GAO cites barriers to antiviral, vaccine roles in pandemic

first_imgJan 23, 2008 (CIDRAP News) – Antiviral medications and vaccines are two tools that many government and health officials hope will stall the spread of an influenza pandemic, but each strategy has daunting challenges, according to a new report from Congress’s Government Accountability Office (GAO).The report, Influenza Pandemic: Efforts Under Way to Address Constraints on Using Antivirals and Vaccines to Forestall a Pandemic, was requested by four members of Congress who head various health and homeland security committees. It was released this week on the GAO’s Web site.In its report, the GAO acknowledges that national governments and international organizations are working with pharmaceutical manufacturers to expand global production of antivirals and vaccines. However, it cites a US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) caveat that a pandemic vaccine might play little role in the early phases of a pandemic, because it will take 20 to 23 weeks to develop and produce a targeted vaccine. Also, the GAO says it would be difficult to quickly expand antiviral production, because of the need to build new facilities, obtain production materials, and gain regulatory approval.Weaknesses in international surveillance systems are hampering the detection of influenza outbreaks, which the GAO says could limit the ability to promptly administer or develop antivirals or vaccines.”WHO has noted that to increase the likelihood of successfully forestalling the onset of a pandemic, surveillance in affected countries needs to improve, particularly concerning the capacity to detect clusters of cases closely related in time and place,” the report states. “If early signals are not identified, the opportunity for preemptive action will be missed.”Indonesia’s reluctance to share human H5N1 samples with the international community, because of its concerns that the country will not have access to the resulting pandemic vaccines, has further weakened global surveillance efforts in humans, the GAO authors write.Likewise, surveillance of influenza in animals also has shortcomings, the GAO reports. For example, outbreak definitions and reporting methods vary by country, and some countries, such as Djibouti and Uganda, lack the capacity to collect, transport, or identify animal influenza samples.The GAO notes that the WHO’s revised International Health Regulations, which for most countries took effect in June 2007, are aimed at improving global surveillance. The regulations spell out basic public health capacities countries must have and set a June 2012 deadline for nations to develop them. Also, the GAO lauds the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) for its support of influenza research and surveillance and highlights the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) role in characterizing and tracking the global spread of the H5N1 virus.Nonexistent or poor distribution networks in many countries will hamper the release of antiviral or vaccine stockpiles, the GAO warns, citing one of its earlier investigations that found 10 of 17 countries reviewed didn’t have plans for mobilizing medical countermeasure stockpiles. A lack of distribution networks is particularly an obstacle to antiviral utilization, because experts recommend that the drugs be taken within 48 hours of symptom onset, the GAO says.To best utilize antivirals and vaccines, health officials need a reliable, fast diagnostic test to identify patients who have H5N1 infections, the report states. Though the CDC awarded four companies $11.4 million to develop new diagnostic tests, the agency estimates that approval and commercialization of the devices will take 2 or 3 years.More international support for clinical trials is needed to spur the development and evaluation of antivirals and vaccines, the GAO says. The report notes that most of the support for these studies comes from only four countries: the United States, Australia, Japan, and the United Kingdom.Health officials have hoped that establishing greater global demand for seasonal influenza vaccines could help build greater vaccine production capacity, but the GAO says some countries are too overwhelmed to participate.”Seasonal influenza programs compete with many other public health priorities for limited budgets in developing countries,” the report states. “Citing Vietnam as an example, NIH officials told us that countries may have been too overwhelmed with H5N1 outbreaks to accept offers of assistance to develop vaccine production infrastructure.”The WHO, HHS, and the US State Department were asked to review the GAO report in draft form. The GAO said the WHO commented in an e-mail that the report was “comprehensive and useful.” HHS, in a letter accompanying the GAO report, emphasized that vaccines and antivirals are only one part of the government’s pandemic response plan. The State Department and HHS both questioned the GAO’s use of the term “forestall” when referring to using antivirals and vaccines during a pandemic.”While preventing a pandemic from occurring is the goal that all strive for, whether it can actually be achieved is not known,” wrote Vincent J. Ventimiglia, assistant secretary for legislation at HHS, in a letter accompanying the report.However, the GAO said its use of the word “forestall” is consistent with the WHO’s usage of the term.See also: January 2008 GAO reporthttp://www.gao.gov/new.items/d0892.pdfCIDRAP News article series published in 2007: “THE PANDEMIC VACCINE PUZZLE”last_img read more

