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HHS offers plan for defense against biological threats

HHS offers plan for defense against biological threats

first_imgApr 25, 2007 (CIDRAP News) – The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently unveiled its plan for developing and buying medical countermeasures against a range of biological, chemical, and other threats, with new anthrax and smallpox vaccines among the near-term priorities.The 21-page implementation plan, released Apr 20 on the HHS Web site and in the Federal Register, details how the agency will acquire countermeasures against 14 threats on its priority list, which include nine category A biological agents, two category B biological agents, typhus, certain volatile nerve agents, and radiological and nuclear agents.HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt said in an Apr 18 press release that since the Sep 11 terrorist attacks the United States has made significant progress in securing medical countermeasures against a number of threats, but much more work remains.”This plan lays out our path forward in the coming years and will take advantage of our new authorities under the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act to move forward with Project BioShield,” he said.Project BioShield, a $5.6 billion program, was established in 2004 to speed the development of medical treatments for the effects of biological and other unconventional weapons. But major drug companies showed little interest in the program. In passing the All-Hazards Preparedness Act last December, Congress tried to revitalize the program by authorizing partial payments to companies working under BioShield contracts before final delivery of their products.The HHS plan identifies acquisitions the agency will make under the remaining 5 years of Project BioShield, a 10-year program, as well as those the agency will pursue through fiscal year 2023.The report says the maturity of the product development pipeline and estimated costs guided HHS decisions and placement of items on near-term, mid-term, and long-term development lists. The agency focused on the countermeasures that offer the greatest opportunity to improve emergency preparedness across a range of threats.Priority is placed on countermeasures that involve “post-event prophylaxis” or postexposure treatment, the HHS report said. Though single treatments are appropriate for some of the biological threats—a “one bug, one drug” approach—HHS aid it wants to focus its efforts to more efficiently address groups of threats, using tools such as broad-spectrum antibiotics and broad-spectrum antivirals.The centerpiece of the HHS report is two tables: one that plots the priority countermeasures for each threat and another that lists the proposed funding sources for each countermeasure.Diseases listed among the priority threats include anthrax, botulism, glanders, meliodosis, Ebola and Marburg hemorrhagic fevers, tularemia, Argentine hemorrhagic fever, typhus, smallpox, and plague.Countermeasures that HHS would like to acquire in the near term, meaning in fiscal years 2007 and 2008, include broad-spectrum antibiotics and anthrax and smallpox vaccines. The report notes that HHS recently canceled a contract for a recombinant anthrax vaccine (a reference to a vaccine that was under development by VaxGen Inc.), but the agency “remains committed to acquiring next-generation anthrax vaccines.”HHS is also working to acquire a smallpox vaccine that would be safe for immunocompromised people, the report notes. The agency “is well advanced in the pre-award stage” of a program to buy one such vaccine, called modified vaccinia Ankara, it says.The list of products for mid-term acquisition—in fiscal years 2009 through 2013—includes broad-spectrum antibiotics, diagnostic tests for all biological agents, an anthrax antitoxin, filovirus countermeasures, and smallpox antivirals, as well as measures for diagnosing and treating radiological and nuclear agents and improving the distribution of nerve agent antidotes.Longer-term projects, beyond fiscal year 2013, would include broad-spectrum antivirals and a single, easy-to-use antidote effective against several volatile nerve agents.In its press release, HHS said it was seeking public comments on the implementation plan, which can be made through the Federal Register. The agency will also hold a stakeholders meeting for those involved in developing medical countermeasures, scheduled July 31 through Aug 2 in Washington, DC.See also:Apr 18 HHS press releasehttp://www.hhs.gov/news/press/2007pres/04/20070418a.htmlApr 18 CIDRAP News story “Danish firms expects to sell smallpox vaccine to US”last_img read more

