key demographics. Mr. Biden spoke with the African-American community in Pittsburgh while his running mate, Senator Kamala Harris of California, headlined a Latino get-out-the-vote effort in Bethlehem. Mr. Obama campaigned in Miami-Dade County, Florida’s most populous which is a majority Latino and Black.Mr. Trump continued to obsess aloud about how white suburban women had flocked toward the Democratic Party during his presidency, helping to deliver Democrats the House in 2018 and possibly the White House in 2020.“I say to the women of the suburbs: love me women of the suburbs,” Mr. Trump said.For Mr. Tump, the race’s waning days have been a characteristically chaotic closing stretch. He has threatened to send in lawyers to stop vote counting, cheered on supporters who surrounded a Biden bus on a Texas highway and baselessly accused doctors of exaggerating how many people had died from the virus so that they could make more money.In Fayetteville, N.C., on Monday, Mr. Trump condemned the Supreme Court decision that will allow ballots to be counted in Pennsylvania after Election Day. “Do you know what can happen during that long period of time?” Mr. Trump said without evidence. “Cheating.”Mr. Biden and Mr. Trump’s closing messages captured their divergent approaches to electoral politics.“There will be no red states and blue states, just the United States,” Mr. Biden said of his potential presidency. That Mr. Biden himself began his final full day on the road in Ohio — a state Mr. Trump carried by eight percentage points — appeared a sign his campaign hoped to run up the score. Ohio was not among the dozen closest states in 2016.But voters in both parties are mistrusting of the polls. Mr. Trump has actively questioned them on a near daily basis. And many Democrats are still scarred by the shock of 2016.Outside the Polk County Auditor’s office in Des Moines, the line to vote early stretched around the block. For 18-year-old Mikayla Simpson, who stood in line wearing earbuds and a tan camouflage Trump 2020 baseball cap, the wait to cast her first vote for Mr. Trump was well worth it.“I’d stand here all day if I had to,” she said.Turnout on Tuesday will be critical even with the record early voting.Mr. Trump, who for months has sown mistrust in mail-in ballots, is especially in need of a huge in-person showing, banking that the Republican Party’s early investment in door-knocking will pay off.Mr. Trump’s chances are mostly pinned on luring white working class voters to the polls — many of whom have flocked to his rallies despite the health risks. Seeking to recapture the energy of his surprise 2016 win, Mr. Trump’s final stop is expected to be in Grand Rapids, Mich., the same city he finished his 2016 schedule.The Democratic ticket ended the day in Pennsylvania’s two biggest media markets alongside pop stars at rallies in stadium parking lots, with Ms. Harris in Philadelphia with John Legend and Mr. Biden in Pittsburgh with Lady Gaga. Lady Gaga also performed at Mrs. Clinton’s final 2016 rally, then in North Carolina. For Mr. Trump and Mr. Biden, their final events on the last full day of 2020 campaigning offered as stark a display of their differences as anything they said.Seeking to project a sense of normalcy even as infection caseloads surge, Mr. Trump flouted public health guidelines with a slate of large rallies in North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin, and even made a winking nod to firing the country’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, should he win another term, in a Florida rally that lasted past midnight on Sunday.In Ohio and Pennsylvania, Mr. Biden argued there could be no return to routine until the virus was under control and his itinerary of socially distanced, drive-in rallies — “Honk if you agree with me!” he shouted in Cleveland — served a visual expression of his sober approach. Mr. Biden, the former vice president, cast race as a referendum on Mr. Trump’s stewardship of a pandemic that has infected more than nine million people in the United States and cost more than 230,000 lives.“The first step to beating the virus is beating Donald Trump,” Mr. Biden declared, adding, “The power to change the country is in your hands.” – Advertisement – Mr. Trump had a very different pitch. “You have the power to vote, so go out and vote,” he said. “Unless you’re going to vote for somebody other than me, in which case, sit it out.”Reporting was contributed by Maggie Haberman in New York; Glenn Thrush in Washington, D.C., Nick Corasaniti and Katie Glueck in Philadelphia; Louis Keene in Los Angeles and Mike Anderson in Des Moines, Iowa. “Vote like this country depends on it because it does,” she said Monday.last_img read more

