Injectable drug seen as potential treatment for flu, both seasonal and avian

first_imgOct 2, 2006 (CIDRAP News) – Recent tests suggest that an antiviral drug given by intravenous (IV) or intramuscular (IM) injection could eventually serve as another weapon against influenza, according to results presented at a conference last week.In animal studies, peramivir improved survival in mice and ferrets infected with H5N1 avian flu, according to a news release from BioCryst Pharmaceuticals Inc., Birmingham, Ala., which is developing the drug. The results were presented Sep 30 at the annual Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy (ICAAC) in San Francisco.In addition, in phase 1 clinical studies, IV and IM doses of peramivir produced high blood levels of the drug in human volunteers without causing any adverse events, according to Dr. Charles E. Bugg, PhD, chairman and chief executive of BioCryst.The clinical studies “showed you can achieve high blood levels in humans safely,” Bugg told CIDRAP News in an interview today. The combination of those results with the animal studies is promising, he said.Peramivir is a neuraminidase inhibitor, like the licensed antivirals oseltamivir (Tamiflu), and zanamivir (Relenza). Oseltamivir is an oral drug, while zanamivir is inhaled as a powder. Many countries have stockpiled oseltamivir on the assumption that it will help if the H5N1 virus sparks a pandemic.BioCryst started developing peramivir in 1998 in partnership with Johnson and Johnson, Bugg said. Early studies showed the drug inhibited flu viruses effectively, but when taken orally, its bioavailability was very low, which prompted Johnson and Johnson to pull out of the program.Because injectable peramivir looked promising in animals, the program was resurrected with help from the National Institutes of Health about a year ago, Bugg said. He explained that the company is developing an IV formulation intended for hospital patients and an IM formulation for outpatients.In the animal studies, four groups of mice were infected with an H5N1 virus and then were treated with either a single IM injection of peramvir, five daily IM injections, oral oseltamivir for 5 days, or an IM placebo injection daily for 5 days, according to the news release. The single-injection group had a 70% survival rate and the five-injection group a 80% survival rate, compared with 36% for the placebo group and 70% for the oseltamivir group.In the ferret experiment, one group received a daily IM injection for 5 days, while a second group received an IM placebo daily for 5 days. Eighty-six percent of the treated group survived, versus 43% of the placebo group, according to the news release.Bugg said treatment was started an hour after the animals were infected with the virus. He said additional studies will involve longer time lapses between exposure and the start of treatment.Results of the clinical studies were presented by flu expert Frederick Hayden, MD, of the University of Virginia. Three groups of volunteers received different IV doses of peramivir, and a fourth group received increasing IM doses once a day for 3 days, the company release said. “Preliminary safety results indicate that in the four studies, all doses were well-tolerated with no adverse laboratory events or ECG findings reported,” the statement said.”I think peramivir looks very promising,” said Hayden, as quoted in a Sep 29 Bloomberg News report. “It’s proven to have very good activity in single doses.”In an interview, Hayden told Bloomberg that injecting peramivir into the bloodstream or into muscle can produce blood levels 100 times higher than those seen with oral oseltamivir, now considered the most promising treatment for H5N1 infection.Last January the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gave injectable peramivir fast-track status for regulatory approval, according to BioCryst. But Bugg said it would take at least several more years to gain FDA approval.”We’ll do a clinical trial this flu season, and then two more next season,” he said. “We’re looking at several more years.” He said the company will be meeting with the FDA soon to review the program and may have a better idea of the timeline after that.Bugg said plans also call for testing the drug in human H5N1 patients at sites in Thailand and Vietnam and also to make it available in Turkey, which had human cases early this year.”We’ll be trying to collect data from H5N1-infected patients in Southeast Asia in collaboration with the World Health Organization,” he said. “We’ll be on the front line to capture H5N1 if it occurs. But realistically we won’t have enough [patients] for a meaningful statistical analysis.”In a Sep 29 Reuters report, Bugg said peramivir is easier to make than Tamiflu. One Swiss manufacturer can make 1 metric ton of the drug in a month, enough to treat an estimated 8 million people, he said.See also:Oct 2 BioCryst release on peramivirhttp://investor.shareholder.com/biocryst/releasedetail.cfm?ReleaseID=213054last_img read more

