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

See More

FDJ secures ‘favourable’ €380m loan to repay French state duties

first_img Submit FDJ’s ParionsSport launches sponsorship programme for French amateur football August 24, 2020 StumbleUpon FDJ’s ParionsSport extends Olympique de Marseille sponsorship August 10, 2020 FDJ focuses on delivering ‘2020 savings plan’ as covid drains momentum July 30, 2020 Share Related Articles Share Française des Jeux (FDJ) has secured access to a €380 million syndicated loan, in which funds will be utilised to repay the French state’s agreed 25-year national lottery operating concession.Prior to becoming a publicly listed enterprise by floating on the Paris Euronext Exchange last November, the French government had granted FDJ a 25-year extension on its existing national lottery and sports betting (point-of-sale) licence.FDJ’s contract extension was approved under the terms of the ‘PACTE ACT’ enterprise mandate, becoming the first French state asset to be privatised by PM Emmanuel Macron‘s En Marche government.Deal terms stipulated that FDJ would have to pay €380 million to the French government by 30 June 2020. Updating investors, FDJ governance underlines that it secured options on a syndicated loan taking advantage of the current market’s favourable interest rate environment.Transaction terms see the €380 million loan establish repayment options on a ‘straight-line basis’ over a 20-year period. FDJ’s loan transaction is secured by the French banks of BRED, Caisse d’Epargne, Credit Agricole and Crédit Lyonnais.last_img read more

See More

Dodgers lineup gets off to hot start in first exhibition game

first_img Fire danger is on Dave Roberts’ mind as Dodgers head to San Francisco Dodgers hit seven home runs, sweep Colorado Rockies When Corey Seager walked in the next at-bat, the Dodgers ended their half of the first without recording an out as Widener hit his 25-pitch limit for the inning. Batting in the three hole, Justin Turner hit an infield single off the right-handed Widener’s glove to load the bases for Cody Bellinger. It took five pitches before the reigning National League MVP cleared the bases by hitting a 94 mile per hour fastball into the right field seats for a grand slam. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error How Dodgers pitcher Ross Stripling topped the baseball podcast empire As the Los Angeles Dodgers prepared for Sunday’s exhibition against the Arizona Diamondbacks, Dodger manager Dave Roberts said he would use regular-season lineups to prepare for Thursday’s opener.And in the Dodgers’ 9-2 win on Sunday, the team got its first chance to see what its revamped offense looks like against an actual opponent.It all started in the bottom of the first inning. And fittingly, it began with right fielder Mookie Betts, the former American League MVP acquired in a blockbuster trade from the Red Sox in February.Betts led the frame off with a walk. Max Muncy followed with a walk of his own, the pair combining to face 14 pitches from Arizona starter Taylor Widener. Cody Bellinger homer gives Dodgers their first walkoff win of season The top of the order delivered again in the third inning on a sacrifice fly from Turner and an RBI single from Bellinger, driving in Betts and Muncy respectively.Bellinger added an RBI single in the seventh to finish the game 3-for-4 with six RBIs. All told, the Dodgers’ starting 1-5 hitters went 9-for-13 with three walks.The Dodgers enjoyed success on the mound on Sunday, too, thanks to the play of rookie Mitchell White.The former second-round pick threw five innings, allowing one earned run and one hit with two strikeouts and no walks. The one hit was a home run by Ketel Marte in the first inning, but White retired the next 14 batters he faced.The goal was for White to pitch four innings on Sunday. But he breezed through the target in 44 pitches, so Roberts called on him for the fifth inning. Help was warming up in the bullpen just in case, but White needed just 10 pitches to retire the side and qualify for the win.Related Articles Dodgers’ Max Muncy trying to work his way out of slow start The bullpen contributed four innings. Adam Kolarek and A.J. Ramos combined for a shutout sixth, while Victor Gonzalez allowed one earned run in two innings work. Closer Kenley Jansen finished the game with a perfect ninth.That type of pitching performance was more than enough given how the Dodgers hit on Sunday.last_img read more

See More