Start reading Undeterred by Coronavirus Pandemic, Americans Prepare to Render Verdict on Trump

A68 iceberg on collision path with South Georgia

first_imgIf the world’s biggest iceberg grounds at South Georgia island, it could devastate local wildlife.- Advertisement –last_img

Start reading A68 iceberg on collision path with South Georgia

Alibaba and JD rack up record $115 billion of sales

first_imgSearch quotes, news & videos Singles Day 2020: Alibaba and JD rack up record $115 billion of saleslast_img

Start reading Alibaba and JD rack up record $115 billion of sales

N Ireland 1 – 2 Slovakia

first_imgNorthern Ireland’s Euro 2020 dreams fell at the final hurdle as Michal Duris’ extra-time winner sent Slovakia to next summer’s finals with a 2-1 win at Windsor Park.Slovakia had led for most of normal time with the opening goal handed to them by George Saville, whose poor backwards header was pounced upon by Juraj Kucka to fire home from the edge of the box (17).- Advertisement –  Image:A total of 1,060 fans were allowed inside Windsor Park for the play-off final Subs: Thompson (6), Whyte (6), Lafferty (7), Boyce (6), Flanagan (5), Ferguson (5).Away Team: Rodak (5), Pekarik (7), Satka (7), Skriniar (6), Hubocan (6), Lobotka (5), Rusnak (7), Kucka (7), Hamsik (6), Mak (6), Duda (5).Subs: Duris (7), Hrosovsky (6), Mraz (6), Gregus (5), Gyomber (n/a).- Advertisement – – Advertisement – Eight minutes into the second period, Stanislav Lobotka became a victim of the hosts’ newfound threat, and from McGinn’s interception, Conor Washington turned in the box before shooting straight at Rodak when he should have levelled.But real chances remained at a premium after that near-miss, including the hosts’ equaliser when it finally came, three minutes from time. McNair found space on the right flank and after reaching the byline pulled the ball to a long queue of players in the six-yard box. However, it took only first man Skriniar to clumsily divert the ball past his own goalkeeper and bring them level.Into extra-time, the game went with Northern Ireland finally enjoying the bit between their teeth, and influential substitute Kyle Lafferty coming close to capping his superb cameo with a goal when glancing McNair’s volley goalwards, but straight at Rodak. How Northern Ireland went so close, yet so farNorthern Ireland have not started games well under Ian Baraclough – they were yet to score the first goal in a game under him – but in front of just over 1,000 home fans, they began at a good tempo.Unable to turn their territory into opportunities, however, Slovakia grew in confidence and increasingly began to cause problems on the flanks. But their goal would owe little to quality, with a mistimed backwards header from Saville pounced on by Kucka, who strode forward to beat Peacock-Farrell. Team newsIan Baraclough’s only change from Northern Ireland’s win over Bosnia-Herzegovina saw the injured Corry Evans replaced by Conor Washington.New Slovakia Stefan Tarkovic made six changes to his side, including a return for Inter Milan defender Milan Skriniar. Josh Magennis should have tested Rodak with a free header from Paddy McNair’s corner minutes later but misjudged his effort. Only moments before the break, they threatened again, with Stuart Dallas and Niall McGinn both missing the target with wayward efforts in quick succession.As has become increasingly familiar, the only similarity between Northern Ireland’s first and second-half performances was the numbers on their backs – and in harrying and pressing their visitors from the restart, they looked a different prospect altogether. A much-improved second-half performance from the hosts was finally rewarded three minutes from full-time when Paddy McNair’s cross was bundled past his own goalkeeper by Inter Milan defender Milan Skriniar, which took the tie to extra-time.But some more poor defending allowed a loose ball to find Duris with 10 minutes of the extra half-hour remaining, and after Bailey Peacock-Farrell allowed his shot to beat him at his near post, Northern Ireland could find no way back as their qualification hopes were extinguished in the play-off final. At the other end, with the experienced Craig Cathcart forced off through injury, Tom Flanagan’s decision to step into midfield left the hosts’ backline exposed. Kucka’s ball towards Duris deflected off Evans’ unwitting backside and into the Slovakia forward, who kept his composure to beat Peacock-Farrell’s weak dive at his near post.Evans nearly made amends with one of the final kicks of the game when Jordan Thompson’s glorious cross found him unmarked six yards out. But just as Rodak kept out his poor header with ease, so too did Slovakia see off any hopes of another late fightback to qualify for only their second European Championships finals.Match factsNorthern Ireland have been defeated in extra-time for the first time in their history.Slovakia have won for the first time in 2020, drawing twice and losing three times since beating Azerbaijan last November.Northern Ireland have lost three consecutive home matches for the first time since September 2011-February 2012.Northern Ireland have kept just one clean sheet in their last 11 matches, at home to Netherlands last November.Juraj Kucka’s opener was his third goal of Slovakia’s EURO 2020 qualification campaign, the joint-most of any player for the side along with Marek Hamsik and Robert Bozenik. It was his first goal for the national side since October 2019 when he netted against Wales.What’s next?Northern Ireland have a Nations League double header against Austria and Romania coming up before the international break concludes, with both live on Sky Sports.Their visit to Austria is live on Sky Sports Football this Sunday from 7.30pm; Kick-off at 7.45pm. Then see them host Romania in their final group game live on Sky Sports Mix next Wednesday from 7.30pm; Kick-off at 7.45pm. Player ratingsNorthern Ireland: Peacock-Farrell (5), Dallas (6), Cathcart (7), Evans (6), Lewis (6), Davis (6), Saville (5), McNair (7), McGinn (6), Magennis (5), Washington (5). – Advertisement – Man of the match: Juraj Kucka SlovakiaImage:Juraj Kucka put Slovakia ahead at Windsor Park before half-timelast_img read more

