Month: <span>November 2020</span>

The new ordinance finally allows small organic producers to sell meat on the doorstep

first_imgThe state has finally passed a rulebook that allows small farms to process and sell meat and meat products on the doorstep, but also in the local market, thus equating the producers of our villages with those in the Union. Croatian radio-Television, which has so far hampered the development of organic production in Croatia.From now on, owners of small farms can sell their products, including milk and dairy products, on the local market, more specifically within a radius of fifty kilometers, directly to customers, which is a great opportunity for all organic producers.Also, the new ordinance has greatly simplified the entire procedure and reduced paperwork related to the issuance of certificates and registration of organic products. New quotas and incentives of the European Union have been announced for organic production, all with the aim of increasing production due to the high demand for organic products.According to the Central Bureau of Statistics, in 2015 the number of farms engaged in organic production was 3.061, while 320 also processed crops from organic farming and fattening. The total reported arable land last year exceeded 1,09 million hectares, but only 25.979 hectares with an eco-certificate were recorded as organic. We hope that things will change for the better because we certainly have the potential for organic production.last_img read more

Strengthening winter tourist traffic as a top priority in Dubrovnik for 2017

first_imgAt the 8th session of the Dubrovnik Tourist Board, the successful tourist year was summarized, the revised budget for 2016 was adopted, and the Work Program with the financial plan for 2017 was adopted, and members of the Assembly from the main tourism activities commented on overall tourism results and stressed the need for further systematic work on extending the season, praising the work of the Dubrovnik Tourist Board so far.At the beginning of the 8th regular assembly of the Dubrovnik Tourist Board, the President of the Dubrovnik Tourist Board, Mayor Andro Vlahušić, congratulated everyone, and the special present members of the Assembly and the Tourist Council on the record tourist year, the title of Dubrovnik – champion of tourism, and more than a million arrivals and more than three million nights even twenty days earlier. Director Romana Vlašić reported on the reasons for the preparation of the supplementary budget, which was adopted due to the rearrangement of costs by items, although there was no violation of the legal framework for the preparation of the supplementary budget.Presenting the Work Program and Financial Plan for 2017, Romana Vlašić also spoke about the most important projects of the Dubrovnik Tourist Board for 2016. She pointed out the introduction of a new E-visitor system, the arrangement of the Lopud Tourist Information Center, and the launch of a new promotional video for the Dubrovnik Film Festival. festivals awarded as many as fifteen times. She also mentioned a very important international EU project “From the Herzegovinian trails to the Elaphite Islands” which refers to the arrangement of hiking and biking trails and which is carried out for the Dubrovnik Tourist Board by DURA. She especially pointed out the co-financing of the flight from Frankfurt, for which Croatia Airlines applied through a tender for financing promotional campaigns of the private and public sector to the CNTB Head Office and in which the Dubrovnik Tourist Board invested 3,5 million kuna, while Turkish Airlines continued to fly from Istanbul to Dubrovnik, without direct financial support. “Off-line and on-line campaigns are underway on the UK and German markets, while together with Turkish Airlines we are participating in the promotion of Dubrovnik through advertisements and special campaigns, and next week there will be a special presentation of Dubrovnik in Istanbul” Romana Vlasic pointed out.DUBROVNIK TOURISM 2016 from Readmore Films on Vimeo.By the way, the tourist traffic of Dubrovnik recorded a stable growth, from the beginning of 2016 to November 30, there were 994.384 arrivals or 12 percent more, and 3.435.848 overnight stays or 13 percent more. The first on the top list of visitors are still guests from the United Kingdom, followed by Germans, USA, France, Croatia, Spain, Sweden, Finland, Australia and Italy. Positive achievements are recorded in November and at the beginning of December, which is a guarantee that the tourist year 2016 will end as an absolute record for Dubrovnik tourism.Danijel Marušić from the Dubrovnik Travel Agency addressed the assembly, announcing a new project to present the Nissan Micra, the second world car launch in two years, and new sports and tourism projects that should be implemented in the coming years. Hoteliers Ayhan Basci, director of the Rixos Libertas hotel, Ivan Karlić from the Valamar Riviera hotel, and Vlado Lučić from the ALH group also spoke, commenting on the season as extremely successful, noting further engagement in creating a winter tourist product. On behalf of travel agencies, Stanko Ljubić spoke about the extremely high competition among agencies with more than 1.100 operating in Croatia, congratulating everyone who contributed to the success of the season. Tonči Bitanga, president of the Guild of Caterers, referring to tax reform and increasing the VAT rate, stressed that caterers will have to work harder to achieve earlier results, urging the mayor to negotiate a reduction in the amount of public space leases.last_img read more

