Wisconsin lab broke Ebola rules, watchdog group says

first_imgSep 25, 2007 (CIDRAP News) – Researchers at the University of Wisconsin at Madison (UW-Madison) worked on Ebola virus genetic material in a lab that lacked the required security measures, and federal agencies responsible for monitoring compliance didn’t notice the problem, a watchdog group that monitors biodefense research safety reported recently.UW-Madison’s institutional biosafety committee (IBC) wrongly allowed well-known influenza researcher Yoshihiro Kawaoka to work with Ebola genetic material in a biosafety level 3 (BSL-3) lab, though federal rules require use of a BSL-4 lab for such work, the Sunshine Project, based in Austin, Tex., reported on Sep 19. BSL-4 is the highest biosecurity rating.The university stopped the research in October 2006 after the National Institutes of Health (NIH) said a BSL-4 lab was required, even though the university disagreed, according to UW-Madison officials. The NIH was funding the research.Ebola is a highly contagious virus that causes a hemorrhagic fever and is lethal in about 50% to 90% of cases. Because the Ebola virus is so dangerous, the US government lists it as a category A bioterrorism agent. There is no vaccine or specific treatment for the disease.The Web site for Kawaoka’s lab says that in addition to work on influenza viruses, researchers are exploring the molecular pathogenesis of the Ebola virus and have established a reverse-genetics system for generating the virus, which they hope to use for vaccine production and the identification of antiviral medication targets.The Web site emphasizes that the lab has developed a novel complement system that allows researchers to study Ebola virus glycoproteins without having to do the work in a BSL-4 lab.Researcher sought lighter restrictionsThe Sunshine Project’s report makes it clear that Kawaoka and his colleagues weren’t working with live Ebola virus, but rather full-length copies of Ebola DNA (complementary DNA, or cDNA) that lacks two critical proteins that could trigger growth of an infectious virus. However, the group says that federal rules require use of a BSL-4 lab for handling Ebola virus genetic material “that has not been rendered irreversibly incapable of reproducing.”The rule violation came to light only after Kawaoka asked permission to do the work in a BSL-2 lab, which prompted Jan Klein, UW-Madison’s biological safety officer, to seek guidance from the NIH, according to e-mail messages posted on the Sunshine Project’s Web site. The NIH responded that studies with the Ebola material should be conducted in a BSL-4 lab, which UW-Madison does not have.Edward Hammond, Sunshine Project director, said in the press release that the NIH’s response amounts to disapproving its own project. “It is dismaying but not surprising that NIH’s biodefense program was funding work that violates NIH’s safety rules. The guidelines have been an unenforced afterthought for years,” he said.The violation apparently was not noted by staff from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) Select Agent Program, which inspected Kawaoka’s lab, the Sunshine Project said.UW official sees inconsistent rulesIn an interview with CIDRAP News, James W. Tracy, associate dean of research in the School of Veterinary Medicine at UW-Madison, defended Kawaoka’s request to do the work in a BSL-2 lab as reasonable. “He made the request based on facts that his colleagues at the CDC are working with the same material under BSL-2 conditions,” he said. Kawaoka’s lab is part of the veterinary school.The main problem stems from differences in how research facilities interpret NIH guidelines for working with pathogens, Tracy said. Although UW-Madison disagreed with the NIH’s finding that Kawaoka’s work should be done in a BSL-4 lab, it quickly complied, he said. On Oct 28, 2006, the university halted work with the Ebola material, and Kawaoka sent the projects to a BSL-4 lab in Winnipeg, Man., where he has continued to be involved with the work.Federal officials are in a difficult position, Tracy said, because it appears that different federal agencies have different biosecurity standards.Hammond and his group are playing up inconsistencies among the government agencies to suggest that biological work is being done improperly, the public is at risk, and federal oversight is lax, Tracy said. “And I disagree,” he added.CDC official downplays riskThe National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the NIH, did not respond to a CIDRAP News request for comment on the Sunshine Project report. But Rob Weyant, director of the CDC’s Select Agent Program, told CIDRAP News that the CDC doesn’t regulate nucleic acids of the Ebola virus, which is apparently what Kawaoka’s lab was working with. “Ebola is one of the most dangerous microbes, but when you break it up and take out the nucleic acids, the nucleic acids themselves are much less hazardous,” he said.Changing cDNA from the Ebola virus into its infectious RNA form is possible, but not easy, Weyant said. When CDC inspectors toured Kawaoka’s lab they would have made sure good safety procedures were in place for work with cDNA material of the Ebola virus, he added.At the CDC, researchers do work with Ebola nucleic acids outside BSL-4 labs, Weyant said. “This is based on a risk assessment and a pretty good understanding of these viruses,” he said, adding that it was “unclear” if the agency’s researchers work with the material in BSL-2 labs.Congress to look into lab safetyThe apparent rule violations at the UW-Madison lab follow a string of other violations at four Texas universities that also were exposed recently by the Sunshine Project. In late June the CDC ordered a biodefense research laboratory at Texas A&M University to stop all work on select agents and toxins while the agency investigated reports of lab workers infected with the category B bioterrorism agents Brucella and Coxiella burnetti. A week ago the Sunshine Project revealed that three University of Texas facilities recently had lab accidents with dangerous pathogens, including the agents of anthrax, tularemia, and shigellosis.Concerns about safety at US biodefense labs come amid ongoing foot-and-outh (FMD) disease outbreaks in the United Kingdom that health officials say were linked to release of the virus from flooded drain pipes at a facility in Pirbright that houses an FMD vaccine producer and a government research institute.Safety breaches at US biodefense labs have also caught the attention of lawmakers. The US House Committee on Energy and Commerce announced it would hold a hearing on Oct 4 to explore the risks associated with the rising number of BSL-3 and BSL-4 labs in the United States, according to a Sep 21 news release from the committee.Rep John Dingell, D-Mich., chairman of the committee, said construction of biodefense labs has surged over the past several years, funded in part by the federal government.”Yet, little information is available about the number of labs being operated in the US and whether they are safely run,” he said. “While the research conducted at these labs is certainly valuable, we must make sure that it does not pose a risk to the public health.”See also:Sep 19 CIDRAP News story “Biosafety lapses reported at 3 more Texas labs”Sep 5 CIDRAP News story “CDC details problems at Texas A&M biodefense lab”last_img read more

