News / September start on Thai-Laos-China rail freight link, but gauge may be a problem

first_img“It is a big problem, because if a freight train arrived at Laem Chabang and had to go to Cambodia, then it would need to be on a metre gauge. There will be an overlap which must be connected or else you will need a place where you can do the transfers,” he told The Loadstar.Improved connectivity will also hinge on whether the Phase Three development of Laem Chabang port receives final approval. The development includes plans to add 2km of quay, twin rail tracks and widened roads around the harbour. However, approval for the development has been delayed due to protests from local residents citing traffic, pollution and environmental concerns.Another challenge will be who operates the services once the new lines are completed. Dr Banomyong explained that, although there is little confidence in the ability of the State Railway of Thailand, current Thai law prohibits private companies from operating rail services.“They can’t open up to private companies because they will have to change the law. They wanted to implement a similar system that the UK has, where you have different operators for different routes, but they have not been able to get that through because of strong resistance from the unions,” he said. Thailand’s main container port of Laem Chabang By Sam Whelan in Chiang Mai 21/01/2015center_img Construction of a new double-track railway connecting Thailand with Laos and China is due to commence in September.An estimated 734km of track will connect Laem Chabang, Thailand’s gateway container port, with Nong Khai, an industrial border area adjacent to the Laotian capital of Vientiane. From there the railway will run to Kunming, capital of the country’s southern Yunnan Province and designated as China’s overland hub to serve South-east Asia.News of the construction was announced last week by Thailand’s transport minister Air Chief Marshal Prajin Junthong, after Thailand and China signed an agreement to jointly develop the $12.3bn project last December.“We expect it [the Laem Chabang-Nong Khai section] will cost about 400 billion baht and will be completed within two and a half years,” he told Reuters.The remainder of the line, as well as a second link connecting Bangkok with Eastern Thailand, is scheduled to be completed by 2020.The new network, a key part of a longstanding regional project to connect Kunming with Singapore, was initially rejected by Thailand’s ruling junta after they took control in a bloodless military coup last May.However, the decision was reversed in an August announcement by Thai army chief General Prayuth Chan-ocha – a move widely seen as the beginning of a new level of strategic co-operation with China.Investment across South-east Asia has been labelled as China’s “new silk road diplomacy”, after a $40bn infrastructure fund was set up to boost connectivity.John Manners-Bell, chief executive of UK supply chain consultancy Transport Intelligence, highlighted the renewed interest in rail during a briefing on the Agility Emerging Markets Logistics Index this week.“When we look at the connectedness of a market it’s not just about the airport and sea port investment, rail is also starting to play an important role. China has invested a lot in rail in its western regions but also in higher-speed rail links.“Malaysia is also investing in its rail sector. It is linking into a pan-Asian rail network which is really getting off the ground. In many emerging markets there’s a real focus on the rail sector,” he said.Chinese bilateral aid for the Thai railway network may come with its own challenges, however. The new network will operate on a standard gauge system (1.44 metres), which is prevalent throughout China.However, Thailand and much of South-east Asia operates on a one-metre gauge system – a mismatch that, according to Dr Ruth Banomyong, director of the Centre for Logistics Research at Thammasat University, could present a major engineering challenge.The planned Kunming-Singapore rail freight networklast_img read more

News / Chicago Rockford Airport expands cargo facilities as freighter traffic grows

first_imgCopyright: Chicago Rockford International Airport By Ian Putzger, Americas correspondent 25/02/2021 Propelled by growth in both e-commerce and heavy airfreight, Rockford International Airport (RFD) is embarking on a large expansion of its ground infrastructure, adding two cargo buildings and parking space for freighters.The $42m international cargo centre is scheduled to come onstream this year in two phases, starting with a 90,000 sq ft warehouse by 1 July. The second phase, slated for November, will add 100,000 sq ft.The airport is also creating ramp space for six aircraft parking positions, big enough for 747 freighters, with two due to be ready at the end of the first phase of construction.RFD has enjoyed rapid growth in cargo traffic over the past couple of years; an 11% rise in throughput in 2019 was followed by an increase of 15% last year, which pushed volumes to 1,2m tonnes.center_img The biggest part of this surge was e-commerce traffic, with RFD the second-largest hub in the US for UPS, which currently slots 40 flights a day through the airport.During November and December, the integrator was moving 747Fs through RFD, in addition to the smaller jets that routinely call.And Amazon, which operates a 200,000 sq ft facility at the airport with ramp space for up to 10 freighters, frequently changes aircraft gauge and frequencies, which makes it hard to keep track of its traffic volume, said Ken Ryan, the airport’s director of cargo.RFD has handled cargo charters for years, but struggled to anchor a regular international heavy cargo operation. That changed in September, when Senator International extended one of its dedicated transatlantic freighter runs with 747-400Fs between Hahn in Germany and Spartanburg-Greenville to RFD on a weekly basis, using it as its US Midwest hub.And Mr Ryan did not have to wait long for another international freighter link: on behalf of DB Schenker, National Airlines started a weekly freighter operation late last month that connects Rockford with Tokyo and Seoul via Munich.Interest among forwarders and carriers has picked up, Mr Ryan said, adding he has had talks with several about flights to RFD. The rise of dedicated freighter flights to compensate for the lack of belly capacity has put a stronger focus on cargo airports, which has been reinforced by the congestion at many large gateways.“The majority of passenger hubs are overwhelmed, inside and outside the fence,” Mr Ryan said. “They seem to be taking a long time to recover freight.” He added that this was benefiting airports with a strong cargo focus, like Rickenbacker, Hahn or Liege.There has also been a shift in the nature of the work at RFD. Traditionally, ULDs of landed freight were trucked to forwarder locations, primarily Chicago O’Hare, about an hour away, but lately requests for cargo to be broken down at RFD have gone up, as have requests for build-up of ULDs for export. This shift has happened sooner than expected, said Mr Ryan.The two new cargo buildings should see more of this activity. The first will be run by handling firm Emery Air, but two-thirds of the facility will be sub-leased to Senator. And DB Schenker has committed to half of the space in the second building, according to Mr Ryan.So, with most of the space in these facilities already taken, he is looking at further expansion: the site has space for two more buildings, one with a footprint of 50,000 sq ft, the other with 150,000 sq ft. And down the road there is ample room for further expansion outside the airport perimeter, he said, adding that the fence could be pushed outward.There is also space for more aircraft parking. Currently there is a gap between the ramps used by UPS and Amazon that could be paved to create more parking spots.It remains to be seen how much of the dedicated freighter traffic will remain when bellyhold capacity finally returns to pre-pandemic levels, but for the time being, the signs point to more freighter activity at RFD. DB Schenker has announced it intends to mount another all-cargo routing that will alternate from Munich to RFD and Chennai.last_img read more

