NIAID, MedImmune team up to develop pandemic flu vaccines

first_imgSep 28, 2005 (CIDRAP News) – The federal government and MedImmune Inc. announced today they will collaborate to develop vaccines for potential pandemic strains of influenza, using the technology that was used to create the company’s nasal-spray flu vaccine, FluMist.The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) will work with MedImmune, based in Gaithersburg, Md., to develop vaccines for many flu virus strains, a project that will take years, according to a Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announcement.The company said in a news release, “MedImmune scientists will work together with leading researchers of the NIAID Laboratory of Infectious Diseases to produce and test versions of MedImmune’s attenuated, live intranasal influenza vaccine for use against different types of potential pandemic influenza strains, including one based on H5N1,” the avian flu strain now endemic in Southeast Asia.HHS said the plan calls for inserting “selected genes from avian flu viruses with pandemic potential into a weakened human flu virus” to create several live virus vaccine candidates. The NIAID part of the effort will be led by Kanta Subbarao, MD, MPH, and Brian Murphy, MD.HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt said the partnership “will help speed the process of developing vaccines we will need to fight an outbreak if the avian flu starts to spread rapidly through the human population.”NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci, MD, said he couldn’t predict how long it might take to ready the first candidate vaccines for clinical trials. “But given the fact that these are things we do regularly, I wouldn’t be surprised if the first one went into clinical trials in a year or two,” he told CIDRAP News.NIAID and MedImmune will develop at least one vaccine for each of the 16 different forms of hemagglutinin, a key protein on the surface of flu viruses, HHS officials said. (Hemagglutinin is represented by the H in the names of flu strains, such as H5N1.)The partners “will develop vaccines for the highest priority hemagglutinin subtypes first,” HHS said. “The researchers say it will take years to systematically develop vaccines for all the hemagglutinin subtypes. Having effective vaccines against all subtypes will help us prepare for influenza pandemics in the future, explains NIAID’s Dr. Subbarao.”Fauci said there is no preset time frame for the collaboration. “They’re just going to work closely and aggressively to get this library of viruses that covers the entire span of the hemagglutinin spectrum,” he said. “This is a years-long collaboration; it’s not going to be six months or something like that.”HHS and MedImmune officials wouldn’t say how the partnership will work financially.”What I can say is that MedImmune will not be reimbursed for any costs associated with development of vaccines, because MedImmune and NIAID are truly working in collaboration,” MedImmune spokeswoman Clarencia Stephen told CIDRAP News.The company said live attenuated vaccines may generate a broader immune response than injected vaccines. “One of the unique attributes of FluMist is that it provides both local and systemic immunity,” said Stephen. “It first induces an immune response in the nose, because it’s administered as a mist in the nose, and that’s typically where the flu virus enters the body. And then it also works systemically through the bloodstream.Fauci agreed that live vaccines can trigger “a more potent and broader immune response.” He added, “That’s very important when you’re dealing with pandemic flu. Virus drifts from the original vaccine, so you want a vaccine that covers that drift. Live vaccines do that better than killed vaccines.”HHS said the partners will develop many of the vaccines in the NIAID’s labs in Bethesda, Md. “Both NIAID and MedImmune will initially conduct laboratory studies of the vaccines,” the announcement said. “MedImmune then will manufacture the vaccines for human clinical trials, which NIAID will run through a contract facility, pending Food and Drug Administration approval.”The plan calls for the partners to use reverse genetics and “classical reassortment” to insert hemagglutinin genes into a weakened human flu virus, according to HHS. Reverse genetics is the use of lab methods to “custom make” a vaccine by assembling genes that code for desired features. Reassortment is the exchange of gene segments between two different viral strains inside a host cell to create a new strain.HHS said the partnership will build on research launched by the NIAID’s Murphy with John Maassab of the University of Michigan in the 1970s. They created a flu vaccine from a live but weakened flu virus. For added safety, they grew the vaccine in progressively cooler temperatures so it couldn’t spread beyond the relatively cool upper respiratory tract.This “cold-adapted” flu virus, owned by MedImmune, is the basis of FluMist, which also was developed jointly with NIAID, HHS said. “The researchers will use the same cold-adapted virus as the backbone for the pandemic influenza vaccines.”The government is already building a supply of an experimental vaccine for the H5N1 virus. The first clinical trial results were announced in August, and HHS announced on Sep 15 the award of a $100 million contract to Sanofi Pasteur to manufacture the vaccine. It is not yet known how many doses that contract will be worth, because the optimal dose has not been established.See also:Sept 28 HHS news release read more