Police accused of ethics violation in Novel acid attack case

Police accused of ethics violation in Novel acid attack case

first_img“Everything related to the investigation was under his responsibility, including the allegedly lost evidence, which looks like an action to cover up the crime,” Kurnia Ramadhan, a spokesperson for Novel’s advocacy team, said in a statement on Tuesday.Read also: KPK calls for maximum sentence for Novel attackers amid low-sentence demandAmong the lost evidence were fingerprints from the bottle and glass reportedly used by the perpetrators to carry the acidic solution, as stated by then-Jakarta Police spokesperson Sr. Comr. Argo Yuwono in August 2017. The bottle and the glass were not included in the case’s evidence list.“Witnesses and the victim previously confirmed that the police found the bottle and the glass at the crime scene on the same day of the attack,” Kurnia said, adding that the fingerprints would not have disappeared in such a short period of time. Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) senior investigator Novel Baswedan’s advocacy team has urged the National Police to investigate an alleged professional ethics violation by the legal team representing two police officers accused of attacking Novel with acid.The advocacy team accused National Police legal division head Insp. Gen. Rudy Heriyanto Adi Nugroho of misusing his authority to hide evidence and cover up the crime allegedly committed by his fellow police officers, Chief Brig. Ronny Bugis and Brig. Rahmat Kadir Mahulette, who are standing trial for allegedly assaulting Novel in April 2017.At the time of the incident, Rudy was the Jakarta Police’s general crime division head. He was responsible for handling the investigation of the crime scene. He is currently leading the legal team representing Ronny and Rahmat in court. Argo said in October 2017 that investigators had gathered 400 CCTV recordings from cameras located within a 500-meter radius of the crime scene.“However, witnesses and the victim claimed the police had not looked into several high-resolution CCTV cameras installed around the victim’s house, which allegedly captured the perpetrators’ faces and their escape routes,” said Kurnia.The team argued that the investigators had not revealed their findings from a process known as cell tower dump surveillance, a technique used to identify suspects through communications intercepted around the scene of a crime.At a hearing on April 30, the North Jakarta District Court presented the robe worn by Novel during the attack. Novel’s advocacy team, however, noticed a rip on the robe, which the police claimed was a result of a forensics investigation.“The victim was never provided information about the forensic investigation. It should be documented,” Kurnia said.Read also: Jokowi hopes for ‘fair’ verdict in Novel Baswedan’s acid attack trial: State PalaceThe advocacy team and other activists have criticized the National Police for giving legal assistance to the two defendants, citing a potential conflict of interest in the legal process.Prosecutors have demanded a one-year prison sentence for Rahmat and Ronny for their alleged roles in the attacked against Novel Baswedan. The acid attack caused severe damage to the KPK investigator’s left eye.Activists and the public have decried the suggested sentence, questioning the legal team’s argument that the defendants had no intention of committing such a crime and that the attack was not planned, despite the fact that Rahmat had scouted Novel’s house several days before.Topics :last_img read more

Women’s World Cup: Defending champs Japan pip Netherlands to make quarter-finals

Women’s World Cup: Defending champs Japan pip Netherlands to make quarter-finals

first_imgReigning champions Japan held off a persistent Netherlands to triumph 2-1 and advance to the Women’s World Cup quarter-finals.After taking the lead through Saori Ariyoshi early in the first half on Tuesday, Japan had to weather a string of attacks from the Dutch before Mizuho Sakaguchi wrapped up victory with 12 minutes remaining.Kirsten van de Ven’s late header gave Netherlands some slim hope of forcing extra time but they could not manage an equaliser.Ariyoshi put Japan in front in the 10th minute after Yuki Ogimi’s header rebounded off the crossbar. The Dutch – in their first World Cup – did not take a step back against the title-holders, however, and went desperately close to equalising in the 76th minute, with Japan goalkeeper Ayumi Kaihori forced to save a potential own goal before Van de Ven’s follow-up shot was blocked.Roger Reijners’ team would live to rue that missed opportunity, as Japan went down the other end and Sakaguchi curled the ball into the net from the top of the box.A terrible error from Kaihori allowed Van de Ven’s header to roll over the line in stoppage time but Japan held on to keep their World Cup defence alive. Japan will face Australia in the quarters in Edmonton on Saturday.–last_img read more

‘Should I continue racing?’: Hamilton reveals lockdown low

‘Should I continue racing?’: Hamilton reveals lockdown low

first_imgThe season won’t start until July 5 in Austria at the earliest.“Mentally it’s really about ultimately feeling good about yourself. It’s about finding a way to make sure you love yourself,” added Hamilton, speaking ahead of Mental Health Awareness Week.“You have to really be able to love yourself and be comfortable on your own.”He added: “If we are not improving and growing during these days then what are we doing? You’re obviously just wasting your time sitting on your backside.” London, United Kingdom | AFP | Six-time world champion Lewis Hamilton admitted Sunday that he questioned his future in Formula One during the coronavirus lockdown which left him struggling for motivation.“I have days when I wake up and feel groggy, I don’t feel motivated to work out. I feel, ‘Jeez, where are we going? What’s next? Should I continue racing?’,” the 35-year-old said in a video released by his Mercedes team.“I think all these different things, and then I’m like ‘Damn it!’, and the next hour, or whatever, it passes, and I’m like ‘Damn! I love what I do! Why would I ever consider not continuing?’”Hamilton is hoping to equal Michael Schumacher’s record of seven world titles this season.However, he has been left kicking his heels as the spread of the coronavirus has seen 10 races either cancelled or postponed. Share on: WhatsAppcenter_img Champion: Lewis Hamilton celebrates at the United States Grand Prix in Texas last seasonlast_img read more