The MoU with T&T is a sellout

first_imgThe Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago (T&T) came to Guyana last week. He was welcomed with open arms by President David Granger. They signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) guaranteeing T&T a role in the developing oil and gas industry in Guyana. Even as they were signing the agreement, T&T was promising to remove non-tariff barriers for Guyana’s honey to enter T&T. This is not the first time T&T is promising Guyana they would remove unfair non-tariff barriers that will allow Guyana’s honey to be exported to T&T. They did so many times before and, each time before, they procrastinated, obfuscated and reneged on their promises, explaining that T&T had to safeguard their local honey industry. Yet one can visit the supermarkets on a daily basis in T&T and purchase honey from the USA at prices not different from the prices for locally produced honey.Honey was not the only agricultural product from Guyana that T&T did not permit entry for or made it difficult for entry by imposing unreasonable conditions. There is a long list of products from Guyana that T&T has maintained a tough list of non-tariff barriers which prevent our farmers from exporting to T&T. Take the time, they demanded that bran from Guyana be sprayed with methyl bromide before the ship was allowed to land. The ship was already in T&T, ready to dock. The cargo was fumigated with phosphine before the ship left Guyana. Methyl bromide is no longer used in Guyana for this purpose since Guyana is a signatory of the Montreal Protocol that demanded the phasing out of methyl bromide by 2015. By 2014, Guyana had already phased out importation of methyl bromide. T&T, also a signatory to the Montreal Protocol, also had phased out methyl bromide. Clearly, this was a clumsy, fabricated regulation that T&T imposed on Guyana to prevent bran from Guyana entering T&T. T&T felt they had nothing to fear from Guyana, but they would not mess with America.While an MoU with T&T to explore collaboration in oil and gas is a good thing, the MoU should have demanded that T&T treat Guyanese farmers with greater respect. If T&T continues to utilise unreasonable non-tariff barriers to prevent our products such as pepper, pumpkin, sweet potato, cassava, citrus, coconuts, rice, sugar, beef, mutton, etc, from being exported to T&T, we should be equally unwilling to partner with T&T in our oil and gas industry. I am disappointed, therefore, that President Granger and the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) signed an MoU with T&T without any discussions and any mention of these restrictions that stymie Guyana’s rich agriculture potential. It shows that the APNU/AFC lack vision and is clueless.In early 2015 when the People’s Progressive Party declared that Guyana is about to be a major global player in the oil and gas industry, the then Leader of the Opposition in Guyana, David Granger, and APNU, together with the AFC, ridiculed the then PPP Government. They argued that our vision of oil and gas as a major player in the economic architecture of Guyana is an election gimmick. As the world now fully accepts the PPP’s claim in 2015 that Guyana is a major player in oil and gas, there are many countries and large global companies that want to partner with Guyana. T&T is no exception, particularly as its own oil and gas industry is waning in importance. I believe that we should welcome T&T as a partner within our oil and gas industry. That welcome should be with open arms, but not with stupidity and not with gullibility. If our agriculture products are not good enough for you, then our oil and gas industry is also off-limits.T&T has not played fair with Guyana for decades. As we welcome T&T to be a partner in our oil and gas industry, we ask that they play fair with us. T&T must not think they can benefit from our oil and gas industry and that Guyana will turn a blind eye on its unfair trade barriers that limit access to their market for Guyanese products. We must call a spade a spade – T&T has for decades limited entry of Guyana’s agricultural products into T&T based on spurious non-tariff barriers. Whether it is our rice, sugar, tomato, pepper, pineapples, sweet potato, other vegetables, fish and meat, T&T has imposed unreasonable conditions intended to prevent export into T&T from Guyana. To ignore this reality when we signed the MoU with T&T means we sold out our farmers and our country.last_img read more

