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Donors and Drug Makers Offer $500 Million to Control Global Epidemics

           

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.

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DNA-Testing Smartphone Aims to Tackle Drugs Resistance

submitted by Alicia Juarrero

           

UCLA, STOCKHOLM UNIVERSITY AND UPPSALA UNIVERSITY

CLICK HERE - Nature Communications - Targeted DNA sequencing and in situ mutation analysis using mobile phone microscopy

bbc.com - by Leo Kelion - January 18, 2017

Scientists have built a DNA-analysing smartphone attachment that is a fraction of the cost of lab-based kit.

The creators of the phone-powered pathology microscope believe it could be mass produced for less than $500 (£406) a unit.

They say it could help doctors treat cancer, tuberculosis and other diseases more effectively than is sometimes possible in the developing world.

But a UK firm says it is developing a more advanced and cheaper alternative.

Details of the peer-reviewed project are published in the journal Nature Communications.

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7 Forgotten World Crises That Urgently Need Your Support

The global need for humanitarian aid has reached a level not seen since World War II. More than 128 million people in 33 countries are now affected by crises, including conflict and natural disaster.

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World Energy Hits a Turning Point: Solar That's Cheaper Than Wind

           

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.

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Haiti: UN’s New Approach on Cholera Puts People at Heart of the Response

submitted by John Carroll

                                         

un.org

30 November 2016 – The response to cholera in Haiti will be a “long and thorough battle,” but the United Nations will stand by the Haitian people and authorities, Stéphane Dujarric, the Spokesman for the Secretary-General, on the eve of the launch of the Organization's new approach to tackling the epidemic in the country.

The new approach was announced last August and will be launched by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to the UN General Assembly on Thursday, 1 December. It includes rapid interventions in areas where cases are reported and the prevention of future high-risk public health crises.

The new approach on cholera also focuses on people and proposes the establishment of a program of material assistance and support to Haitians directly affected by the disease.

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Prepare for 'Surprise' as Global Warming Stokes Arctic Shifts - Scientists

           

The crew of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Healy, in the midst of their ICESCAPE mission, retrieves supplies in the Arctic Ocean in this July 12, 2011 NASA handout photo. Kathryn Hansen/NASA via REUTERS/File Photo

"Ultimately, realising resilience in the Arctic will depend on empowering the people of the North to self-organise"

CLICK HERE - Stockholm Resilience Centre - Dealing with Arctic tipping points

CLICK HERE - Arctic Resilience Report

Thomson Reuters Foundation - by Megan Rowling - November 25, 2016

Unless the world stops burning fossil fuels that are fuelling global warming, irreversible changes in the Arctic could have disastrous effects for the people that live there and for the rest of the planet, researchers warned on Friday.

The Arctic's ecosystems are fundamentally threatened by climate change and other human activities, such as oil and gas extraction, they said in a report for the Arctic Council, an inter-governmental forum working to protect the region's environment.

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PositiveID Successfully Detects the Zika Virus on its Firefly Dx Prototype System

PositiveID uses assay partner GenArraytion's Zika test, the first commercially available multi-plexed PCR-based molecular test to identify dual lineages of the Zika virus

investors.positiveidcorp.com - May 25, 2016

DELRAY BEACH, Fla., May 25, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- PositiveID Corporation ("PositiveID" or "Company") (OTCQB:PSID), a life sciences company focused on detection and diagnostics, announced today that it has successfully detected the Zika virus on its Firefly Dx polymerase chain reaction ("PCR") breadboard prototype pathogen detection system ("prototype system"). . .

. . . PositiveID used assay partner GenArraytion, Inc.'s Aedes Aegypti MultiFLEX™ Bioassay test, which targets four genetic regions of the Zika virus, on PositiveID's Firefly Dx prototype system. The Zika virus test works with an existing GenArraytion MultiFLEX™ Bioassay panel that targets viruses that cause dengue fever, yellow fever and Chikungunya, which are also carried by the same mosquito and are known to cause febrile disease in humans.  This test both identifies and discriminates between the Zika African and Brazilian lineages.

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World Health Organisation Should Outsource Key Duties, Experts Say

         

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) medical staff tackle Ebola in Kailahun, Sierra Leone. The outbreak killed 11,000 people. Photograph: Carl de Souza/AFP/Getty Images

British Medical Journal report advises fundamental overhaul of the WHO to avoid loss of funding, warning it is at risk of repeating mistakes of the Ebola crisis

CLICK HERE - British Medical Journal - Outsourcing: how to reform WHO for the 21st century

theguardian.com - by Harriet Grant - September 12, 2016

Global public health experts have called for “fundamental and extensive reform” of the World Health Organisation (WHO) including major outsourcing of key activities, warning that the organisation is already at risk of repeating the mistakes it made in handling the Ebola crisis.

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FSU Research Team Makes Zika Drug Breakthrough

submitted by Albert Gomez

           

Doctoral students Emily Lee, Yichen Cheng and Sarah Ogden played a key role in conducting Zika research in Professor Hengli Tang’s laboratory.

CLICK HERE - RESEARCH - Nature Medicine - Identification of small-molecule inhibitors of Zika virus infection and induced neural cell death via a drug repurposing screen

news.fsu.edu - by Kathleen Haughney - August 29, 2016

A team of researchers from Florida State University, Johns Hopkins University and the National Institutes of Health has found existing drug compounds that can both stop Zika from replicating in the body and from damaging the crucial fetal brain cells that lead to birth defects in newborns.

One of the drugs is already on the market as a treatment for tapeworm. . . .

. . . Their work is outlined in an article published Monday by Nature Medicine.

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NY1 Online: City Health Commissioner, Professor Talk Concerns About Zika Virus, Both at Rio Olympics and in US

           

CLICK HERE - VIDEO - NY1 Online: City Health Commissioner, Professor Talk Concerns About Zika Virus, Both at Rio Olympics and in US

ny1.com - by Inside City Hall - August 3, 2016

Errol Louis discussed concerns about the Zika virus, both at the Rio Olympics and here in the United States, with City Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett and Columbia University Professor Stephen Morse.

 

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