A child born with microcephaly caused by the Zika virus, during an evaluation at Fundação Altino Ventura in Recife, Brazil. A group of prominent donors announced Wednesday that they had raised almost $500 million for a new partnership to stop epidemics before they spiral out of control. Credit Adriana Zehbrauskas for The New York Times
nytimes.com - by DONALD G. McNEIL Jr. - January 18, 2017
Stung by the lack of vaccines to fight the West African Ebola epidemic, a group of prominent donors announced Wednesday that they had raised almost $500 million for a new partnership to stop epidemics before they spiral out of control.
The partnership, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, will initially develop and stockpile vaccines against three known viral threats, and also push the development of technology to brew large amounts of vaccine quickly when new threats, like the Zika virus, arise.
With enough money and scientific progress, the strategy could bring a drastic change in the way the world tackles pandemics.
No Antibiotic In The U.S. Could Save This Woman. We Should All Be Worried.
This is one of the first cases of a pan-resistant infection in America.
huffingtonpost.com - by Anna Almendraia - January 13, 2017
The recent death of a woman in Reno, Nevada, from an infection resistant to every available kind of antibiotic in the U.S. highlights how serious the threat of antibiotic-resistant superbugs has become.
Experts say that while cases of a bacteria resistant to all antibiotics are still extremely rare in the U.S., we should expect to see more in the future.
Image: A wind farm in Pomeroy, Iowa. The wind power industry is booming in the United States, with wind-farm technician projected to be the country’s fastest-growing occupation over the next decade. Credit Jim Watson/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
nytimes.com - January 2nd 2017 - Justin Gillis
With Donald J. Trump about to take control of the White House, it would seem a dark time for the renewable energy industry. After all, Mr. Trump has mocked the science of global warming as a Chinese hoax, threatened to kill a global deal on climate change and promised to restore the coal industry to its former glory.
So consider what happened in the middle of December, after investors had had a month to absorb the implications of Mr. Trump’s victory.
. . . Mexico’s climate story reflects a growing global problem. Worsening droughts, floods, wildfires, and rising seas will drive millions from their homes, all around the world.
From Mexico to China, Bangladesh to Senegal, climate migrants everywhere will relocate to the nearest safe place, says sociologist Cristina Bradatan, also of Texas Tech. Sometimes that means crossing borders . . .
scientificamerican.com - by Kavya Balaraman - December 21, 2016
Mosquito-borne diseases like Zika can be extremely sensitive to climatic changes
The combination of climate change and last year’s El Niño phenomenon likely created the perfect playground for the Zika virus to spread rapidly across South America, a new study finds.
Both the Zika virus and the mosquitoes that carry it have been present in different parts of the world for a while. But several factors, including specific climatic conditions, could have catapulted the disease to public health emergency status, according to researchers from the University of Liverpool.
Emerging markets are leapfrogging the developed world thanks to cheap panels.
bloomberg.com - by Tom Randall - December 15, 2016
A transformation is happening in global energy markets that’s worth noting as 2016 comes to an end: Solar power, for the first time, is becoming the cheapest form of new electricity.
This has happened in isolated projects in the past: an especially competitive auction in the Middle East, for example, resulting in record-cheap solar costs. But now unsubsidized solar is beginning to outcompete coal and natural gas on a larger scale, and notably, new solar projects in emerging markets are costing less to build than wind projects, according to fresh data from Bloomberg New Energy Finance.
Hundreds of kayaktivists protest drilling in the Arctic and the Port of Seattle being used as a port for the Shell Oil drilling rig Polar Pioneer (Daniella Beccaria/seattlepi.com via Associated Press)
washingtonpost.com - by Darryl Fears and Juliet Eilperin - December 20, 2016
President Obama moved to solidify his environmental legacy Tuesday by withdrawing hundreds of millions of acres of federally owned land in the Arctic and Atlantic Ocean from new offshore oil and gas drilling.
Obama used a little-known law called the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act to protect large portions of the Chukchi and Beaufort seas in the Arctic and a string of canyons in the Atlantic stretching from Massachusetts to Virginia. In addition to a five-year moratorium already in place in the Atlantic, removing the canyons from drilling puts much of the eastern seaboard off limits to oil exploration even if companies develop plans to operate around them.
jamanetwork.com - December 13, 2016 - doi:10.1001/jama.2016.19006
In this report based on preliminary data for pregnant women in the USZPR with laboratory evidence of possible Zika virus infection, 6% overall had a fetus or infant with evidence of a Zika-related birth defect, and among women with timing of possible Zika infection exclusively during the first trimester, 11% had a fetus or infant with a birth defect. The birth defects primarily involved included microcephaly with brain abnormalities, such as intracranial calcifications. Preliminary estimates from the USZPR were within the range of 1% to 13% risk of microcephaly following first-trimester maternal Zika virus infection modeled on the outbreak in Bahia, Brazil, lending support to the credibility of these estimates.