Read More →

Mystery, excitement for British Open’s return to Portrush

first_imgMRT-3 files raps vs engineer who brought ammunition to station “To have a round like that, do it there, have my dad watching, for me to shoot 61, was pretty cool,” he said.But this is big business. McIlroy is coming up on the five-year anniversary of his last major, far too long of a drought for his skill set. And he’ll have the hopes of a golf-mad nation with him.“I think one of the big things for me next week is to enjoy the experience,” he said. “It might be 68 years until Portrush gets the Open (again), so go out and enjoy it. Look around. It’s going to be such a great experience for me. The more I can enjoy that and roll with it and play with freedom, the better I think I can do.”Tiger Woods used to go to Ireland to prepare for the British Open. Now it’s time to play, and there might be some rust. For the second time this year, Woods goes into a major championship without having played in a month. Since his victory at the Masters, the biggest buzz in golf this year, he has played three tournaments and 10 rounds.Woods, who went to Thailand after a tie for 21st in the U.S. Open, posted a recent video from his home in Florida of waking at 1 a.m. to prepare for jet lag. The great preparation might be keeping it in play on a links that has a higher premium on accuracy than some other Open course.Brooks Koepka will try to extend his amazing run in the majors — two victories and two runner-up finishes in the last four majors. He has never fared particularly well in links golf, which might be all the motivation he needs.The Americans, meanwhile, will try to go for their first sweep of the majors since 1982, when Craig Stadler won the Masters, Tom Watson won the U.S. and British Opens and Raymond Floyd won the PGA Championship.Until then, the intrigue is Royal Portrush.“It’s been a long time in the making,” McIlroy said. “And obviously, everyone over there is so excited.” The response to Royal Portrush hosting the British Open on July 18-21 for the first time in 68 years has been a combination of excitement and mystery.The championship was a sellout 11 months ahead of time. The Royal & Ancient Golf Club decided in April to provide an additional 15,000 tickets for tournament days, and those were snatched up quickly. That means more than 200,000 spectators for the competition days of the 148th Open. And that should come as no surprise. Royal Portrush hosted the Irish Open in 2012 and drew 112,000 fans over four days, a European Tour record.“I believe big-time sport needs big-time crowds,” R&A chief Martin Slumbers said. “We’re certainly going to get that.”And what will they see? That’s the mystery.The vast majority of the 156-man field — only 21 players were at the 2012 Irish Open — will be competing on the Harry Colt design for the first time. That included Francesco Molinari, the defending champion who will try to become the first back-to-back winner since Padraig Harrington in 2007-08.ADVERTISEMENT FILE – In this Sunday, July 20, 2014, file photo, Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland holds up the Claret Jug trophy after winning the British Open Golf championship at the Royal Liverpool in Hoylake, England. McIlroy is among the favorites to win the British Open when it returns to Northern Ireland for the first time in 68 years. (AP Photo/Scott Heppell, File)Graeme McDowell winning the 2010 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach was a source of pride for Northern Ireland. Rory McIlroy winning the U.S. Open at Congressional the following year with a record score was a source of hope.And then a month later, Darren Clarke became the first Ulsterman in 64 years to raise the silver claret jug.ADVERTISEMENT Clarke still had possession of the claret jug when he returned to Portrush for the Irish Open and was paired with Molinari.“Being paired with Darren the first round, it was something I still remember,” Molinari said. “So I can only imagine what the Open is going to be. It is going to be even bigger, going back to Northern Ireland after so many years. Defending is always special, but defending in a place where the tournament has not been for so long I’m sure is going to be extra special.”There have been a few changes. To make it a large enough stage for the British Open, the R&A with approval from the club changed the routing. Martin Ebert, who consults on a half-dozen links in the Open rotation, took land from the Valley Links to build two new holes, Nos. 7 and 8. The original 17th and 18th holes are now used for the tented village. The nature of the links hasn’t changed.There are fewer bunkers than at most links courses because the contours and cliffs and dunes serve as a reasonable defense. The 16th hole is “Calamity Corner,” where a shot over the ravine on the 236-yard par 3 that falls to the right could wind up 50 feet below the green.Feherty recalls being there the first time he played with his father and almost didn’t make it back up. “I almost had to rope myself to my dad and establish base camp,” he said.Ebert was profuse with his praise of Royal Portrush.“It’s hard to argue that this will be the finest piece of links land which The Open Championship is played,” Ebert said in 2014 when the R&A announced a return to Portrush. “No other venue, I don’t think, has such pure links undulations throughout its 18 holes.”McDowell is the only one of three major champions from this generation who actually grew up in Portrush, at Rathmore, the club next door. Even with a victory this year in the Dominican Republic, nothing was as satisfying as his 68 in the final round of the Canadian Open to earn a spot in the British Open. He could only dream of Royal Portrush getting another Open. It would have been a nightmare to miss it.For McIlroy, the pressure might be greater than going for the career Grand Slam at the Masters.He is the only two-time winner on the PGA Tour this year and is No. 3 in the world. He grew up in Holywood, but Royal Portrush feels like home. McIlroy was 16 when he set the course record of 61 at the North of Ireland Amateur. Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite PLAY LIST 02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award03:05Malakanyang bilib sa Phivolcs | Chona Yu01:26Homes destroyed after Taal Volcano eruption02:48ABS-CBN franchise has ‘natural deadline,’ no need for quo warranto — Gatchalian NCAA: San Beda dumps JRU for 2-0 start Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Steaming fissures on Taal Volcano Island spotted ‘Marawi hero’ is new commander of Army’s 1st Infantry Division LOOK: LJ Reyes, Paolo Contis celebrate 1st birthday of baby Summercenter_img Benefits of township living Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Sons Of Apollo releases new studio album ‘MMXX’ MOST READ Will you be the first P16 Billion Powerball jackpot winner from the Philippines? LATEST STORIES Duterte lambasts Catholic Church anew in curse-laden speech before Filipino Baptists View comments In a span of six majors, three champions came from a small country in the United Kingdom known for its castles, coastal links and three decades of religious and political violence known as “The Troubles.”What began as a question — “Could the British Open return to Royal Portrush?” — became a drumbeat until organizers found a way to make it work.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGolden State Warriors sign Lee to multiyear contract, bring back ChrissSPORTSCoronation night?SPORTSThirdy Ravena gets‍‍‍ offers from Asia, Australian ball clubsGolf’s oldest championship returns to the Dunluce Links of Royal Portrush for the first time since 1951, the only occasion in 159 years that the British Open was not held in Scotland or England.“I didn’t see it getting big enough or sophisticated enough to host an Open,” said David Feherty, who grew up in Northern Ireland and makes his return as part of the NBC Sports broadcast team. “It’s just extraordinary what they’ve done.”last_img read more

Read More →

Ronaldo scores twice as Real cruise into Cup final

first_imgThe Portuguese star doubled his tally nine minutes later from another penalty as this time Gareth Bale was felled by Emiliano Insua.Ronaldo’s eventful evening continued as, moments after being booked for a clash with Manquillo, he was then hit by a lighter thrown by the Atletico fans as the players headed to the dressing rooms at half-time.The Ballon d’Or winner was however fit to continue at the start of the second-half before being substituted late on.Real will face either Barcelona or Real Sociedad in the final on April 19 with Barca holding a 2-0 advantage heading into the second leg of their semi-final on Wednesday.Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti insisted that Ronaldo was fine after being struck and lauded his side’s feat of reaching the final on the back of eight consecutive clean sheets in the Cup this season.“Cristiano is fine, he scored two goals and he doesn’t have any problems,” he said.“We are still alive in all competitions and whilst this is the least important of the three in comparison to La Liga or the Champions League, to get to a final is always a good thing for the team.“We have played well in all the Cup games. We have kept a clean sheets throughout and this speaks well of the mentality of the team.”Atletico boss Diego Simeone appeared to have given up any hope of an unlikely comeback from the off as he rested Juanfran, Diego Godin, Arda Turan and captain Gabi, whilst four more first-team regulars missed out through injury and suspension.However, despite suffering three defeats in a week, Simeone is hoping for a positive reaction from his side as they too have La Liga and Champions League honours to fight for in the coming weeks.“You are never happy to lose or go out of a competition, much less in this manner losing 5-0.“Last year we managed to win this competition, this year we got to the semi-finals. You can always do better as a team, but now we will continue with the same desire as before and we want to remain competitive.”Ancelotti named a strong side and was rewarded with the away goal that killed the tie off when Ronaldo converted from the spot after tumbling under Manquillo’s clumsy challenge inside the area.Atletico briefly threatened a revival when Raul Garcia struck the post moments later.However, it was 2-0 after just 16 minutes as this time Bale went down under a challenge by Insua and Ronaldo again struck the resulting spot-kick low into the right-hand corner of Daniel Aranzubia’s net.With the tie effectively over as a contest, the only spice was added by unfortunate events off the field as Ronaldo was struck as he headed towards the tunnel at half-time.The former Manchester United man did return for the second period, but he was unable to complete his hat-trick before being replaced by Jese Rodriguez 15 minutes from time.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000MADRID, Spain 12 February 2014 – Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice from the penalty spot and was also hit on the head by a lighter thrown from the crowd as Real Madrid sealed their place in the Copa del Rey final with a 2-0 win (5-0 on aggregate) over holders Atletico Madrid.Any chance of Atletico recovering from their 3-0 defeat at the Santiago Bernabeu last week was extinguished after just seven minutes when Ronaldo opened the scoring after being upended by Manquillo.last_img read more

