NEWS SCAN: Smallpox antiviral sought, mass drug dispensing, peanut plant hazards missed, Chinese food safety, cell phone bugs

first_imgMar 6, 2009HHS seeks proposals for smallpox antiviralThe US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a request for proposals (RFP) on its Web site yesterday seeking 1.7 million treatment courses of a smallpox antiviral for the Strategic National Stockpile. The 5-year contract, offered through the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), would cover advanced development of the countermeasure. The contract requires that the smallpox antiviral for adults ages 18 to 64 require no more than 3 doses per day for up to 21 days and have a minimum shelf-life of 36 months. The contract includes options for intravenous and liquid formulations and the capacity to scale up production to make 12 million more courses.[Mar 5 HHS smallpox antiviral RFP]Bank drill to test countermeasure distributionIn one of the first exercises of its kind, banks in two Utah towns will test the logistics of handing out antibiotics or antiviral medications at bank drive-through windows to prepare for an influenza pandemic or bioterrorist attack. The Summit County Health Department is planning the drill, which will take place tomorrow at two Zions Bank branches in Coalville and Kamas, both located about 40 miles east of Salt Lake City. The exercise is funded by a grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Cities Readiness Initiative, the Salt Lake Tribune reported yesterday.Private inspector missed problems at Georgia peanut plantA private food safety inspector gave the Peanut Corp. of America’s (PCA’s) Georgia processing plant a “superior” rating after auditing it a year ago, though federal inspectors later found the plant had already been shipping Salmonella-tainted products for months before that, the New York Times reported yesterday. With government inspectors overburdened, many food companies pay for private food-safety inspections, which vary widely in their rigor, the report said. The man who inspected the Georgia plant was not aware that peanuts could harbor Salmonella, the story said.[Mar 5 New York Times report]Texas inspector failed to report unlicensed plant tied to outbreakA Texas agriculture inspector who visited the PCA peanut plant in Plainview, Tex., three times in recent years failed to note that it was operating without a state health department license, according to an Associated Press (AP) report today. The inspector, who was assigned to certify the plant to process organic products, wrongly indicated that the plant was licensed, which allowed it to escape state health inspectors’ notice, the story said. The facility came under investigation as a result of the current nationwide Salmonella outbreak linked to PCA products. Though the outbreak has been blamed mainly on the PCA plant in Georgia, the outbreak strain was found in samples from the Texas facility in February.[Mar 6 AP report]China passes new food safety lawIn response to several tainted food incidents, China on Feb 28 passed a new law that strengthens food safety regulation and boosts penalties for offenders, the Voice of America reported on Mar 2.The new law provides extra compensation for victims of tainted food, bans supervisory agencies from advertising food products, and makes people, such as celebrities, who advertise for tainted products liable for damages. Also, China’s departments of health, agriculture, quality supervision, industry, and commerce will share responsibility for monitoring the country’s food supply.MRSA and other bugs on healthcare workers’ cell phonesMobile phones are a source of nosocomial pathogens, and regularly cleaning the devices could reduce the number of infections in healthcare institutions, according to Turkish researchers who presented their findings today in the Annals of Clinical Microbiology and Antimicrobials. They took samples from the phones of 200 healthcare workers, along with samples from the workers’ hands, and found that 94.5% of the phones were contaminated with bacteria. Staphylococcus aureus strains were isolated from 52% of the phones, of which 37.7% were methicillin-resistant S aureus (MRSA). Gram-negative strains were isolated from 31.3% of phones, of which 39.5% were ceftazidime resistant. Only 10.5% of healthcare workers said they routinely cleaned their cell phones.[Mar 6 Ann Clin Microbiol Antimicrob study]Malaria drug looks promising for treating Hendra and Nipah virus infectionsA drug commonly used to prevent and treat malaria looks like a potential tool for blocking infections with Hendra and Nipah viruses, which cause encephalitis in humans, researchers reported in a Mar 4 early online edition of the Journal of Virology. The group, using a nonlethal engineered virus that contained Hendra proteins on its surface, found that chloroquine inhibited the action of a key enzyme, cathepsin L, that is essential for the growth of the two viruses. Researchers noted that chloroquine is inexpensive and has been widely and safely used for more than 50 years.[Mar 4 Journal of Virology abstract]Defunct infection-fighting gene revived after millions of yearsA gene that helps mammals fight infections like tuberculosis and salmonellosis died out very early in primate evolution but was resurrected eons later in the common ancestor of humans and great apes, according to scientists from the University of Washington and the Howard Hughes Medical institute. The gene, called human IRGM, died in the common ancestor of Old World and New World monkey species, but its remnant persisted through millions of years. The gene somehow became functional again in the ancestor of humans and great apes, possibly when a retrovirus inserted itself into the genome, the scientists report in PLoS Genetics.[Mar 5 University of Washington news release][PLoS Genetics article]last_img read more