Gene drive gives scientists power to hijack evolution

first_img 320 CRISPR publications from 2002 to 2013 20022003200420052006200720082009201020112012201320142015 Scientists hope to use gene drive to stop mosquitos from spreading malaria and dengue. Valery Hache/AFP/Getty Images Kenneth Oye, Massachusetts Institute of Technology @sxbegle Austin Burt, Imperial College London In the LabGene drive gives scientists power to hijack evolution In an attempt to identify possible ramifications of gene drives, the National Academy of Sciences has assembled experts to assess current regulations and recommend whether additional oversight is needed. The committee held its first meeting in July and will hold its sixth this week.The Academy panel is expected to deliver a report next spring on, among other questions, biological techniques to reduce the risk of unintended consequences of gene drives.From the evidence so far, however, the science threatens to outrace efforts to ensure that gene-drive research is conducted safely. For one thing, the key molecular tools are as easily available as tea cosies on Etsy. “In terms of parts you can buy on eBay,” Esvelt said, “probably for less than $10,000 you could” construct a gene drive. Flouting DarwinTwo groundbreaking discoveries facilitated the surge in gene-drive experiments. One was theoretical. In 2003 evolutionary biologist Austin Burt of Imperial College London outlined an ingenious way to flout the laws of both inheritance and evolution.For more than a century, geneticists have known that, in organisms that pair up to reproduce, most genes have a 50-50 chance of being inherited, as Gregor Mendel famously showed in the 19th century with pea plants. Thanks to Mendelian inheritance, offspring carry either mom or dad’s version of the gene for, say, digesting lactose. Similarly, evolutionary biologists have known since Charles Darwin that natural selection eliminates inherited traits that reduce organisms’ fitness, such as mosquitoes’ susceptibility to the insecticide DDT.Burt described how gene drive can outsmart both Mendel and Darwin. In nature, he noted, some genes copy themselves into multiple places in a genome. Like a dishonest candidate stuffing the ballot box, these extra copies increase a gene’s odds of “winning” — being inherited. Other genes destroy related ones, also ensuring their transmission into the next generation.Although this natural gene drive is unpredictable and scattershot, Burt showed that certain tricks of molecular biology could achieve the same results: causing a gene to be inherited by many more organisms through many generations than standard genetics and natural selection allow. But because the then-available laboratory tricks were inefficient and cumbersome, his idea lay on the shelf for nearly a decade.Things changed abruptly in 2012. In a paper that June, scientists demonstrated how it might be possible to efficiently edit genes — that is, how to snip DNA at a particular spot and insert different DNA, a sort of biological version of word processing’s “find and replace.” This system, called CRISPR-Cas9, makes gene drive feasible. The 2012 paper used DNA in a test tube, but within six months researchers had built on it to edit genes in plants and animals.“Since the 1970s we’ve been able to genetically engineer individual organisms,” Burt told STAT. “With gene drive” made practical by CRISPR, “we could change the genetics of vast populations.” Tags CRISPRevolutiongene editing Sharon Begley But gene drives might also doom important species to extinction, change the course of evolution, and perhaps be used to create bioweapons. That has caught the attention of the United Nations office that oversees the biological weapons treaty as well as of the FBI’s Weapons of Mass Destruction directorate, as STAT reported last week. And a science meeting Thursday includes an eye-catching agenda item: gene drive’s potential for “entomological warfare.”  Meet ‘CRISPR’Volume 90%Press shift question mark to access a list of keyboard shortcutsKeyboard ShortcutsEnabledDisabledPlay/PauseSPACEIncrease Volume↑Decrease Volume↓Seek Forward→Seek Backward←Captions On/OffcFullscreen/Exit FullscreenfMute/UnmutemSeek %0-9 facebook twitter Email Link EmbedCopiedLive00:0000:5700:57  “Most gene drive research is being done in academic and government labs,” said Dr. Amesh Adalja, an infectious disease and biosecurity expert at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center who will be speaking at the National Academy of Sciences meeting. “But if a lone wolf or terrorist group is working on this, the regulation [of gene drives that government officials are contemplating] wouldn’t make any difference.”advertisement (Visualization by Talia Bronshtein/STAT; Source: PubMed)Drag timeline handles to filter CRISPR studies by year, and hover over or click the colored circles to see publication details.In their July 2014 paper, Esvelt and his colleagues described how gene drive would work: CRISPR would cut a target gene in a cell or cells, probably an egg or embryo. Cells would repair the cut by incorporating replacement DNA, also carried by CRISPR, resulting in an edited genome. Unlike in traditional genetic engineering, where researchers slip a foreign gene into an organism’s genome and call it a day, for gene drive they would insert, along with the replacement gene, what is essentially a molecular Xerox machine.The copier would reproduce the replacement gene in such a way that almost every descendant of the engineered organism would inherit two copies of the introduced gene. After enough generations (exactly how many depends on factors such as generation length and how many organisms are engineered), every descendant would carry the foreign gene.CRISPR-aided gene drive might be harnessed to target insect-borne disease. If CRISPR replaced the gene in mosquitoes that lets them detect the odor of people, and substituted a dud, and if gene drive ensured the dud was carried by both chromosomes, then every offspring would have a double dose of the dud. Eventual result: mosquitoes that can’t smell humans, reducing their odds of biting. Modifying malaria-carrying mosquitoes in this way could reduce the spread of a disease that kills an estimated 600,000 people every year.This possibility was purely speculative when Esvelt and his colleagues outlined it in the summer of 2014. No one had used CRISPR-aided gene drive in mosquitoes or any other insect. Then the fruit-fly paper landed.