UK roundup: ACCESS launches search for £34bn pool operator

first_imgThe ACCESS pool is expected have around £33.9bn (€33.7bn) in assets once fully operational.The pool’s plan for a third-party manager contrasts with the structure of other LGPS pools such as Brunel and London CIV, which have both chosen to build internal teams and capabilities.Transition management provider panel for LGPSSeveral LGPS funds have come together to establish a framework agreement for transition management services.Norfolk County Council last week launched a tender as the council with lead responsibility for the LGPS’ tendering framework. The participating LGPS – representatives of six of the UK’s eight emerging asset pools – are looking for providers of transition management and implementation services, transition execution services, and transition management advisory services.Bedford Borough Council, Carmarthenshire, Derbyshire and Suffolk County Councils, Brunel Pensions Partnership and the London CIV are working together on the tender, but the framework can be used by other public sector pension bodies.The eight asset pools must be ready for assets to be moved from individual LGPS funds by April next year, according to the government’s plans. Pension fund governance: major gapsMany small and medium-sized UK pension schemes are falling far short of meeting the governance standards expected by the Pensions Regulator (TPR).Publishing findings from surveys of how defined benefit (DB) and defined contribution (DC) schemes are meeting TPR’s expectations, the regulator said the surveys were disappointing for individual small and medium schemes, highlighting major gaps in standards.For example, many small and medium DC schemes were not meeting standards for investments as they failed to set appropriate investment strategies for their default funds.Anthony Raymond, acting executive director for regulatory policy at TPR, said: “As part of our commitment to be a clearer, quicker and tougher regulator, we will be stepping up our regulatory action in cases where trustee boards fail to meet minimum legal standards, and we will publish the details of that action.“We will also continue to examine whether sub-standard schemes should be consolidated with larger, well-run schemes.”The regulator released its survey findings and response to them a day after the pension scheme trade body urged TPR to change its approach to pension fund governance. The 11 UK local government pension schemes (LGPS) forming the ACCESS asset pool have launched a tender for a regulated operator to set up and run a collective investment scheme.The operator will be responsible for establishing and operating an Authorised Contractual Scheme and other collective investment vehicles exclusively for the asset pool.The ACCESS asset pool expects to have around 25 to 35 sub-funds. The operator should make sure all major asset classes to be available, including as a minimum, equities, fixed income, multi-asset and property.The tender is being managed by Kent County Council, one of the 11 ACCESS pool-administering authorities. The others are the councils for Cambridgeshire, East Sussex, Essex, Hampshire, Hertfordshire, Isle of Wight, Norfolk, Northamptonshire, Suffolk, and West Sussex.last_img read more