Tunisian referee banned after controversial CAN 2013 semi-final performance

first_imgTunisian referee Slim Jdidi has been banned by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) after his controversial performance in Wednesday’s African Nations Cup semi-final between Burkina Faso and Ghana.“CAF was not happy with the standard of refereeing in the match,” general secretary Hicham El Amrani told a media briefing on Thursday.“We know they can make mistakes but we expected a better level of refereeing. They are graded on each performance and based on his marks the referee from Tunisia is now suspended for a period of time still to be determined.”Among the contentious issues during Wednesday’s match in Nelspruit was the red card given to Burkina Faso forward Jonathan Pitroipa that could mean he will miss Sunday’s final against Nigeria.Pitroipa received his second booking of the game, for simulation, in extra time after going down in the penalty area.The organising committee will decide on Friday whether the player can take part in the final. Burkina Faso have launched an appeal but El Amrani said the only way Pitroipa could avoid an automatic one-match ban will be if Jdidi acknowledges he made a mistake in his referee’s report.“The organising committee does not have the power to change a referee’s decision,” El Amrani explained.“If the referee has admitted a mistake in his report the committee will consider it and make any decision if necessary. But that report … is final.”Jdidi also awarded a soft spot kick to Ghana in a display which threatened to overshadow an exciting encounter that Burkina Faso eventually won 3-2 on penalties.last_img read more

Cell phone safety

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORE11 theater productions to see in Southern California this week, Dec. 27-Jan. 2160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! FOR the sixth year in a row, state Sen. Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto, has authored a bill requiring drivers to use hands-free equipment while on their cell phones. Let’s hope that this time the measure passes. Seeing that drivers are supposed to keep both hands on the wheel at all times anyway, this bill seems like a no-brainer. We all have horror stories to tell about careless drivers who pay more attention to their phones than to the road. Simitian’s legislation, which has cleared the Senate and now goes to the Assembly, could save lives, and will at least make our commutes less harried. Besides, anyone who can afford the flip-phone with video camera and instant messaging – to say nothing of the monthly service plan – can swing a few bucks for an earbud.last_img read more

Smartphone ‘revolution’ at SA firms

first_img26 February 2010 Yet, in the coming 24 months, 84% of South African corporations expect to have a SaaS strategy in place, and 60% expect to have adopted a cloud computing strategy. Software as a service, cloud computing “Not only does mobility allow companies to improve internal efficiencies and communications, it also enables them to interact more effectively with their increasingly mobile customers.” ‘Company of the future’ RIM sub-Saharan Africa regional director Deon Liebenberg said the results showed that “enterprise mobility solutions” were no longer just “nice to have”. “Until last year, concepts like software as a service (SaaS) and cloud computing were regarded as little more than buzzwords,” said World Wide Worx MD Arthur Goldstuck. Enterprise mobility solutions The combined effect of these technologies is that, while the organisation’s buildings and infrastructure may still be confined to a specific site, its people, activities, information, documentation and data have been freed from location. New research by World Wide Worx shows that smartphones have made a dramatic entry into corporate South Africa, far surpassing general consumer or small business use. “These aren’t technologies as such,” said Goldstuck. “They are strategies that make the organisation’s use of new technology more efficient. From storage systems to software deployment, from hardware upgrades to network capacity to bandwidth, the focus is on cost-effectiveness, flexibility and mobility.” The study, backed by First National Bank (FNB), leaders in cellphone banking in Africa, and BlackBerry developer Research In Motion (RIM), shows that saturation point has almost been reached by large South African companies in the use of fixed landlines (96%) and ordinary mobile phones (92%). Liebenberg pointed out that while smartphones were now mainstream devices within South African businesses, the smartphone revolution had only just begun: “Enterprises should now be looking at what smartphones mean for their businesses in a more strategic and holistic fashion,” he said. The “Mobile Corporation in SA 2010” report reveals that three-quarters of South African companies have deployed smartphones within their organisations, compared to almost none two years ago. Among the technologies expected to take off as a result of the SaaS and the cloud computing revolution are: SAinfo reporterWould you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SAinfo material “They need to work towards mobilising their core internal and customer-facing processes so that their employees can use ubiquitous connectivity to be productive and responsive wherever they are.” And, as forecast in 2007, 3G data card penetration has also reached near saturation, with 94% of large South African companies deploying it. Now the focus has turned to integration of smartphones with business processes. The study also showed that corporate South Africa expects to embrace the new world of online services to an extent that was not even anticipated as recently as one year ago. “We are literally seeing the foundations being laid for the company of the future,” Goldstuck said. Fixed-mobile convergence, with 72% of companies expecting to adopt systems that allow seamless connectivity between fixed and mobile networks.Virtualisation, with 65% expected to embrace this flexible and cost-effective approach to network and server technology.Outsourced storage and archiving systems, with half of large South African companies predicting they will be using it in the next 24 months. The Mobile Corporation in SA 2010 forms part of the Mobility 2009 project, which included research among 1 000 consumers, 1 000 SMEs and 240 large enterprises in South Africa. “They’re essential for businesses that want to be competitive, responsive and efficient in a world where a customer won’t wait for a salesperson who is visiting customers and where project flow can’t stop because a manager is at a full-day meeting,” he said in a statement by World Wide Worx this week.last_img read more