Ogulin Tourist Board announced a public tender for the director of the tourist office

first_imgThe Tourist Board of the City of Ogulin has announced a public tender for the selection and appointment of the director of the tourist office of the Tourist Board of the City of OgulinCandidates are expected, among other things, to enclose a tourist program for a one-year period and to have completed undergraduate university studies (bachelor’s degree) or professional study (professional bachelor / bachelor’s degree) or completed undergraduate and graduate university studies or integrated undergraduate and graduate university study (master / master) or specialist graduate professional study (professional specialist).The tender is open from 18.12.2016. to 09.01.2017, and the position requires at least three years of work experience in managerial positions.Take a look at the whole contest herelast_img read more

2nd regional fair of continental tourism “Wellcone” this year in Zagreb

first_imgSecond Regional Continental Tourism Fair Wellcone, organized by Zagorje International, this year will be held at the Zagreb Fair, on Wednesday, May 10, starting at 10 am.The fair will be of an exhibition nature, with an emphasis on the conference, which is a fundamental part of the fair, and whose theme is related to connecting tourist boards and other tourist entities of continental Croatia, or their joint approach to potential tourists and attracting small organized groups of tourists.The participants of the fair will be tourist entities from the area of ​​continental Croatia, from tourist boards (county and local), hotels, restaurants, wineries, rural tourism, family farms, tourist and travel agencies, counties and cities, museums, spas, shrines, etc. . Besides Wellcone for the area of ​​continental Croatia is a unique conference that will provide participants with a rich accompanying content – participation in lectures and panel discussions.The goal of the regional continental tourism fair Wellcone is to gather in one place the entire cultural and tourist offer of the continental part of Croatia, so that visitors to the fair can experience the offer of continental Croatia, which they could later include in their offers. “In order to achieve the above, we have included all entities for which tourism is the main or related activity, in order to jointly present continental Croatia as a destination that is offered to foreign and domestic tourists as an ideal, meeting all their criteria. ” Davorka Pogačić from the organization of the continental tourism fair “Wellcone” points out. ” Davorka Pogačić points out, in front of the continental tourism fair “Wellcone”Experience all the splendor of the cultural and tourist offer of continental Croatia at the second Regional Fair of Continental Tourism “Wellcone” , which will be held at the Zagreb Fair, on Wednesday, May 10, starting at 10 am. Those interested in participating in the Fair should fill in the application form on the official website of the Fair http://wellcone.hr/za-izlagace/, and for those who want to participate in the conference, they can confirm their arrival by filling out the application for free participation at http://wellcone.hr/za-posjetitelje-2/.last_img read more

Sounds can help develop speech and gestures in children with autism

first_imgShare on Facebook Children with ASC often have a good sense for details, and focusing on practising of sounds and syllables can therefore be used to achieve an interaction and to develop other linguistic areas.‘We wanted to find out whether an intervention focusing on typical traits of children with ASC could be used to develop various linguistic skills, such as syllables and sentence construction as well as intonation and gestures,’ says Pia Nordgren, author of the thesis.Nordgren followed two Swedish boys with ASC in three different studies. Minimal word pairs where only one speech sound differs between the words, for example p-b, were gradually introduced in order to increase the awareness of phonemic contrasts and symbolic representations of words. The results point to a temporal relationship between the phonological structure, the melody of speech and gestures. She also shows that auditory and visual perception can be an important precursor for language development in children with ASC. When the children listen and observe, there is a potential for development of interaction via speech and gestures.The hypothesis behind the thesis is based on theories about the human brain. The idea is that the areas of the brain responsible for the recognition and production of speech are stimulated by the listening and can therefore lead to the development of sound production in general, and also to more advanced syllable constructions and the use of new words. This could also affect the melody of speech, gestures and other areas of the child’s language.‘It also turned out that the children showed evidence of development in terms of the melody of speech, even though this was not an objective of the intervention. One child also developed his use of gestures, despite the fact that no direct training had been provided in this regard,’ says Nordgren.The results of the thesis support the notion of a mechanism in the brain (for example mirror neurons) that bridges the perception and production of speech. They also show that speech and gestures interact and that there is a strong relationship between them. Furthermore, it may be that children with ASC are aided by their hand movements in their development of language and speech.‘Further results indicate that children with ASC with very delayed speech may develop their speech as late as at age five. Thus, the method can be beneficial in interventions involving these kids and can also form a basis for further linguistic studies in the area,’ says Nordgren. LinkedIn Email Sharecenter_img Pinterest Share on Twitter Children with autism and other similar conditions often have difficulties in several areas of communication. A new doctoral thesis in linguistics from the University of Gothenburg shows that these children can develop speech, gestures and a sense of rhythm and melody by listening to various speech sounds.It is well-known that children with autism, Asperger’s syndrome, atypical autism and childhood disintegrative disorder (collectively referred to as autism spectrum condition, ASC) often have problems with gestures and the rhythm and melody of speech, yet studies in these areas remain scarce.One reason for studying the sound structure of speech is that the development in this domain takes place during early childhood when we learn to distinguish between the different speech sounds and syllables in the speech stream. This is often problematic in children with ASC, since they may find it difficult to sort sensory impressions, to listen and see and experience their bodies simultaneously. In addition, some sensory impressions can be perceived to be particularly strong.last_img read more