Townsville’s long-term growth suburbs revealed

first_imgVideo Player is loading.Play VideoPlayNext playlist itemMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration 1:58Loaded: 0%Stream Type LIVESeek to live, currently playing liveLIVERemaining Time -1:58 Playback Rate1xChaptersChaptersDescriptionsdescriptions off, selectedCaptionscaptions settings, opens captions settings dialogcaptions off, selectedQuality Levels720p720pHD576p576p360p360p216p216pAutoA, selectedAudio Tracken (Main), selectedFullscreenThis is a modal window.Beginning of dialog window. Escape will cancel and close the window.TextColorWhiteBlackRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentTransparentWindowColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyTransparentSemi-TransparentOpaqueFont Size50%75%100%125%150%175%200%300%400%Text Edge StyleNoneRaisedDepressedUniformDropshadowFont FamilyProportional Sans-SerifMonospace Sans-SerifProportional SerifMonospace SerifCasualScriptSmall CapsReset restore all settings to the default valuesDoneClose Modal DialogEnd of dialog window.This is a modal window. This modal can be closed by pressing the Escape key or activating the close button.Close Modal DialogThis is a modal window. This modal can be closed by pressing the Escape key or activating the close button.PlayMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration 0:00Loaded: 0%Stream Type LIVESeek to live, currently playing liveLIVERemaining Time -0:00 Playback Rate1xFullscreenWhy location is everything in real estate01:59Property investment is a long-term game with new figures revealing the top suburbs in Townsville for long-term property price growth.CoreLogic figures show that homes in Black River had the highest level of property price growth in the past five years with median prices up 26 per cent to $472,500. An aerial view of Townsville.It was followed by Nelly Bay, where the median house price increased 17.1 per cent in five years to $350,000.Houses at Balgal Beach also enjoyed reasonable median house price growth of 9.3 per cent to $350,000. An aerial view of Balgal BeachAccording to realestate.com.au there are only a handful of homes listed for sale in Black River.Sean Lubbe of RE/MAX Excellence Townsville said as more was built to the north of the CBD demand had increased.“Infrastructure projects have been ongoing for a number of years around Burdell, Bushland Beach, Mount Low, Deeragun and Jensen,” he said.“So, it’s no real surprise that suburbs that were once classified as “too far” are now great purchases and are just a short drive to important amenities in the northern suburbs,” he said.Mr Lubbe said the average days on market in Black River was 89 days according to CoreLogic.“It’s very dependent on the homes available to the market and the points of differences they offer,” he said.“The blocks of land and homes (in Black River) differ quite a fair bit from each other in shapes and sizes; the research is suggesting that certified bores make a difference along with accurate pricing which can significantly shorten the expected days on market.”He said the suburb was made up predominately of acreage properties, and sales were mostly to owner occupiers not investors.More from news01:21Buyer demand explodes in Townsville’s 2019 flood-affected suburbs12 Sep 202001:21‘Giant surge’ in new home sales lifts Townsville property market10 Sep 2020A typical price point for a home in Black River would be in the $400,000s range.CoreLogic figures real 11 homes sold in the suburb in the past 12 months with half of those changing hands for more than $472,500 and half for less than that.Mr Lubbe is marketing a three-bedroom house on acreage at 13 Arabian Place, Black River for $479,000. 13 Arabian Place, Black RiverThe home has cathedral ceilings with exposed wood beams and all of the main living areas and bedrooms have split system air conditioners.The five-acre property has been recently fenced and it has a four-bay shed with automatic roller door and concrete floors. With the new Ring Road, James Cook University, the Army base and the Townsville Hospital are now only a 20-minute drive away.last_img read more

Rashford reacts to Ighalo’s Man Utd loan deal extension

first_img Promoted ContentLorem ipsum dolor sit amet Lorem ipsum dolor sit ametLorem ipsum dolor sit amet Lorem ipsum dolor sit ametLorem ipsum dolor sit amet Lorem ipsum dolor sit ametLorem ipsum dolor sit amet Lorem ipsum dolor sit ametLorem ipsum dolor sit amet Lorem ipsum dolor sit ametLorem ipsum dolor sit amet Lorem ipsum dolor sit ametLorem ipsum dolor sit amet Lorem ipsum dolor sit ametLorem ipsum dolor sit amet Lorem ipsum dolor sit ametLorem ipsum dolor sit amet Lorem ipsum dolor sit ametLorem ipsum dolor sit amet Lorem ipsum dolor sit ametLorem ipsum dolor sit amet Lorem ipsum dolor sit ametLorem ipsum dolor sit amet Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet Read Also:Messi expresses heartbreak over Copa America postponementRashford retweeted United’s official announcement on Ighalo’s loan extension and commented, “Congrats @ighalojude”.Ighalo replied: “Thanks bro”. Loading… The 30-year-old has been allowed to remain with the Old Trafford dwellers, amid uncertainty over the resumption of the Chinese Super League and when foreign players can return.Ole Gunnar Solskjaer brought in Ighalo in the January window, after Rashford suffered a back injury.However, the England forward is fit again and will be ready to lead the attack for United, when the season restarts. FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmail分享 The Premier League side and Shanghai Shenhua have reached an agreement that will see Ighalo remain at Old Trafford until January 2021. Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford has congratulated Odion Ighalo on extending his stay at the club.last_img read more