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Airbnb is currently refusing to participate in a new rental program within Google search

first_imgOver the past six months, according to SimilarWeb, Airbnb has generated about 60 percent of its total traffic without paying Google or other search engines. On the other hand, Booking.com recorded much higher numbers, but only 45 percent of traffic was generated without intermediaries. Expedition CEO Mark Ockerstrom, is open to the fact that Google is their strongest competitor. Airbnb is aiming to market its shares to the public by 2020, and given that the company is focused on brand awareness and promotion so they shouldn’t pay billions of dollars a year to Google, the decision to participate in Google’s rental package is important. Google recently unveiled its new package for renting accommodation within Google search, and it is a feature that is a kind of announcement of Google’s travel service. Source / photo: Skift; Airbnb In the debate over whether Airbnb should join the package, the question is whether the company wants to give Google a “piece of the pie” of profit by helping Airbnb in marketing, especially since the two companies will increasingly compete for their place at the top of the most used online travel agencies. . While many investors and experts are debating whether Airbnb or Booking.com will eventually rise to the very top of short-term rental agencies, it now seems that Google is the biggest threat to Airbnb in the long run. Asked if he thought it was wise for Airbnb to participate in Google’s rental package, Kayaka co-founder and CEO Steve Hafner said it would be a rational move for Airbnb. “Google allows them additional distribution and, most likely, for free”, He concluded.center_img Google has initially gathered big players in the online travel scene, and smaller agencies are yet to join, the source said. Google’s new service works in such a way that when users search for accommodation, through the Google search interface, they can choose an online agency such as Agoda or Hotels.com and make a reservation on the website of the selected agency. Tim Choate, founder and CEO of real estate management company Red Awning Group, believes Airbnb will take the wrong step if it doesn’t join Google’s program. However, within the mentioned package, along with other online travel agencies such as Expedia, Booking Holdings and TripAdvisor, there is no trace of Airbnb, reports Shift. “I fully understand why Airbnb is not participating in the program as they try to maintain the exclusivity of their offerings”, Said Choate and added:”But at the same time, we feel that additional publicity is never too much, and not participating in one of the potentially largest travel channels is the wrong decision.” Airbnb declined to comment on the co-operation question, and Google was reluctant to comment on the decision. For now, all clicks within Google’s new search feature are reportedly free. Google does not currently plan to monetize this program, as long as it works to improve the user experience.last_img read more

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Toure talks up Reds’ European dream

first_imgNew Liverpool defender Kolo Toure hopes he can play a major part in helping the club regain its Champions League status. Toure continued: “I would like to be remembered as someone who did very well and that is why I am here. At the moment Liverpool are not in the top four but they have the history, the quality, the players and the mentality as well. “This club is a winning club and I want to be part of history here, that’s why I came – to try to build the team as far as we can, to be top four or to win a trophy. “We just want to win trophies and want to play in the Champions League as well. There are a lot of good teams out there but with the squad we’ve got, we have great players and a great mentality here, we can do very well this season.” Reds manager Brendan Rodgers has signed Toure to add more experience to his defence, a role Jamie Carragher was asked to perform having been reinstated in the second half of the season prior to his retirement. “Of course my experience is going to be important. I know Jamie Carragher was a really important player for this football club,” Toure added. “He’s retired now and Liverpool had to look for somebody who can replace him. I’m the one and it’s a big honour. He has been a fantastic player for England and this football club. He was a great leader. What I will try to do is not going to be easy, but I will do my best.” Fellow new signing Simon Mignolet is also confident the club can make the top four again. His first task may be to displace Jose Reina as first-choice goalkeeper but he knows the bigger picture is to regain Champions League status. Mignolet said: “For me it’s a big step forward. I spoke to the manager and he told me that it’s going to be a big step forward.” The Ivory Coast international played in the competition with Arsenal and Manchester City, although last season he was left out of the European squad by then manager Roberto Mancini. Having arrived at Anfield on a free transfer after his contract expired in Manchester he is looking to secure a return to Europe’s premier club competition. “Last season I didn’t play, I was out of the (Champions League) squad,” he said. “It has been a tough time but this season is going to be a great season for Liverpool. To be part of the team who can bring the club back to the Champions League would be amazing. That’s what I’m looking for.” center_img Press Associationlast_img read more