Female submissives have reduced empathy to others’ suffering, study on BDSM finds

first_imgEmail Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Female “subs” show reduced empathic responses to others’ suffering, according to preliminary research on BDSM practitioners.“Our behavioral and neuroimaging findings cast new light on the relationship between BDSM activities and empathy by yielding evidence that BDSM experience might moderate empathic tendencies an empathic neural responses,” the researchers wrote in their study, which was published in the journal Neuropsychologia.Two experiments conducted in the study indicated that women who adopted a submissive role (subs) also tended to be less empathetic. LinkedIncenter_img Share The first experiment of 365 Chinese adults found female subs showed decreased empathic ability compared with a control group of non-practitioners. But there was no difference between female “switches” — meaning women who switch between dominant and submissive roles — and the control group. Likewise, there was no difference in empathic ability between male practitioners and the control group.Both male and female practitioners, however, reported diminished feelings of subjective pain intensity when viewing facial expressions indicating pain.“These findings are consistent with previous findings suggesting that the reduction in empathic responses to others’ suffering was associated with frequent exposure to pain-inflicting situations,” the researchers explained.In the second experiment, the researchers monitored the brain activity of 64 Chinese women using an EEG while the women viewed images of painful and neutral facial expressions. This experiment found a “reliable reduction in empathic brain responses to perceived pain in others in the female submissive group.”The authors of the study cautioned that researchers are still in the beginning stages of understanding how BDSM impacts empathy.“Future research should aim to further clarify whether and how variety in practices and interpersonal relationships during BDSM practices shape individuals’ perceptions of others’ feelings.”The study, “Empathy in female submissive BDSM practitioners“, was authored by Siyang Luo and Xiao Zhang. Pinterestlast_img read more

Youth uniquely vulnerable to sleep disruption from screens

first_imgEmail Share on Facebook Because their eyes are not fully developed, children are more sensitive than adults to the impact of light on the internal body clock, the paper notes.“Light is our brain clock’s primary timekeeper,” LeBourgeois says, explaining that when light hits the retina in the eye in the evening hours it signals the circadian system to suppress the sleep-promoting hormone melatonin, delaying sleepiness and pushing back the timing of the body clock. “We know younger individuals have larger pupils, and their lenses are more transparent, so their exposure and sensitivity to that light is even greater than in older individuals.”The authors point to one study that found that when adults and school-age children were exposed to the same amount and intensity of light, the children’s melatonin levels fell twice as much. Studies have also shown that short-wavelength “blue light”–ubiquitous in hand-held electronics–is particularly potent at suppressing melatonin.“Through the young eyes of a child, exposure to a bright blue screen in the hours before bedtime is the perfect storm for both sleep and circadian disruption,” LeBourgeois says.The “psychological stimulation” of digital media – whether it’s exposure to violent media or texting with friends – can also sabotage sleep by boosting cognitive arousal, the authors note.The authors also note that children and adolescents who leave a phone or computer on overnight in their bedroom are significantly more likely to have trouble sleeping. More than 75 percent of youths have screen-based media in their bedrooms, 60 percent interact with them in the hour before bedtime, and 45 percent use their phones as an alarm.“Digital Media and Sleep in Childhood and Adolescence” is one of 22 papers included in todays’ first-ever supplemental issue of Pediatrics to focus on screen time and youth health. In addition to summarizing past research, the papers set goals for future research, including looking at the impact of screen time on toddlers and preschoolers.“The digital media landscape is evolving so quickly, we need our research to catch up just to answer some basic questions,” says Dr. Pam Hurst-Della Pietra, founder of the nonprofit Children and Screens, which helped orchestrate the issue.A recent report from Commonsense Media showed mobile media device use has tripled among young children since 2011, with kids under 8 using them 48 minutes per day and many parents incorporating digital media into the bedtime routine.This summer, LeBourgeois launched a five-year, $2.5 million study funded by the National Institutes of Health, in which her research team goes into the homes of volunteer families, exposes children to varying intensities of light and collects saliva samples to measure changes in melatonin levels and the timing of the biological clock. Ultimately, she believes the study will reveal how little light it takes to impact sleep and circadian rhythms in young children and lead to science-based guidelines for parents and device-makers.“The preschool years are a very sensitive time of development during which use of digital media is growing more and more pervasive,” she says. “There’s a lot we don’t know.” Share on Twitter LinkedIncenter_img With their brains, sleep patterns and even eyes still developing, children and adolescents are particularly vulnerable to the sleep-disrupting effects of screen time, according to a sweeping review of the literature published in the journal Pediatrics.“The vast majority of studies find that kids and teens who consume more screen-based media are more likely to experience sleep disruption,” says first author Monique LeBourgeois, an associate professor in the Department of Integrative Physiology at the University of Colorado Boulder. “With this paper, we wanted to go one step further by reviewing the studies that also point to the reasons why digital media adversely affects sleep.”Of more than five dozen studies looking at youths ages 5 to 17 from around the world, 90 percent have found that more screen time is associated with delayed bedtimes, fewer hours of sleep and poorer sleep quality, the authors report. Biological, neurological and environmental factors all play a role: Share Pinterestlast_img read more

