Trial sheds light on lower VSV-EBOV dosesA trial to see if a lower dose of one of the leading Ebola vaccine candidates can reduce reactions such as arthritis and skin rashes found that the effects persisted and that decreasing the dose had a negative impact on immune response. An international research team based in Switzerland published their findings on the lower VSV-EBOV dose yesterday in an early online edition of Lancet Infectious Diseases.VSV-EBOV uses a vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) to deliver the Ebola virus glycoprotein. The vaccine was developed by Canadian researchers and is licensed by NewLink Genetics and Merck. The findings on problems with the lower dose come just days after a ring vaccination trial of the vaccine in Guinea found that it was highly effective against Ebola, putting the wheels in motion for it to be used as a response tool in the outbreak region. The vaccine reactions came to light last December during earlier phase 1 studies, which led to a temporary pause.The team looked at the safety profile of a reduced dose of 3×105 plaque-forming units (PFU), compared to 1×107 PFU or 5×107 PFU. The lower dose prompted significantly lower antibody levels against Ebola glycoprotein compared to the higher dose. Researchers also found that at the lower dose, the VSV vector was still seemingly able to seed peripheral tissues, which could explain arthritis, dermatitis, and vasculitis. About 25% (13 of 51) of study subjects had arthritis about 10 days after vaccination, but some didn’t have measurable VSV viremia, hinting that the vector might target synovial tissue. Some of the low-dose participants with arthritis also had a rash or dermatitis.Given the results, the team concluded that lowering the VSV-EBOV dose isn’t a strategy for preventing the vaccine-induced reactions.In an editorial in the same issue, Julie Ledgerwood, DO, chief of the clinical trials program at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Vaccine Research Center, wrote that the researchers have produced revealing data from a meticulous investigation that also included joint aspiration and skin biopsies to probe the cause of the adverse events. She is also the primary investigator for trials of ChAD3, the other Ebola vaccine in phase 3 trials. It uses a chimpanzee adenovirus vector and was developed by NIAID and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK).She said the study and its findings show how complex the design and implementation of an early phase clinical trial can be and how important it is to collect solicited adverse events. The bulk of Ebola vaccine studies have shown that the Ebola antigen is safe and not linked to adverse events, and further vector attenuation could improve the side effect profile, Ledgerwood wrote. However, she noted that the approach raises more questions on how such steps would affect immunogenicity.Aug 3 Lancet Infect Dis abstract Aug 3 Lancet Infect Dis editorial extract 81 ill, 7 dead from legionellosis in New York boroughAn ongoing outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease in the South Bronx that began in mid-July has sickened 81 people and killed 7, according to an ABC News story today. An overflow crowd attended a town hall meeting last night in the area to gain answers about the.The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) announced the launch of an investigation into the outbreak in a Jul 29 press release. At that time, there were 31 known cases and 2 fatalities.All of the fatal cases have occurred in older adults with underlying medical conditions, according to a CNN story yesterday. Sixty-four people have been hospitalized.Water from cooling towers and other possible sources of Legionella are being tested, said DHMH, and five buildings, including a hospital and a hotel have tested positive so far, said CNN. The buildings have been cleaned, and the sites are submitting long-term plans for prevention of future growth of the bacteria.Legionellosis, which is not transmitted person to person, causes flu-like symptoms, including fever, chills and cough. Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett has urged anyone with respiratory symptoms to seek medical help, CNN said.New York City’s water supply is reportedly safe and residents are not at risk, according to Bassett.Aug 4 ABC News story Aug 3 CNN story Jul 29 DHMH press releaseInput sought from FDA on raw milk cheese practicesIn an effort to identify and evaluate measures that could minimize the impact of harmful bacteria in cheese made from unpasteurized milk, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Jul 31 issued a 90-day request for comments from the public that began yesterday.Comments can include scientific data and information and are expected to aid the FDA in learning about the many and diverse standards and practices of the broad range of cheese producers, including those making artisanal cheeses.The risks accompanying consumption of cheese made from unpasteurized milk are greatest for immunocompromised persons, the elderly, pregnant women, and children, says the FDA’s Jul 31 announcement of the comment period.The FDA’s action is based in part on findings of a joint FDA/Health Canada study released Jul 31 “that included estimates for both countries of the number of servings resulting in one case of invasive listeriosis, prevalence of contaminated servings, and level of increased risk of invasive listeriosis per serving of raw milk cheese,” explained a story today in Food Safety News (FSN).Jul 31 FDA constituent update Aug 4 FSN story Jul 31 FDA/Health Canada risk assessment