Start reading N Ireland 1 – 2 Slovakia

Samsung Exynos 1080 5nm Mobile Processor With 5G, Up to 200-Megapixel Camera Sensor Support Launched

first_imgSamsung Exynos 1080 mobile processor has been unveiled as a 5nm EUV process-based chip with 5G support. It is an octa-core processor with a 4+3+1 core configuration and comes with support for high refresh rate displays. The Exynos 1080 SoC can support up to a 200-megapixel camera sensor and as of now, it is unclear which smartphone will debut with this new SoC. Being a 5nm-based processor, it joins the likes of Apple’s A14 and Huawei’s Kirin 9000, but is a mid-range SoC.Samsung Exynos 1080 specificationsThe octa-core Exynos 1080 by Samsung follows the 4+3+1 core configuration that includes four Cortex-A55 cores clocked at 2.0GHz, three Cortex-A78 cores clocked at 2.6GHz, and one Cortex-A78 core clocked at 2.8GHz. The processor also includes the Mali-G78 MP10 GPU to handle graphics.- Advertisement – The SoC includes an onboard neural processing unit (NPU) and digital signal processor (DSP) that allow the Exynos 1080 to run 5.7 trillion operations per second. It also comes with support for faster and more secure on-device AI.For connectivity, Exynos 1080 supports 5G NR Sub-6GHz, 5G NR mmWave, LTE, Wi-Fi (802.11ax), Bluetooth 5.2, and FM Radio. You also get the standard GPS, GLONASS, BeiDou, and Galileo support. In terms of memory and storage, Exynos 1080 supports LPDDR5 and LPDDR4x RAM, as well as UFS 3.1 storage.For display support, the new SoC is compatible with HDR10+ and can handle WQHD displays with up to 90Hz refresh rate. It can also support full-HD displays with up to 144Hz refresh rate. Exynos 1080 can also handle a single-camera setup with up to a 200-megapixel sensor and dual-camera setup where both sensors are 32-megapixel. It is capable of processing 4K video at HEVC (H.265)/ H.264/ VP8/ VP9 (10 bit only with HEVC and VP9) at 60fps.- Advertisement – – Advertisement –center_img Samsung has not shared which phone will debut with Exynos 1080, but it was reported earlier this month that the Galaxy S21 series will not feature the new mobile processor. Another recent report suggests that the upcoming Vivo X60 and Vivo X60 Pro smartphones will be powered by the Exynos 1080.Which is the best TV under Rs. 25,000? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.Affiliate links may be automatically generated – see our ethics statement for details.last_img read more