Gene editing curbs autism symptoms in mice

first_imgThe researchers targeted Cas9 at a molecule called mGluR5 that is excitatory–it increases communications between neurons. The approach worked. The rodents’ digging behavior slowed by 30 percent and the leaping behavior was reduced by 70 percent. In the process, the research revealed valuable information about mGluR5’s function, Dr. Lee said.GroundbreakingThe team is believed to be the first to successfully edit a causal gene for autism in the brain and diminish symptoms, the authors wrote. Significantly, the effect is permanent, Dr. Lee said.“The approach can also be used to treat other diseases if we know the gene target,” she said. This includes many neurological diseases such as epilepsy, and the brain cancer glioblastoma.”The study is also one of the first in the scientific literature to employ a safer, non-viral approach of Cas9 delivery to a brain region.“Previous attempts by other groups used viral carriers to convey Cas9, which has potential problems because the virus can’t be programmed to stop working,” said Dr. Bumwhee Lee, postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Hye Young Lee’s laboratory. “This can result in serious immune reactions and cell toxicity.” Email Share on Twitter LinkedIn Sharecenter_img Scientists at UT Health San Antonio have edited a gene in the brain to decrease the repetitive behaviors of mice with fragile X syndrome, which is an inherited cause of autism spectrum disorders. The study is described in the July issue of Nature Biomedical Engineering.The San Antonio researchers, who included study leader Hye Young Lee, Ph.D, and first author Bumwhee Lee, Ph.D., used nanoparticle carriers developed in California to inject a gene-editing enzyme called Cas9 into the striatum, a brain region associated with formation of habits.Enzymes are proteins that trigger biochemical reactions. “The enzyme we used, Cas9, is like a pair of scissors,” said Dr. Hye Young Lee, assistant professor in the Department of Cellular and Integrative Physiology at UT Health San Antonio. “We were able to cut the genetic blueprint, DNA, at a location that causes the exaggerated repetitive behaviors.” Pinterest Share on Facebooklast_img read more

NEWS SCAN: Tamiflu-resistant H1N1, pandemic lab capacity, Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever virus, dengue in Sri Lanka