Study finds benefits to coadministering HPV, Tdap, and meningitis vaccinesAdministration of three childhood vaccines—9-valent human papillomavirus (9vHPV), tetanus/diphtheria/acellular pertussis (Tdap), and meningitis—in a single visit is effective and safe and may facilitate uptake, according to a report yesterday in Pediatrics.Researchers at 41 sites administered the vaccines to children ages 11 to 15 in a randomized, open-label study.A group of 621 children received the first 9vHPV dose and the Tdap and meningitis vaccines on the first day of the study, while a group of 620 received 9vHPV on the first day and returned a month later for the Tdap and meningitis vaccines. The ratio of boys and girls in each group was nearly equal.Both groups experienced similar results, with more than 75% showing a fourfold rise in titers to all four meningitis serogroups, 99.8% having acceptable diphtheria and tetanus titers 4 weeks after vaccination, and 100% demonstrating HPV seroconversion.A significantly higher proportion of children who received all three vaccines on the first day reported swelling at the HPV vaccine injection site (14.4%, compared with 9.4% in the control group).On the basis of these results, researchers determined that coadministration of all three childhood vaccines was noninferior to administering them separately. Because children and teens make infrequent healthcare visits, administration of the vaccines in one visit may increase uptake and adherence.Aug 3 Pediatrics study Positive vaccination messages effective in changing skeptical attitudesMessages that promote the positive effects of measles vaccination are more effective at changing negative attitudes toward childhood vaccines when compared with messages that refute the opinions of vaccine skeptics, according to a study published yesterday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).In response to the threefold increase in 2014 US measles cases (644 cases in 2014), psychologists from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the University of California, Los Angeles, tested the effects of different vaccine messages on a sample of 315 people.Researchers assigned study participants to one of three groups. The first group was given a mother’s story about her child contracting measles; photos of children and infants with measles, mumps, and rubella; and fact sheets about the importance of vaccination in preventing illness. The second group received facts about recent research refuting links between vaccination and autism, and the third group received scientific information unrelated to vaccination.Participants exposed to stories, photos, and illness prevention information in the first group experienced a significant increase in their support for measles vaccination. Attitudes in the groups exposed to autism risk or unrelated information did not change.Researchers said that results support the use of vaccine messages that are nonconfrontational and remind people of vaccination’s role in preventing serious illness.Aug 3 PNAS study
Gabe Mounce, moderator of the event and the Tech Engagement Office rapid innovation program manager, invited the audience to walk across the street to attend the Albuquerque Isotopes baseball game where “Science Night” was the theme and AFRL innovation award winner Mark Roverse was on tap to throw out the first pitch. KAFB News: “Innovation is the word of the day in the Air Force,” Hammett said. “I am personally focused on dual use technology. We have given the AFRL Tech Engagement Office a long rope to do what they do in advancing technology transfer – it’s good for economic growth and good for the country.” “Innovation” – Word of the Day for Air Force – 2 McCasland, a retired U.S. Air Force major general, was commander of the Air Force Research Laboratory from 2011 to 2013. This was the second year for the AFRL New Mexico Innovation Awards event. It was held Aug. 9 at the University of New Mexico Science and Technology Park where AFRL in partnership with UNM now occupies more than 3,000 square feet of office and innovation laboratory space. Dr. Kelly Hammett, AFRL’s director of the Directed Energy group, and Dr. Neil McCasland, Applied Technology Associates director of technology, gave welcoming remarks to an audience of more than 100 AFRL inventors and their family members. “I have a special place in my heart for the laboratory and being the director of AFRL’s Space Vehicles directorate here at Kirtland Air Force Base was my favorite assignment,” McCasland said. “There is a hunger for what you do and for rapid technology innovation. What you are doing isn’t easy, but it is important and you can make a difference as you develop those key innovations.” Individual awards were presented to top contributors in several categories to include excellence in tech transfer and tech transfer agreement awards along with a visionary award. The University of New Mexico received an academic partner award. Fourteen AFRL inventors were honored as patent award recipients within the past year and 28 were acknowledged for invention disclosures. ALBUQUERQUE ― The Air Force Research Laboratory Tech Engagement Office honored AFRL scientists and engineers who are moving technology out of the laboratory into industry for commercialization purposes. “The Tech Engagement Office facilitates and encourages the growth of technical transfer,” Director Matt Fetrow said. “Tonight we are recognizing AFRL scientists and engineers who have gone above and beyond in leveraging their expertise and knowledge to not only benefit the nation’s warfighter but also our commercial community.”
