Ebola Drug Made From Tobacco Plant Saves U.S. Aid Workers

first_imgA tiny San Diego-based company provided an experimental Ebola treatment for two Americans infected with the deadly virus in Liberia. The biotechnology drug, produced with tobacco plants, appears to be working.In an unusual twist of expedited drug access, Mapp Biopharmaceutical Inc., which has nine employees, released its experimental ZMapp drug, until now only tested on infected animals, for the two health workers. Kentucky BioProcessing LLC, a subsidiary of tobacco giant Reynolds American Inc. (RAI), manufactures the treatment for Mapp from tobacco plants.The first patient, Kent Brantly, a doctor, was flown from Liberia to Atlanta on Aug. 2, and is receiving treatment at Emory University Hospital. Nancy Writebol, an aid worker, is scheduled to arrive in Atlanta today and will be treated at the same hospital, according to the charity group she works with. Both are improving, according to relatives and supporters.Each patient received at least one dose of ZMapp in Liberia before coming to the U.S., according to Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.“There’s a very scarce number of doses,” and it’s not clear how many each patient needs for treatment, Fauci said. “I’m not sure how many doses they’ll get.”Citing unnamed sources, CNN yesterday reported that the drug used for the treatment is Mapp’s.Ebola, spread through direct contact with body fluids such as blood and urine, has sickened 1,603 people in West Africa, killing 887, according to the World Health Organization. The disease, first reported in what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1976, can cause bleeding from the eyes, ears and nose.http://www.bloomberg.com/quicktake/ebola/The virus has historically killed as many as 90 percent of those who contract it. The current outbreak has a fatality rate of about 60 percent, probably because of early treatment efforts, officials have said.There is no cure for Ebola, although several companies — including Mapp — are working on drug candidates that are undergoing animal testing. Normally, patients are given fluids, blood transfusions and antibiotics with the hope their immune systems can fight off Ebola’s onslaught.The two scientists behind Mapp, President Larry Zeitlin and Chief Executive Officer Kevin Whaley, “are both brilliant,” said Charles Arntzen, a plant biotechnology expert at Arizona State University who collaborated with the two researchers years ago. “They are very, very bright guys and free spirits.”The antibody work came out of research projects funded more than a decade ago by the U.S. Army to develop treatments and vaccines against potential bio-warfare agents, such as the Ebola virus, Arntzen said in a telephone interview.Tobacco PlantThe tobacco plant production system was developed because it was a method that could produce antibodies rapidly in the event of an emergency, he said.To produce therapeutic proteins inside a tobacco plant, genes for the desired antibodies are fused to genes for a natural tobacco virus, said Arntzen. The tobacco plants are then infected with this new artificial virus, he said.“The infection results in the production of antibodies inside the plant,” Arntzen said. The plant is eventually ground up and the antibody is extracted, he said. The whole process takes a matter of weeks.When confronted by reporters about the Ebola infections in Liberia and subsequent treatments, Whaley said he needed to get up to speed on the developing events.“This is all new to me,” said Whaley, who was dressed in shorts, a well-worn T-shirt and flip-flops while addressing reporters’ questions outside the company’s offices in a San Diego business park. “I just don’t want to give out any inaccurate information, that’s all.”Antibody CocktailMapp’s drug is being developed with Toronto-based Defyrus Inc., which has six employees, according to Defyrus CEO Jeff Turner. ZMapp is a “cocktail” of monoclonal antibodies that help the immune system attack the virus.Monoclonal antibodies designed to fight and block specific proteins can stop the virus from latching onto and entering cells, said Heinz Feldmann, chief of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases’ Laboratory of Virology in Hamilton, Montana.The key is to find antibodies that can prevent viral infection, and to attack several points on the virus so that mutants won’t “escape” treatment, he said.“What you want is a cocktail of antibodies that target different domains on the virus so escape is less likely in treatment,” he said in a telephone interview. Feldmann said he hasn’t been involved in developing treatments.ZMapp’s predecessor, MB-003, protected three of seven rhesus macaques in a study run in 2013 by Mapp and the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases.Ethical QuestionsEbola and virology experts believe the use of the Mapp drug for Brantly and Writebol is unusual in the annals of emergency drug treatments. While potentially saving lives, the cases raise questions about who should have the right to receive experimental drugs years before they gain FDA approval.“There are a lot of Africans that are also dying,” Robert Garry, a virologist at Tulane University, said in a telephone interview. “If we are going to do it for the Americans then we should certainly step up our game for the Africans.”Although no drugs to treat Ebola are approved by U.S. regulators, the Food and Drug Administration can approve an emergency application to provide access to unapproved drugs, Stephanie Yao, an FDA spokeswoman, said in an e-mail.Emergency ApprovalApproval for emergency drug use outside of a clinical trial can be made within 24 hours, Yao wrote. Shipment and treatment with the drug could begin even before completed written forms are submitted to the FDA, which can approve the use of an experimental treatment by telephone in an emergency.“The FDA stands ready to work with companies and investigators treating these patients who are in dire need of treatment,” Yao said. She declined to say whether the FDA had allowed any drug to be used in the Ebola outbreak.Erica Ollmann Saphire, a molecular biologist at the Scripps Research Institute in San Diego, worked with Mapp and the other biotechnology companies to develop models of the Ebola virus and potential antibodies.She directs a global consortium given the job of modeling the virus and the mixture of antibodies needed to defeat it. She said the drug was approved for the two American medical workers in Liberia under a compassionate-use doctrine, because it’s not even scheduled for clinical trials until next year.Informed Consent“I’d take it myself,” she said in an interview in her laboratory, near La Jolla. “Absolutely. I wouldn’t think twice.”She said the American medical aid workers were in a better position to give consent to the treatment than African disease victims.“Do you put an untested therapy in a human or do you just watch them die?” Saphire asked. “Certainly these two Americans are medically trained individuals who knew what they were getting into. They are able to give informed consent.”Medical care of the two U.S. citizens may take two to three weeks if all goes well, Bruce Ribner, an infectious disease specialist at Emory, said in an Aug. 1 news conference.The Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which confirmed that Brantly and Writebol are the first Ebola patients on U.S. soil, is working with the hospital and transport company to make sure evacuation of the two patients goes safely, said Barbara Reynolds, an agency spokeswoman.“We’re here to make sure the transportation process and the care here in the U.S. ensures there’s no spread,” Reynolds said. “It’s important to remember this is not an airborne virus, it requires close contact with body fluids. It’s minimal risk as long as the people caring for the patient use meticulous procedures.”To contact the reporters on this story: Robert Langreth in New York at rlangreth@bloomberg.net; Caroline Chen in New York at cchen509@bloomberg.net; John Lauerman in Boston at jlauerman@bloomberg.netShare this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Avalanche Canada: A cautionary warning for North Rockies’ backcountry users

