CDC funds work on rapid tests for avian flu

first_imgDec 4, 2006 (CIDRAP News) – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has awarded four contracts worth $11.4 million in an effort to develop a 30-minute test for H5N1 avian influenza.The CDC said it awarded the funds to spur development of tests that doctors and field epidemiologists could use to test patients for both H5N1 and other flu viruses. Currently, testing for H5N1 in the United States must be done in 1 of about 100 designated laboratories and takes from 4 to 24 hours, depending on shipping time, the CDC said.Last month the World Health Organization (WHO) listed a rapid diagnostic test as one of the top priorities in avian and pandemic flu research. The CDC said it hopes a rapid test can be ready and licensed within 2 to 3 years.”The creation of a point-of-care test to rapidly detect human cases of H5N1 avian influenza would be a major step forward in our ability to protect public health,” Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt said in a news release.The four companies, their tests, and the contract amounts are as follows:Cepheid, Sunnyvale, Calif.—GeneXPert Flu assay, $2.4 millionIquum, Marlborough, Mass.—LIAT, Lab-in-a-Tube, $3.8 millionMesoScale, Gaithersburg, Md.—Multi-Array Detection, $706,241Nanogen, San Diego—a novel point-of-care immunoassay system, $4.5 millionOver the next year, the companies will work to develop tests that can detect flu viruses and distinguish seasonal strains from H5N1 within 30 minutes, the CDC said. Existing rapid tests can tell only if a patient has a seasonal influenza A or B virus.CDC spokeswoman Christine Pearson told CIDRAP News the contracts are intended to fund the first two of five development phases.The goal for the first two phases is to produce a prototype test that can be evaluated by the CDC, said Dr. Ruben Donis, chief of the molecular virology and vaccines branch in the CDC’s influenza division. He said the agency will fund further development only if the prototype has “acceptable performance characteristics.”In a news release, Nanogen said that if the CDC funds all five development phases, the company would receive a total of about $12.5 million over the next 2 to 3 years.The four companies were chosen from 13 applicants, the CDC said. Selection criteria included the technical specifications of the test, experience in developing diagnostic tools, staff expertise, and access to labs with sufficient security to handle H5N1 viruses.The agency also promised to provide funds for a repository of influenza reagents and other materials to help in development of the tests.See also:Dec 4 CDC news release read more

Island of Vis – Mamma Mia Theme Park?