Read More →

How many hat-tricks Aguero and Kane need for the Premier League record

first_img 2 Where Ancelotti ranks with every Premier League boss for trophies won Alan Shearer: 11Sergio Aguero: 11Robbie Fowler: 9Harry Kane: 8Thierry Henry: 8Michael Owen: 8Wayne Rooney: 7Luis Suarez: 6 Which teams do the best on Boxing Day in the Premier League era? Against Chelsea, it was the 11th hat-trick in his league career for Man City, drawing him level with the legendary Alan Shearer, and putting him two ahead of Tottenham forward Harry Kane.Last season Kane scored back-to-back hat-tricks for Spurs, while he also top scored at the World Cup and grabbed three in one game against Panama but he faces a tough ask beating the Argentinian right now having scored none this campaign.Here, talkSPORT.com looks at how far the deadly duo are from breaking Alan Shearer’s Premier League hat-trick record. Premier League hat-tricks REVEALED 2 BEST OF REVEALED The former Newcastle, Blackburn and England striker scored his last hat-trick in 1999 and also remains the league’s top scoring player with 260 goals. MONEY Alan Shearer scored a record 260 Premier League goals At the time of writing, Aguero is on 160 Premier League goals in 229 games with Kane on 122 in 172. Ronaldo warned Lukaku how hard scoring goals in Serie A would be before Inter move no dice Top nine Premier League free transfers of the decade RANKED Every time Ally McCoist lost it on air in 2019, including funny XI reactions Sergio Aguero celebrates his hat-trick against Chelsea. Oxlade-Chamberlain suffers another setback as Klopp confirms serious injury ADVICE Football news REPLY Berahino hits back at b******t Johnson criticism – ‘I was in a dark place at Stoke’ Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero has scored three Premier League hat-tricks this season after putting a treble past Chelsea on Sunday.Having already helped Pep Guardiola’s men to beat Huddersfield 6-1 and Arsenal 3-1, he’s now co-leader in the race for the Golden Boot with 17, along with Mohamed Salah. Son ban confirmed as Tottenham fail with appeal to overturn red card shining Forbes list reveals how much Mayweather, Ronaldo and Messi earned this decade huge blow Premier League Team of the Season so far, including Liverpool and Leicester starslast_img read more

Read More →

Spencer girls basketball edges Gilman

first_imgBaehr scores 16, Buss 14 for RocketsBy Paul LeckerSports ReporterSPENCER — Lexi Baehr and Courtney Buss each scored in double figures as the Spencer girls basketball team slipped past Gilman 42-37 in a Cloverbelt Conference East Division game Tuesday night at Spencer High School.Baehr scored 16 points, and Buss added 14 for the Rockets in the win.Spencer led 19-16 at halftime and held on for the victory to improve to 3-2 overall and 2-2 in the Cloverbelt East. Gilman drops to 0-4 overall and in conference play.The Rockets were held to 24 percent shooting (11 of 46) but outscored Gilman 15-3 at the free throw line.Spencer plays at Greenwood on Friday.(Hub City Times Sports Reporter Paul Lecker is also the publisher of MarshfieldAreaSports.com.)Rockets 42, Pirates 37Gilman 16 21 – 37Spencer 19 23 – 42GILMAN (37): Skabroud 4-12 0-0 12, Grunseth 3-13 0-0 7, Sherfield 3-7 1-2 7, Syryczuk 1-3 1-3 4, Heier 1-1 0-0 2, Wisocky 1-2 0-0 2, Chause 1-5 0-0 2, Fryza 0-1 1-2 1, Hendricks 0-6 0-0 0. FG: 14-50. FT: 3-9. 3-pointers: 6-22 (Skabroud 4-10, Syryczuk 1-2, Grunseth 1-5, Wisocky 0-1, Hendricks 0-4). Rebounds: 42 (Hendricks 6, Grunseth 6). Turnovers: 21. Fouls: 24. Fouled out: Chause, Hendricks. Record: 0-4 overall and Cloverbelt East.SPENCER (42): Lexi Baehr 4-15 6-7 16, Courtney Buss 5-12 1-3 14, Jessica Becker 1-7 4-6 6, Sabrina Vircks 1-2 1-4 3, Kaily Northup 0-2 1-2 1, McKenna Brecht 0-1 1-2 1, Kathryn Hall 0-1 1-2 1, Liz Endreas 0-5 0-0 0, Shaelee Neitzel 0-1 0-0 0, Claire Drews 0-0 0-2 0. FG: 11-46. FT: 15-28. 3-pointers: 5-14 (Buss 3-5, Baehr 2-6, Becker 0-2, Endreas 0-1). Rebounds: 42 (Baehr 7). Turnovers: 18. Fouls: 13. Fouled out: none. Record: 3-2, 2-2 Cloverbelt East.last_img read more