Start reading Samsung Exynos 1080 5nm Mobile Processor With 5G, Up to 200-Megapixel Camera Sensor Support Launched

News: Celebrate National Day with Rixos the Palm Dubai

first_imgRixos is offering holidaymakers the chance to celebrate the United Arab Emirates National Day in style, with some fantastic offers at its property on the Palm Jumeriah. – Advertisement –last_img

Start reading News: Celebrate National Day with Rixos the Palm Dubai

Human antibodies protect mice from H5N1 avian flu

first_imgJun 8, 2007 (CIDRAP News) – Antibodies gleaned from four Vietnamese patients who survived H5N1 avian influenza were used successfully to prevent and treat H5N1 infection in mice, suggesting that the same approach might be useful in humans, according to a recent report by an international team of researchers.The authors, reporting in the journal Public Library of Science (PLoS) Medicine, said the human antibodies, when used to treat sick mice, were effective not only against the H5N1 strain that infected the Vietnamese patients, but also against a later strain that came from Indonesia.Anthony S. Fauci, MD, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), said the study suggests that antibody treatment could be a valuable weapon against pandemic influenza.”If the success of this initial study is confirmed through further laboratory and clinical trials, human monoclonal antibodies could prove to be valuable therapeutic and prophylactic public health interventions for pandemic influenza,” Fauci commented in a news release. The NIAID was a sponsor of the study.Antibody treatment, also known as passive immunotherapy, has been used to prevent chickenpox, hepatitis A and B, rabies, and respiratory syncytial virus infections. A crude form of it was used during the “Spanish flu” pandemic of 1918-19, when blood products from recovering patients were sometimes given to sick patients. A recent analysis of studies conducted at the time indicated that the treatment reduced mortality by about half (see link below).The new study was conducted by a team from Vietnam, Switzerland, and the United States, with Kanta Subbarao of the NIAID in Bethesda, Md., as the senior author.The antibodies used in the study were gleaned from four Vietnamese who were infected with a “clade 1″ strain of H5N1 between January 2004 and February 2005 and donated blood after their recovery. Swiss researchers on the team extracted antibody-producing white blood cells, called memory B cells, from the samples and used Epstein-Barr virus to induce them to continuously produce large amounts of antibody, according to the NIAID release and the PLoS Medicine report.Team members at the NIAID lab then screened 11,000 antibody-containing samples and found a few that, in the lab, neutralized H5N1 virus strains from 2004 and later. The researchers purified the B cells from these and created four monoclonal antibodies (mABs) that secreted H5N1-specific neutralizing antibodies, the NIAID said.To find out if the antibodies could prevent H5N1 infection, the researchers treated groups of five mice with either of two H5N1 antibodies at one of three doses. Two other groups of mice were treated with human antibodies against diphtheria or anthrax to serve as controls. A day later, all the mice were given lethal intranasal doses of H5N1 virus.All the control mice died within a week, while all the mice that received an H5N1 antibody called FLA5.10 survived, regardless of dose. The effectiveness of the second antibody, called FLA3.14, depended on the dose; 80% of mice that received the highest dose survived, but with the two lower doses, fewer survived.The control mice were found to have high levels of H5N1 virus in the lungs and evidence of the virus in the brain and spleen as well, according to the report. The treated mice, in contrast, had 10- to 100-fold lower levels of virus in the lungs and no detectable virus in brain tissue.To test the antibody method as a treatment for already-sick mice, the researchers exposed mice to a lethal dose of the 2004 strain of H5N1 from Vietnam. A total of 60 mice were given one of the four antibody preparations 24, 48, or 72 hours after infection, and control mice were treated with human diphtheria antibodies. All the control mice died within 10 days, while 58 of the 60 treated mice survived.Encouraged by these findings, the team went on to try the antibodies as treatment for mice infected with an H5N1 strain collected from Indonesia in 2005 (a clade 2 strain). The mice were treated 24 hours after infection. Mice treated with a control antibody and with one of the H5N1 antibodies died, but those treated with the other three H5N1 antibody preparations survived.”These data provide proof of concept that mAb therapy for at least 72 h[ours] postinfection in the mouse model can markedly improve survival from highly virulent H5N1 infection,” the authors write. “Importantly, these data also imply it is possible to obtain significant cross-protection against a Clade II H5N1 