TenneT Offshore GmbH is seeking a contractor who will undertake maintenance of the stored parts and SLA for the repair of the high voltage cable systems alpha ventus (Lot 1) and BorWin1 (Lot2) maintenance. This involves regular inspection and maintenance of embedded parts for the high voltage cable (sockets, spare cables) SLA Repair: In the case of a cable fault, the repair of the power cable systems must be performed. These include, in the case of an error, the portable mobilisation of each cable section (Wadden Sea, nearshore, offshore) suitable vessels or a land cable for the provision of earthworks and necessary equipment. The following tasks have to be fulfilled: Short-term support for the fault location (onshore and offshore) through exposing and hiding the cable; Short-term mobilisation of floating units including jointing container (Submarine), Site equipment (land cable), Recording of spare parts and replacement cables in Emden; Exposing the cable; Repair of the cable section including jointing; Storage and rinsing on target depth (submarine), Storage of cables and replacement of excavated earth (land cable); Documentation; Provision of procedures, organisational charts, drawings, data sheets for applications for authorisation. Deadline for submission of tenders is September 13. Divided into lots – tenders may be submitted for part or whole. [mappress]Offshore WIND Staff, August 9, 2013; Image: TenneT
In these straitened times for legal aid lawyers, Obiter was impressed to hear of a fresh initiative from David Pickup, eponymous partner at Pickup & Scott. Industry at Pickup’s firm is not in doubt, of course, but he reflects in an email to Obiter that ‘it is difficult to explain to people that being busy is not the same as being profitable’, adding, ‘legal aid is unprofitable and is difficult to get – the benefits people usually only write once a year to check if the person is alive, and legal aid clients are not always the sort to file away documents neatly’. But Pickup may have hit on one of the more innovative multi-disciplinary practice models in pursuit of boosting his profits, utilising the plentiful Aylesbury sunshine. He is planning to grow tomatoes in the yard at the back of the office. ‘We have an old building with a small yard. ‘When we moved in we said we would sit there and eat our lunch in peace and quiet in the sun. We never have done, of course, as we never have had the time. Good intentions soon disappear. ‘But a few plants in growbags might look homely.’ While it is unclear whether the Solicitors Regulation Authority or the Food Standards Agency should be the primary regulator in future, the business plan looks sound – Pickup’s chosen tomato variety is called ‘Moneymaker’.