Read More →

SA gears up for 2010 with Adidas

first_imgFifa president Sepp Blatter with the Kopanya – the official 2009 Confederations Cup ball, also designed by Adidas. (Image: Fifa) Adidas, the official supplier of gear to the South African Football Association, recently launched the official Bafana Bafana kit for the 2010 Fifa World Cup. (Image: World Soccer Shop) MEDIA CONTACTS • Deborah Miller Adidas South Africa +27 21 442 6200 RELATED ARTICLES • Football Fridays fever mounts • Flags fly for 32 World Cup teams • Global Fifa fan parks for 2010 • Get kitted for Football FridaysJanine Erasmus With 198 days to go until the first African Fifa World Cup kick-off, enthusiasm is mounting. Now global sportswear manufacturer Adidas is adding to the build-up with its newly launched Unite Mzansi Unite campaign.The project is aimed at uniting all South Africans in support of both the football tournament and national team Bafana Bafana. The word Mzansi is isiZulu for “south”, and is commonly used to refer to South Africa.Unite Mzansi Unite (UMU) is driven by the colour yellow – that is, the colour of Bafana Bafana’s official home jersey. South Africans are encouraged to step out in yellow and show their support of the home team.Adidas is the official supplier of football gear to the South African Football Association (Safa), and revealed the national team’s new World Cup kit earlier in November.Both the kit and the UMU drive were announced at this event, which took place in Newtown, Johannesburg. Former Bafana Bafana greats Marks Maponyane, Helman Mkhalele, Isaac Kungwane and Papi Khomane were there to represent the team.Support the team, sign the jerseyTo promote the campaign, the sportswear giant has created a huge replica of the official Bafana Bafana jersey, measuring 60m in length and 48m in width.The jersey is currently touring South Africa in a large, specially branded Adidas truck and will make stops in all nine host cities, as well as towns in between.The tour began at the headquarters of the South African Broadcasting Corporation in Auckland Park, Johannesburg, on 13 November, and is scheduled to end in May 2010, a month before the long-awaited tournament gets under way.About 300 stops have been planned in total. The tour visits Cape Town in December, where the final draw for the World Cup will take place alongside the unveiling of the official match ball, another Adidas design.A strong supporter of South African football, Adidas also designed the Kopanya, the official match ball of the 2009 Confederations Cup, which is viewed as a dress rehearsal for the World Cup.Adidas South Africa MD Gavin Cowley said that like the Kopanya, the World Cup ball had a name, but it would be kept secret for a while longer.“The World Cup official ball will be truly South African in colour and design,” he said.A part of historyAfter Cape Town the jersey heads to Port Elizabeth, Durban, Nelspruit, Kimberley, Rustenburg, Polokwane and Pretoria, ending its journey in Johannesburg.Deborah Miller, Adidas South Africa’s senior communications manager and UMU campaign head, said the call had gone out to all South Africans to show their support for the national team by signing the jersey when it is in their area.“By signing the giant jersey, you will become a part of history,” said Miller. “This is our World Cup – let’s host it with pride.”Fans who can’t make it in person will have the option of signing digitally online or via mobile, or at selected retail outlets. There are already over 9 500 signatures on the giant jersey.Bafana Bafana themselves signed the jersey when the tour stopped off in Bloemfontein in the Free State province a week after it left Johannesburg. The national team was there to play a friendly against Jamaica.Tour stops will coincide with other festivities such as football games on mini pitches and goal kicking competitions. A host of prizes will also be up for grabs.Supporters can keep track of the tour’s progress by following its Twitter stream. The official UMU website also provides a detailed itinerary.Advanced technologyThe design process for the new Bafana Bafana jersey took about two years, according to Safa.In addition to input from Safa and the team, Adidas South Africa played a prominent role in its creation.Football category manager at Adidas South Africa, Kevin Jooste, said: “We had to produce a jersey that unites the people of South Africa behind Bafana Bafana, and making the flag a prominent part of the jersey was the way to do it, as the flag unites all South Africans.”Two versions are available – the “TechTit” or tight-fitting look, and the “ForMotion” variant, which is designed to mould naturally to the body of the wearer, and features elements such as different combinations of fabrics for greater flexibility, and special stitching to prevent friction. Both versions come in long- and short-sleeved styles.Adidas’s TechFit Powerweb technology is also built into the shirt, which is lighter than a conventional shirt. This works by focusing energy produced by the muscles, to generate greater acceleration and power output. Adidas claims that wearing a Powerweb shirt and shorts increases a player’s power by 5.3%, with 0.8% increased endurance.The fabric also features so-called ClimaCool technology, which helps reduce heat and moisture build-up, keeping players comfortable on the pitch.This is the team’s 16th national jersey in the past 11 years. It made its debut on 14 November during another friendly match against Japan in the 2010 host city of Port Elizabeth. Fans can buy it from sports retailers around the country, and at various online stores.last_img read more

Read More →

SA Airways’ Africa route network grows

first_img27 June 2012 South African Airways (SAA) is set to add two new destinations, Abidjan and Brazzaville, to its ever-increasing African route network, bringing the total number of destinations that SAA serves on the continent to 28. SAA will introduce twice-weekly services to Abidjan in Cote d’Ivoire from 17 August, and to Brazzaville in the Republic of Congo from 13 September, the airline announced on Tuesday. Counting Abidjan and Brazzaville, South Africa’s national carrier has now added seven new African destinations to its network since October. Cotonou in Benin and Pointe Noire, Congo were other recent additions. Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire’s economic capital and largest city, is the third-largest French-speaking city in the world after Paris and Kinshasa, and is considered a cultural hub of Francophone West Africa. The Abidjan flights will be added as an extension to SAA’s Accra, Ghana flights on Tuesdays and Fridays. “In addition, SAA has also secured traffic rights between Accra and Abidjan, which enables the carrier to serve customers flying between these two cities in either direction,” the airline said in a statement. Brazzaville is the financial and administrative capital of the Republic of Congo. Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, lies just across the Congo River from Brazzaville. Together with Kinshasa, the combined metropolitan area of Kinshasa-Brazzaville has nearly 12-million inhabitants. The Brazzaville route will be served using an Airbus A319-200 aircraft, while the Abidjan service will be operated on the same Airbus A330-200 widebody aircraft that serves Accra. “Both markets are scheduled to fit optimally with the arrival and departure of SAA’s international flights at OR Tambo International Airport, thereby offering passengers convenient connections through Johannesburg.” Theunis Potgieter, SAA’s general manager commercial, said the airline was “focused on ensuring that connections to developing African business and leisure hubs are strengthened.” SAinfo reporterlast_img read more

Read More →

Foursquare Launching New Must-Have Button for Websites

first_imgFoursquare has quietly added a new feature to its website this afternoon that you won’t want to miss: a new “add to my foursquare” button that can be embedded on any website. If you own a business or publish a web page about any real-world location, this very simple button will allow visitors to your website to add going to your location as a “to-do” item and receive a push-notification to their phones whenever they check-in anywhere nearby. This small button could deliver a substantial part of the promise of Foursquare – tying together our discoveries online with our experiences offline. Tags:#Features#Location#web Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Related Posts A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… The new feature was first seen and reported on by the watchdog blog AboutFoursquare and the Foursquare site has been experiencing unusual difficulties loading this afternoon. If it’s struggling right now, imagine the load when these buttons are launching pop-ups for locations from web pages all around the internet. In fact, the embed code appears to be going up and down off the Foursquare site from episode to episode of uptime this afternoon.The official announcement of the new Foursquare iPhone app and this button just went up on the Foursquare blog.Retailers have long expected a day to come when they could push coupons out to the mobile devices of people walking by their stores. This model is much more user-friendly: push a “to-do” reminder about your location whenever a person who expressed interest online registers their off-line location near you via Foursquare. This Makes SenseA tool to convert web traffic into foot traffic, through automatic proximity-based notifications? A whole lot of organizations will be putting that on their websites very quickly. Users will enjoy it too, as an easy way to remember to do the things they got excited about while browsing online.How many times have you looked at a commercial web page with buttons on it for Digg or Delicious? Putting those on most commerce-oriented sites is a waste of time and just makes it clear that someone doesn’t know how those social sharing sites work. (Digg, for example, is for news items primarily within the last 24 hours. When I see it on an outdoor store’s page for a tent it’s selling, that’s just silly.)An “add to my Foursquare” button, though? Expect to see every social media manager for every business with brick and mortar locations to have that added to commercial websites by the end of the week.How do you add one to your business or location’s web page? Just go find the Foursquare page that corresponds with your location and you’ll find a link that says “embed” in the map displayed. Click that and you’ll get the code to put on your page.Where will people start putting these buttons? The sky, or rather every web page about the whole real-world under the sky, is the limit.In July, we discussed how Foursquare works with brands like the Independent Film Channel and the History Channel to create very interesting “lenses” through which to experience locations around any city.There’s a fair amount of overhead required in order to do that, though. You can add one of these new buttons to your site in seconds. This is a simple, but very exciting change. marshall kirkpatrick Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Marketlast_img read more