Ange Bradley to coach U19 USA Field Hockey

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Syracuse field hockey head coach Ange Bradley was announced as the United States Under-19 national team head coach Tuesday by USA Field Hockey.Bradley has worked with the USA Field Hockey program before, coaching both the U17 team and futures program.“To be named the USA U19 coach is a huge honor and I am very excited to help develop the next generation of elite athletes,” Bradley said in a USA Field Hockey release. “My plans for the program are to create accountability and responsibility to uphold standards for training in a junior high performance environment. I would like to see the athletes learn and develop the simple principles of fluid dynamic play. I would also like to watch them grow in their understanding of the physiological and psychological demands required for the next level of play.”Bradley coached the Orange to its first appearance in a national title game this season, after the team knocked off No. 1-seeded North Carolina 3-2 in a shootout. Bradley has led the program to three final fours as well.Several SU players are also working with the USA teams. Senior midfielder Alyssa Manley was named to the senior national team roster for the upcoming International Hockey Federation Hockey World League Semifinals and rising senior goalie Jess Jecko is a member of the U21 club. Rising sophomore Laura Hurff is on the U19 squad.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text Comments Published on May 27, 2015 at 5:18 pm Contact Sam: [email protected] | @Sam4TRlast_img read more

Sports Briefs

first_imgMarcelo under fire for diveMADRID (AP):Real Madrid left back Marcelo has been widely criticised for diving against Wolfsburg in the quarter-finals of the Champions League.The Brazilian defender appeared to kick and headbutt Maximilian Arnold, then threw himself to the ground after pretending he had been hit in the face by the German midfielder.His antics in Real Madrid’s 2-0 loss in Germany on Wednesday led to a yellow card to Arnold, who could miss the semi-finals if he is booked again in next week’s second leg and Wolfsburg advance.Wolfsburg coach Dieter Hecking was still upset by the incident after the match and reportedly had an angry exchange with Marcelo in the tunnel to the changing rooms.Marcelo was booed off the field by fans at Wolfsburg Arena, while Arnold, who scored the second goal, said afterwards the incident was “part of football”.US women rout Colombia 7-0EAST HARTFORD, Connecticut (AP):Allie Long scored her first two international goals, and the United States routed Colombia 7-0 Wednesday night in the Americans’ first exhibition since five players filed a wage-discrimination action against the US Soccer Federation (USSF).Carli Lloyd, Alex Morgan, Hope Solo, Megan Rapinoe, and Becky Sauerbrunn filed an action last week with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, accusing the USSF of unlawfully paying them less than members of the US men’s national team. The union for the women’s national team is in a legal battle with the USSF, claiming it can terminate its labour contract. The USSF claims the deal runs through December.”We weren’t really thinking about all that stuff because at the end of the day, that stuff will work itself out,” Lloyd said. “We have to continue to make sure we are putting a good result out on the field.”The US team was not the only one fighting money issues. The Colombian team has not been paid in two months, Philly.com reported last week.Kerber in last eightCHARLESTON, South Carolina (AP):Australian Open champion Angelique Kerber advanced to the quarter-finals with a 6-2, 6-2 victory over Slovakia’s Kristina Kucova at the Volvo Car Open yesterday.Kerber is the defending champion after winning the title in last year’s Family Circle Cup. The second-ranked German star was not at her best but was good enough to put away Kucova, who is ranked No. 142. Kerber broke her opponent’s serve seven times, including the final game.Kerber needed a third-set tiebreaker to win her opening match at the Volvo on Tuesday night. She quickly gained control over Kucova and won 10 of the final 13 games.last_img read more

WATCH: Sakshi Dhoni steals Ziva Dhoni’s pram for a joyride

first_imgThe Indian team escaped a major upset on Saturday by defeating Afghanistan by 11 runs in a last over thriller in Southampton to maintain their winning momentum at World Cup 2019.However, it is not only the Indian team that is entertaining the fans with their World Cup performances, but MS Dhoni’s daughter and internet sensation Ziva Dhoni is also lighting up the social media with her fun activities.A day before India’s win against Afghanistan, Ziva Dhoni, along with her mother Sakshi Dhoni, spent time at Hyde Park, London, in an unsual way.In a video posted on Sakshi Dhoni’s Instagarm account, she was seen sitting on Ziva Dhoni’s pram for a joyride in the park as the mother and daughter duo also had a short race between them.Ziva Dhoni is often seen enjoying with the Indian team players. During the India, Pakistan clash, Ziva Dhoni had her fun time with Rishabh Pant as the two were seen screaming at the top of their voices in the stadium stands. The other day she was seen experimenting with snapchat filters with wristspinner Yuzvendra Chahal.On Saturday, Afghanistan spinners sucked the power out of India’s batting unit on a sluggish Rose Bowl pitch as the Men in Blue managed only 224 in 50 overs. Holding their nerves, the India bowlers, led by Mohammed Shami, shot Afghanistan out for 213 and helped India survive a massive scare.advertisementAlso Read | Heartwarming: Photo of Kane Williamson consoling Carlos Brathwaite hit among World Cup fansAlso Read | World Cup 2019: Memes galore as Virat Kohli pleads with folded hands to umpire over DRS callAlso Seelast_img read more