first_img“The big thing is just back off the alpine features and really don’t trust the big, steep bowls this weekend,” says public avalanche forecaster with Avalanche Canada Grant Helgeson.He says conditions this weekend are similar to last, which resulted in three major avalanches – one of which was fatal.“There’s an inherently weak snow pack in the North Rockies this year, but the surface cross and lack of snow for the past few weeks has allowed folks to kind of travel anywhere –  it’s great travel and traction conditions,” Helgeson goes on to explain. “I think it’s allowing folks to push out into some of the bigger terrain that maybe we normally wouldn’t get to if it wasn’t more typical, deep snow pack.”- Advertisement -Helgeson says the recent avalanches were triggered by snowmobilers, but this warning goes to any backcountry user – from skiers to hikers.“Essentially you got a piece of plywood sitting on champagne glasses,” Helgeson illustrates of the current condition. “So while that might carry you for a little bit, as soon as you knock the legs off of one of those champagne glasses, the whole thing comes apart – and essentially  that’s what the snow pack structure looks like in the North Rockies right now.”Helgeson recommends backcountry users always have a three antenna digital avalanche transceiver, shovel, probe and airbag.Advertisement “Just having them in your pack is not enough, you got to get out and practice with those things, and if you haven’t taken an avalanche safety course, come by avalanche.ca, and look at the list of providers, and get the education so you can make good decision out in the backcountry.”You can also find the current North Rockies’ condition by following this link.last_img read more

Video: Anderlecht beat Arsenal but Gunners starlet hits hat-trick

first_imgDaniel Crowley scored a hat-trick for Arsenal’s Under-19s against Anderlecht in the UEFA Youth League but couldn’t stop his side losing 4-3.Over in Belgium the diminutive attacking midfielder put the Gunners 2-1 up after 19 minutes, with a fine solo effort and a neat finish from a fortunate rebound.Their continental opponents though had plenty of quality and stormed into a 4-2 lead thanks to Aaron Leya Iseka’s second of the game, Frank Mikal and Andy Kawaya.But Crowley was still able to pick up his third of the game five minutes from time after he was felled in the box.The result leaves the Gunners joint top of Group D with Anderlecht on six points, followed by Galatasaray, while Borussia Dortmund prop up the table.And you can see all the goals from the thrilling match above…last_img read more

Boost for Arsenal! Real Madrid pull out of race for Juventus star

first_img Arturo Vidal 1 Real Madrid have pulled the plug on a move for Arsenal target Arturo Vidal.The Spanish giants had been heavily linked with the Juventus midfielder but now it seems Rafael Benitez is going to look elsewhere for midfield reinforcements this summer.It opens the door for the Gunners to enter the hunt for the Chilean again however Juve are determined to keep the 28-year-old in Turin.The midfielder, who is part of his country’s squad for this summer’s Copa America tournament, was arrested for allegedly drink-driving after he crashed his car earlier this week.However, the Chilean Football Association have decided to keep Vidal in their squad.The latest controversy surrounding the combative midfielder is said to be the main reason why Madrid have pulled the plug on any future deal, according to Spanish newspaper Marca.Arsenal are one of several top European clubs interested in signing Vidal and the player is set to decide his future after the tournament in Chile.last_img read more