‘We were stunned’Graduate student Valentino Gantz of the University of California, San Diego and his advisor, biologist Ethan Bier, didn’t set out to create a gene drive. Gantz was studying which genes produce the intricate vein patterns in the wings of fruit flies. To do that, he needed to create a menagerie of mutants, including some flies with multiple mutations — painstaking, time-consuming work.“We thought, wouldn’t it be cool if you could come up with a trick that would give you the mutants you wanted in one generation?” Bier recalled. That trick was CRISPR. In the summer of 2014, Gantz used CRISPR to edit wing-vein genes. “We immediately understood that [the edited gene] could potentially propagate in a way that would lead to gene drive,” Bier said.They therefore took precautions. Gantz conducted the experiment behind five sets of locked doors that required fingerprint identification to open. He housed the flies in a tube inside a tube inside a box. “And we thought it would be safer if I worked alone,” Gantz said, to minimize the chance that a mutant fly the size of a pinhead would hitch a ride on a human into the wilds of southern California.Among the changes Gantz inserted in his flies with CRISPR was a gene for yellow pigmentation. That would be easier to spot than a wing-vein pattern. Gantz started the experiments in late November 2014. On Dec. 18 he saw the first signs of success: flies born from the CRISPR-modified embryos were yellow. He had edited the embryos’ genomes. Senior Writer, Science and Discovery (1956-2021) Sharon covered science and discovery.center_img “Man, are things moving fast.” “With gene drive, we could change the genetics of vast populations.” Hence Esvelt’s alarm that he had never heard of the authors of the fruit-fly study, though he had spent weeks tracking down every scientist he thought was working on gene drives to get them to agree to proceed carefully. “I was kicking myself,” Esvelt said.No experiments using gene drives in vertebrates, let alone humans, are known to be underway. But a growing number of labs are working with the technology in about six species, estimated Esvelt, a research fellow at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering in Boston. As political scientist Kenneth Oye of MIT put it, “Man, are things moving fast.”How fast?In July 2014, Esvelt’s group, led by Harvard biologist George Church, laid out in the journal eLife the theoretical uses of gene drives and how to construct them using the powerful new molecular technique called CRISPR. They knew of no lab doing such work.By January, Esvelt and colleagues reported creating gene drives in yeast, getting more than 99 percent inheritance; they’re also making gene drives in roundworms, partly to work out the basic recipe and partly in hopes that gene drives might eliminate diseases caused by the creatures.In March, the fruit-fly scientists published the paper that shocked Esvelt. Then came the real test, determining whether the recessive yellow gene drove out dominant genes for other colors. Gantz mated the yellow flies to unedited ones. Their progeny hatched last Dec. 28. Nearly all — 97 percent — were yellow. It was an astonishing violation of the textbook laws of inheritance, which say only one in four offspring should express the recessive yellow trait. He had constructed a gene drive.“We were stunned,” Bier recalled. The CRISPR-based gene-drive system “completely eliminated Mendelian constraints. It will revolutionize genetics.” What is a gene drive?Volume 90%Press shift question mark to access a list of keyboard shortcutsKeyboard ShortcutsEnabledDisabledPlay/PauseSPACEIncrease Volume↑Decrease Volume↓Seek Forward→Seek Backward←Captions On/OffcFullscreen/Exit FullscreenfMute/UnmutemSeek %0-9 facebook twitter Email Link EmbedCopiedLive00:0001:4101:41  At a 97 percent rate of inheritance, one lone mosquito carrying an edited gene that prevents it from spreading malaria could make an entire population of mosquitoes resistant to the disease in less than a year.Scientists had been trying to genetically engineer mosquitoes to stop spreading malaria for nearly two decades, without much success. A leader in that effort has been biologist Anthony James of the University of California, Irvine. In 2012, James’s team developed a mosquito that, thanks to a genetic tweak, produced antibodies against the malaria microbe, destroying it before it could be transmitted to the mosquito’s next blood meal. His lab has accomplished similar feats with mosquitoes that carry the dengue virus, but the genetic engineering has been inefficient and laborious.Once the UCSD duo had their gene-drive flies, they e-mailed James. “Holy s***!” James replied. “Can we do it in mosquitoes?”To find out, the two labs are collaborating. They’re using CRISPR to edit a mosquito genome to block the insect from spreading malaria or dengue, and gene drive to make every descendant inherit the trait. The team declined to divulge results, but James called them “promising.”