Read More →

Updated: Past failures shadow current hopes of testing drugs during an Ebola outbreak

first_img*Update, 4 June 2018, 3 p.m.: While public health authorities and international organizations are trying to stop the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), scientists have a rare chance to test new therapies on people infected with the virus, both to potentially help them and to gather data for the future. The DRC is considering testing several candidate Ebola drugs and antibodies that are in development. But the Ebola epidemic that exploded across West Africa several years ago showed that such trials are difficult to set up and conduct.As the West African epidemic was winding down, Science took stock of each clinical study that researchers had conducted—or attempted to carry out—in the three most affected countries: Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. It was a thin harvest—except for a study of a vaccine produced by Merck, none of the trials yielded conclusive results. Some were able to enroll only a handful of patients, even though there were more than 28,000 cases; others suffered from not having a control group.ScienceInsider is reposting that 31 December 2015 report below, as a background to the trials that are now under discussion during the DRC outbreak.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*) Ebola survivors like this man in Monrovia donated plasma to assess whether the antibodies it contains could help Ebola patients. G. GRULLON/SCIENCE Whole blood from Ebola survivors was given to people suffering from the disease as an experimental treatment. This tarp hung outside a Liberian treatment center when it closed. Augustine Ngafuan, a Liberian official, brought a few vials of the promising antibody cocktail ZMapp from New York City to Monrovia in August 2014. Chimerix, the maker of brincidofovir, didn’t become a superhero defeating Ebola, as this 2014 cartoon suggested. Brincidofovir: A trial ends without an explanation © KIMIMASA MAYAMA/EPA/CORBIS ZMapp: A front-runner fades The DRC decided to use the Merck vaccine, which was shown to work in a large study in Guinea and is expected to be licensed by next year. Since 21 May, more than 1000 people have received it, and the study is expanding. An expert panel convened by the World Health Organization (WHO) said on 17 May that four unproven treatments merit being tested during the current outbreak under an “ethical framework” dubbed the Monitored Emergency Use of Unregistered and Investigational Interventions (MEURI).Two of those—an Ebola monoclonal antibody concoction called ZMapp and the antiviral drug favipiravir—were also tested in the West African outbreak. (Studies published in 2016 describe more detailed results from the trials of ZMapp and favipiravir.) The two other treatments that passed MEURI muster are the antiviral drug GS-5734 and the monoclonal antibody cocktail REGN-EB3. The evidence for using these, the panel noted, was “well below the usual level evidence for formulating recommendations.” And a monoclonal antibody known as mAb114, the panel said, was too early in clinical development to meet MEURI standards. The WHO panel did not mention any of the other potential therapies tested earlier in West Africa—the antivirals brincidofovir and TKM-Ebola, the immune-modulator interferon, and the antibody-rich blood and plasma of survivors.Whether scientists will learn more during this outbreak, which to date has identified 53 patients (25 of whom have died), will again depend on many variables. Most importantly, only the vaccine study has made it through the ethical and scientific approval process in the DRC, and the outbreak may well end before any of the trials get started. The antibody treatments can also require repeated infusions, and those aren’t feasible in the remote DRC locales where the bulk of the cases have surfaced.Here is the original story from 31 December 2015:Special report: Ebola’s thin harvestSince 29 November, not a single new Ebola case has been reported in Guinea, Sierra Leone, or Liberia. If no new cases pop up, the world will be able to declare on 14 January that the 2-year Ebola epidemic has ended at last, after more than 28,600 cases and 11,300 deaths.Victory would also mean the end of an unprecedented era in Ebola research. The tragedy offered a unique opportunity: Never before had the disease affected enough people to allow researchers to test Ebola drugs and vaccines in a real-world setting. As the number of cases exploded in mid-2014, they set in motion a vast research program that operated at breakneck speed.But the harvest of that massive effort is thin.The biggest success so far is a vaccine produced by Merck. A 31 July report in The Lancet documented remarkable effectiveness in a real-world trial in Guinea. But all other results have yet to appear in the scientific literature. And a careful examination of the data so far—supported by dozens of interviews with the leaders of the studies and other Ebola experts—makes it clear that almost every other trial seems destined to end in questionable results or outright failure. Findings from those that have ended are proving difficult to publish in top-tier journals.The reasons are varied and complicated. Even under the best circumstances, clinical trials don’t always deliver satisfying results. In this case, many studies started too late, when the epidemic was already declining, and ran out of patients. Others had designs that from the outset had little chance of providing a clear answer. A pharmaceutical company aborted a trial for reasons it never clarified, and the fate of another trial remains obscure even to the World Health Organization. The largest treatment study done in the Ebola epidemic tested favipiravir, an influenza drug. The trial has ended after enrolling more than 200 people, and its results may soon appear in a scientific journal. But the study can’t give a clear answer to the key question: Does it work?Favipiravir, which inhibits a critical viral enzyme called RNA polymerase and is being developed by Fujifilm in Japan, showed anti-Ebola activity in test tubes and in mice. Early in the outbreak, it had a great advantage over other drug candidates: It was plentiful and had proved safe when given to healthy volunteers in phase I trials. Researchers at France’s National Institute for Health and Medical Research (INSERM) started a collaboration with researchers in Guinea, a French-speaking country, to test favipiravir at four Ebola treatment units.In February, the INSERM researchers presented what they said were encouraging preliminary results based on the first 69 patients. The drug seemed to save lives of people who came to clinics with low levels of the Ebola virus, they said. French President François Hollande hailed the results in a press statement and invited Ebola research leaders to the Élysée palace in Paris. Since then, all Ebola patients in Guinea have been offered favipiravir.Many researchers were less impressed. The INSERM team didn’t use a randomized controlled trial (RCT) design but gave all eligible patients the drug; their outcomes were compared to a group of Ebola patients who fell ill before the trial started. The problem is that mortality depends greatly on the quality of Ebola care, which varied widely over time and from one treatment center to the next. That made such comparisons tricky. The drug also only worked in people who, without treatment, had a much better chance of surviving Ebola because when they first sought care, they had relatively low levels of virus in their blood.An RCT would have been impossible, says INSERM researcher Denis Malvy; it was unacceptable to the local population, already very distrustful of its government and foreign Ebola workers. He says building research collaborations was difficult enough without the added stress of asking local collaborators to withhold treatment to a control group. “It’s easy to criticize a study,” he says. “We set out to look for a signal, not formal proof of efficacy.”Yet now, nobody is sure whether favipiravir should be used in the next Ebola outbreak. That’s the bottom line, says Luciana Borio of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and it shows that uncontrolled studies can cause more harm than good. “It resulted in that nebulous data zone that we were so fearful about,” Borio says. “We’re left with not knowing whether the product helps, hurts, or does nothing.”The study design was also one of the reasons the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) rejected a paper about the results, Malvy says; instead the journal offered him a 300-word letter to the editor, which he says was laughable. (An NEJM spokesperson declined to comment.) The study is now under review at PLOS Medicine, Malvy says.Previous | Table of contents | NextInterferonA trial that that few believed in “Thin harvest” explains where the clinical Ebola trials carried out in Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia stand today, and what they’re most likely to yield. IDRISSA SOUMARE/AFREECOME For more of Science’s news and research coverage of the Ebola epidemic, visit our collection “The Ebola Files.” For more coverage, see the 1 January issue of Science. NextBrincidofovirA trial ends without an explanation TKM-Ebola: Negative results prove difficult to publish On 30 January, Chimerix of Durham, North Carolina, pulled the plug on a clinical trial of its experimental drug brincidofovir in Ebola patients. The drug, which mimics a DNA building block, is active against many viruses in test tube experiments and is in human studies to treat cytomegalovirus and adenovirus infections. But