virus using a mAb elicited by a Clade I virus.”They add, “Potentially, a cocktail of these cross-reactive antibodies mAbs could represent an adjunctive treatment option against [human] H5N1 infection.”They caution that it is not certain that the antibodies used in this study would be effective against an emerging H5N1 pandemic virus. But they say they are encouraged by the antibodies’ broad neutralizing activity and the “moderate doses” required to confer protection in mice.The NIAID said the researchers now plan to scale up the protection of H5N1 antibodies, test them in other animal species, and, if those studies are successful, test them in humans.Other experts hail the findings as promising, but there are reservations about how much of a practical impact passive immunotherapy could have in a flu pandemic.Gregory Poland, MD, a flu vaccine expert at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., called the report “a very promising development.” If further studies support the approach, it could be used along with antiviral drugs to treat human patients with severe H5N1 disease, and also to protect people who might be exposed to H5N1 and have not been vaccinated, he said.”If [H5N1] cases were going to be admitted to the University of Minnesota Hospital and healthcare workers had to go in and take care of them, this might be a useful interim measure,” said Poland, who is a professor of medicine in infectious diseases at the Mayo College of Medicine and directs the Mayo Vaccine Research Group and Program in Translational Immunovirology.”One can think of it a bit like how we used to use immunoglobulin to protect against hepatitis A before we had vaccine,” Poland added. “But something like this could not and would not supplant vaccines as the cornerstone of prevention of disease.”He listed other caveats as well. One big if is whether the findings in mice will be duplicated in humans. Though the researchers demonstrated “cross-clade protection,” “that may or may not be true in a human model,” he said. Another question is whether the antibody preparations could be produced in large amounts.Assuming the treatment turns out to be effective, the timing of its use will be important, Poland said. “If you give it too far in advance of exposure, there won’t be any circulating in the bloodstream. If you give it too long after exposure, it won’t help. . . . And we don’t know what the effect would be of giving this and a vaccine in close proximity.”Michael T. Osterholm, PhD, MPH, an infectious disease expert and pandemic preparedness advocate, agreed that the findings are promising from the scientific standpoint but expressed doubts about the practical potential to exploit them in the face of a pandemic.”In theory it makes obvious sense—it’s an extension of the immunization process,” said Osterholm, director of the University of Minnesota Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, which publishes CIDRAP News.The main question on the scientific side is whether the antibody treatment would have broad enough activity to be effective against an emerging pandemic strain of H5N1, which could differ from the strain used in producing the antibodies, he said.But on a practical level, Osterholm said, “Once a pandemic hits, there won’t be time or materials to obtain and stockpile large volumes of this. What in theory is ideal, is in practice maybe a nightmare. I don’t see how the plasmapharesis community is going to be able to quickly gear up to actually make lots of this antibody and then move it into the clinical setting in a timely way to have much impact. . . . The idea of trying to create millions of immunotherapy treatments is a stretch.”Concerning Poland’s idea of using passive immunotherapy to protect healthcare workers who could be exposed to H5N1 patients, Osterholm commented, “Now there’s a more targeted application. But that’s going to be a hell of an ethical dilemma. Are you going to get a consensus in the community to actually allow giving it to healthcare workers and not others?”Another flu expert, Dr. William Schaffner of Vanderbilt University, called the study by Subbarao’s team “a very lovely, elegant proof of principle,” according to a recent Associated Press (AP) report.Schaffner suggested that the possible applications of this principle include not just H5N1 influenza, but also ordinary seasonal flu, which kills thousands of people each year.”This has the dual potential of being useful potentially in a pandemic, but perhaps more so on an annual basis,” he told the AP. “That’s where I think the real excitement is.”Simmons CP, Bernasconi NL, Suguitan AL, et al. Prophylactic and therapeutic efficacy of humamn monoclonal antibodies against H5N1 influenza. PLoS Med 2007;4(5):0928-36 [Full text]See also: May 28 NIAID news release on human H5N1 antibodies protecting micehttp://www.niaid.nih.gov/news/newsreleases/2007/Pages/fluantibodies.aspxSep 8, 2006, CIDRAP News story “Could blood from H5N1 survivors help others?”last_img read more

