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

Bayou Chene Floodgate Project Moves Forward

first_imgGovernor John Bel Edwards has announced that the state Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) is pledging $80 million from its share of Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act funds (GOMESA) to build a permanent floodgate across Bayou Chene.“Backwater flooding in St. Mary and neighboring parishes has increasingly been a problem over the past decade as the Mississippi River and in turn, the Atchafalaya, has reached flood stage,” said Gov. Edwards. “We are investing in this flood protection project to provide a permanent, long-lasting solution for the people of St. Mary’s Parish and the surrounding region.”CPRA began evaluating this project shortly after the 2011 flood event and fully incorporated it into both the 2012 and 2017 Coastal Master Plans. The agency put $5 million towards the engineering and design of this project and has now identified an additional $75 million from GOMESA for construction.The flood control project will feature steel receiving structures on the banks of Bayou Chene with a 400-foot barge gate that can swing into place and be sunk, providing an elevation against storm surge of 10 feet.It will include braced steel sheet pile floodwalls also elevated to 10 feet. The existing Avoca Road will be elevated to eight feet with an eight-foot earthen levee stretching from Avoca Road to the structure along the existing borrow canal.On the south side, an eight-foot earthen levee with geotextile fabric will connect the structure to the Tabor Canal levee that will be elevated to eight feet also, utilizing the existing berm and geotextile fabric. The planned weir structure at the end of Tabor Canal will have an elevation of six feet.To design the permanent structure on Bayou Chene, the St. Mary Levee District has contracted with APTIM, the firm that designed the 10,000-foot-long, 26-foot-high storm surge barrier across Lake Borgne as part of the Greater New Orleans Hurricane Storm Damage Risk Reduction System.The construction contract will go to bid after the engineering and design is complete.last_img read more

UEFA Champions League ready to restart, at long last

first_imgThe UEFA Champions League and Europa League are set to restart this week after an enforced hiatus of almost five months.. This move will allow the Europe’s soccer governing body, UEFA, clear up the last remaining games in a troubled season. Both competitions were frozen in March as the coronavirus pandemic took hold across the continent, and while European football’s governing body acted swiftly to move Euro 2020 back a year, for a long time it was unclear how it would manage to complete its two landmark club competitions. UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin In the end the solution was to set up two mini tournaments bringing all teams together in one place from the quarter-finals onwards, with all ties being decided in one-off matches behind closed doors. And so the Champions League will move to Lisbon for the ‘Final Eight’ starting on August 12 and ending with the final at Benfica’s Estadio da Luz on August 23. The Europa League, meanwhile, will be played to a conclusion at a series of venues in western Germany, with the last eight beginning on August 10 and the final in Cologne on August 21. “I believed it from the first moment,” said the UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin recently when asked if he ever doubted it would be possible to play the tournaments to a conclusion. “You should always be optimistic, and if something like this crisis happens, you must have a plan ready. “At the present time, we will be playing matches without spectators until further notice. We will not take any risks.” There is, though, no question of further changes being made to the formats despite concerns about an increase in Covid-19 cases in and around Lisbon, and more recent worries in Germany about a rise in cases there. – Wolves’ longest year – It is the Europa League which is first up, though, with the last 16 being completed on Wednesday and Thursday. Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City face Real Madrid on Friday looking to clinch a place in the quarter-finals, fresh from having their two-year ban from the Champions League overturned Read Also: Iheanacho faces Leicester exit as Foxes hunt for suitors Wolves entertain Greek champions Olympiakos on Thursday having drawn 1-1 in the first leg of their last-16 tie. Their campaign started more than a year ago now, with a 2-0 win over Northern Irish side Crusaders in the second qualifying round on July 25, 2019. Extending it by another couple of weeks would do them no harm. FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmail分享 Wolverhampton Wanderers’ coach Nuno Espirito Santo is targeting a place in the Europa League ‘Final Eight’.Their season started more than a year ago now Two ties – Inter Milan against Getafe and Sevilla against Roma – will go ahead as one-off ties in Germany as the first legs were never played. Six second legs will also be played with the winners heading to Germany for the last eight. Among the ties to be completed is Manchester United’s against Austrian side LASK, which will be a formality for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team after they won 5-0 in the first leg in March. Their form since the Premier League resumed in mid-June has been excellent and they have already sealed a place in the 2020-21 Champions League, but now they want to finish this never-ending season with a trophy. “Now our focus is on the Europa League because this is a really good trophy and we want to win,” Bruno Fernandes told MUTV. “I came to Manchester to win trophies. We need to play every game to win. If we go into the Europa League and win every game, we know we’ll win the trophy.” United, Europa League winners in 2017, could yet find themselves facing Premier League rivals Wolverhampton Wanderers in the semi-finals in Cologne on August 16 should both teams get there.center_img Loading… UEFA also recently insisted it was “confident” there would be no more delays despite cases of coronavirus emerging among players at Real Madrid and Sevilla. It is, in any case, now or never. Indeed, the preliminary round of next season’s Champions League begins next Saturday, the same day Bayern Munich entertain Chelsea and Napoli visit Barcelona in their outstanding last 16 second legs. Before that, Manchester City defend a 2-1 first-leg lead at home against Real on Friday as Pep Guardiola’s side target Champions League glory on the back of the club’s success at getting a two-year ban from the competition overturned by the Court of Arbitration for Sport. The winner of that tie will face Juventus or Lyon in the quarter-finals in Lisbon. Promoted Content11 Most Immersive Game To Play On Your Table Top12 Celebrities Who Almost Ruined Their Careers With One Movie5 Of The World’s Most Unique Theme Parks6 Incredibly Strange Facts About HurricanesCouples Who Celebrated Their Union In A Unique, Unforgettable Way10 Awesome TV Series That Got Cancelled Way Too Soon8 Superfoods For Growing Hair Back And Stimulating Its GrowthThis Is Why Plus-Size Models Should Always Be An Inspiration10 Phones That Can Easily Fit In The Smallest Pocket7 Worst Things To Do To Your Phone7 Mind-Boggling Facts About Black Holes15 Extremely Surprising Facts About Disney Princesseslast_img read more