the Ebola test, started on 1 January by researchers working with Doctors Without Borders (MSF) at an Ebola clinic in Monrovia, was canceled after it had enrolled just four patients.The announcement surprised even the scientists running the trial. “The press knew about it before I did,” says Stephen Kennedy, a Liberian investigator on the study. Lead researcher Peter Horby of the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom says Chimerix never told him the reasons either; in a press release the company simply noted that the number of new cases in Liberia had “decreased significantly.”Horby says he doubts the decision was related to how the drug performed in the first four patients. Instead, he believes Chimerix decided that it didn’t want to pursue bringing brincidofovir to market for Ebola after discussions with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) raised questions about the interpretation of animal studies. FDA’s acting chief scientist, Luciana Borio in Silver Spring, Maryland, says she can’t comment. “We’ve asked the company to disclose the facts surrounding the trial and we were not allowed to.” (FDA did not oversee the Liberian trial itself.)”Someone should call Chimerix and ask them,” says Marie-Paule Kieny of the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland, who has coordinated the international research effort for Ebola. Science did that but a spokesperson for the company declined to comment.Whatever the motivation, “it was frustrating,” Horby says. “We invested a huge amount of resources, time, effort, in very difficult circumstances, as did MSF. It should not have been stopped unless it was for a very good reason.” With so few patients enrolled, results from the study are “uninterpretable,” says Horby, who nonetheless still hopes to publish a paper about it.Table of contents | NextTKM-EbolaNegative results prove difficult to publish Tekmira announced the end of the first real-world trial of TKM-Ebola with this vaguely worded press release. CBC Vaccines: The only real success story so far Favipiravir: A big study fails to give solid answers Favipiravir, an approved influenza drug in Japan, putatively helped Ebola patients—but only if they had low levels of the virus when treatment started. A man in the Guinean capital Conakry received the Merck Ebola vaccine as part of an unusually designed trial. Eleanor Fish discussed her idea to test interferon in a Canadian news broadcast in 2014. The blood of Ebola survivors contains antibodies that could help people sick with the disease, but blood is a precious commodity: Donors can’t be bled often, and the product must be used within a few months. An attractive alternative is plasma, which contains the same antibodies but has the red blood cells separated out and given back to the donor. People can donate plasma every 2 weeks instead of every 3 months, and frozen plasma lasts a year or more. Plasma infusions also take less time, an important consideration in an Ebola treatment center. But this promise hasn’t panned out in the epidemic.Thanks to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and other donors, expensive plasmapheresis machines to separate plasma from blood were sent to all three Ebola-affected countries for use in clinical studies. But two of the three trials never really got off the ground. A study in Liberia kicked off in December, and researchers had enrolled only six patients before that country’s epidemic came to an end. It took until March in Sierra Leone to start a plasma study, and only three patients entered.The one study that managed to recruit a large number of patients took place at a Doctors Without Borders treatment center in Conakry, the Guinean capital. Run by scientists from the Institute of Tropical Medicine in Antwerp, Belgium, and Guinea’s National Blood Transfusion Center, the trial enrolled 102 patients even as the epidemic was winding down. In September, the researchers reported in Clinical Infectious Diseases that the treatment is safe, acceptable, and feasible even in the midst of an outbreak. That’s quite a feat in itself, says first author Johan van Griensven, who declined to discuss the outcomes; a paper describing the results will come out on 7 January 2016 in a top scientific journal, he says.But the results will be difficult to interpret—not because of a lack of patients but because of the design. The researchers initially thought that because plasma of the right blood type would not be available for some people early in the study, a control group of untreated patients would form naturally. That didn’t happen—plasma soon was plentiful, whereas patients were scarce—so instead the team compared the 2-week survival rate of plasma recipients with that of patients in the months before the study started.That’s a difficult comparison, however, because the treatment center was flooded with patients in the months preceding the trial, which may have resulted in lower quality care and a lower survival rate. So even if the data show that plasma recipients were more likely to survive, that may be because they got better care.Previous | Table of contents | NextVaccinesThe only real success story so far Plasma: Cloudy results from filtered blood TEKMIRA PHARMACEUTICALS CORPORATION People who survive an infection like Ebola have a powerful weapon in their blood: antibodies that have conquered the invading microbe. In principle, an infusion of survivors’ blood could be a lifesaver for newly infected people. But an early study in Sierra Leone testing that concept has remained unpublished—and nobody seems to know what happened with the data.The World Health Organization (WHO) pushed for studies of blood-based therapies early in the Ebola epidemic because the most promising drug candidates were in short supply, while the number of survivors was growing. The studies can be done with either whole blood or its plasma, which has the cells removed; the latter is far more technically challenging, because it requires so-called plasmapheresis machines to separate plasma and cells.Sahr Gevao, a hematologist at the University of Sierra Leone in Freetown and a consultant to the country’s Ministry of Health and Sanitation, decided to try the simpler option early on. A study of whole-blood transfusion started in the fall of 2014 at the 34 Military Hospital in Freetown. But around the same time, an international consensus emerged that using plasma was the way to go, and collaborations were set up to ship plasmapharesis machines to West Africa and test that strategy in all three Ebola-affected countries.The whole-blood study in Sierra Leone appears to have ended in late 2014; Gevao went on to become the principal investigator of the country’s plasma study, carried out in collaboration with the University of Liverpool in the United Kingdom and other partners.But data from the whole-blood study never got published. A few news reports suggested that it was successful, and Wiltshire Johnson of Sierra Leone’s Pharmacy Board, charged with overseeing clinical trials in the country, told Science that 33 out of 44 patients who received a transfusion survived. Those are much higher survival rates than were being reported at the time for untreated Ebola. But scientists caution that it’s unclear how patients were selected for the trial, or whether their care differed in other ways that made them more likely to survive.Gevao didn’t respond to emails from Science. Scientists working on the plasma studies say they don’t know what happened with the whole blood study. Neither does WHO. “I haven’t seen the results yet,” says WHO Assistant Director-General Marie-Paule Kieny. “We need to chase that; we need to know what happened.”Previous | Table of contents | NextPlasmaCloudy results from filtered blood ZOOM DOSSO/AFP/GETTY IMAGES BIDNESSETC Survivors’ blood: A trial whose fate is unclear JOHN MOORE/GETTY IMAGES At the peak of the Ebola epidemic in September 2014, the World Health Organization (WHO) gathered experts in Geneva, Switzerland, to review the myriad potential treatments and help identify the most promising ones. The panel gave top priority to interventions that had been shown to work in monkeys experimentally infected with Ebola—and a drug named TKM-Ebola ended up at the front of the pack. Made by Tekmira Pharmaceuticals Corporation of Vancouver, Canada, TKM-Ebola interferes with the Ebola virus RNA.But the company had precious few doses, and a formal clinical trial was slow to start. Some researchers also frowned because the study, launched on 11 March in Sierra Leone, did not have a randomized-controlled design. But Peter Horby, a respected researcher from the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom, headed the study, and the Wellcome Trust funded it. Hopes ran high that it would at the very least give a hint whether the encouraging monkey results would be borne out in humans.On 19 June, however, Tekmira suddenly ended the study, without fully explaining why. Horby says after testing the drug on 14 patients, the study had reached a predefined “futility boundary.” That means enrolling further patients was “unlikely to show that the drug was significantly beneficial,” he says.The lack of a clear benefit was “a bit of a disappointment,” Horby says, but he notes that it’s not uncommon for drugs to work in monkeys and then fail in humans. One problem may have been that the animals were treated early in their illness; most Ebola patients seek care very late, he says.Horby’s next disappointment came when The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) rejected a paper describing the results. He speculates that scientific publications are losing interest in Ebola, and the fact that this study lacked a randomized design and clear outcomes worked against it as well.