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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Centers of competence in tourism: Workshop held with representatives of the economy in tourism and hospitality

first_imgThe Ministry of Tourism, the Directorate for Quality Management, International Cooperation and the EU, led by Assistant Minister Olivera Shejbal, as a level 1 intermediary body within the Operational Program ‘Effective Human Resources 2014-2020’, organized a workshop on “Centers of Competence in Tourism (CEKOM “with representatives of the economy in the tourism and hospitality sector)Regional centers of competence are places of excellence in vocational education and training in which programs of regular vocational education, vocational training and lifelong learning as well as other forms of formal and non-formal education (work-based learning, competitions and presentations of knowledge and skills, etc.) will be implemented. The centers will be established in five sectors: tourism and hospitality, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering and ICT, agriculture and health.Through an interactive workshop, led by Marija Kalinic, an expert in education in the field of human resources, representatives of the economy in the tourism and hospitality sector as potential partners were introduced to the basic concept and through a joint contribution identified the role, needs and expectations of employers tourism. Through the presentation of the concept of regional centers of competence in the tourism and hospitality sector, the Ministry of Tourism presented what distinguishes CEKOM from secondary vocational schools, the five basic features of CEKOM and the role of the employer in their establishment and internship programs.Photo: MintThe establishment of regional competence centers is planned within the Operational Program ‘Effective Human Resources 2014-2020’, in investment priority 10iv: “Improving the importance of education and training systems for the labor market, facilitating the transition from school to work, strengthening the vocational education system and training and their quality, inter alia through skills prediction mechanisms, curriculum adaptation and the introduction and development of work-based learning systems, including dual learning systems and apprenticeship programs “, within specific objective 2:” Modernizing the supply of vocational education and raising its qualities in order to increase the employability of students as well as opportunities for further education ”.The Ministry of Tourism points out that they continue to actively participate in creating conditions for announcing tenders for the establishment of regional centers of competence in the tourism and hospitality sector, and the basic precondition is the adoption of a new Law on Vocational Education under the Ministry of Science and Education.


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Joe Biden wins Alaska primary

first_imgJoe Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, was declared winner of the Alaska primary late Saturday after the state shifted to postal voting due to the coronavirus pandemic.The state’s ballots were sent out before Biden’s rival Bernie Sanders pulled out of the race last week, meaning the Vermont senator also took a proportion of the vote.However Biden emerged as the clear winner with 55.3 percent of the vote and nine of the state’s 15 delegates, Alaska Democrats tweeted from the party’s official account. Sanders took 44.7 percent of the votes and eight delegates, according to the tweet.He has stressed he will remain on the ballot and seek to gain as many delegates as possible in order to “exert significant influence” over the direction of the party.Biden, like most Americans, is under stay-at-home orders due to the global coronavirus pandemic, and has marked becoming the de facto 2020 nominee with press releases and comments broadcast online from his basement.He has urged Sanders supporters to join his campaign, which already has the backing of nearly all other ex-rivals in the race including senators Kamala Harris and Amy Klobuchar, and former Indiana mayor Pete Buttigieg.Topics :last_img read more

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Angels’ top prospects Jo Adell, Griffin Canning among non-roster invitees to spring training

Jo Adell, earlier this week ranked the No. 2 prospect in baseball by Baseball Prospectus, is among the non-roster players the Angels have invited to major league spring training.Adell, 19, was also ranked the No. 6 prospect in baseball by Baseball America.The Angels’ top pick in the 2017 draft, Adell just hit .290 with 20 homers in his first full pro season, rising to Double-A.Right-hander Griffin Canning, the Angels’ second-round pick out of UCLA in 2017, was also invited to big league camp. Jose Suarez, the Angels No. 2 pitching prospect, will also be in camp, as a member of the 40-man roster. Jose Suarez’s rocky start sinks Angels in loss to Astros Top prospects Jahmai Jones and Matt Thaiss have also been invited back for their second big league camp.Jared Walsh was invited to camp and listed as a two-way player. An outfielder and first baseman, Walsh began getting formal instruction as a pitcher in the fall.In all, the Angels invited 21 players. Pitchers Miguel Almonte, Alex Meyer, Matt Ramsey, Jeremy Rhoades, Forrest Snow and Canning; catchers Dustin Garneau, Jack Kruger, Julian Leon, Keinner Pina and Roberto Peña; infielders Wilfredo Tomar, Jones and Thaiss; outfielders Peter Bourjos, Brennan Lund, Jarrett Parker, Cesar Puello, Adell and Marsh; and Walsh.Related Articles Angels offense breaks out to split doubleheader with Astros Angels’ Mike Trout working on his defense, thanks to Twitter Angels’ Shohei Ohtani spending downtime working in outfield Angels’ poor pitching spoils an Albert Pujols milestone Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error read more

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