IPE Views: Can Europe win the dengue race?

first_imgJoseph Mariathasan explores the impact of – and possible solution to – the growing dengue epidemicSummer is approaching, and as thoughts for many turn to what preparations may be required for holidays in the sun, travellers to tropical regions may be looking at stocking up on malaria tablets. These can, in some cases, have rather nasty side effects, but those travelling to Sri Lanka, for example, may not need to bother, as it may become the first-ever tropical country to eliminate malaria officially (if no one is reported with it by October this year).However, whilst malaria may be absent in Sri Lanka, and anti-malaria tablets can, if required, be taken for travel elsewhere, there is another mosquito-borne disease – dengue – that travellers need to be aware of. It causes a severe flu-like illness and can sometimes lead to a potentially lethal complication called dengue haemorrhagic fever. The WHO finds that Central and South America, South-East Asia and the Western Pacific are the most seriously affected regions in the world. What that means is that some 2.5bn people – two-fifths of the world’s population – are now at risk of acquiring dengue. That includes countries such as Brazil, currently preparing for the 2016 Olympics, and popular tourist destinations such as Thailand, with upwards of 25m visitors a year.Estimates of people getting dengue each year are very unreliable, as the symptoms are easily confused with flu and in many cases may be very mild and, as such, unreported. Why dengue is becoming a serious burden for countries is that, according to WHO, up to 50m infections occur annually, with 500,000 cases of dengue haemorrhagic fever and 22,000 deaths, mainly among children. Prior to 1970, only nine countries had experienced cases of dengue haemorrhagic fever. Since then, the number has increased more than fourfold and continues to rise. Some academics have estimated actual dengue cases are probably closer to 400m a year, and there are approaching 100m that have pronounced symptoms. Others have estimated that dengue is now becoming more dangerous than malaria in terms of economic impact and morbidity. Whilst dengue is becoming a major global health issue, there may also be a solution, or rather, a number of solutions. Vaccines are currently being developed by a number of companies, and clinical trials are well under way. The illness itself is caused by one of four variations (serotypes) of a virus. Catching one serotype gives a person immunity for life to that specific serotype. However, it also appears to raise the chances of complications if there is a subsequent infection by a different serotype, and that can result in dengue haemorrhagic fever, which can be fatal. Therefore, any vaccine has to be effective against all four serotypes to give complete immunity.Given dengue’s economic impact, it is unsurprising there is a race to develop a dengue vaccine. Whoever succeeds will potentially save countless lives and alleviate much misery but also profit from an immense market opportunity. What is encouraging for everyone, including investors, is that there does appear to be a real chance of success within the next year or two. Currently, Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccines division of French pharmaceutical company Sanofi, has received a fair amount of attention because it has announced results for clinical trials of a vaccine that shows an overall efficacy against any symptomatic dengue disease of 60.8% in children and adolescents.Whilst this may not sound like a solution, it reported a 95.5% protection against severe dengue and an 80.3% reduction in the risk of hospitalisation during the study. Sanofi Pasteur itself is so confident of its vaccine that it has built a new vaccine-manufacturing facility in France with the objective of reducing the time necessary to provide access to the vaccine once it is licensed. It became operational in 2014 with a production capacity of 100m doses of the vaccine per year. Sanofi, though, is not the only firm working on vaccines. It is highly likely that, within the next year or two, there will be announcements of breakthroughs by firms such as Japan’s Takeda Pharmaceutical, which is undertaking phase-III clinical trials in Sri Lanka and four other Asian countries. The race for a successful dengue virus is well and truly under way.Joseph Mariathasan is a contributing editor at IPElast_img read more

Ireland labour to bonus point win over Russia

first_imgIRELAND remain on course for a World Cup quarter-final after easing to an uninspiring 35-0 win over a toothless Russia in Kobe.Rob Kearney, Peter O’Mahony and Rhys Ruddock scored first-half tries before Andrew Conway secured the bonus point in the 62nd minute.Garry Ringrose’s late score put a final exclamation point on an otherwise flat second half performance.Another five-point win over Samoa would guarantee a place in the last eight.Ireland now have nine days before their final Pool A assignment in Fukuoka against the Samoans.Five days on from their already famous defeat by Japan, Ireland knew there was little they could do to change the narrative of their World Cup campaign to date against a side as unfancied as Russia.The best they could hope for was to secure all five points in a performance that exposed the chasm of quality between the two sides and showed signs of a team with the skill-set to match any side in the tournament.While the victory was never in doubt from the moment Kearney opened the scoring with his fifth try in six World Cup matches inside two minutes, moments of real quality were notable by their absence, particularly in an error-strewn second half. SEXTON’S IMPORTANCE AGAIN UNDERLINEDCaptaining the side from the start for the first time on his 86th international appearance, Johnny Sexton returned to Ireland’s line-up having missed the Japan match through injury.HIs half-time withdrawal only served to further underline how vital the 34-year-old remains to this Ireland side.With the result of the game beyond doubt, Joe Schmidt wasted no time in ensuring his star man left Kobe unscathed, as he handed Jack Carty the reins for the second half.After Kearney raced over off the back of a neat set-piece move, O’Mahony added Ireland’s second after 12 minutes as he latched onto Sexton’s grubber-kick. (BBC Sport)last_img read more