“We think we can make it so it’s completely impossible for a mosquito to propagate malaria,” Bier said.In London, Burt and fellow Imperial College London biologist Andrea Crisanti are also trying to harness gene drive to disarm malaria mosquitoes. “We’re mostly focused on disrupting reproduction,” Burt said. Using an enzyme that targets some 200 sites on the X chromosomes in mosquito eggs, the team has managed to shred X chromosomes so thoroughly “that it’s too much for the cell to repair,” Burt said. The result: eggs carry only the Y chromosome, which makes sons, and no X, which makes daughters.So far, they have gotten 95 percent sons using an editing tool other than CRISPR. And in a paper submitted to a journal, they will report that “CRISPR works in Anopheles,” the malaria-carrying mosquito, Crisanti said. “It speeds up” genome editing and gene drive “quite a bit.”Whether other labs are secretly developing gene drives is, of course, impossible to say. Esvelt has made it his mission to keep that from happening. “I strongly believe we have a moral obligation to let others know when our research could directly impact their lives, and gene drives are a poster child when it comes to shared impact,” he said. “Working with community guidance is arguably the only ethical way to proceed.”Unintended consequencesEsvelt heard about the UCSD paper a few days before it was published in Science last March. He immediately Skyped Bier to ask what precautions he had taken.When Bier told him about the tube-in-a-tube-in-a-box confinement, Esvelt asked whether it was earthquake-proof. “I’ve thrown these things against walls, and still, the caps [on the tubes] don’t come off,” Bier recalled saying. “Even in an earthquake … This is not some kind of monster that can’t be confined.”Esvelt wasn’t so sure Bier’s precautions were adequate. The UCSD scientists’ confinement system was “problematic,” he said. It “encourages other laboratories to do the same, which will eventually lead to an accidental release.” Even if such an accident had no ecological consequences, he added, it would make scientists seem like careless DNA cowboys, perhaps leading to calls to shut down gene-drive research.Esvelt stepped up his efforts to get labs to agree to specific biosafety steps to prevent the escape of mutant organisms carrying gene drives, including inserting a sort of biological kill switch. The resulting letter was published in the journal Science in July with 27 signatories, including researchers from the only teams that have reported using CRISPR-aided gene drives — at the Wyss and at UCSD. Taking their own advice, Esvelt and Church, who are authors of a patent filed on one form of gene drive, reported Monday that they had constructed biological machinery able to “overwrite” a CRISPR gene drive in laboratory yeast. Although the original gene drive remains in the organisms, it’s inactive.Such reversibility, they say, could minimize the chance of gene drives released into the wild turning into an ecological disaster. That’s crucial, especially since releasing into the wild is exactly how gene drives could accomplish what their proponents envision. On the afternoon that Esvelt told STAT about his shock at the unexpected UCSD paper, he’d spent the morning with scientists from Australia asking whether gene drive could rid the island of cane toads. Introduced to Australia in 1935 to control beetles that were devouring sugarcane crops, the poisonous predators (native to South America) have been spreading unchecked. Toxic to birds, the voracious toads feed on insects and crowd out native species. Where poisoning, hunting, freezing, and whacking have failed, gene drive might succeed. One idea would be to drive a gene that makes the toads die when they’re exposed to an otherwise-harmless compound. Gene drive might similarly eliminate other invasive species, including the zebra mussels clogging the Great Lakes, the Asian carp driving native species out of America’s waterways, and the pythons that have obliterated raccoons and rabbits in Florida’s Everglades.While that may sound ecologically worthwhile, intervening in nature seldom goes as planned. For one thing, these invasive species are also established species, said environmental biologist Todd Kuiken of the Woodrow Wilson Center. “I don’t think we have a good way to evaluate what happens if we remove a species from a system as large as” the Great Lakes, let alone Australia, he said.Nor do scientists know what else, besides what they intend, gene drive might affect in the wild. Genes don’t necessarily stay put. Through a process called horizontal transfer, they can jump from one organism to another, even an unrelated species. A gene drive that kills cane toads could jump to a benign creature. A gene drive that prevents locusts from swarming, benefitting farmers, might jump to bees, threatening their ability to pollinate and produce honey. “We need to understand what would happen if gene drive transferred into other species,” Kuiken said.Perhaps the greatest worry is a reiteration of Esvelt’s “who are these guys?” experience. With the rise of do-it-yourself biologists operating outside institutions, it’s anyone’s guess what they’re doing.MIT’s Oye, for instance, raises the “most extreme scenario” of bioterrorists altering the genomes of disease-causing organisms to make them more lethal or more infectious, and using gene drives to spread that trait throughout a population.“I’m not saying that any decent, sensible human being would want to do it,” Oye said, “but it is possible.” About the Author Reprints Experts debate: Are we playing with fire when we edit human genes? By Sharon Begley Nov. 17, 2015 Reprints [email protected] As soon as Harvard biologist Kevin Esvelt began reading the scientific paper, he had a desperate question: Who are these guys? The authors had used a controversial new molecular technique to try to force a certain gene to be inherited by all of a fruit fly’s offspring. Confounding a basic principle of genetics, they had succeeded. Nearly every one of the young flies carried the gene, for yellow pigmentation. While turning a bunch of flies yellow may sound innocuous, “gene drives” — as biologists call the cellular machinery that guarantees inheritance — have enormous potential promise as well as risks. Because gene drives could rapidly propagate novel DNA through an entire population in the wild, they could be used, proponents say, to eradicate marauders such as the cane toads overrunning Australia. They might make mosquitoes resistant to the microbes that cause malaria or dengue fever, or even block the gene that makes locusts swarm, saving millions of tons of crops every year. advertisement Related:last_img read more

