Avian flu may portend a 1918-like pandemic, says Osterholm

first_imgNov 15, 2004 (CIDRAP News) – The nature of the widespread avian influenza outbreaks in Asia points to the threat of a human flu pandemic that could rival the disastrous pandemic of 1918-1920, infectious disease expert Michael T. Osterholm, PhD, MPH, warned in a public forum in Minneapolis last week.There are disquieting signs that the H5N1 virus circulating in Asian poultry flocks could do as much damage to humanity as the “Spanish flu” virus of 1918, said Osterholm, director of the University of Minnesota Center for infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP), publisher of this Web site.The H5N1 virus has already killed 32 people in Asia, and disease experts say it could trigger a pandemic if it acquired the ability to spread easily from person to person. If that happened, said Osterholm, it’s unlikely that an effective vaccine could be made available quickly.”At minimum, assume we will not have a vaccine in the first 6 to 8 months of a pandemic,” he told healthcare professionals at a clinical infectious disease conference Nov 12 at the Radisson Hotel Metrodome.Osterholm spoke the same day the World Health Organziation (WHO) concluded a 2-day international conference on pandemic flu that drew about 50 vaccine company executives and government officials to WHO headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. WHO officials at the meeting urged governments to invest in vaccine development to help head off a pandemic.Osterholm said the 1918 pandemic caused “at least 40 million deaths, but probably closer to 100 million, if you talk to the historians.” A disproportionate number of victims were healthy young adults, he added.Given the lack of good defenses, Osterholm estimated that a 1918-like virus arising today could cause more than 1.7 million deaths in the United States and as many as 177 million worldwide. (Editor’s note: The estimate of 264 million deaths that was originally published here was later recalculated to adjust for age.) The US death toll in 1918 was about 500,000.In 1918, he said, flu victims suffered severe lung damage that led to acute respiratory distress syndrome and often died within 48 hours, he said. Further, it was the virus itself, rather than a secondary bacterial infection, that led to death in many cases.Osterholm cited signs that the H5N1 virus could cause the same kind of severe disease as the 1918 H1N1 virus if it triggered a pandemic. He said researchers recently have largely recreated the 1918 virus by sequencing its genome from preserved tissue samples from victims of the pandemic.In lab experiments, researchers have spliced key genes from the 1918 virus into present-day flu viruses and then exposed mice to the genetically engineered viruses, Osterholm said. Viruses that normally wouldn’t harm the mice have been rendered lethal by this procedure. “It’s not only killing the animals, but the pathology is identical to what we saw in 1918” and in human cases of H5N1, he said.Further, Osterholm said studies of the H5N1 virus isolated from recent human patients point to a gene that causes a “cytokine storm”—a flood of molecular messengers triggering inflammation—similar to what was seen in the 1918 victims. In effect, the body’s immune system response to the infection, rather than the infection itself, is what makes the situation so dangerous. It also explains why healthy young adults, with their robust immune system, may be at particular risk.Multiple obstacles would make it next to impossible to produce an effective vaccine and make it rapidly and widely available if a pandemic began now, according to Osterholm.The world’s total production capacity is about 300 million doses, with manufacturers concentrated in just nine countries. With current technology, it takes 6 months or more to grow flu vaccines in chicken eggs, and the yield from a given number of eggs is no more predictable than a corn crop.”Production capacity will not increase significantly in the next several years,” Osterholm predicted. He said vaccine makers want to develop a cell-culture method of producing flu vaccine and are unlikely to spend money to increase production with the traditional egg-based technology.The National Institutes of Health is developing a vaccine for the H5N1 virus, with Aventis Pasteur under contract to make 2 million doses. But Osterholm said the immunogenicity (ability to trigger an immune response in laboratory tests) of the candidate vaccine “has been poor.””The earlier versions of this [vaccine] are not protective against the current strains,” he said.In the early stages of a pandemic, he concluded, “I don’t believe we’ll have a pandemic influenza vaccine of any substantial nature.”He added that while antiviral drugs such as oseltamivir could be helpful in fighting a pandemic virus, they would be in short supply.last_img read more