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Hundreds of schools receive FIRST Robotics grant money including Alpena High School

first_imgAddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterShare to MoreAddThisAlpena- The Michigan Department of Education has awarded $2.5 million in local schools to continue growing FIRST Robotics teams.Alpena High School’s FIRST Robotics teams were both on the list to receive grant money. Roughly $1,750 will go to each robotics team at AHS. Funds will be used to buy parts and pay for travel. The grant comes as Governor Rick Snyder continues to invest in robotics. Michigan leads the nation in FIRST Robotics teams, with over 500 throughout the state.The FIRST World Championships for Robotics will take place at Ford Field and the Cobo Center in Detroit this year. Over 60,000 students and 700 teams from around the world will compete to win in Spring.AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterShare to MoreAddThisContinue ReadingPrevious MidMichigan Medical Center Alpena Encourages Community Health Needs Assessment SurveyNext Bay Athletic Club Preps for Fitness Inspired Galalast_img read more

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AP Study: Hits to head still prevalent in NFL

first_imgIn this Oct. 10, 2013, file photo, New York Giants safety Antrel Rolle (26) pushes on the helmet of Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler (6) during the second half of an NFL football game in Chicago. Rolle was penalized 15-yards for unnecessary roughness on the play. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast, File)Almost once a game, an NFL player absorbs an illegal blow to the head or neck that could put his career — or worse — at risk.The NFL has been trying to prevent such blows over the past four years, targeting improper technique and making a point to penalize and fine players for hits that leave them and their opponents vulnerable. Yet an Associated Press review of penalties through the first 11 weeks of the season found those hits are still prevalent.The AP reviewed 549 penalties, 491 of which fell under the category of major infractions: unnecessary roughness, unsportsmanlike conduct, roughing the passer, face masks and roughing the quarterback.Of the penalties charted over the first 162 games of the season, the AP identified 156 involving contact with the head and neck — an average of .962 per game. Of those, 38 were for head-wrenching face masks, 25 were for horse collars and 93 were for hits to the head. Quarterbacks (40) and receivers (38) shared the brunt of those hits almost equally, with players at other positions absorbing the other 15 blows.The numbers can be interpreted a variety of ways.The league declined comment, though it made a statement of sorts in the offseason when it decided against the 5 percent hike in minimum fines, as allowed for in the union contract, after determining players were adjusting to the rules.A sentiment among the players the AP spoke to on offense was that they appreciate all the NFL has done to protect them. But, in the words of Titans running back Chris Johnson, they know that “sometimes you just can’t control where you hit somebody.”Defensive players acknowledged they have to do their part to make the game safer.“The face mask, that’s going to happen. The pass interference, those things are going to happen. The stupid fouls, hitting the quarterbacks late and doing all the other stuff we’ve done, we have to eliminate it,” said Titans safety Bernard Pollard, who has been fined $62,000 this season.But the defenders also reiterated a long-held belief that they’re held to a different standard than their offensive counterparts.“No doubt,” Packers cornerback Tramon Williams said. “Guys are still getting penalized for clean shots, getting fined for clean shots, and there’s no other explanation to it. Just like they’re holding us accountable for trying to make that right hit, they’ve got to hold themselves accountable for making the right calls on the field, and making the right decision on who to fine and how much to fine.”True to the defenders’ complaints, the AP review tallied 224 major infractions against the defense, with only 69 going against the offense.Similarly, penalties for low hits, which many thought would rise when defenders were forced to focus away from the head and neck, were relatively low — only 35. That small number included illegal cuts, chop and peelback blocks against the offense for hits on defenders — penalties the defensive players argue are called far too rarely and put their careers at as much risk as the above-the-shoulder hits.“The way offenses are playing now and the way running backs block now, I think it’s almost every play,” Broncos defensive tackle Terrance Knighton said when asked how often a defensive player’s legs get targeted.New England tight end Rob Gronkowski’s season ended abruptly Sunday with a knee injury when he took a low hit from Cleveland safety T.J. Ward. No penalty was called. Ward said he knows he can’t go for the high hit.“But we have to play this game,” Ward said. “We have to play it the way that they force us to, and unfortunately, it incurred an injury for him.”Of the 35 penalties for low hits, 10 came against the defense for hits to the quarterbacks. The league’s propensity for protecting the passer continues at almost every spot on the field. Over the first 11 weeks, there were 32 flags for infractions against quarterbacks that didn’t involve hits to the head or legs — for example, a late hit on a sliding quarterback.The NFL still makes a big splash out of suspensions and fines levied under the umbrella of protecting players. Ndamukong Suh, a multiple offender, got a $100,000 fine — largest in league history for on-field conduct — for his Week 2 low block on John Sullivan of the Vikings during an interception return.More recently, Titans safety Michael Griffin served a one-game suspension for a low hit on Oakland tight end Mychal Rivera. When asked what he could have done differently, Griffin said a league official “told me there’s no clear black-and-white answer.”“You have to start thinking about how you’re going to hit the guy when you get there,” Titans coach Mike Munchak said. “I think it’s very, very hard, very difficult. It definitely is necessary. I think it has helped the game in that way. But I think you’ve got to be careful in how these guys are fined and things like that going forward.”Whatever the mixed messages, the NFL appears satisfied with the way players are adjusting to the rules, given the league’s decision not to raise fine amounts.Total fines issued by the NFL have declined by 32 percent from 2009 to 2012 (668 to 451) and also decreased 4.5 percent between 2011 and 2012 (472 to 451). Fines for illegal hits on quarterbacks have declined 46.4 percent since 2009 (114 to 61).All of which points to a safer game — but a game that nevertheless, at least on average, puts at least one player in jeopardy in every game in every stadium every Thursday, Sunday and Monday.“It’s a warrior game,” said Broncos defensive tackle Kevin Vickerson, on injured reserve after suffering a dislocated hip on a play in which four players took turns blocking him, both high and low. “You’re going to have collisions. You’re going to have those injuries. You just try to do the best you can with them and play within the rules they set.”___AP Sports Writers Genaro Armas in Green Bay, Wisc., Teresa Walker in Nashville, Tenn., Tom Withers in Cleveland, Joe Kay in Cincinnati and Joseph White in Washington contributed to this report.last_img read more