Could President Trump receive an experimental coronavirus treatment? Should he?

first_img About the Authors Reprints Newsletters Sign up for Daily Recap A roundup of STAT’s top stories of the day. Drew Angerer/Getty Images Senior Writer, Biotech Adam is STAT’s national biotech columnist, reporting on the intersection of biotech and Wall Street. He’s also a co-host of “The Readout LOUD” podcast. From the start of his administration, Trump has argued that patients suffering from potentially deadly diseases should have earlier access to experimental drugs. In May, Trump veered outside the bounds of normal medical practice by taking hydroxychloroquine in hopes the malaria drug would prevent Covid-19 infection, based not on solid scientific evidence but on letters sent to him by supporters who told him the drug worked to ward off the virus.There is also a difficult reality: The few drugs that have been proven to have an effect on Covid-19 are not for patients who are just starting to show symptoms, but for those who need to be hospitalized.advertisement Scott Gottlieb, who served as the commissioner of the FDA earlier in Trump’s term, said he thinks it would be “reasonable to consider” giving him remdesivir.“If the reports are true that the president is symptomatic, I think it would be reasonable to consider giving him remdesivir, given that we have good information about that drug’s profile, and this is the president of the United States, so we want to lean forward on getting him the best possible care,” Gottlieb said.Gottlieb acknowledged that remdesivir, technically, is cleared only for patients who are in the hospital, so this would be “off-label,” but he said that its safety profile is well-understood and it’s “reasonable” to believe that it could help patients earlier in their illness. Remdesivir, explainedVolume 90%Press shift question mark to access a list of keyboard shortcutsKeyboard ShortcutsEnabledDisabledPlay/PauseSPACEIncrease Volume↑Decrease Volume↓Seek Forward→Seek Backward←Captions On/OffcFullscreen/Exit FullscreenfMute/UnmutemSeek %0-9 facebook twitter Email Link EmbedCopiedLive00:0001:0101:01  How remdesivir works. Alex Hogan/STAT What if Trump’s medical team wants to go further? Another option would be the experimental monoclonal antibodies being developed by Eli Lilly and Regeneron, which are considered among the more promising experimental therapies. Both companies have said they plan to discuss the possibility of an emergency use authorization with the FDA. But many experts see these as too early to give in this situation.Eli Lilly said Sept. 16 that some doses of its monoclonal antibody seemed to speed the reduction of levels of the virus in patients’ Covid tests, and might be helping prevent hospitalization. On Sept. 29, Regeneron said that its monoclonal antibody cocktail also lowered virus levels, especially in patients who were not producing their own natural antibodies. But large-scale tests of the drugs are ongoing, and many experts have said it is too early to grant them emergency use authorization.“I think the antibody drugs are too early along in their development to consider them at this point,” Gottlieb said, “especially since there are drugs like remdesivir where we have much more information about its application in this setting.” Privacy Policy By Matthew Herper and Adam Feuerstein Oct. 2, 2020 Reprints Matthew Herper PoliticsCould President Trump receive an experimental coronavirus treatment? Should he? Please enter a valid email address. @matthewherper Related: Senior Writer, Medicine, Editorial Director of Events Matthew covers medical innovation — both its promise and its perils. [email protected] Editor’s note: After this story was posted, the White House announced that President Trump was treated with an experimental Regeneron antibody treatment.President Trump may be just another of the 7 million Americans infected with Covid-19. But he is also the most powerful person in the world — which means that more than any other patient, he could use extraordinary measures to treat the virus with unapproved therapies.Will he? Should he?advertisement @adamfeuerstein Adam Feuerstein “When the president calls, it’s hard to say no, but it’s also important to stay within the process. Just as the president is not above the law, he is not above any type of regulatory oversight and protection when it comes to experimental medicines,” said Peter Pitts, former associate commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration and president of the Center for Medicine in the Public Interest.Still, experts told STAT that at least one drug, remdesivir, made by Gilead Sciences and granted an emergency use authorization by the FDA, is a likely candidate to offer the president, based on medical practice. Leave this field empty if you’re human: Other drugs that have been proven to have a benefit in treating the coronavirus — including steroids, which have had the most dramatic effect, and baricitinib, an Eli Lilly arthritis drug — would be used only much further along in the disease.Dexamethasone, a widely available steroid, has proved to improve the odds of survival for patients hospitalized with Covid-19. But there are no data to support using the drug for patients with mild, early-stage disease like Trump, said Nahid Bhadelia, an infectious disease physician and medical director of the Special Pathogens Unit at the Boston University School of Medicine. And it may do more harm than good.“You don’t want to give it to a patient too early,” Bhadelia said. “It’s a blunt instrument, so it may suppress a good immune response as well as a bad one.”If Trump’s medical team did want to push for a drug that was more experimental and was not on the market, they could likely do so through a single-patient investigational new drug application, or IND. In the case of a president, the FDA might grant such an application in a matter of hours, and it is likely that a manufacturer would make a drug available.But the effort to get access could also become political. “They could contact the company and work on ‘right-to-try’ access,” Pitts said, referring to legislation that permits patients easier access to experimental medicines. “The president talks a lot about right to try, so maybe this is an opportunity to see how that works on the executive level.”It’s not simply a question of whether the president should have access to medicines that are not approved for other people, though. It’s a question of whether taking an unproven treatment is wise. Doctor’s call this “the therapeutic misconception” — the idea that a patient should have a treatment, even when sometimes it is better to do nothing.“There are a host of unproven therapies for Covid-19 that are recommended by various clinicians and researchers,” said Robert Califf, who served as the FDA commissioner during the final years of the Obama administration.“It’s important to remember that the vast majority of drugs that enter testing have unexpected toxicity or turn out to be ineffective or have higher risk than benefit,” said Califf, who is now the head of clinical policy and strategy for Verily and Google Health. “In addition, any of the proposed therapies that are not being developed under FDA oversight are modern snake oils.” Even medicines that work for some people can be detrimental for other patients. The antibodies, he said, “are not definitively beneficial,” especially if someone is producing antibodies against their disease.There are other ways that the decision of how to treat the president could become political. Members of the administration, including economic adviser Peter Navarro, have continued to push for the benefit of hydroxychloroquine in treating Covid-19. President Trump called convalescent plasma, a treatment made from the blood of recovered patients, a “very historic breakthrough in our fight against the China virus” when it received a controversial emergency use authorization in August. But studies showed its benefits were underwhelming. In addition, supplies of the plasma are limited, and it’s recommended mainly for hospitalized patients.It’s possible that the president could want access to either, or to a cocktail of hydroxychloroquine, the antibiotic azithromycin, and the mineral zinc, which has been much talked about on the internet despite limited evidence of efficacy and side effects including diarrhea and potential heart risks.In May, explaining his daily regimen of hydroxychloroquine plus zinc, Trump told reporters during a meeting in the White House State Dining Room: “I’ve taken it for a week and a half now and I’m still here. What do you have to lose?”Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, the president has, through his comments, made many decisions political. The question is whether that will happen with his own treatment decisions.Damian Garde contributed to this story. Tags CoronavirusWhite House President Trump has tested positive for coronavirus [email protected] last_img read more