The Built-In Weakness of ‘Footprint’ Estimates

first_imgAs an ecological economist and scholar of sustainability, I am particularly interested in metrics and indicators that can help us understand human uses of Earth’s ecosystems. Better measurements of the impacts of human activities can help identify ways to sustain both human well-being and natural resources.Earth Overshoot Day is a compelling concept and has raised awareness of the growing impact of human activities on the planet. Unfortunately, the methodology used to calculate it and the ecological footprint on which it is based is conceptually flawed and practically unusable in any science or policy context. In my view, the ecological footprint ultimately does not measure overuse of natural resources — and it may very well underestimate it.Rising demands, finite resourcesThe Global Footprint Network estimates when Earth Overshoot Day will arrive based on its National Footprint Accounts. These include extensive data sets that the organization uses to calculate two overarching indicators:The ecological footprint, perhaps the most commonly used metric of the environmental impacts of human resource use. Each country’s ecological footprint is an estimate of the biological resources required to meet its population’s consumption demands and absorb its carbon emissions.National biocapacity, which is an estimate of how well each country’s ecosystems can produce the natural resources consumed by humans and absorb the waste and pollution that humans generate.Both of these measures are expressed in global hectares. One hectare is equal to 10,000 square meters, or about 2.47 acres.Going into overshootTo estimate when Earth Overshoot Day will arrive, the Global Footprint Network calculates the number of days in a given year for which Earth has enough biocapacity to provide for humans’ total ecological footprint. The rest of the year represents “global overshoot.”When the footprint of consumption worldwide exceeds biocapacity, the authors assert that humans are exceeding the regenerative capacity of Earth’s ecosystems. This year, they estimate that humans are using natural resources 1.7 times faster than ecosystems can regenerate — or, put another way, consuming 1.7 Earths.As an example, the ecological footprint for France is 4.7 global hectares per person, and global biocapacity is 1.7 hectares per person. Therefore, it would take (4.7/ 1.7 =) 2.8 Earths if everyone lived like the French.France’s Overshoot Day would be estimated as (365 x (1.7/ 4.7)) = 130, or the 130th day of the year, which is May 5 based on 2014 data. The United States reached overshoot even earlier, on March 15.What to count?However, there are some fundamental and misleading shortcomings in these calculations. In a 2013 paper, six authors from academia, The Nature Conservancy, and the California-based Breakthrough Institute analyzed how the Ecological Footprint falls short. In their view, it primarily measures humans’ carbon footprint but does not address other key impacts.To calculate ecological footprints, the Global Footprint Network estimates the supply and demand of renewable biological resources across six land use types: forests, fishing grounds, croplands, grazing lands, developed lands, and the area of forest required to offset human carbon emissions — that is, the carbon footprint. According to the network’s own analysis, each of these land use types is nearly in balance or in surplus, except for the carbon footprint.The two key categories for producing food — cropland and grazing land — are defined in such a way that they can never be in deficit. And the analysis does not reflect environmental consequences of human use of these lands, such as soil erosion, nutrient runoff, or overuse of water. It measures only land area.For example, the ecological footprint for Indonesia is 1.61 global hectares per person, which is among the lowest 30% of all countries. But according to a 2014 study, Indonesia has the highest deforestation rate in the world.Furthermore, the footprint calculation does not consider whether stocks of natural resources are decreasing or increasing as a result of human consumption. This question is critical for understanding ecological impacts.These national ecological footprint calculations also conflate sustainability with self-sufficiency. They assume that every nation should produce all of the resources it consumes, even though it might be less expensive for countries to import some goods than to produce them at home.As an example, the network lists Canada as an “ecological creditor” whose biocapacity exceeds its population’s ecological footprint. However, Canada is among the top 10 oil-producing countries in the world, and exports much of that oil for foreign consumption. Most of it goes to the United States, an “ecological debtor” that consumes more resources than it produces.Thinking purely in terms of generic “resources,” everyone is better off when debtor countries can import resources from nations with supplies to spare. There are real and important environmental impacts associated with producing and consuming oil, but the network’s calculations do not address them. Nor do they reflect the decline in natural capital from extracting a nonrenewable resource.Measuring sustainabilityThe Global Footprint Network asserts that “You can’t manage what you can’t measure,” but it may be impossible to create a single metric that can capture all human impacts on the environment. Earth Overshoot Day highlights unsustainable uses of natural resources, but we need scientifically robust ecological indicators to inform environmental policy, and a broader understanding of ecological risks.Better measurements of sustainability should reflect changes in our supplies of natural capital, include estimates of uncertainty and incorporate multiple pathways to reducing carbon footprints. The best tool for measuring human impacts on the planet may be a dashboard of environmental indicators, not a footprint.Robert B. Richardson is an associate professor of sustainable development at Michigan State University. This post originally appeared at The Conversation. Experts widely agree that human activities are harming the global environment. Since the Industrial Revolution, the world economy has grown dramatically. Overall this is a success story, since rising incomes have lifted millions of people out of poverty. But it has been fueled by population growth and increasing consumption of natural resources.Rising demand to meet the needs of more than 7 billion people has transformed land use and generated unprecedented levels of pollution, affecting biodiversity, forests, wetlands, water bodies, soils and air quality.By August 1, humans had consumed more natural resources in 2018 than the Earth can regenerate this year, according to the California-based Global Footprint Network. This environmental nonprofit calculates the annual arrival of Earth Overshoot Day — the date when humanity’s demands on nature exceed what the network’s analysts estimate the Earth can regenerate over the entire year. August 1 is the earliest date since ecological overshoot began in the early 1970s. RELATED ARTICLESWe’re Using Everything Up Much Too QuicklyWhat Does ‘Sustainable’ Mean?We Calculated How Much Trees Save for Your CityDesigning the Cities of the FutureWhat Makes a City Green?Is It Time to Move Our Cities?last_img read more

