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

PCP: Beer or bratwurst?

first_imgBrats’ history, taste, make it superior When it comes to tailgating, there is no more frequent a visitor than the bratwurst. Our German ancestors not only made the wise choice of immigrating to Wisconsin; they brought brilliance to the meat game. Not only do words fail to describe it, but few tastes compare to that first brat of the afternoon, draped in whichever condiment(s) your taste buds yearn for in supplement.In this PCP, brats face stiff competition from their game day comrade, beer, but the bratwurst holds attributes unmatched by beer and many other favorite tailgating beverages.First off, with a tailgate scene that generally includes at least 10 companions, brats are ideal. Why limit the efficiency of your grill with flattened burgers when the succulent sausages can double the amount of grill space?Brats will fill you up along the same lines beer does, yet the alcoholic beverage won’t last very long in your system. If you don’t want to be making multiple trips to the lavatory, then don’t make the mistake of choosing beer over brats.Better yet, use that beer a different way and cook your brats in it. After all, Wisconsin is the original home of the beer-battered brat. I have yet to hear of brat-battered beer.Just about everything can help your brat, too. Ketchup, mustard, relish, pickles, onions, …  I am running out of breath.Got underage kids at the tailgate? Help fill them up without breaking the law and hand them a brat. I bet they’ll ask you for another.When it comes down to it, the obvious choice is the Bratwurst. Brats won’t leave you stumbling around, leaving stains on your wardrobe. They just want to be eaten, at every tailgate imaginable.If you’re getting real hungry and feeling really creative, throw a pair of brats on the same bun. That’s tailgating gold.Brats are delicious, but beer is … beerDo you like beer? I like beer. Hell, I love beer. Who doesn’t? We’re from Wisconsin and no state does it better for brewing up the beverage of the gods than the Dairy State.In fact, I bet Sean would argue beer is the king of tailgating if he was of legal drinking age. But he’s not. So let me tell you why beer is best while I put Sean up in his high chair.For one, it tastes delicious. I don’t care if it’s Pabst Blue Ribbon or Milwaukee’s Best; I’ll drink any beer (except Keystone Light, a worse destroyer of the innards than dorm room toilet paper) until I feel (or look) as bloated as William Howard Taft. I’ll take six Schlitzes … or whatever’s free!There are countless varieties on the drink as well. For those who want to consume more than the recommended amount, there’s beer on the lighter side. Want something that tastes great and is less filling? Try Milwaukee’s own Miller Lite (Bud Light should be illegal in Wisconsin), perfect for the many games of beer pong, beer ball and flip cup that make game day, or any other day for that matter, such a great occurrence. Can you make fun games out of brats? Seriously, let me know; that’d be awesome.Maybe you’re not balling on a budget and you want to get classier in your beer choice than your grandmother’s choice in scotch. Might I recommend any of the fine choices New Glarus, Capital Brewery or Leinenkugel’s offer?And let’s be honest. On a warm summer day or a crisp fall afternoon, nothing hits the spot better than that first sip – or shotgun – of beer.But I won’t say no to one of those brats. Or several. After all, I’ll need a solid base to go with this six-pack of Moon Man.last_img read more