Remember the Game: Portlaoise claim U-17 football honours in 2001

first_img 2020 U-15 ‘B’ glory for Ballyroan-Abbey following six point win over Killeshin GAA Facebook Facebook Twitter WhatsApp WhatsApp Portlaoise who defeated Mountmellick in the 2000 U-17 ‘A’ Final at O’Moore Park, Portlaoise in April 2001.Photo: Alf Harvey. There’s an amount of GAA competitions that struggle to fit into the calendar year – and the old U-17 championship was one of those back at the turn of the milennium.A winter competition it got delayed in 2000 and carried over into the spring of 2001.When it finally got whittled down to two teams – it was Portlaoise and Mountmellick that were left standing.Mountmellick were strong at that age group and had won the corresponding U-14 and U-16 titles.But Portlaoise had a strong group of players and they proved far too good for Mountmellick in the decider.Among Portlaoise’s team were many players who would go on to play at a higher level.Brian Mulligan, John Delaney, Tommy Fitzgerald, Barry Fitzgerald, Peter McNulty (RIP) and Sean Cotter all went on to win Laois senior medals with the club while Alan Kingsley and Tadhg Murphy excelled at rugby and soccer respectively with Kingsley playing with Garryowen and Young Munster in Limerick and Murphy playing League of Ireland soccer.Many of the Mountmellick players would enjoy decent adult careers too – with the likes of Shane Conlon, Mark Turner, Michael Lawlor, David Ryan, Donnachadh O’Mahony and Darragh Hanlon all winning intermediate football medals in 2006 with the club.Mountmellick also had players from Kilcavan involved – David Heneghan, Paddy Gorry and Declan Conroy all starting.While Portlaoise easily won this particular final, they’d suffer final disappointment later that year when a combination known as St John Bosco’s (Crettyard, Spink and Ballinakill) beat them in the minor final.Sadly, a player from both teams has since passed away – Conor Davis from Mountmellick in 2002 and Peter McNulty in 2010.Alan Kingsley comes out of defence for Portlaoise in the 2000 U-17 finalPORTLAOISE: Brian Farrell; Owen Hughes, John Delaney, Owen Fingleton; Alan Kingsley, Brian Mulligan, Brian Devaney; Tadhg Murphy, Tommy Fitzgerald; Peter McNulty, Sean Tobin, Liam Phelan; Barry Fitzgerald, Keith Lalor, Sean Browne. Subs: Sean Cotter, Robert Coady, Keith Hughes, Danny O’Shea, Kieran DalyMOUNTMELLICK: Ross Morrissey; Ciaran O’Mahony, Conor Davis, Mark Turner; K Healion, David Ryan, David Heneghan; Shane Conlon, Michael Lawlor; Declan Conroy, Donnachadh O’Mahony, Alan O’Toole; Paddy Gorry, Mark Reddin, Dean Goode. Subs: Darragh HanlonThe Mountmellick U-17 team in April 2001SEE ALSO – Eight iconic Portlaoise structures that are no longer with us Previous articleRESULT: Laois minor camogie are through to the All-Ireland finalNext articlePicky points the way as Clough-Ballacolla defeat Castletown to maintain 100% start LaoisToday Reporter Here are all of Wednesday’s Laois GAA results GAA Kelly and Farrell lead the way as St Joseph’s claim 2020 U-15 glory Pinterest Pinterest RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR TAGS2001MountmellickMountmellick v PortlaoisePortlaoise GAA Remember the Game: Portlaoise claim U-17 football honours in 2001 GAA Twitter By LaoisToday Reporter – 20th April 2019 Home We Are Laois Remember the Game Remember the Game: Portlaoise claim U-17 football honours in 2001 We Are LaoisRemember the Gamelast_img read more

CSA guidance on robo-advisors focuses on human involvement

first_img Share this article and your comments with peers on social media U.S. style robo-advisor services that incorporate little to no human involvement may not pass muster with Canada’s securities regulators. The Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) published new guidance on Thursday for portfolio managers that provide online advice — typically a low-cost service aimed at cost-conscious retail investors — that sets out the ways that firms can provide that advice while remaining in compliance with regulatory requirements. Facebook LinkedIn Twitter Robo-advice growing slowly in Europe Related news James Langton SEC settles with two robo-advisors New Zealand regulator proposes exemption to law to allow robo-advisors Keywords Robo-advisors The CSA stresses that the registration requirements are the same for all portfolio managers, whether they operate a traditional bricks and mortar model, or an online model. There is no “online advice” exemption, it says, noting that its rules aim to be “technology neutral.” So far, the online advice platforms that have been granted registration in Canada “utilize an online platform for efficiency,” but also have registered advising reps (ARs) actively involved in decision-making, the CSA notice says. “These platforms use electronic questionnaires for the know-your-client (KYC) information gathering process, but an AR is responsible for determining that sufficient KYC information has been gathered to support investment suitability determinations for a client,” the CSA notice says. “Often, model portfolios are created using algorithmic software although, again, an AR has responsibility for the suitability of each client’s investments.” The CSA says in its notice that it “would need to carefully consider” whether a portfolio manager could fully comply with its regulatory obligations if it sought to use an online advice platform that is materially different from this model. In particular, the CSA notes that the online advisors that have been approved in Canada are not the same as the robo-advisors that operate in the U.S., which have little to no human involvement. Furthermore, the models that have been approved in Canada use relatively simple, straightforward products, the regulators stress: “To date, we have only approved online advisors with … relatively simple product offerings. We believe portfolios with uncomplicated asset-allocation models, made up of relatively basic ETFs or mutual funds, are readily understood by most investors and determining whether they are suitable for a given investor is a comparatively straight-forward exercise.” The CSA recommends that firms contemplating either launching, or switching to an online advice model contact CSA staff at an early stage, “particularly if they propose to conduct them in a manner materially different from the model described in this notice.” So far, regulators haven’t placed any added conditions on firms that operate online models, but that could change as firms try to innovate if their plans differ significantly from the models that have been approved so far. “We will consider whether terms and conditions will be appropriate for different operating models as they develop over time,” the CSA notice says. The regulators also note that their review of a firm’s plans for online advice will focus specifically on the firm’s KYC and suitability determination processes. Other areas of concern include reviewing the composition of the different investor profiles and model portfolios that will be used for clients, they say. Rise of robo-advisors in mortgage business could have an impact last_img read more

