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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Open applications for the Annual Croatian Tourist Awards

first_imgThis year, two new subcategories were introduced: The most successful destination of culture and gastronomy te The most successful nautical destination. Also, the most successful City break destination will no longer be chosen, and unlike previous years, destinations from the continental and coastal part of Croatia can apply for the category of holiday tourism. Additionally, a new subcategory has been introduced in the Attraction of the Year category Natural attraction of the year, while the award in the Recreation and Entertainment subcategory will no longer be awarded. Register your ambassadors and the best in our tourism: The deadline for submitting nominations for the categories of Destination of the Year, Sustainable Tourism Award, Innovation of the Year, Attraction of the Year and “Man – the key to success, employee of the year” is July 1, 2019, while the deadline for submitting candidacies for the Croatian Tourist Award, ie the Annual Award “Anton Štifanić” and the Lifetime Achievement Award August 31, 2019. Online applications for Annual Croatian Tourist Awards 2019 in categories Destination of the year, Sustainable Tourism Award, Innovation of the year te Attraction of the year with subcategories cultural attraction, natural attraction, tourist event of the year and beach of the year. Applications are also accepted for the prize People in tourism, as part of which the Croatian Tourist Award is awarded as an annual award “Anton Štifanić” i Lifetime Achievement Award and reward “Man – the key to success, employee of the year”. DHT in Slavonia This year, for the first time, the Days of Croatian Tourism will be held from October 02 to 04, 2019 in Slavonia.center_img Destination of the year Sustainable Tourism Award Innovation of the year Cultural attraction of the year Natural attraction of the yearTourist event of the year Beach of the year People in tourism The annual Croatian Tourism Award is a project of the Ministry of Tourism, the Croatian Tourist Board and the Croatian Chamber of Commerce, which was created with the aim of further encouraging competitiveness, innovation and awareness of sustainable development and raising the quality of services and products in the tourism sector. Although one does not live from awards, the awards of the profession are still important and proof that all the effort and high level of performance is visible and thus rewarded. Our tourist heroes and ambassadors should be praised and emphasized, so report people who have stood out from the crowd and are making a positive difference every day. The categories are formed in accordance with the current Tourism Development Strategy and the Strategic Marketing Plan, they are comprehensive and follow and anticipate world tourism trends.last_img read more

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Men’s basketball: Nate Reuvers may be next in long line of great Badger big men

first_imgStarting forward Nate Reuvers has quietly been having a stellar season for the University of Wisconsin men’s basketball team. Perhaps overshadowed by the scalding hot start of D’Mitrik Trice or the always impressive play of Ethan Happ, Reuvers has been a developing presence for the Badger frontcourt.On the year, Reuvers is tied for the Big Ten lead in blocks with Maryland forward Bruno Fernando and Michigan center Jon Teske with 18 total. That being said, Reuvers has this lead playing in only 18.8 minutes per game, over six fewer than Fernando and Teske, and dominates the Big Ten lead in blocks per 40 minutes with 4.26. Compare this start to last year, when Reuvers had 26 total blocks over the course of the entire season with 2.2 per 40 minutes.A large part of this may be Reuver’s weight gain this year. The forward, standing at 6 foot 11, bulked up from 215 pounds last year to 240 pounds coming into this season. This has allowed Reuvers to be more physical on the defensive side and increase pressure on inside shots.Men’s basketball: Late game threes give Badgers victory in Big Ten opener over No. 14 HawkeyesThe No. 22 University of Wisconsin men’s basketball team put their money where their mouth is after being tested in Read…“I’m able to hold my ground and you can contest shots a lot better. Before they would be able to back me down right to the rim but now I’m able to hold my ground and make them take a tough shot,” Reuvers said.His most impressive performance came in the first round of the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament versus Stanford, where Reuvers tied Brad Sellers’ Wisconsin record with nine blocks in a single game. Facing some early game turnovers, Reuvers staunch defense kept the Badgers in what could have been a much tighter matchup than the 62–46 result.While Reuvers was happy to tie the school record he was most proud about his ability to back up and help his teammates after some defensive mistakes in the contest.“Helping my guys out when they get beat and playing help defense that’s something we talk about all the time. When one guy breaks down another guy’s going to step up,” Reuvers said.If he keeps up the current pace, Reuvers could break Sellers’ single-season mark of 60 blocks as well. Assuming a 35 game season, Reuvers would finish with 70 blocks on the year, though those numbers are certainly inflated from his performance against Stanford.Offensively, Reuvers has also been impressive, shooting 50 percent from deep while increasing his point totals slightly from 5.3 to 6.8 per game.Badger fans love him, but the rest of college basketball? Not so muchIt was only a matter of time before the University of Wisconsin produced yet another player unconditionally loved by Badger Read…Despite this, Reuvers still has limited playing time with the team, getting around 20 minutes per game compared to his counterpart Happ who will play over 30 a contest. But with Happ graduating at the end of the year, Reuvers’ turn at the helm of the Badger frontcourt will likely come sooner rather than later.In recent history, Badger big men have been the face of the Wisconsin basketball program, from Jon Leuer to Frank Kaminsky to Ethan Happ. These are enormous shoes for Reuvers to fill — both literally and figuratively — but the sophomore realizes that his play style differs from his predecessors.Leuer and Kaminsky were cut from a similar cloth as Badger big men, with solid footwork and perimeter shooting. But Kaminsky, arguably the best player in program history, was the total package for the Badgers. Dominant inside and out, Frank the Tank could work the post and nail a deep three with ease.Happ departed from this mold a bit. Though he has some of the best — if not the best — footwork in college basketball, the forward’s inconsistencies in developing a jump shot or in hitting free throws have caused problems for the Badgers in floor spacing and late game situations.Reuvers praised Happ’s inside play and hopes to use him as an example for improving his own post moves.“A lot of the moves [Happ] does in the post I can’t even do those yet. Just being able to watch and see how he gets his position definitely helps me in making moves by myself,” Reuvers said. “I think in the coming years, especially next year without him, someone’s gotta step up and I think I can fill that role.”Men’s basketball: Badgers win in nail-biter come-back against NC StateThe University of Wisconsin men’s basketball team (6-1) came from behind Tuesday to beat previously undefeated NC State (6-1) 79-75 Read…Though he can’t play inside or rebound quite as well as Happ, Reuvers’ shooting abilities at forward have been an enormous asset for Wisconsin offensively this year. Reuvers’ threat from mid-range and deep has drawn bigger defenders away from the basket, giving Happ more opportunity to score down low.While this is an especially helpful compliment for Happ, who lacks outside scoring abilities, Reuvers’ presence will improve the entire team’s inside efficiency even after Happ’s departure.It would be unfair to put the expectations of past Wisconsin greats on Reuvers’ shoulders, but if he can sharpen some of his existing skills the future looks incredibly bright for the young forward.last_img read more

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