Nov 4, 2009 (CIDRAP News) – The head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) predicted today that the current wave of H1N1 influenza is likely to begin to wane before the shortage of vaccine for it eases.Dr. Thomas Frieden made the comment at a wide-ranging US House subcommittee session that aired the reasons for and impact of the vaccine delays and the prospects for avoiding a repeat of the problem. The session was streamed over the Web.”It’s likely that the current wave of infection will peak, crest, and begin to decline before there are ample supplies,” Frieden told the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies. “Whether there’ll be another wave of H1N1 between now and May and whether we’ll get a different strain, only time will tell.”In a similar vein, an Alabama health official said there may not be enough vaccine doses to immunize people outside the priority groups until late December. He and other officials said the vaccine shortage has hurt the credibility of public health at all levels.In other comments, federal health officials described the slow growth of the vaccine virus as the fundamental reason for the current vaccine shortage and suggested that vaccine production difficulties are likely to continue as long as the process relies on growing actual flu viruses, as opposed to producing specific viral proteins.’Virus seems to be winning’Rep. David Obey, D-Wis., chair of the subcommittee, voiced frustration over the vaccine shortage and said the same kinds of problems in flu vaccine production were discussed back in 2004 and 2005. In opening the session, he said the nation has made significant strides since the pandemic virus emerged, “but despite some successes, the virus seems to be winning.”In a brief update on the H1N1 situation, Frieden said the nation has now had “many, many millions of cases” of the illness, well over 20,000 hospitalizations, and more than 1,000 deaths, including 114 children.He asserted that the illness “is no more severe than seasonal flu” but affects a different pattern of age-groups, as more than 90% of deaths are in people younger than 65—a sharp contrast to the seasonal virus.As for the vaccine supply, Frieden said, “With 20-20 hindsight it’s clear we should have been more skeptical” about projections of production timing.Dr. Nicole Lurie, Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) assistant secretary for preparedness and response, said the cumulative vaccine production today reached 32.4 million doses. Despite repeated questions by the committee, she and Frieden firmly refused to make any new predictions about the flow of vaccine.”To be quite honest, flu is really unpredictable, and we’re very hesitant about projecting forward more than week to week, largely because anything could happen,” said Lurie.Shortage’s impact on states and localitiesDr. Donald Williamson, Alabama’s state health officer, said the vaccine shortage has forced Alabama to change its H1N1 vaccination strategy.In September Alabama officials were told they could expect to get about 800,000 doses of vaccine by the end of October, but by Oct 23 the estimated amount was cut to about 400,000 doses, Williamson reported.”Current projections show that 62% of the vaccine coming to Alabama won’t be available until after December 1,” he said. Further, it may not be possible to expand the vaccine to all Alabamans who want it until late December or January.Because of the shortfall, the state decided to focus its vaccination efforts on the subpriority groups identified by the CDC and the providers most likely to serve them, rather than the broader priority groups. (The subpriority groups are pregnant women, healthcare workers, children 6 months through 4 years old, caregivers of babies under 6 months, and children between 5 and 18 with health conditions that put them at risk.)In line with the strategy switch, school-based vaccination clinics have been postponed until late November or early December, Williamson said.Rob Fulton, director of the St. Paul–Ramsey County Public Health Department in Minnesota, told the committee, “We know that the credibility of the entire public health system is in question because of the slow arrival of vaccine.”Like Williamson, he said the slow flow of doses is disrupting vaccination plans. For example, he said the county is anticipating getting 7,800 doses for school children age 9 and under, but the actual population in this age-group is 20,000. (Two doses of vaccine are recommended for children under age 10.)Fulton also commented that 135 of his department’s 320 employees are involved in the H1N1 response at least part-time, which means they have less time to spend on their regular work.Williamson said the vaccine shortage not only undermines public health’s credibility, but also leads people to question the vaccine’s safety. He also voiced concern about the public’s willingness to get the immunization later in the season when supplies finally improve.Root of the problemIn discussion about the cause of the vaccine delays, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), said the basic problem was the slow growth of the vaccine virus in eggs, in combination with the timing of the epidemic.The virus emerged in April, about 3 months later than planning for seasonal flu vaccine normally begins, he said. Then the virus never went away in the summer and was waiting when children went back to school, sparking an epidemic much earlier in the fall than usual, he added.”You have flu waiting for you when the kids go back to school and you have a slow grower, that’s the answer,” Fauci said.Obey asked if the need to provide some vaccine free of thimerosal, a mercury-containing preservative, contributed to the vaccine delays. Thimerosal-free vaccine is produced in individual syringes; putting vaccine in multidose vials is faster but requires thimerosal.Fauci said production of thimerosal-free vaccine probably contributed “a bit” to delays, but was not the major issue. “The fundamental basic problem is the virus not growing well,” he said.Lurie said one of the steps HHS has taken to speed production was to ask the manufacturers to shift production to multidose vials as much as possible.She acknowledged that HHS so far has ordered the filling and finishing of only 117 million of the total 250 million doses of bulk vaccine it has contracted for. “This