“The journals have published large amounts of anecdotal data on one or two cases and hundreds and hundreds of opinion and commentary pieces, but we’re struggling to publish informative but not definitive data from trials,” Horby says. Although he understands that negative studies are less exciting, “you have to balance that against the enormous difficulty of doing these trials and the almost complete absence of any data on treatment effects.”WHO Assistant Director-General Marie-Paule Kieny shares his frustration. “It’s problematic because it’s very important that these results are out in the open,” she says. A spokesperson for NEJM says she cannot comment because the journal’s publication process is confidential. Horby says the paper is now under consideration at another journal.Previous | Table of contents | NextFavipiravirA big study fails to give solid answers DANIEL BEREHULAK/GETTY IMAGES Interferon: A trial that few believed in When Ebola spiraled out of control in the summer of 2014, immunologist Eleanor Fish of the University of Toronto in Canada thought she had something that might save lives. Because no treatments were available, Fish said it made sense to try interferons, a group of biochemicals with antiviral activity that she had long studied.Many Ebola scientists disagreed.Fish sent the World Health Organization (WHO) a study showing that interferon-α, delivered by an adenovirus and combined with an antibody cocktail, had efficacy in monkeys infected with Ebola. But other researchers noted that interferons alone had not been shown to do anything. A panel asked by WHO to prioritize drugs for testing considered interferons “problematic.” Side effects such as fever and muscle pain—which are similar to Ebola symptoms—could create problems in Ebola treatment centers, the group said. “Basically, all of the interferons don’t work,” Peter Jahrling, a veteran Ebola researcher at the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in Bethesda, Maryland, said at a WHO meeting, summing up the animal evidence for Ebola therapies. “I don’t know why you’d want to do a clinical trial with them.”Given the lack of alternatives at the time, Fish pushed ahead with a test of interferon-β, which in vitro studies suggested was the form most effective at thwarting Ebola’s replication, she says. She teamed up with Guinean epidemiologist Mandy Kader Kondé to set up a clinical trial in the Ebola treatment center in Coyah, some 2 hours northeast of the capital, Conakry. But it took until March 2015 to write the protocol and get the study approved by Guinean regulators. By then the number of Ebola cases had dropped sharply. Because interferons may make matters worse if taken late in the infection, the trial only enrolled patients within 6 days after the onset of symptoms, which further limited enrollment.In the end, only nine patients took part in the study. All received interferon-β; having a placebo arm was unacceptable in Guinea, Fish says, so the patients’ outcomes were compared with those of 21 untreated patients, matched for age, who were seen at the same center in the same period. Given the study’s design and small size, “I don’t think there will be anything coming out of that,” says WHO’s Marie-Paule Kieny.But Fish disagrees. “Statistical analyses indicate that [interferon] offered a therapeutic advantage,” she wrote in an email to Science. “We have a number of measures that we evaluated that support this.” Fish declined to elaborate but said the data will soon be submitted for publication.Previous | Table of contents | NextZMappA front-runner fades ZMapp, a cocktail of three artificial Ebola antibodies, has been the darling of the research world and the media since missionaries Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol received the treatment in the summer of 2014. CNN described it as a “secret serum that likely saved” their lives. CNN reporter Sanjay Gupta—a medical doctor—said a source described how Brantly had a “sudden deterioration” in Liberia and “thought he was going to die,” but after receiving ZMapp, “within 20 minutes to an hour” he had “a near complete reversal of his symptoms.” Yet going from individual cases to statistical evidence that the drug really works in people has proven difficult.ZMapp had worked brilliantly in monkey experiments, even rescuing animals at an advanced stage of infection. When the antibody cocktail was given to animals up to 5 days after they were infected with the Ebola virus, all of them survived, scientists reported in Nature in August 2014. Veteran Ebola researcher Thomas Geisbert of the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston called the result a “monumental achievement.” But ZMapp, made by Mapp Biopharmaceutical in San Diego, California, was in such short supply that by mid-February 2015, only nine people had received it—and a few had died, underscoring that whatever its potential, it had limitations.It took until 27 February for a formal randomized controlled trial of ZMapp to begin in Liberia, spearheaded by the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). But by then, the epidemic in Liberia was practically over. The team expanded the study to Sierra Leone and struck up a collaboration with French researchers working in Guinea to recruit patients there. (One patient in the United States was also enrolled in the trial.)But time wasn’t on the study’s side. To date, the trial has only enrolled about 70 patients, says NIAID’s lead researcher Clifford Lane in Bethesda, Maryland. Complicating the study is the fact that patients in Guinea also receive favipiravir, based on an inconclusive French study in that country that suggested it had an anti-Ebola effect. The ZMapp team will do a subset analysis by country to see whether the effects of the two drugs can be disentangled.Whether the erstwhile front-runner will be shown to work remains the big question. The study has an independent Data Safety and Monitoring Board (DSMB) that looks at the outcomes once every month or so. “They haven’t stopped the trial yet, so we know that it must at least do something,” says the World Health Organization’s Marie-Paule Kieny, who is still hopeful that ZMapp will become the Ebola epidemic’s second clinical success story, after Merck’s vaccine.But Lane is more cautious. “It is very difficult to read between the lines of a DSMB recommendation,” he says. Nevertheless, “I’m hopeful that even if the data don’t reach statistical significance, there might be at least a trend for efficacy from humans that support the animal data.”Previous | Table of contents | NextSurvivors’ bloodA trial whose fate is unclear On 26 September 2014, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a projection that shocked the world. Based on its epidemiologic models, CDC estimated that if the lackluster response to the Ebola epidemic continued unchanged, Sierra Leone and Liberia alone could have up to 1.4 million cases by January. A vaccine seemed the only hope to avert this catastrophe.GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and Merck raced forward with tests of two vaccines in the affected countries. Each has the Ebola virus surface protein gene stitched into a harmless viral “vector”: GSK uses a chimpanzee adenovirus, whereas Merck relies on a livestock pathogen called vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV). But by February 2015, when the first large-scale vaccine trials began, the model had been proven misleading: The epidemic was petering out because of ramped-up containment efforts. Cases became so rare in Liberia that it had to downgrade a phase III trial of both vaccines to phase II after enrolling a mere 1500 of an anticipated 27,000 participants.As a result, there is no verdict on the efficacy of the GSK vaccine. But the VSV vaccine had another shot at proving its worth. In a move that yielded the only solid success of any Ebola trial, an international consortium led by the World Health Organization launched a test of the Merck vaccine in Guinea with a novel design, which gleaned results even as cases dwindled. Instead of the traditional vaccine trial that randomly assigns people to receive a shot or a placebo, this study used a design called ring vaccination, following the epidemic where it went. It targeted clusters of people who had been in contact with a confirmed case, as well as the contact’s contacts, and compared them with similar clusters that did not receive the shots until 3 weeks later.On 31 July, the researchers announced that the trial was a stunning success: No one who received the vaccine developed the disease 10 days or more after the shot—presumably the length of time it takes to develop immunity. In the clusters that had to wait for the vaccine, 16 people contracted Ebola.The unusual trial design yielded data that were not deemed strong enough to lead regulatory bodies to license the vaccine, but they went a long way toward convincing the world that an Ebola vaccine is at hand—and that it might have the power to prevent future outbreaks from ever becoming this big again.Previous | Table of contents*The Ebola Files: Science and Science Translational Medicine have made a collection of research and news articles on the Ebola virus and the recent epidemic freely available to researchers and the general public.*Update, 3 January, 4:00 p.m.: A trial of the Merck and GSK vaccines in Liberia wasn’t abandoned, as this story previously said, but converted from a phase III to a phase II study. It continues to gather safety and immune response data.last_img read more