Start reading Human antibodies protect mice from H5N1 avian flu

HHS budget proposal cuts state preparedness, boosts food safety

first_imgFeb 4, 2008 (CIDRAP News) – The Bush administration today unveiled a $3.1 trillion budget for the 2009 fiscal year that cuts a number of public health initiatives but includes an increase for the Food and Drug Adminstration’s (FDA’s) food safety efforts.The proposed spending plan would take effect in October 2008, the start of the next fiscal year. Details of the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) component of the budget were announced at a press conference today by HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt. “We have crafted a fiscally responsible budget at a very challenging time,” he said.The HHS share of the budget is $737 billion, an increase of $29 billion from 2008, HHS said in press release today. However, the amount decreases discretionary spending by $2.2 billion.Proposed cuts for CDCTrust for America’s Health, a nonprofit health advocacy group based in Washington, DC, expressed concern over what it described as an overall 7% cut for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The cutback, TFAH said in a press release today, represents a 6-year low for discretionary funding for the agency.”At a time when healthcare costs are skyrocketing, we should be investing more to keep Americans healthy instead of cutting funds for disease prevention,” said Jeff Levi, PhD, executive director of TFAH, in the press release.The cuts would impair state and local preparedness efforts, TFAH said. Cuts of $97.2 million from the Prevention Health and Health Services Block Grant program would dry up funding that states use to run disease prevention programs, the group said. The new budget would cut $136.7 million from state and local bioterrorism and emergency preparedness efforts and reduce hospital emergency preparedness programs by $61.9 million, according to TFAH.”The administration has cut these programs over the past 5 years, reducing the funding level by one-third,” said TAFH in its press release.More for FDA food monitoringThe budget proposal includes a $42 million increase for food safety initiatives announced by the FDA in November 2007, raising total FDA food safety spending to $662 million, according to HHS. The initiatives were spurred by recent cases of tainted imports as well as contamination in domestic food products, such as Salmonella in peanut butter and Escherichia coli in fresh produce. The funding would expand staffing and resources at food production and handling sites, the FDA said today in a press release. The budget provisions would increase the total number of full-time FDA staff by 526.At a press conference today, budget officials from the FDA said the proposal would establish an FDA food safety office in China.The proposed budget provides $29.5 billion for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to support research. But TFAH said the administration’s plan would “flat-fund” biomedical research at the NIH.The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), in a 29-page budget briefing today, reported that funds for biodefense and emerging infectious disease research would drop by $7.5 million. The agency said it would move funds in those research areas from research and development contracts to the intramural research program to partially offset projected increased operating costs for new biodefense containment facilities that will be opening in Ft Detrick, Md., and Hamilton, Mont.For bioterrorism preparedness, the budget allocation of $4.3 billion includes $250 million for developing medical countermeasures for the national stockpile. It also sets aside $53 million to establish five new international quarantine stations and fully staff all 20 domestic stations, according to the HHS press release. Also, the budget includes $30 million to expand, train, exercise, and coordinate medical emergency teams, including two Commissioned Corps Health and Medical Response (HAMR) teams designed to respond to real or potential threats, HHS said.Pandemic preparedness fundsThe budget contains $507 million for the next phase of the administration’s influenza pandemic preparedness plan, including funds to expand egg-based vaccine capacity and buy medical countermeasures and supplies for HHS employees and patients, according to HHS. In addition, $313 million is proposed for ongoing pandemic preparedness efforts at the CDC, FDA, NIH, and the Office of the HHS Secretary.In a 120-page budget briefing today, HHS said Congress did not appropriate $870 million requested by the president last year to implement the nation’s pandemic preparedness plan. “The Administration is still considering options regarding this funding, and will reach out to Congress soon,” HHS said.The 2008 omnibus spending bill passed by Congress in December earmarked only $76 million for influenza pandemic preparedness funding, far below the Bush administration’s $870 million request. The House and Senate appropriations committees had said their reason for cutting the 2008 pandemic budget was that $1.2 billion was left over from previous appropriations, according to previous media reports. However, Rich Hamburg, director of governmental relations for TFAH, said at the time that the $1.2 billion represented one-time funding that was mostly intended for buying vaccines and antiviral medications.At the press conference, Leavitt said the budget proposal provides for an initiative to improve the nation’s inadequate supply of ventilators, which he said cost from $8,000 to $10,000 apiece and require highly trained operators. He said the budget includes $25 million to develop a new generation of ventilator that will be portable, will cost 90% less, and will not require specialized training to operate.”This effort will help fill the gap to ensure our nation has an adequate number of ventilators in the event of a public health emergency,” HHS said in its press release.See also:Feb 4 HHS press releaseFeb 4 TFAH press releaseDec 20, 2007, CIDRAP News story “Congress slashes pandemic preparedness funding”last_img read more