week we’ve issued orders for more vaccine [to be filled and finished] so we don’t have a gap,” she said. “That 117 million has taken us further into the year than we thought it would.”Lurie said the agency is using a staged approach to filling and finishing because it doesn’t want to have a lot of leftover finished vaccine. “It’s better to keep it in bulk form so it could be used in the seasonal campaign next year or could be used potentially in the developing world.”Fauci asserted that the vaccine makers are not to blame for the vaccine delays. “I don’t want anyone to get the impression that it’s the drug companies’ fault this has happened,” he said. “It’s just the nature of the biology of the virus that it created an expectation that there’d be a certain amount.”The ‘end game’ for vaccine technologyFederal officials were questioned about the use of cell-based methods to make flu vaccines, as is now done to some extent in Europe. Cell-based production is considered more flexible and reliable and somewhat faster than the 1950s method of growing the vaccine virus in chicken eggs.Lurie noted that a cell-based vaccine plant is being built by Novartis in North Carolina and is expected to be ready to start making vaccine in 2011. But how soon a cell-based flu vaccine will win Food and Drug Administration approval is uncertain, she added.The Novartis plant “will get us a little shy of halfway to what our pandemic goal will be,” to make enough vaccine for the entire population, she said.Fauci said cell-based technology will be an improvement but is not the final answer to flu vaccine production problems. “We want to take vaccinology into the 21st century by not requiring the virus to grow. . . . The end game is to get away from requiring the virus to grow.”He said a number of newer approaches involve making particular viral proteins instead of growing the whole virus. One example is using baculovirus, an insect virus, to make the gene for hemagglutinin. He said one company is conducting phase 3 trials of a vaccine using that technique.”What we’re going to see over the next years is a gradual transition from egg-based [vaccine] to egg-based with cell-based to advanced molecular technology,” Fauci predicted.But the ultimate goal, he said, is to make a universal flu vaccine—one that targets a component of the flu virus that doesn’t change from season to season. Such a vaccine could be made and stored in large quantities, and people wouldn’t have to be vaccinated every year.”That’s the plan. That’s going to take years,” he said.
Brian Gordon, Engine ShopEngine Shop has today announced the acquisition of SA Studios Global’s esports and football divisions. Notably, as a part of this arrangement, the leadership team of Scott Debson, and Jamie King, Co-founder of Rockstar Games will be joining the group too.Engine Shop has made this move in order to bolster its ‘esports strategy, content and live event production capabilities’. In addition, the release noted that it ‘is also the springboard to launching a new international soccer practice’. The agency is already working with a number of pro sports clubs in relation to their esports strategies, and they’re the production lead for the NHL’s esports activities. This addition follows on from the agency’s 2017 acquisition of The Gamer Agency, an esports strategy, event production, and content development company.Scott Debson, Engine ShopDebson, who co-founded SA, will be leading the development of the agency’s plans and ambitions in US soccer but will also have esports on his radar in his new role. Having worked with numerous Fortune 100 brands ‘developing lifestyle and cultural marketing strategies and campaigns’, including the Major League Soccer, Umbro, Machinima, MetroPCS and Bob Marley Music. Another significant part of the acquisition is that Engine Shop is now the US agency for Umbro and will also act as the lead agency for the eMLS. The inaugural competition for this took place at PAX East in Boston over 5-8th April. This is on top of its work operating the Mixer NYC Studio for the Microsoft 5th Avenue Flagship in New York City. King meanwhile will have esports as his main focus and has now become Executive Vice President Esports, for Engine Shop. He is well versed when it comes to video games and has taken a leading role in the development teams responsible for the likes of Grand Theft Auto, Red Dead and more. Jamie King, Engine ShopSince 2012 he has focused instead on esports and livestream production working with clients such as Microsoft and T-Mobile. He and Debson will report to Brian Godon, Engine Shop CEO and Chris Handy, Engine Shop President.Brian Gordon, Engine Shop CEO commented: “Quickly, we have established our esports capabilities on par with our collection of best-in-class services in global sports and entertainment. We have the same aspirations for our new global football practice.““All of this is built around a deeply talented and creative team and now we add to that with renowned pioneers in esports and global football who know where and how to captivate audiences. It’s another in a series of moves with more ahead, that has our team and our clients very excited.”Speaking to Esports Insider, he added: “We have built a formidable esports practice with the foremost experts in the space and we are going to turn them loose to explore every potential opportunity for our business. First and foremost we will continue to serve publishers, global brands, leagues, and teams to formulate their strategies and understand the myriad of opportunities the marketplace offers them. In time, we will expand into creating our own event-driven businesses with the right partners.“All of what we are doing is approached from a global perspective which is one of the many areas that Scott, Jamie, and their teams excel. Our goal is to help our partners navigate the convergence of interest and opportunity with bold ideas and play an integral role in shaping the future of esports. Today was a major statement about how are uniquely qualified to do that.”Esports Insider says: An agency which already works with ‘a number of pro sports clubs’, with the NHL and more, the Engine Shop clearly means business. The acquisition of SA Studios Global looks a smart move, particularly with the addition of Debson and King to the team. We look forward to seeing what the Engine Shop delivers!