Chelsea face Man Utd in FA Cup final as Giroud sinks Saints

first_imgFor Southampton, the focus returns to their desperate battle to avoid relegation, with just four games left to climb out of the bottom three.Saints boss Mark Hughes claimed the crucial moment was the officials’ refusal to use the video assistant referee when Chelsea keeper Willy Caballero may have dropped the ball over the line under pressure from Charlie Austin.“We are disappointed with the officials. Their goalkeeper has thrown the ball into the back of the net,” Hughes complained.“If ever there was a case for VAR to review, that was the moment. Why it wasn’t referred I’ve no idea.”– Nimble Giroud –Giroud was warming to the task of giving Southampton another headache and he went close to breaking the deadlock with an acrobatic volley before half-time.Chelsea’s dominance was finally rewarded in the 46th minute.Cesc Fabregas lofted a pass towards Eden Hazard and he controlled brilliantly in mid-air before slipping the ball through to Giroud.There was still work for Giroud to do and he side-stepped three defenders with surprising grace, his nimble footwork giving him just enough space to slot home from close range.After Caballero got away with his sloppy handling, Austin appealed in vain for a penalty when Giroud left his arm out to block the forward’s header.But it was too little, too late and Morata came off the bench to wrap up the win with just his third goal in his last 19 appearances.Morata, who has failed to impress since his move from Real Madrid last year, was furious after being hauled off at Burnley.Just days later, he was all smiles when he nodded home from Cesar Azpilicueta’s 82nd-minute cross. Share on: WhatsApp London, United Kingdom | AFP | Chelsea booked an FA Cup final showdown with Manchester United as Olivier Giroud tormented Southampton again with a sublime strike in Sunday’s 2-0 win at Wembley.Giroud has made a habit of scoring against Southampton and the France forward was their nemesis in a one-sided semi-final.Opting to select Giroud instead of Alvaro Morata proved a shrewd move by Chelsea manager Antonio Conte as the former Arsenal star produced a tremendous piece of skill to break the deadlock early in the second half.Giroud has feasted on Southampton this season, scoring twice to spark Chelsea’s 3-2 win last weekend and also netting a late equaliser against them for Arsenal in December.His fourth goal for Chelsea since his January signing was followed by a late header from substitute Morata, setting up a heavyweight final against United at Wembley on May 19.That will be Chelsea’s last chance to win major silverware at the end of a troubled season.“The most important thing is to reach the final. This is the second FA Cup final in a row for us. I’m delighted for our fans,” Conte said.“For sure, Olivier has been a good signing for us. I needed a player like him, strong physically, to hold the ball up.“Today I decided to start with Olivier because I knew we were playing against three strong central defenders, but when Morata came on the impact was impressive as well.”Chelsea’s 13th FA Cup final appearance will be a repeat of the 2007 showpiece, when Jose Mourinho’s men won 1-0.The Blues, back in the final after losing to Arsenal in May, last won the competition in 2012 and are bidding to lift the trophy for the eighth time.Winning the FA Cup might not be enough to convince either Conte or Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich that their two-year partnership should be extended.Conte has spent much of the season complaining about Chelsea’s failure to back his transfer plans, while several of his players are believed to be unhappy with his demanding training sessions and intense personality.The Blues face a tough task to qualify for the Champions League via a top-four finish in the Premier League as they trail fourth-placed Tottenham by five points.Against that backdrop, winning the Cup would at least provide an uplifting conclusion to a frustrating campaign.last_img read more

Olympia Area Kitchen Designer – Cabinets By Trivonna: Creates Another Nurturing…

first_imgFacebook2Tweet0Pin0In order to create a truly nurturing environment, a designer needs to fully comprehend what prompts a customer to want to remodel their kitchen.  Trivonna often asks lots of questions both in our showroom and in the customer’s kitchen.In talking with Larry and Elizabeth, she learned that Larry was the primary cook, but both were active in the kitchen – often in each other’s way. For example: she needed in the oven while he was at the stove. Upon entering their kitchen she saw that it was somewhat dated (tile counters, white doors on wood cabinets with framed soffits and pantry).As they talked, she learned that, when working at the computer desk, they felt like they were in a hole — separated from the rest of the family. They also needed more (or more usable) storage. After considering various design ideas, the new kitchen featured Dewils inset cherry cabinets. The upper cabinets kissed the ceiling (adding more storage).  The framed in pantry was replaced with two pantry cabinets including a combination of drawers and roll out trays, providing far more accessible storage.  The desk was moved to the end of the kitchen near the family room.  A wall microwave and oven were installed away from the cook-top.This kitchen was remodeled by Tim Dickey, and won the Olympia Master Builders 2011 Remodeling Excellence Award!last_img read more

Saturday Spring Weather Tease

first_imgTwo River-area residents woke up to a preview of spring Saturday, March 30. After a long stretch of chilly weather, warmth and sunny skies drew people outside. From leisurely strolls on the boardwalk in Long Branch to flying kites on the beach at Sea Bright, from baseball games at Fair Haven Fields to bicycling and running in Thompson Park, people showed they were ready for some fun in the sun. Photos by Patrick Oliverolast_img