Start reading HHS budget proposal cuts state preparedness, boosts food safety

DoD funds development of anthrax vaccine patch

first_imgApr 8, 2008 (CIDRAP News) – Iomai Corp., a biotechnology company that specializes in needle-free vaccines, announced today that it will receive a grant from the US Department of Defense (DoD) to fund preclinical development of a patch-based anthrax vaccine.The 1-year grant to Iomai, based in Gaithersburg, Md., will be in the form of a $943,856 cost reimbursement from the US Army Medical Research and Material Command, according to a press release from Iomai.Work on the vaccine will combine an antigen developed by Avecia Biologics, Ltd., based in the United Kingdom, with an Iomai adjuvant on a skin patch. Iomai said its next step would be to gauge the stability of the patch to see if it can be stored and shipped at room temperature.The current licensed anthrax vaccine, made by Emergent BioSolutions Inc., must be refrigerated and is given as a six-shot regimen over 18 months. The US government has been seeking a second-generation product to replace anthrax vaccine adsorbed (AVA), developed in the 1950s, with hopes that a newer product would require fewer doses and produce minimal side effects. Some military personnel have objected to AVA because of reported serious side effects.”The military has a clear need for an effective anthrax vaccine that can be stockpiled and shipped at room temperature, and we believe that Iomai has the scientific know-how and the manufacturing ability to meet that need,” said Stanley C. Erck, Iomai’s president and chief executive officer, in the press release.Iomai says it has developed techniques for drying proteins, such as the anthrax vaccine, to allow administration with a patch the size of an adhesive bandage. The company says it has four other products using the protein-drying technology in its development pipeline; three are aimed at seasonal and pandemic influenza and the other at travelers’ diarrhea.On Apr 2, PharmAthene, an Annapolis, Md., biodefense company, announced that it had finalized its acquisition of the biodefense vaccine business of Avecia, Iomai’s anthrax vaccine partner. Iomai acknowledged the sale in its press release but did not give any details about how it would affect preclinical work on the anthrax vaccine patch.PharmAthene, in its press release, said it had acquired all of the assets related to Avecia’s vaccines business, including intellectual property rights to its recombinant protective antigen (rPA) anthrax vaccine and plague vaccine, as well as government contracts relating to the vaccines that total $60 million.Avecia has completed phase 2 clinical studies of its rPA anthrax vaccine, according to PharmAthene. In February, the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a request for proposals for an anthrax rPA vaccine for the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS), the company said in its press release. The HHS proposal request calls for a company to produce 25 million doses of anthrax vaccine.On Mar 24, the Wall Street Journal reported that the government’s anthrax vaccine contract could be worth more than $400 million.David P. Wright, PharmAthene’s president and chief executive officer, said in the press release that preclinical and clinical studies of Avecia’s anthrax vaccine show an antibody response and that it is safe and well tolerated.”If these results are confirmed in future studies, we believe this vaccine could prove to be a superior choice for procurement in the Strategic National Stockpile for civilian defense against anthrax threats,” he said.Federal officials have hit roadblocks in their efforts to add a second-generation anthrax vaccine to the national stockpile. In December 2006, HHS canceled an $877 million contract with VaxGen, a small biotechnology company based in Brisbane, Calif., after the company had problems with its vaccine’s stability and missed a deadline for starting a clinical trial.In October 2007, a report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) criticized federal anthrax vaccine procurement efforts, saying officials awarded the contract prematurely, had unrealistic expectations of VaxGen, and were confused about how the vaccine would be used.See also:Apr 8 Iomai press releaseApr 2 PharmAthene press release Oct 31, 2007, CIDRAP News story “GAO critiques anthrax vaccine procurement, management”last_img read more