It is expected to a big turnout here with supporters still making their way into the stadium as the clock ticks down for kick off at 6.30pm.The match will be televised live on TV Wan Sports HD.A curtain raiser between Port Moresby Rugby League competition teams Brothers and Tarangau is currently underway.
View comments Duke’s Zion Williamson (1) drives to the basket as Army’s Ben Kinker (30) defends during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Durham, N.C., Sunday, Nov. 11, 2018. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)DURHAM, N.C. — Duke got something from Army that it didn’t against Kentucky: A test.The fourth-ranked Blue Devils pulled away to beat the Black Knights 94-72 on Sunday behind 27 points and 16 rebounds from Zion Williamson.ADVERTISEMENT For the complete collegiate sports coverage including scores, schedules and stories, visit Inquirer Varsity. Nadine Lustre’s phone stolen in Brazil Gov’t to employ 6,000 displaced by Taal Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard PLAY LIST 02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award “Our guys stuck to the game plan,” Army coach Jimmy Allen said. “Trying to keep them out of the paint, trying to keep them from getting some easy baskets inside and force them to take some shots from the perimeter, and trying to get them to have to make a few passes in a possession.”Duke: As dominant as the Blue Devils looked against Kentucky, they looked equally vulnerable during stretches of this one, perhaps proving that college basketball won’t be as easy for these freshmen as they made it look in the Champions Classic. It wound up being another blowout, but there were plenty of teachable moments for Krzyzewski: Duke left far too many perimeter shooters open and too often settled for low-percentage shots — the 36 3-pointers attempted were its most since 2016.“Today was a learning experience,” Reddish said. “We can’t dwell on any win.”KEY STATSDuke also trailed for the first time this season — for 12 seconds during the opening minute. … Williamson was 11 of 14 from the field and has made 22 of 27 shots during his college career. … Reddish was 9 of 21 while Barrett was 9 of 19. … Army scored more points off turnovers (15) than Duke did (14).HISTORYThis was the eighth time since 2011 that Duke took at least 34 3s in a game, according to SportsReference.com, and the first since the Blue Devils put up 36 in a loss to Notre Dame in the semifinals of the 2016 ACC Tournament. Duke improved to 2-6 when attempting that many 3s, and the other win came against rival North Carolina in 2012 on — what else? — Austin Rivers’ buzzer-beating 3.UP NEXTArmy: Plays host to Sacred Heart on Friday.Duke: Plays host to Eastern Michigan on Wednesday night. Tim Cone, Ginebra set their sights on elusive All-Filipino crown Allen Durham still determined to help Meralco win 1st PBA title Gretchen Barretto’s daughter Dominique graduates magna cum laude from California college Japeth Aguilar embraces role, gets rewarded with Finals MVP plum Will you be the first P16 Billion Powerball jackpot winner from the Philippines? “That whole thing, the hangover of success and travel and then getting ready” for a game, Krzyzewski said. “The only way you do it is to do it. And our guys don’t feel good about themselves right now. And that’s good. Although they turned it around in the second half, they were in a position to lose the game and they responded, and they responded really well.”Matt Wilson scored 15 points and Tommy Funk added 12 for Army (1-1), and Funk hit back-to-back 3s to pull the Black Knights to 67-61 with just over 12 minutes left.Reddish hit a driving layup, and he and Barrett each hit 3s on consecutive possessions to push the lead into double figures for good. Reddish added another 3 to stretch the lead to 78-61 with just over 9 minutes left, and the Blue Devils eventually went up by 20 on Williamson’s stickback with less than 4 minutes to play.BIG PICTUREArmy: Plenty to build on for the Black Knights, who proved themselves as much more than just a sentimental Veterans Day choice for Duke and Krzyzewski, a former Black Knight player and coach himself. They didn’t back down against a preseason Final Four favorite, and were very much in the game until the final 10 minutes. That will pay off once conference play begins.ADVERTISEMENT Wade taking more time to be with wife and their new daughter Playing five days after routing the second-ranked Wildcats in the Champions Classic , they shot 49 percent but couldn’t shake the Black Knights until the final 10 minutes, finally pulling away with an 11-0 run keyed by 3-pointers from fellow freshmen RJ Barrett and Cameron Reddish.“It’s one thing for somebody to tell you that everybody’s going to bring their best against you, that all their shots are going to feel like they’re going in,” Williamson said. “But I think until you truly experience it, I think you just have to go through it to fully understand.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGinebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup titleSPORTSJapeth Aguilar wins 1st PBA Finals MVP award for GinebraSPORTSGolden State Warriors sign Lee to multiyear contract, bring back ChrissReddish finished with 25 points and Barrett had 23 while Williamson added six blocked shots and four assists for the Blue Devils (2-0).Coach Mike Krzyzewski called it “a perfect game for us following Kentucky” and said his team’s preparation wasn’t as at a high enough level beforehand. 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