UW can hold heads high despite loss

first_imgBOSTON – The Wisconsin Badgers’ season ended with a heartbreaking thud Thursday night once Jordan Taylor’s last-second heave fell short, but it began with outside expectations that made a Sweet 16 berth seem laughable.Wisconsin, after losing three starters – two in the frontcourt – was tasked with completing a significant makeover of this year’s roster. When Jon Leuer left for the NBA and Keaton Nankivil graduated to play in Germany, two glaring holes were left at forward and center. Juniors Ryan Evans and Jared Berggren stepped in, despite having started just one game between them in the prior two seasons.When the No. 4 seeded Badgers (26-10) saw their season end in a 64-63 loss to the top-seeded Syracuse Orange (26-10) in the East Regional semifinals of the NCAA tournament at TD Garden, Berggren had finished the game tied for the team-high with 17 points, while Evans had seven. The game snapped Evans’ string of 14 consecutive games with at least 10 points.Given what the team had lost, many outside opinions held that Wisconsin wouldn’t come close to repeating last year’s Sweet 16 berth. Inside the locker room, though, no such thought existed.“Yeah, I never had any doubt,” Berggren said. “Even when we started Big Ten play 1-3, we knew that wasn’t all we had. We went into [North] Carolina when they were [ranked No. 5] and took them down to a three-point game. We had plenty of mistakes in that game, and we were like, ‘Alright, if we would have done this, we could’ve got this win on the road.’ So we had no doubts of what we were capable of, at any point in the season.”It certainly wasn’t smooth, as the Badgers endured a three-game losing streak early in Big Ten play and then lost three of five after a six-game winning streak. But after collecting a rousing road upset of Ohio State on Feb. 9, Wisconsin put together a three-game winning streak to end the regular season.Thanks largely to 30 points from formerly unheralded senior guard/forward Rob Wilson, the Badgers advanced past the Indiana Hoosiers in the Big Ten Tournament. They fell to Michigan State, an eventual No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, the following day, though Wisconsin did enter the Big Dance riding high.After two wins in the NCAA Tournament, the Badgers met the top-seeded Orange and took them to the brink. Afterward, head coach Bo Ryan was mainly upbeat, especially considering how far his team had come. Ryan specifically pointed out senior point guard Jordan Taylor’s leadership in helping the young, inexperienced frontcourt gel.“I think it helps if you have played to understand how inexperienced we were with that front line and the things that those guys ended up being able to do to put us at the record that we have and to put us into this position,” Ryan said. “Jordan deserves a lot of credit for that, so he’ll be sorely missed.”Unsurprisingly, Taylor took little credit shortly afterward in the Badgers’ locker room. As the undeniable star of this team, Taylor did have other things to be concerned with. His season began with preseason All-American accolades but was quickly met with weighty criticism after his numbers failed to meet last year’s stellar output. Against Syracuse, he capped a very strong March with 17 points on 6-for-15 shooting (including 5-for-9 from 3-point range), six assists and four rebounds.So when Taylor, with puffy eyes and a look of severe exhaustion on his face, was asked about his hand in leading Berggren, Evans and company to the promised land of the Sweet 16, his answer was an honest deflection of praise.“I don’t know, it’s kind of a hard question to answer just because I feel like they had that in them; it was just for them to come out and show it,” Taylor said when asked about his leadership role with the frontcourt. “I’m sure I had a small role in that, but I didn’t put all the talent in Ryan and Jared and Mike [Bruesewitz]. That’s not me; that’s them working hard in the games in the offseason. My job was just to try and get them ball and encourage them, be a leader for them.”last_img read more