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Banks DIH, Coca Cola partner with Houston Secondary School

first_imgBANKS DIH Limited and the Coca Cola Company are partnering to promote healthy lifestyles in schools through physical activities.Through this initiative Houston Secondary School on the East Bank of Demerara has benefited from rehabilitation of its basketball backboard and donations of basketballs and jump (skipping) ropes.Communications Manager Troy Peters, who made the presentation during a simple ceremony at the school, disclosed that the company has worked closely with Houston Secondary and is extremely pleased to be helping to promote physical education and healthy lifestyles at the institution.“This initiative is part of the Banks DIH Limited’s Corporate Social Responsibility programme which fosters positive social impact in schools. In addition, we are working closely with Coca Cola to encourage physical activities and healthy lifestyles among youths,” he disclosed.Houston Secondary is one of the schools earmarked to compete in the 2018 National Jump Rope competition, sponsored by Coca Cola and organised by the Ministry of Education.Physical Education teacher Edmond Johnson expressed appreciation to the company for the assistance.He said the school will start preparations for the School Jump Rope championships next year, while plans are in place to participate competitively in schools’ basketball tournaments soon.last_img read more

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Selection of Best B&H Disabled Athletes

first_imgThe traditional selection of the best disabled athletes in B&H will be held tonight at the B&H Armed Forces Hall in Sarajevo starting at 17:00.At the ceremony, the most successful athletes and teams in men’s and women’s competition will be announced, and the most successful coach for 2013. Also, there will be five special awards handed out.The most promising young athlete (men and women competition) will be named for the first time.The biggest success this year was made again by the B&H team in sitting volleyball, which won the eight consecutive title this year at the European Championship in Elblag, Poland.(Source: Fena)last_img

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Emmanuel Adebayor destroys Arsenal fans with mum jokes on Instagram

first_imgImage Courtesy: Imago/Instagram(@e_adebayor)Advertisement 7sNBA Finals | Brooklyn Vs7ky87vWingsuit rodeo📽Sindre Eage( IG: @_aubreyfisher @imraino ) c4jWould you ever consider trying this?😱66qCan your students do this? 🌚9p9erRoller skating! Powered by Firework Yesterday marked the 10th anniversary for Emmanuel Adebayor’s bizarre celebration after scoring against his former club Arsenal on his Manchester City debut, and instantly gained alot of haters who once cheered for their favourite Gunners forward. And now, the Togolese is tackling his haters from Islington with a series of ‘your mum’ jokes on social media!Advertisement Image Courtesy: Imago/Instagram(@e_adebayor)The Togolese striker was booked immediately after running 120 meters across the Etihad Stadium ground, and sliding with his arms open in front of an agitated Arsenal fanbase, is now burning up his Instagram with answer to questions from his loving-turned-hating Arsenal fans, bantering on their mothers and family.Below are some examples of how the striker is dealing with criticism.Advertisement @kelvinpadosky commented: “And after dat celebration ur career nosedived. True or false”, to which the 35 year old replied: “After I went straight with your mum”.“Big 35 year old and making mum jokes LOOOOL grow up” @taseen.01 wrote, to which Adebayor’s reply was: “Burying your mum”Advertisement Pretty disrespectful to his former fans, if not absolutely vulgar.Check out the comment section of his his Instagram post to find a lot more of the mum jokes he’s throwing around. Adebayor, who currently plays for Süper Lig side Kayserispor, joined the Citizens for  £25 million, after earning love and respect in the Gunners kit for 3 years. After a loan spell with La Liga giants Real Madrid and Tottenham Hotspur, he swapped sides with the latter in 2012. After a short spell with Crystal Palace in 2016, the Togo international set his foot on Turkey with İstanbul Başakşehir in 2017, before joining Kayserispor this August. Advertisementlast_img read more

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