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Cuts may be hard to stomachThere are more issues for the Rio Olympics, taking place this summer, as organisers try to find £164m of savings to keep the event in the black. Following the unceremonious fencing in of residents refusing to move from the Olympic site earlier this year, the economic crisis in the country is now taking its toll. According to local newspapers, a 12% reduction has to be found to keep within the £1.35bn budget. The Itaquerão arena, which is due to host 10 football matches in August and is home to Corinthians, is expected to see its £2.4m budget for redevelopment slashed, while the under-construction metro service will be shortened. Meanwhile, the cocktail receptions for Olympic officials are expected to have to swap canapes for the local snack pão de queijo – cheese dough balls to you and me.Panic on the streets of LondonZac Goldsmith and Sadiq Khan could see their bids to become the next mayor of London scuppered if the Animal Welfare Party gets its way. They have asked ex-Smiths frontman Morrissey if he will stand – and he is said to be seriously considering it. He published on a fan website – True To You – that there should be a government voice against the injustices dealt to animals who cannot voice their own grievances. However, he has yet to proffer his views on affordable housing. To run in the election on 5 May, Morrissey would need to collect 330 signatures – 10 from each London borough.Cross failSir Terry Farrell has called the £10bn Old Oak Common development the “biggest cock-up” he’s seen in his long career in London. The west London scheme is heading for disaster because of the rush to finish Crossrail, he claimed. Farrell – whose 2011 vision document was the first detailed study for Old Oak Common – said space is not being made for pilings along Crossrail for decking over the lines. Without this decking, it will be harder to link the various parts of the development, potentially putting 12,000 homes to the south on the site of a Cargiant at risk. Redesigning the sidings to make space for the pilings could cost up to £200m.Lifting the spiritsBuild UK held its first major event last Wednesday at the top of the Leadenhall Building in London. The trade association’s chief executive Suzannah Nichol took the opportunity to launch a campaign to improve the image of the sector, followed by a champagne reception attended by 200 industry guests. A disincentive for anyone overdoing the alcohol was the Cheesegrater’s precipitous and rapid glass lifts, which are a challenge for anyone with a fear of heights or with a delicate stomach. I’m told they have already been slowed down once since the building’s opening last summer following forceful feedback, but clearly they are still not slow enough for some.Hollywood thrillsHollywood has always been about voyeurism, but now the owners of the US Bank Tower in Los Angeles are taking it a step further at their building in the form of the Skyslide. The glass-bottomed slide will drop from the 70th to the 69th floor of the tallest building along the US west coast, providing thrillseekers with a 35ft slide 1,000ft above the ground and those below with an interesting view. The Skyslide is a part of a $50m (£35m) “Skyspace” renovation by OUE Limited, transforming several floors of the building from office space into observation decks and a restaurant.Rock formationMove over Cream and Velvet Revolver, there’s a new rock band merger – Exile. The new supergroup on the block – formed from HLM and WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff – is to make its debut at Mipim, adding its own brand of rock n’ roll to the alcohol-fuelled French shindig. Exile will play their first gig next Wednesday at Morrisons Irish Pub, kicking off at 10.30pm with an acoustic set, while a second full line-up gig will take place at Ma Nolan’s St Patrick’s Day Street Party next to the Croisette the following day, 5pm until 8pm. Both events will be raising money for LandAid, and wristbands – available from email@example.com – will get you a free drink for a donation.
The Solicitors Regulation Authority has confirmed the first set of approved compliance officers for legal practice, and finance and administration. About 5,000, just over 40% of the total, have been notified. Notifications of approval will continue to be sent to firms until 31 December. The new compliance officers will take up their duties from 1 January.
The architect of controversial costs management reforms has returned to the subject to insist his changes will not be watered down.Lord Justice Jackson said costs budgeting has worked well and brought ‘substantial’ benefits for court users since it was introduced as part of civil litigation reforms two years ago.Jackson, speaking at a lecture in London yesterday, stated that practitioners are now coping well with the new regime, with key judges and masters supportive of costs management.Having faced ‘dire’ predictions and been ‘attacked from all sides’ prior to April 2013, Jackson said he had the ‘distinct impression that the hostility to costs management is steadily abating’.‘The new regime is in the public interest and is here to stay,’ he said. ‘Why then do quite a few lawyers dislike it? Because it means more work and requires people to develop new skills.‘The civil justice system exists to deliver civil justice to the public at proportionate cost, not to promote the contentment or convenience of lawyers.’He insisted that within 10 years costs management will be accepted as an ‘entirely normal discipline’, but he accepted the system has not run perfectly and there is scope for change.Jackson recommended that all civil judges are compelled to take a full-day module on costs management and called for all costs budgets to be submitted 14, rather than the present seven, days before the case management hearing.He accepted that courts are making costs management orders in virtually every case, causing a backlog of cases lasting up to nine months – particularly in clinical negligence. These delays are ‘unacceptable’ and defeat the object of the 2013 reforms.In a small departure from his previous position, Jackson suggested that civil procedure rules could be amended to set out criteria to guide courts in deciding whether or not to make a costs management order.‘The court should not manage costs in any case if it lacks the resources to do so without causing significant delay and disruption to that or other cases,’ he said. The element of discretion, he added, should not become an excuse for judges to ‘opt out’ and lead to forum shopping, as judges with leadership roles will actively monitor how they are exercising that discretion.Jackson has also recommended all London clinical negligence cases which have case management conferences already listed between October 2015 and January 2016 to be released from costs management to help clear the backlog.The introduction of discretion, albeit only in cases where a lack of court resources would lead to significant delay, is set to be disputed by other senior members of the judiciary.Master of the rolls Lord Dyson, who stood on the same stage as Jackson, said he supported most of his colleague’s recommendations but not this one.He added: ‘I fear the lack of resource card would be played in many cases and there is a danger costs management would become the exception, not the rule.’