Wenger: Wilshere can take pressure

first_imgArsenal manager Arsene Wenger has no doubts midfielder Jack Wilshere can carry the weight of a nation’s expectation firmly on his young shoulders to help drive England on to World Cup glory in Brazil. However, Wenger believes Wilshere’s character can match that of France linchpin Zinedine Zidane as England look to secure qualification for next summer’s World Cup finals in Brazil with home games against Montenegro and Poland next month, before aiming to go on and make a major impact on the tournament. “If Jack Wilshere has the same game at Arsenal we just say ‘okay, today he was not at his best’ – but when he has that game in the national team suddenly everyone questions your ability,” said Wenger. “The players find it a bit more difficult to handle (things) in the national team with that kind of mental pressure which comes from everybody. “National teams need always a guy who absorbs this type of pressure and takes it, we (France) had Zidane – when the France team played well it was all Zidane, but (that meant) the others could (just) play. You need a good generation, but as well also need one player. “Be positive. Jack can take that (role). He is young, only 22. He has the capacity to do that, but he needs to play six months without any problem.” Wenger feels Wilshere’s biggest hurdle will be steering clear of further injury setbacks. “Jack has the personality to be a top, top, top player. He has gone through a difficult period,” the Arsenal boss continued. “The problem in the modern game, you need to be absolutely 100% physically (fit) to express your talent, or you don’t. “At the moment Jack is not completely at his best physically, that is why people start to question his performances, but I think he is a fantastic footballer and he will show that. He (just) needs consistency now.” The role of Wilshere, who turns 22 on January 1, within the England side came in for scrutiny following a somewhat laboured display during the World Cup qualifier against Ukraine in Kiev on Tuesday night, which ended goalless. Wilshere has seen his progress hampered by a series of niggling injuries, which ruled the naturally combative midfielder out of contention for both England’s 2012 European Championship finals campaign and representing Team GB at the London Olympics. center_img Press Associationlast_img read more

Woman wins lottery after being fired from job

first_imgAddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterShare to MoreAddThisHILLMAN, Mich. — 10 days before Christmas, Michelle Sanders’ life took an unexpected and unfortunate turn. She was let go from her job at Montmorency’s register of deeds office. “I think I cried a lot. I cried for weeks,” she said. “Everybody would get up to go to school or work and I’m like, ‘what am I going to do?’ You can only clean so much and you can’t really afford to go see anybody or do anything if you don’t have a check coming in.”Much like her grandfather, Sanders likes to buy lottery tickets, and a few weeks after being fired, her luck changed. At first, this ticket didn’t seem like a winner. It was only after she entered a second chance code online when she figured out that this ticket wasn’t what she thought it was. “You can’t win if you don’t do it. So I was feeling lucky, and even though they were losing tickets, I was having a really good day.”Sanders’ ticket had won her a chance at the Michigan Lottery’s Big Spin game, with the minimum prize being $100,000. On Jan. 30., it was finally her turn to take the spin. She said her legs were trembling as she watched the wheel spin for what seemed like an eternity. Then it stopped, and she was $250,000 richer. Sanders said she already has plans for some of it including wedding her fiance, putting some towards her son’s college fund, and hopefully taking a cruise with her family later in the year.Regarding future work, Sanders said that she really misses her old job and that she is considering running for the register of deeds position in Montmorency County. “I’ve had quite a few people that will support me that I’ve known a long time and know that i can do it.”AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterShare to MoreAddThis Tags: Michigan lotteryContinue ReadingPrevious Treasury Department helping taxpayers prevent identity theftNext Michigan DNR unveils new license purchasing systemlast_img read more