Read More →

Ginebra, Meralco expect ‘tough, rough’ finals series to go the distance

first_img“As much as we want to have a short series, two tough teams will battle and I think it’s going to be a long one,” Ginebra playmaker LA Tenorio told reporters during the PBA Governors’ Cup Finals press conference Tuesday.“Two great teams, two great coaches. It’s going to be a long, hard-fought series,” said Ginebra import Justin Brownlee, whose buzzer-beating triple won the last season’s title for the Gin Kings in Game 6.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSBoxers Pacquiao, Petecio torchbearers for SEA Games openingThe Bolts and Kings are loaded with firepower but they are also known for being two of the best defensive teams in the league.And Meralco head coach Norman Black thinks the game will be won on the defensive end. MOST READ BPC award the least of concerns for Slaughter, Newsome Hotel says PH coach apologized for ‘kikiam for breakfast’ claim Jordan delivers on promise: 2 Cobra choppers now in PH Argentine bishop appears at court hearing on abuse charges LATEST STORIES Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games “I know they’re capable of scoring 100 points and we are too, but I expect this to be a defensive struggle for how many games it will go,” said Meralco head coach Norman Black.Meralco is No. 1 in points allowed with an average of 88.8 points per game while Ginebra is in fifth at 96.7.The finals is a sequel, but a lot has changed since.Ginebra now has Greg Slaughter, who just returned from a knee injury at the start of the conference, and rookie Kevin Ferrer.Meralco also had a major upgrade in adding veteran forward Ranidel de Ocampo, rookie Mike Tolomia and guard Garvo Lanete via trades while also welcoming back key player Jared Dillinger.ADVERTISEMENT PBA IMAGESIn a Finals series pitting two evenly-matched teams, Games 5, 6 and 7 will be necessary.At least that’s the consensus among players and coaches from both Barangay Ginebra and Meralco ahead of their championship rematch.ADVERTISEMENTcenter_img Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Dillinger missed the finals against Ginebra due to a hamstring injury.The Bolts won the two teams’ lone duel in the elimination round, 93-78, in a game where the Gin Kings blew a double-digit lead in the first half.Game 1 of their best-of-7 series is on Friday at Quezon Convention Center in Lucena.“It’s going to be tough, it’s going to be rough,” said Ginebra coach Tim Cone.“You all better believe that this is going to be war. We’re just excited at this point. I’m not sleeping. I woke up at 3 a.m. and I’m ready to go,” Dillinger said.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next View comments No more menthol cigarettes: New ban on tobacco, vape flavors ‘A complete lie:’ Drilon refutes ‘blabbermouth’ Salo’s claims Trump to designate Mexican drug cartels as terrorist groups Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ Winter storm threatens to scramble Thanksgiving travel planslast_img read more

Read More →