Sterling replaces Bony? Yaya back? Manchester City XI v Dynamo Kiev predicted

first_img 10. Sergio Aguero (striker) 15. Jesus Navas (right wing) Manchester City host Dynamo Kiev in the second-leg of their Champions League last 16 clash on Tuesday night, kick off 19:45 GMT.The Citizens sealed a 3-1 victory in the first-leg, but despite scoring three away goals, their inconsistency suggests that a shock result cannot yet be ruled out. Could Wilfriend Bony drop to the bench after an ineffective display in the goalless Premier League draw to Norwich City at the weekend? Will Yaya Toure return to the starting line up having missed out on the trip with a heel injury?Take a look at talkSPORT’s predicted Ctiy line up v Kiev by clicking the arrow above. 11 4. Vincent Kompany (centre back) 11 7. Raheem Sterling (left wing) 11 11 11 11 5. Pablo Zabaleta (right back) 11 21. David Silva (attacking midfield) 11. Aleksandar Kolarov (left back) 30. Nicolas Otamendi (centre back) 11 11 11 25. Fernandinho (centre midfield) 1. Joe Hart (goalkeeper) – see the full line up, in squad number order, by clicking the arrow above 11 42. Yaya Toure (centre midfield)last_img read more

Parks, Perry want Ling off CRA panel

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWhicker: Clemson demonstrates that it’s tough to knock out the champLing is executive director of the Community Corporation of Santa Monica, an affordable-housing development and property-management company. Ling and some colleagues on the CRA Commission have angered developers by requiring affordable units, job training and other community benefits, even when projects do not get CRA funding. But Ling said her decisions are within the law and support the mayor’s vision. “When a real estate project comes before CRA and has substantial concessions and substantially increases the value of the land, some of us agree that the development should have to give something back to the community,” Ling said. Besides, she added, she’s just one person on the seven-member board. However some developers believe Ling’s advocacy is influencing CRA staffers. “CRA, as an agency, is making these kinds of demands of economic conditions that bear no relationship to the CRA’s authority and what is being asked of them to approve,” said Ben Reznik, an attorney representing JSM Capital in a lawsuit over development requirements in the North Hollywood redevelopment area. Villaraigosa’s office said Tuesday that Ling has his complete and unwavering support. “Joan Ling is an expert in real estate finance who asks tough questions and who tells the truth,” spokesman Matt Szabo said. “The mayor did not appoint Joan Ling to be a rubber stamp on the commission.”160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Two City Council members are urging their colleagues to deny the reappointment of an affordable-housing advocate to the Community Redevelopment Agency Commission, charging that she has interfered with projects and hurt development efforts. In a letter to the council Tuesday, Councilman Bernard Parks and Councilwoman Jan Perry said CRA Commissioner Joan Ling has exceeded her authority by seeking to impose affordable-housing requirements and community-benefits conditions on projects in CRA zones. “It has been our experience that in her role as a CRA Commissioner Joan Ling promotes an agenda that is driven by personal advocacy and results in a negative effect on South Los Angeles projects and housing projects in downtown Los Angeles,” the letter said. Ling was appointed by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa in 2005, and her reappointment is being considered today by the council’s housing, community and economic development committee. last_img read more

LADIES FOOTBALL: U14 AND U16 COUNTY TRIALS CANCELLED

first_imgTHE U14 and U16 County trials due to take place at the Centre of Excellence in Convoy tomorrow (Sunday) have been cancelled due to poor weather conditions.Club managers are asked to make sure all their players are aware of this; trials are scheduled to go ahead on Sunday, December 6.  LADIES FOOTBALL: U14 AND U16 COUNTY TRIALS CANCELLED was last modified: November 28th, 2015 by John2Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:donegalLGFAtrialslast_img read more