North-east – Talk of the towns

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Purple & Bold: All the Lakers’ offseason goals are now moving targets

first_imgOther player options – Get ready to hear “opt in.” The squeeze of the NBA’s revenue from the China fallout and COVID-19 is going to force a lot of teams to tighten their belts. That means a bear free agency market, which teams were already anticipating would be relatively weak. The Lakers have a huge swath of contracts with player options: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Avery Bradley, JaVale McGee and Rajon Rondo. Even when you push Davis’ option to the side for a second, those four players represent roughly $20.4 million in salary for next season.Among those, Rondo who has largely sat seems like a lock to opt for another year. Bradley has started but has swayed in his offensive production and his injury history could hurt his market elsewhere. McGee has outperformed his contract, but he’s also at center, which is the hardest position to get paid as a role player. Caldwell-Pope might have the best market of any of these players, but that market could be slashed due to the sinking salary cap, and perhaps L.A.’s chance to win makes it a little more appealing. It seems more likely than not that the Lakers see a lot of player options exercised in light of the uncertainty of 2020 free agency, which limits their own ability to make summer moves.2020 Draft moves – Picking in the first round of a universally evaluated weak draft doesn’t make a lot of sense for a team that is built to win now. The appeal drops even further now that in-person meetings and workouts are unlikely. The Lakers already traded their 2021 draft pick, meaning that they can’t trade their 2020 pick until the draft is over due to the NBA’s Stepien Rule. But it seems reasonable to think that, unless the Lakers are able to find a player who can help later in the draft, it might be more helpful to the James-Davis core to package a draft prospect with another asset to trade.Let’s say the Lakers keep their pick: Could a senior like Michigan State’s Cassius Winston be an asset in the backcourt assuming the Lakers still need a backup point guard? ESPN likes him to be picked there, as long as Pelinka’s Wolverine loyalties don’t get in the way of him choosing a Spartan. But whatever player gets picked, it seems likely that older is a plus – a more consistent body of work is a better sell in a draft where many prospects have never even played in March Madness.There’s a lot of questions left to be answered, and a lot of situations that still have to be evaluated. Good thing for the Lakers front office: They’ve got a lot of time to plan.– Kyle GoonEditor’s note: Thanks for reading the Purple & Bold Lakers newsletter. To receive the newsletter in your inbox, sign up here.Clicks from a social distanceHow LeBron leads through the shutdown – How King James’ voice still carries with his franchise and teammates.Neutral site possibilities – Both the Lakers and Clippers are open to playing in a “bubble” site if the NBA is able to resume play under those terms.Looking for closure – Speaking with local media, LeBron said the safety of the American public comes first, but he doesn’t think he could find closure if the Lakers couldn’t resume their title chase.What would Kobe do – Rob Pelinka talked about navigating an unprecedented challenge, and what he thinks the Black Mamba would say about it.A little bit of magic – Kobe’s Wizenard series tops the NYT best seller list.Goggles from the captain – Kareem has donated goggles to UCLA Health medical workers.An unsettling future – No one really knows the plan for when the NBA comes back right now. Follow our COVID-19 news coverage – The latest on local cases and procedures to limit the pandemic. Editor’s note: This is the Tuesday, April 14 edition of the Purple & Bold Lakers newsletter. To receive the newsletter in your inbox, sign up here.It’s getting toward the time when, in a normal year, teams would start working out and interviewing college prospects. But, Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka pointed out last week, it’s not a normal year. There won’t be in-person visits by potential draft picks for the foreseeable future with the COVID-19 pandemic restricting social interactions.“But,” he said, “it doesn’t mean the work stops.”The Lakers’ front office’s job is to be prepared, whether the season resumes or whether it doesn’t. That means Skype interviews and videos of draft workouts, lacking the ability to meet and watch in person. That also probably means a similar process for free agency (though free agency is often done by phone and fax anyway). That means scaling fiduciary estimates with a salary cap that is expected to take a steep drop. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREUCLA alum Kenny Clark signs four-year contract extension with PackersLooking ahead at the offseason isn’t a very pleasant discussion, especially since it entertains the thought that there might be no champion at all. The Lakers would have to reassemble a team that looked primed for a deep postseason run without actually knowing how close they could have come to the title. But the events of the pandemic are dramatically affecting the outlook – in ways that in some cases are very hard to predict – of the offseason and complicating key issues in keeping a good team humming:Keeping Anthony Davis – By any measure, this is the top priority of the summer given what the Lakers had to give up to get him. Most in league circles believe that work is largely done – that L.A. is where Davis wanted to be, LeBron James is the teammate he wanted to have, and that the Lakers have done enough to sell him on a future with the franchise. Again last week, Pelinka mentioned Davis and James in a “partnership” with the front office, and since last July, Pelinka has reportedly sought Davis’ opinion in important decisions.The more pressing question is how the loss of revenue could affect Davis’ salary negotiations: Maximum salaries are a percentage of the salary cap, not a set dollar figure. Everyone expects Davis and hardball agent Rich Paul to negotiate a max contract of some length, but if the salary cap drops from just north of $109 million last season to somewhere closer to $100 million (as some models are predicting, depending on if the NBA smooths out the hit), he might have to consider triggering a $28.5 million option. Unless there is an extreme scenario, Davis would make less money on his option than he would negotiating a new max salary, but the added leverage of a one-year deal and becoming a free agent in 2021, when a lot of teams have set their sights and budgets, could yield him larger net earnings over the next few years. That might be a bit of a gamble on himself – perhaps the priority for Davis is to lock in to a longer term deal – and last summer, Paul pledged that Davis would definitely be a 2020 free agent. But as the NBA continues to lose revenue, it’s going to be a closer call than originally thought.Kyle Kuzma’s future – It’s been, at times, a frustrating season for the third-year forward, who was initially seen as a potential third star for a Lakers core. That hope has diminished with some of his production: his points, rebounds and key shooting numbers are all down as he’s often looked like he was trying to find his fit within a veteran-laden group. But still, Kuzma is one of the younger members of the roster still with room to grow, and he is on a deal under team control.So about that: It’s getting to be decision time. After his second year when the Lakers kept him in favor of trading Brandon Ingram (now an All-Star) and Lonzo Ball, a future extension seemed like a no-brainer. Now it’s not as clear, and neither is his value to the Lakers. Is he worth starter money? Role-player money? How much does he think he’s worth? The postseason could have helped clarify his value to a team trying to win a title; the suspension has so far robbed the Lakers of the opportunity to see that. It seems more feasible nowthan it did last summer that the Lakers hold off on a Kuzma extension offer, either holding onto him for a year before he’s a restricted free agent, or dangling him out as trade bait (something to which Kuzma is uncomfortably familiar). If the Lakers now think that Kuzma’s development doesn’t fit their expedited title window, now even tighter because of coronavirus, it might be as likely as ever that Kuzma (making $3.5 million next year) gets dealt for another piece.center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more


first_imgRyan McHugh has come in for close attention in the opening period of tonight’s Ulster U21 Final with Tyrone. McHugh has been the victim of some cynical fouling.DONEGAL are trailing Tyrone by THREE points at half-time in their Ulster U21 Championship Final at Celtic Park.Tyrone went into the lead early on but Donegal responded quickly with two good scores from Eoin McHugh and Hugh McFadden.Tyrone then stunned Donegal when they found the back of the net after a superb move involving several players. Donegal then responded through a fine effort from Ciaran Thompson.Darrach O’Connor then reduced the deficit to a point after a lovely move which involved great play from Ryan McHugh.Tyrone hit back though with a fine score from Lee Brennan.Hugh McFadden nodded over a free to make it a one point game again before Tyrone fired over two quick scores right before half-time to lead by THREE at the interval. Half-time score Donegal 0-06 Tyrone 1-06DONEGAL TRAIL TYRONE AT HALF-TIME IN ULSTER U21 CHAMPIONSHIP FINAL was last modified: April 8th, 2015 by Mark ForkerShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:celtic parkdonegalGAATyroneULSTER U21 FINALlast_img read more