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Cracking Valencia city derby in store between in-form Levante and Valencia on Saturday

first_imgAdvertisement 9y3xoNBA Finals | Brooklyn Vs3wpWingsuit rodeo📽Sindre Eccavo( IG: @_aubreyfisher @imraino ) 5yfWould you ever consider trying this?😱1bqkCan your students do this? 🌚yvaRoller skating! Powered by Firework Saturday’s Valencia city derby (11:00PM IST) should be a cracker with both teams firing so far this season, and the huge local pride and global ambitions on each side.Advertisement  Expectations will be high around the city ahead of the game, with Valencia and Levante coming into the game separated by just three points and three places in the LaLiga Santander table. This follows Los Che’s gutsy 2-1 victory in another regional derby at home to Villarreal, while Los Granotas will want to bounce back from their 0-4 defeat at in-form Getafe.Advertisement ATHLETIC CLUB DE BILBAO-VALENCIAPARTIDO Levante have been really strong at their Ciutat de Valencia stadium this season, with just one loss through seven LaLiga games which have brought four victories including the famous 3-1 win over reigning champions Barcelona in early November.Advertisement  Valencia meanwhile have had some excellent results on the road, winning at Athletic Club’s daunting San Mames stadium and picking up an impressive draw away at Atletico de Madrid in recent weeks. Former RC Celta striker Maxi Gomez has made a strong start at the club, scoring six times already in LaLiga this season. Club captain Dani Parejo also has six so far – five penalties, and his superb late free kick equaliser at Atletico. Emerging teenage star Ferran Torres again underlined his quality with the winner against Villarreal last weekend, while fellow youngster Lee Kang-In also scored a fine goal against Getafe recently. Levante have also had many excellent performers throughout their team over the first four months of 2019/20. Jose Campana has again been a driving force in the centre of the park, while another former RC Celta player, Nemanja Radoja, has settled really well; both midfielders scored against Barça. Goalkeeper Aitor Fernandez has also been in spectacular form between the posts, while forwards Borja Mayoral and Roger Marti have also been among the goals recently. Among many extra twists adding an edge to Saturday’s derby is home coach Paco Lopez having represented both Levante and Valencia during his playing career. Lopez stepped up from the reserve side to save the senior team from relegation in 2017/18, and easily kept them safe again last year while playing really entertaining attacking football. Valencia coach Albert Celades has also had a positive influence since taking his first job in senior club management in September, drawing on his experience as a LaLiga winner with both Barcelona and Real Madrid as a player. Further connections include Celades knowing Levante’s Mayoral from their spell together with Spain’s Under-21 international team as coach and player. Meanwhile, Levante defender Ruben Vezo played for Valencia from 2014, before in January 2019 becoming one of the few players recently to move across the city. Recent seasons have seen the home side dominate this derby. Valencia have won the last five meetings at their Mestalla home, with Levante victorious in four of the last six in front of their own fans. Last season at the Ciutat de Valencia saw Roger Marti twice put the home side ahead, Denis Cheryshev and Parejo equalise both times, and Levante defender Coke sent off late on. Further excitement is likely in Saturday’s game, and both teams will see the three points as pushing them closer to the European places. Bragging rights around the city will also be at stake, meaning many reasons for supporters and neutrals all over the world to tune in. Advertisementlast_img read more

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