Start reading DoD funds development of anthrax vaccine patch

Drinking water in Vodice polluted with faeces: Tourists flee, renters in despair

first_imgTap water in one part of Vodice is mixed with faeces and the water is not drinkable, tourists leave Vodice, the hosts lose money, and Vodice suffocates in the stench caused by faeces. For the third day, residents and tourists of Vodice do not have drinking water in the middle of the tourist season, and the problem arose in a nearby new building where an illegal well was unauthorizedly connected to the water supply pipeline by investors, contaminating the drinking water supply system. Dnevnik.hrThe waterworks also spoke about this case, and we are transmitting their announcement in full:”On July 25, 2017. at around 8 am, an employee of Vodovod i odvodnje doo was informed by the citizens of Vodice from Blata and Prvićka streets about a change in the appearance of the color and smell of the water. Based on the report, the employee of Vodovod i odvodnje doo went to the disputed place and determined that about 30 houses are supplied with unhealthy water.The cause of the pollution was an illegal well for irrigating a green area made on a drinking water supply pipeline owned by Vodovod i odvodnje doo at the time of the construction of a residential building with eight apartments at the address in Vodice, Prvićka ulica bb.It was established that the illegal well was unauthorizedly connected to the water supply pipeline by a natural person – investor and contractor of the residential building in question in Vodice, Prvićka ulica bb, which contaminated our drinking water supply system. On the same day, a water test was performed by the Institute of Public Health and an internal test by Vodovod i odvodnje doo, and both findings showed that the water was not healthy, and the service users were informed immediately after learning – it is stated in the statement of ‘Vodovod’.’.A picture of our tourism It is interesting that today in the 21st century in Vodice, who live very well and earn money from tourism, the residents of Blata and Prvićka streets do not have sewerage, but have septic tanks. Where is the huge income from tourism spent? Tourism itself must provide a better quality of life to the local population, because not everyone lives off tourism, and in Croatia even less because tourist consumption is not dispersed locally, except in most accommodation and catering facilities on the waterfront and beaches.This is a great shame for Croatia, including Vodice, and a negative advertisement for our tourism.Vodice is a classic example of illegal construction of apartments without any plan and strategy, and how this illegal construction has irreversibly destroyed the landscape and destination. The image and opportunity of our tourism, just a short-term race for money, without any strategic development. The apartments expanded on their own, one bigger, the other smaller, the third wider without any permits in most cases, meaning illegally, and the infrastructure from sewerage, electricity, water, parking did not develop… That is why we have a problem with overloaded sewerage network today, less water and low pressure, electricity, parking, etc.… Only because we have not strategically, planned and sustainably developed our tourist destinations.Of course, this is an isolated case, but unfortunately not the first. It is not only the investor’s fault, the entrepreneur Zoran Josipović from Vodice who illegally connected the water supply pipeline, but the long-term poor management of the city of Vodice and the fact that he has not solved infrastructure problems for years, as he did not provide sewerage throughout the city. We are talking about 2017 and the city that lives from tourism.Terrible, but sadly true.last_img read more

Start reading Drinking water in Vodice polluted with faeces: Tourists flee, renters in despair