A group of British citizens is seeking to crowdfund a challenge to government plans to use royal prerogative powers to invoke article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, the mechanism which formally begins the EU exit process.Changes to the ‘citizenship’ of British citizens that would result from Brexit are central to the arguments put forward by the group. It is the second legal challenge known to be in preparation.Grahame Pigney, a British citizen resident in France, leads the group, which has instructed Bindmans solicitor John Halford (pictured).Pigney said: ‘The enforced removal of citizenship rights from 65 million people is completely unprecedented in a modern democracy. If it is to happen, it must involve a proper parliamentary process.’Halford added: ‘Our legal arguments are focused on the undemocratic threat to ordinary citizens’ rights, not business interests. A range of ordinary citizens are bringing it to make sure the collective frustration, fears and concerns about that threat is clear to the court.’During the referendum campaign Pigney ran the grassroots group Say Yes 2 Europe. Halford is a public law specialist whose high-profile cases include a successful challenge to the legality of the government’s proposed legal aid residency test.The CrowdJustice fund has a target of £50,000. Mishcon de Reya is pursuing an entirely separate challenge on behalf of a group of clients. Its position is that an act of parliament is required for article 50 to be invoked legally.
Guyana Amazon Warriors fast bowler Sohail Tanvir believes that his side will take confidence from their fine start as the early pace-setters start the home leg of their Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) matches against an in-form Jamaica Tallawahs on Thursday (7pm).The Amazon Warriors have been in good form early on with successive victories over St. Kitts & Nevis Patriots and Trinbago Knight Riders (TKR) and will be counting on a large home support as they bid to win the CPL title which has eluded them on two occasions.Looking ahead to Thursday night’s game in Providence Stadium, after an impressive win over reigning champions TKR at the weekend, the Pakistan international said that he was looking forward to playing in front of a packed Guyana public.“I think that the reason why we signed three spinners is because you know the Guyana pitch plays slow and helps the spinners. We have seamers who can vary their pace and who suit those conditions…That’s the demands of T20 cricket. You can’t be predictable with your bowling. If you bowl at a similar pace you’ll get whacked.“We’ve only played two games, there are eight games to go so we’re not sitting easy and relaxed. To win a game you have to play good cricket, whether you play at home or away. So we need to carry it on. We’ve got the momentum (and) we’ve got the confidence from winning two games away.“The Guyana crowd is always big. This will be my first time playing there for the Amazon Warriors team, but I’ve played against them and I still remember back in 2014 in my first season of CPL the jam-packed crowd. We’re hoping for a good crowd to come out and support us, hopefully they’re happy with the results, and we’ll try our level best not to disappoint them.”Guyana Amazon Warriors Home Fixtures (all times native to location of game): 7 July – Jamaica Tallawahs(7pm), 9 July – St. Kitts & Nevis Patriots (12 Midday), 10 July – Trinbago Knight Riders (7pm),12 July – St. Lucia Zouks (7pm).Guyana Amazon Warriors: Sohail Tanvir, Martin Guptill (captain), Dwayne Smith, Chris Lynn, Rayad Emrit, Adam Zampa, Devendra Bishoo, Jason Mohammed, Christopher Barnwell, Veerasammy Permaul, Orlando Peters, Assad Fudadin, Anthony Bramble, Paul Wintz, Steven Jacobs, Steven Katwaroo, Ali Khan, Shimron Hetmyer