PICTURE SPECIAL: ST EUNAN’S COLLEGE SHOW THEIR BALL SKILLS IN AID OF MEN’S CANCER

first_imgLast September, the Student Council of St Eunan’s College got involved in a national campaign called “Blue September” with an aim of promoting cancer awareness in St Eunan’s College.The Student Council became aware of the ‘Blue September’ campaign through social media outlets, and they immediately knew that it was something that would truly benefit the Students.Student council member Aryton Kelly told Donegal Daily, “It’s frightening to think that 1 in 3 men (or 1 in 4 women) will develop cancer in their lifetime. “That’s about eight boys in an average class, and with cancer rates set to rise by about 60% (14 million cases to 22 million, Source WHO) in the next twenty years, we felt it was really important to equip the boys of St Eunan’s College with information that could potentially save their lives.Over the course of a week a PowerPoint was shown in every SPHE class, from First Year up to Sixth Year.This presentation had a huge amount of interesting and shocking information.Aryton added, “We believe it has affected the boys in the school by just making them aware, for example, that testicular cancer is most common in young men, aged 15 to 34. “Also staggering was 30% of cancers are preventable through lifestyle choices (smoking, sun-beds, diet, etc.).“This really opened everyone’s eyes and helped them realise that cancer is truly a universal issue – and is by no means limited to adults.A really important factor in the presentation was about how to do a self-check, and about symptoms of the most common cancers in men in Ireland: Testicular, Prostate, Lung, Skin and Bowel cancer.The Presentation is still available on the Student Council’s website (www.eunansstudentcouncil.weebly.com) under ‘News’.Nicholas Lane, the chairman of the Student Council and sixth year student told Donegal Daily, “The presentation was very informative, interesting and easy to understand. “I learned a lot of things I didn’t know before”.The week wasn’t a wholly sombre affair though, on Friday the Student Council held a Keepy Uppy Challenge in aid of Blue September (The Mater Foundation).Well over fifty students (and teachers) got involved in the challenge – the day was very positive, everyone got involved, we had junior students, senior students, care-taking staff and teachers.There are few events that a school can hold that invokes so much interest, but the ‘Keepy Uppy Challenge’ was certainly one of them. In all €107 was raised by the Keepy Uppy Challenge and over €200 was donated to Blue September – the Student Council would like to thank everyone that took part, and made this fundraiser and awareness campaign as successful as it was.Nicholas Lane, Chairperson said, “We’d also like to take this opportunity to congratulate the winners, from Junior House we had Enda McDevitt (351), Clinton Ilapeju (203) and Jack Cullen (185)Senior House: Ronan Dorrian (187), Caolan McDaid (144) and Oran Hilley (128)A huge thank you as well to Michael Murphy Sports and Leisure for part-sponsoring the prizes.The current Student Council of Saint Eunan’s College has been in existence since November 2013.PICTURE SPECIAL: ST EUNAN’S COLLEGE SHOW THEIR BALL SKILLS IN AID OF MEN’S CANCER was last modified: October 31st, 2014 by Mark ForkerShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:AwarenessBlue SeptemberFeaturesMen’s CancernewsSt Eunanslast_img read more

Saudi jet under threat?

first_imgA false alarm over a suspected hijacking of a Saudia Arabian Airlines Boeing 777-300 with 410 passengers and 21 crew aboard has sparked a massive security operation at Manila Airport.According to local authorities the pilot told air traffic controllers that the 777 was “under threat” as it approached the airport.Saudi Arabian Airlines clarified the situation saying that the incident was a “false alarm for hijacking”.However, the flight from Jeddah was isolated after the threat.According to the UK’s Independent “officials said a hijack warning button was repeatedly pressed by the flight crew, sparking the mobilisation of security forces and isolation procedures.”The Boeing 777 landed at 3pm local time.last_img

Local innovation is filling the small farm implement gap

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Over the past several years, small and mid-sized tractors have inundated the marketplace as more small-scale and organic farmers begin to update their equipment. As sales of lower horse powered machines climb, Bellevue farmer Jeff Sberna has noticed that the implement side of the farm manufacturing sector wasn’t following suit, so he designed a concept for a compact aeration tool.“I have always has small equipment and never really had anything to break the sub dirt with,” said Sberna, who came up with the concept of the J & D Farm Built chisel ripper. “This unit is a hybrid and is designed to take the place of a chisel plow and a subsoiler. It will maintain a depth of 13 to 14 inches without re-compaction and is great on fuel efficiency.”The six-foot chisel ripper was on display recently at Farm Science Review. Sberna recommends that unit for a small, niche and organic farms with 20 to 30 acres to cover. He also designed a larger unit that includes coulters and is a little more complex.“When I first ran a prototype over my farm the goal was to get some of the hard pan broken down to help resolve some drainage issues,” Sberna said. “Then I noticed they way that it aerates using forward shatter and it doesn’t just roll the dirt up.”The Sberna family has a deep tradition of being creative when it comes to custom building implements that filled a need for their farm at any particular time. That innovative philosophy of building what you need when you need it dates back to Sberna’s grandfather and then to his father.“When I was younger, I worked construction and in the winter months my Dad was always looking for something new to fabricate and that’s how I got the bug,” Sberna said. “We would haul some older equipment home from another farm or bring in a truckload of materials and my Mom would always ask what in the world we were going to do with it. We just told her ‘you’ll see’”.You can learn more about the J & D Farm Build chisel ripper here.last_img read more