Birth Registration Initiative Going Well

first_imgBirth Registration Initiative Going Well UncategorizedApril 4, 2007 Advertisements RelatedBirth Registration Initiative Going Well RelatedBirth Registration Initiative Going Wellcenter_img FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmail More than 90 per cent of all babies registered since January 1 of this year, now have their fathers’ names on their birth certificates.This announcement was made by Minister of Health, Horace Dalley, at the official launch of Children’s Expo 2007 by the Jamaica Foundation for Children (JFC), at the Hilton Kingston Hotel yesterday (April 3).On January 1 the Ministry of Health launched an initiative, spearheaded by the Registrar General’s Department (RGD), to ensure that more babies are registered with their fathers’ names on their birth certificates.The emphasis on greater father involvement is the focus of this year’s Children’s Expo and National Child Month (May) activities, which are being celebrated under the theme: ‘Fathers, Your children Need You’.Advocating greater protection for the nation’s children, Mr. Dalley commended caring fathers, and reinforced the Government’s mandate to keep the nation’s children at “centrestage of our activities.” He urged all stakeholders responsible for the protection and safety of children to “never lose steam.” “Let us never ever take the steam out of the love and the protection of our children – is the simple message I have to say to you today,” he told volunteers and sponsors at the launch.Citing recent cases of children who have died because of neglect or abuse, Mr. Dalley urged the Child Development Agency (CDA) and children advocates to “be firm in going after and prosecuting those parents who have neglected their children. We must do something to signal our seriousness in order to ensure that our children are protected”.The Minister said the government has been a strong advocate for the country’s children since the United Nations (UN) earliest interventions. “When the UN declared the International Year of the Child, we did not hesitate to fully endorse those declarations and put a team together to go to the Convention to put together the Rights of the Child. I happily remember when we ratified the Convention without much lobbying from any grouping. The government felt it necessary to indicate our readiness to put children at the centrepiece of our activities,” he added.He lauded the work of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and Community-Based Organizations which have collaborated with the government on child protection policies and helped to shape and communicate messages for the drug abuse and HIV/AIDS prevention projects.Mr. Dalley appealed to students in the audience to keep their standards high. “Nothing is absolutely wrong with being on the decent course, nothing is wrong with being kind and gentle, nothing in being courteous, to have respect for adults, your teacher and people in authority. That’s the way we want you to grow,” he said.Communications Officer for the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Jamaica, Monica Dias said that this year’s expo “should be used to expose adults to new ways of thinking about children and changing parenting practices.”“UNICEF is concerned that although the family is the most protective and enabling environment for the Jamaican child to grow up in, to develop and to acquire life skills, parents do not spend enough time sharing with their children and teaching moral values, and fathers especially are known for this, so we are very glad for the theme of the Children’s Expo this year,” she noted.Meanwhile, Chairman of the National Child Month Committee, Dr. Pauline Mullings said that, “it is the desire of the Committee that this theme will indeed create an awareness in our men to step up, rise up to be the kind of men they are called to be.”The JFC’s Chairman, Richard Lumsden said that the children’s expo and National Child Month (May) activities are opportunities to focus the nation’s attention on issues affecting children, share information that is relevant to their care and protection and “to dedicate ourselves to the on-going efforts that we may make throughout the rest of the year to make this country a better place for all our families and children.”The Children’s Expo, said to be the largest annual child participation event in Jamaica and the English-speaking Caribbean, will be held at the National Arena from Thursday, May 10 to Sunday, May 13.The Foundation is putting in tighter crowd control measures this year to ensure the safety and comfort of students and teachers attending the event. No tickets will be sold at the gate. Instead, attendees will have to purchase pre-sold tickets from their schools, which will be allotted a maximum of 100 tickets each. Tickets will be on sale up to May 8.Patrons at the expo can expect interactive booths, a cyber centre, book fair, and a variety of entertainment. Fora on a range of relevant topics will also be a highlight this year. RelatedBirth Registration Initiative Going Welllast_img read more

Gov’t Concerned about Continued Drought

first_imgRelatedGov’t Concerned about Continued Drought Gov’t Concerned about Continued Drought Office of the Prime MinisterApril 1, 2010 RelatedGov’t Concerned about Continued Drought FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmail Minister with responsibility for Information, Telecommunications and Special Projects, Hon. Daryl Vaz, says that the current drought is a major concern to the Government.“Cabinet continues to monitor the matter and all available options are being explored at this time,” Mr. Vaz assured the public, as he addressed the issue at Wednesday’s (March 31) Post Cabinet press briefing at Jamaica House.He said that Minister of Water and Housing, Dr. Horace Chang, will make some form of statement, in terms of the situation and what plans are expected, based on the fact that the drought is likely to continue for sometime. He also stated that Dr. Chang had submitted to Cabinet a report outlining the effects of the drought conditions on the island.“The report informed that below average rainfall continued to affect most of Jamaica over the period August 2009 to February 2010, resulting in a meteorological drought across selected parishes. This has affected both irrigation and public water supply systems,” Mr. Vaz explained.He also noted that, based on the November monthly bulletin from the Meteorological Service, the El Nino phenomenon, which is responsible for the current drought, was expected to last, at least, until April.center_img Advertisements RelatedGov’t Concerned about Continued Droughtlast_img read more