Woman’s house burnt down for remarrying

first_imgA woman in matrilineal Meghalaya filed an FIR against her village elders on Friday for burning her house as a punishment for remarrying.The woman, a 36-year-old mother of four, had been a widow before she married a 40-year-old man from the same village – Warmawsaw, about 50 km from Nongpoh, headquarters of Ri-Bhoi district – a fortnight ago.The Warmawsaw Dorbar (traditional village council) did not approve of this marriage and asked her to pay a fine of ₹32,000 if she wanted to stay in the village. The village elders did not explain how they arrived at the amount.The woman could not pay, and representatives of almost 300 families in the village burnt her house down on April 26 after she left for Nongpoh to visit her daughter. Her husband, a daily-wager, had also gone to a nearby village that day in search of work. “The villagers threw away part of her belongings in a river while the rest is being kept at the village Dorbar hall. We advised her not to return to her village and lodge a complaint,” rights activist Agnes Kharshiing said.Probe launched “The in-charge of Patharkhmah police outpost (Warmawsaw is under its jurisdiction) has been asked to investigate and submit a report by Monday. The State Women’s Commission is also looking into the case and members of the panel will go with the police to the village tomorrow (Saturday),” Spill Thamar, Superintendent of Police, Ri-Bhoi district, told The Hindu.Crime against womenMeghalaya-based women’s rights activists said the Warmawsaw incident highlights the rise in atrocities against women in the State. Crime against women in the State came into focus after V. Shanmuganathan had to resign as Governor following a complaint of alleged sexual impropriety in 2017. Around the same time, Independent MLA Julius Kitbok Dorphang, an ex-militant, was arrested for raping a 14-year-old. That year, the police recorded 238 cases of rapes, including two gang rapes. There were 137 other cases too, including assault on women with intent to outrage their modesty and cruelty by husbands or relatives. 2017 also saw 298 cases registered under POCSO.Police officers said the graph of crimes against women has been increasing. The number of rape cases increased from 82 in 2007 to 190 in 2016. Similarly, the number of cases of assault on women and insult to their modesty increased from 46 to 85 during this period.last_img read more