first_imgThe island of Vis and the town of Komiža are specific topologies within the Croatian and Adriatic geographical and cultural-historical context and the wider, Mediterranean cultural-historical and geopolitical environment which, through identity created as a result of cultural stratification that has taken place over the centuries, offers a rich socio-cultural landscape.Sudden events, such as the invasion of Hollywood film production and the arrival of a film set on the island can create a rift within local culture and become a source of stress to community members, thereby compromising local identity. This is confirmed by the example of the small Greek island of Skopelos, once known for its white prunes, olives, pears, fragrant pines, silence, authentic small towns on the hills, empty beaches, taverns and pristine island life. After becoming the film set for the shooting of the first part of the film Mamma Mia, it became a popular tourist destination, with the mass and uncontrolled arrival of tourists completely devastating the island. Hotels are booked months in advance and bars and restaurants use the image of the film neglecting the local identity. Every few hours the ship unloads new groups of Mamma Mia fans. The overcapacity of resources resulted in an increase in prices, which deprived the locals of a quality life, while the sudden overcrowding changed the habits of the local community and thus endangered the identity of the island. For example, residents were accustomed to going to cafes and taverns that were the center of social life. However, after the film was made, such a way of life almost disappeared. The locals could no longer afford the way of life they were used to. Even store prices have risen dramatically. In addition, instead of promoting the natural beauty and authentic way of life of the island, its architecture and history, the tourist offer was taken over by film tourism based on the artificial world of attractions. The presentation of the island after the shooting was based exclusively on film images based on a set of symbols, information, ideas and impressions and the tourist offer that distances the site from the authentic Kefalonian identity.The focus of the filmmaker is the film and its success, not the consequences within the community and place after they stop filming. They “create the film they want, not the tourist image that…. the community wants. When the film, as is the case with the Greek “mama mia” island, becomes part of a not necessarily well-controlled promotion of the place and if the elements of the film (actors, landscape perceived as film scenography, narrative and symbolic context) become the focus of tourist interest and attract film fans tourism – the impact on the local community raises questions of authenticity, identity and representation of cultural and natural heritage.Photo: screengoblin.comIn order to point out the possibility of a similar scenario on the island of Vis, within the EU project Participatory Art for Invisible Communities (PAIC), which involves partners from Croatia, Denmark, Slovenia and Spain and deals with the identity of marginalized communities with the aim of reactivating and revitalizing which took place in Komiža during the filming of Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again !, posters were printed that oppose the symbols of Hollywood and the powerful film industry and social and cultural development of the local community and raise the issue of preserving and presenting identity through “Hollywoodization” an escape to a different “world,” creating a deceptive, pseudo-reality that creates an artificial and false relationship to the locality. Because the island of Vis these days is not only becoming the Greek island of Kefalos on which the scenography for the film is being built, but it is turning into a fictional Mamma Mia island – Kalokairi. Instead of promoting its pristine natural beauty, culture, architecture, history and identity, it is in danger of being promoted which will harm rather than contribute to its cultural and sustainable tourism development.However, posters pointing to the possibility of losing authenticity and identity under the pressure of film tourism (which most often has the characteristics of uncontrolled mass tourism) and questioning the impact the film industry has on small island communities have stirred filmmakers and they have demanded their removal. Thus, on Vis, those who point to the problem and want to convince the general public and island communities that the authenticity of the place is an important aspect of social development and maintenance of local identity and sense of place (sense of place) have become a problem.Preserving heritage as evidence of one’s own past and local culture is intrinsically important and can become a strong connecting element of community life, so it is important to ensure local cultural values ​​and mediate past, present and future through culture, and preserve and strengthen the island’s specific atmosphere and characteristics. A powerful film industry that distorts the cultural life of the community, threatening to replace authenticity with fabricated identity, jeopardizes the possibility of development based on one’s own values.Author: Irena Sertić, PAIC project coordinatorlast_img read more

Formula One: McLaren set engine deadline amid Renault speculation

first_imgMcLaren say the next five weeks will be he key to deciding which engine they will use next season, with speculation mounting that the former world champions could ditch Honda and switch to Renault.Chief operating officer Jonathan Neale told Reuters at the Hungarian Grand Prix that “everybody is talking to everybody”, but time was running out.”We’ve got to land those decisions in the next four or five weeks,” he said, speaking from a design perspective and because drivers like McLaren’s Fernando Alonso were waiting to see what engines teams had before committing to new deals.”I think there is a solution out there for everybody and I hope it’s one that will be able to retain Fernando in this team.”McLaren scored their first double-points finish of the season in Budapest on Sunday with double world champion Alonso finishing sixth, a day after his 36th birthday, and Belgian Stoffel Vandoorne 10th.The nine points lifted McLaren off the bottom of the standings just before the August break and factory shutdown, a result that Neale compared to scoring a goal before half time.Alonso’s future is a key concern, with the Spaniard out of contract and saying McLaren need to provide a competitive car to keep him.Honda’s power unit has been beset with problems since the partnership started in 2015, the engine neither reliable nor competitive.Hungary, the slowest permanent circuit on the calendar, reduced those shortcomings, but the next two races in Belgium and Italy are two of the fastest, where engine horsepower is of critical importance.advertisementMcLaren are Honda’s sole team in Formula One. A proposed partnership with Sauber terminated last week with the Swiss team choosing to stay with Ferrari.A split from McLaren could force the Japanese manufacturer out of the sport, but Neale hinted at an alternative.”You’ll have seen the media speculation that there’s discussions with Toro Rosso,” he said.Toro Rosso use Renault engines, but a switch to Honda — which could bring welcome funding to a team whose Red Bull parent has considered a sale in the past — would free the French units for McLaren.The Renault engine has won a race this season with Red Bull and could satisfy Alonso, who won both his titles with the French manufacturer.The other alternatives to Honda are Mercedes and Ferrari, but Neale recognised that putting a Ferrari engine in a McLaren, the Italian team’s historic arch-rivals, was highly unlikely.”I’m hoping that by the time we get through September, we’ll be able to come out and say something more publicly,” said Neale.last_img read more