RISE Life Looking to Expand Reach

first_imgFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmail RISE Life Management Services Limited is looking to expand its programmes to assist more at-risk youth and to extend its reach outside of the corporate area.“Because our focus is the at-risk youth and their family members, we would like to provide an opportunity for more and more young people, who are not able to get jobs on their own or need assistance with their education,” says Executive Director of RISE Life, Sonita Abrahams.She tells JIS News that a key aim is to expand the after school programme, which caters to children age eight to 14 years. “We need areas to be fixed-up so that we can accommodate more children,” she says.Currently, some 250 children are involved in the programme, who receive assistance with their home work, are taught life skills, and those who are not performing at grade level, receive remedial assistance.“We see the at-risk child at the centre of all we do and so our main objective is to provide as many services as possible so that that child will be fully prepared to make healthy life choices for themselves,” Mrs. Abrahams says.“We want to get them off the street and into a safe environment where they can get the assistance that they need with their homework to pass their Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT),” she notes.She adds that, “we also want to be able to bring in parents (in an environment where) where they can learn how to be better parents, how to nurture their children, how to sit with their children and do homework.”Mrs. Abrahams says that overtime it is the aim of RISE Life to expand its reach beyond Kingston and into the rural areas.RISE (Reaching Individuals through Skills and Education) Life is a non-governmental, non-profit organisation, which was established in 1990 as Addiction Alert, primarily to assist persons suffering from substance abuse addiction.Over the years, the organisation expanded its programmes to include educational, vocational and health-related interventions for high-risk individuals in inner-city Kingston and in 1995, a decision was made to change the name to reflect the scope of the organisation’s work.“We decided to change the name to RISE because under Addition Alert, people thought that all that we did was work with addiction disorders and this is not so,” Mrs. Abrahams says.From its 57 East Street downtown Kingston location, the agency assist scores of young people, who are in danger of becoming involved in crime, violence, and drug abuse, and persons struggling with substance abuse.It reaches young people in some of the most volatile inner-city communities such as Drewsland, Waterhouse, Tower Hill, Allman Town, Parade Gardens and Fletcher’s Land, providing them with the educational, social and life management skills that will help them to deal with potential social problems and develop healthy behaviour patterns, so that they can live fulfilling and productive lives.Among the services offered, which are free of cost, are: the prevention and treatment of addictive disorders; violence, drug, and HIV/AIDS prevention programmes; remedial education and life skills training; parenting programmes; social and health-related services; and HEART/NTA accredited vocational skills training.About 50 persons are currently benefitting from training in customer service at the centre.As it relates to addictive disorder services, Mrs. Abrahams says that the centre provides assistance to persons, who need help overcoming gambling, or the abuse of drugs or alcohol. Counselling is provided through the telephone lifeline service that operates from 8:00 a.m. until midnight.“That telephone number is 1-888-991-4146. Anyone having a gambling, drinking or drug problem can call in or a family member can call in,” she says. Persons are also referred to other institutions and programmes for further help.According to Mrs. Abrahams, RISE Life’s focus ties in with the country’s national development plan Vision 2030.“We really are here to provide opportunities for those who otherwise may not get the opportunities to move ahead in life,” she says.Last October, RISE Life Management Services Limited celebrated 20 years of service, honouring several directors and staff members, who have been stalwarts in the organisation. RelatedRISE Life Looking to Expand Reach RelatedRISE Life Looking to Expand Reach RISE Life Looking to Expand Reach CommunityJanuary 14, 2011Written by: Chris Pattersoncenter_img RelatedRISE Life Looking to Expand Reach Story HighlightsRISE Life Management Services Limited is looking to expand its programmes to assist more at-risk youth and to extend its reach outside of the corporate area.“Because our focus is the at-risk youth and their family members, we would like to provide an opportunity for more and more young people, who are not able to get jobs on their own or need assistance with their education,” says Executive Director of RISE Life, Sonita Abrahams.She tells JIS News that a key aim is to expand the after school programme, which caters to children age eight to 14 years. “We need areas to be fixed-up so that we can accommodate more children,” she says. Advertisementslast_img read more

At-Risk Youth Benefit From Skills Training

first_imgRelatedAt-Risk Youth Benefit From Skills Training At-Risk Youth Benefit From Skills Training CultureDecember 21, 2012 RelatedAt-Risk Youth Benefit From Skills Training RelatedAt-Risk Youth Benefit From Skills Trainingcenter_img FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmail More than 200 at-risk youths have completed a six month on-the-job training programme under the Citizen Security and Justice Programme II (CSJP II), in partnership with the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF). The participants, who are from a total of 25 CSJP communities in the Kingston Metropolitan Area (KMA) and Montego Bay, provided skilled labour to the JDF in the areas of auto mechanic, furniture making, air conditioning (A/C) and refrigeration, carpentry, plumbing, mechanical maintenance, electrical installation, welding, general construction, tiling, masonry, and steel fixing. At an awards ceremony held at the JDF’s Technical Training Institute at Up Park Camp on December 19, Minister of National Security, Hon. Peter Bunting, commended the participants for their achievement and encouraged them to make the best of the opportunities that come their way. He noted that the CSJP has been doing a tremendous job in positively impacting the lives of many at risk youths across Jamaica, by providing them with employment and educational opportunities. “The idea is to take at risk youth, the ones who the army or the police force might be confronting in a shoot out or be pursuing for some criminal offence, and divert those at risk youth into more constructive activities,” he said. Chief of Defence Staff, Major General Antony Anderson, also congratulated the participants on reaching this far, but advised them that this was only the beginning. “The road from here on will not be easy, but neither was the road before. But what you must realise is that if you push yourselves to achieve, you can do it,” he stated. He pointed out that the JDF is always willing to partner with and support organisations that are working for the development of Jamaica and its people.  “We (the JDF) would much prefer to engage with the nation’s youth in this sort of environment than in an environment where we are at odds with each other or in an internal security role. I think this sort of engagement makes it better for both of us, and so to that extent, it gave you an opportunity as interns to interact with the JDF. I hope that you have found that interaction interesting and uplifting and that it added something positive to your lives,” he stated.    In the meantime, Programme Manager, CSJP, Simeon Robinson, informed that the partnership with the JDF has been a success and has helped to transform the lives of many young people. He further noted that the CSJP was currently compiling another batch of participants for a second phase of the on-the-job training at the JDF. The training programme, which was funded by the CSJP at a sum of $43 million, aimed to address the issue of youth unemployment and delinquency by improving the social skills and employability of unattached youths. It also aimed to improve the relationship between the youths and the security forces. The interns were assigned to the engineering regiment of the JDF and were distributed across sites at Up Park Camp, and in Falmouth, Trelawny. Through strong guidance from the military, they provided a pool of skilled labour for the completion of selected projects across the regiment. CSJP, a programme of the National Security Ministry, seeks to contribute to crime and violence reduction in 50 volatile and vulnerable communities through the financing and implementation of prevention and strategic interventions to address identified individual, family and community risk factors. Advertisementslast_img read more