UKGC forms three groups to address safer gambling standards

first_imgShare GVC hires ‘comms pro’ Tessa Curtis to re-energise media profile  August 25, 2020 Related Articles StumbleUpon Share Jason Ader – No Boogeyman… Activism will play a vital part in reshaping gambling August 20, 2020 UKGC launches fourth National Lottery licence competition August 28, 2020 The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has confirmed that it will create three new focus groups to help facilitate the implementation of safer gambling standards.Led by senior leaders in the gambling industry, the three collaboration groups will focus on game and product design, advertising technology and high value customer incentives to gamble.The initiative, which is said to be the first-of-its-kind, will follow on from a briefing in October 2019 in which UKGC CEO Neil McArthur outlined three challenges and opportunities that the industry must grasp to raise standards and rapidly reduce harm across the sector.SG Gaming and Playtech have both committed to leading work on producing an effective Industry Code for Product Design. The group will primarily focus on how the gambling industry can continue to produce safer products in the future, while also looking at the techniques used to develop games and the associated risks.Meanwhile, Sky Betting and Gaming has agreed to oversee the advertising technology working group, which will explore and quickly accelerate opportunities to reduce the amount of advertising seen by children, young people and vulnerable adults.The group focusing on the use of VIP incentives will be led by GVC Holdings, and will involve close cooperation with the Betting and Gaming Council. This group will ‘help ensure bonuses, hospitality and gifts in particular around VIP programmes, are offered in a manner which is consistent with the licensing objectives to make gambling fairer, safer and crimefree’.Gambling Commission chief executive Neil McArthur said: “Consumer behaviour and technology are changing so quickly that only a bold and innovative approach will allow us to achieve a reduction in the numbers of people experiencing, or at risk from, gambling related harm.“I’ve been encouraged by the willingness of so many operators to work with us on these challenges. We’ve set demanding timetable for progress because we cannot proceed at the speed of the slowest. If rapid progress is not made then we will have to look at other options as making gambling safer for consumers is paramount.”The three working groups are, in more detail:Safer products: The industry code for responsible product and game design working group will set out how the gambling industry can produce safer products in the future, the techniques to use when designing apps, online games and gaming machine products, the risks associated with each product and how they can be mitigated, and a clear explanation of what is not acceptable.Safer advertising online: An interim report by Gamble Aware from earlier this year shows that children, young people and vulnerable adults report they are being exposed to significant levels of online gambling adverts – including via social media. The Advertising Technology challenge will therefore explore and quickly accelerate opportunities to reduce the amount of advertising seen by children, young people and vulnerable adults.Use of VIP incentives: The incentivisation of high value customers working group will help ensure bonuses, hospitality and gifts in particular around VIP programmes, are offered in a manner which is consistent with the licensing objectives to make gambling fairer, safer and crimefree. The Commission’s casework has found evidence that the approach of some licensees has exacerbated at-risk behaviour and this new group will identify how existing rules can be strengthened.This approach utilises the skills and resources of the industry but ensures the Commission retains control of outputs – and consequently the best progress for British consumers. Submitlast_img read more

Tokelau’s only Pacific Games athlete ready

first_imgThe country’s sports federation says its lack of representation is down to it not having had enough time to prepare for the games, and its athletes not being available.Tokelau’s national legal advisor Lise Suveinakama says the blunder will prove a valuable lesson for the nation, which has a population of about 1400.She says it is important that athletes are better organised and prepared for regional competitions.Squash player Sam Iasona, who works as a line mechanic in New Zealand, says he’s thrilled to be able to travel to Papua New Guinea.Some of his workmates have even chipped in to fly him to Port Moresby.”What started as something that wasn’t too serious, I just started playing squash about a year ago and then one of the cousins suggested perhaps I should play squash in the Pacific Games. I’ll probably be playing a lot of guys who’ve been playing a lot longer than I have so I’ve been training hard for the last year and a bit.”The men’s squash competition begins today.After being in a similar position, Vanuatu’s Mary Ramel is already planning her next table tennis event after narrowly missing out on gold in the women’s Para singles final.Competing in a major tournament for the first time, Ramel twice took the lead against New Caledonia’s Delphine Andre before losing the deciding set 11-6 at the Caritas Stadium.Her coach, Anolyn Lulu, says Ramel’s preparation was far from ideal and up until November she hadn’t picked up a table tennis bat in years.”After Cyclone Pam, which damaged our training venue, they just started training just one month before we got here so the match was very tough for her. I believe in Mary – she can do better than that – just the crowd and all this it is an inexperience for her [because] she’s never participated in any table tennis event before. The surrounding, the environment itself also contributed to her defeat. Despite that, she played well and she will go back and home and continue to train and play in upcoming events”.New Caledonia also won the gold medal in the men’s Para singles event, with Fiji winning the men’s and women’s seated Para events.last_img read more