first_imgDec 29, 2011Tamiflu-resistant pH1N1 reportedly on rise in AustraliaAustralian researchers today reported on increased transmission of oseltamivir (Tamiflu)-resistant 2009 H1N1 in a New South Wales community during the past Southern Hemisphere’s flu season. They detailed their findings in a letter in the New England Journal of Medicine, after an initial report of 25 viruses appeared in August on ProMED Mail, the online reporting system of the International Society for Infectious Diseases. In the latest report, 29 (16%) viruses containing the H275Y substitution were found during an analysis of 182 patients who were treated for 2009 H1N1 infections in the Hunter New England region between May and August. All were resistant to adamantanes as well as oseltamivir but sensitive to zanamivir (Relenza). Genetic analysis of the strains found they were similar to the vaccine strain and closely related, suggesting transmission of a single variant, the group reported. Only 1 of the 29 patients had been treated with oseltamivir. Most of the patients lived within a 30-mile radius of Newcastle, and some were household contacts or shared a short car ride. The authors urged clinicians in the Northern Hemisphere to be on guard for similar clusters. A recent report from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that low-level community transmission of the oseltamivir-resistant 2009 H1N1 strain took place during the 2010-11 flu season. Though the report included a small number of cases, the authors found a higher prevalence in people who weren’t treated with the drug, a change that bears watching.Dec 29 N Engl J Med letterAug 26 CIDRAP News story on earlier Australian casesDec 19 CIDRAP News story on US casesWorkflow, equipment, and personnel efficiencies upped pandemic lab capacityUsing “Lean”-based workflow-efficiency methods, British Columbia’s public health reference laboratory was able to increase the number of tests performed on flu viruses during the 2009 H1N1 pandemic 10-fold, according to a study in Emerging Infectious Diseases. The lab established a new rapidly scalable and standardized work process that involved breaking steps in the testing workflow into separate “cells,” each assigned to a dedicated staff member. The Lean-based process also involved additional, higher-capacity equipment, an increased number of laboratory assistants, and cross-training to further bolster the testing staff. (The manufacturing industry uses Lean principles extensively.) These efficiencies and an extended workday (to 13.5 hours) enabled the lab to run a maximum 573 tests in 1 day during the pandemic, compared with a 53-test daily maximum in the 2008 flu season. The authors conclude, “The 2009 pandemic underscores the contributions of laboratories and the need for continuous improvements by using methods such as Lean.”January Emerg Infect Dis studyCrimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever virus in Spain, EgyptTwo letters to the editor in Emerging Infectious Diseases highlight the dangers of tickborne Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever virus (CCHFV), the first identifying it in wild ticks in Spain and the second in ticks found on imported livestock in Egypt. In the first letter, Spanish scientists report on collecting 117 semi-engorged Hyalomma lusitanicum ticks from red deer in Caceres, Spain, in November 2010. They then distributed the RNA of the ticks into 12 pools and retrotranscribed it. On polymerase chain reaction, 2 of the 12 pools showed amplicons of the expected size (211 bp). Only 1 of those could be sequenced, and it showed 98% genetic similarity with sequences recorded for CCHFV in Mauritania and Senegal in western Africa. CCHFV had not previously been confirmed west of the Balkans in Europe, according to the team. They say migratory birds could explain the virus’s presence in southwestern Europe, but they could not rule out an ancient lineage.January Emerg Infect Dis letter on CCHFV in SpainIn the second letter, US and Egyptian investigators report on 342 ectoparasites from slaughtered animals in Egypt collected in July 2009: 70 (20.5%) from 14 cattle, 52 (15.2%) from 17 buffalo, 6 (1.8%) from 2 sheep, and 214 (62.6%) from 10 camels. Only the camels were imported (from Sudan and Somalia). Of the parasites, 97% were ticks from the family Ixodidae, 76% of which were Hyalomma ticks. The remaining Ixodidae ticks were of the genus Boophilus. Of 138 pools tested (258 Ixodidae ticks), 6, all from Hyalomma ticks and all from camels, were positive for CCHFV. The authors conclude, “Although none of the domestic animals harbored infected ticks, it is not possible to conclude if these data reflect importation of CCHFV or infection acquired within Egypt.”January Emerg Infect Dis letter on CCHFV in EgyptDengue cases, deaths drop in Sri LankaAggressive disease-control efforts have helped Sri Lanka decrease dengue fever cases 21% and deaths 30%, according to a story today from IRIN, the news service of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. “Over the last 2 years we have gone all out to stop the spread of dengue. Now we are seeing some of the results,” said Pabha Palihawadana, head of the Health Ministry’s epidemiology unit. Dengue case declined from 34,105 in 2010 to 26,722 in 2011, according to the story, and deaths dropped from 246 to 172. In May 2010 the country began a huge anti-dengue campaign to increase awareness and clean up potential mosquito breeding areas. Troops tackled breeding areas, public health inspectors visited homes searching for breeding sites, and people faced criminal charges and fines for dumping trash in unauthorized locations. “It was with the fines and the environmental police that we saw the tide beginning to shift,” Palihawadana said. The Sri Lankan government is drafting a National Dengue Prevention Act for 2012.Dec 29 IRIN storylast_img read more

News Scan for Jul 24, 2014

first_imgCDC names external biosafety advisers, lifts hold on TB samplesIn its ongoing response to safety lapses at two of its high-containment labs, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) today announced the members of an external lab safety work group. The 11-person group will advise CDC Director Tom Frieden, MD, MPH, and the CDC’s new director of lab safety, Michael Bell, MD, according to a statement.Some of the group’s duties include reviewing corrective steps based on a recent inspection by the US Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services, identifying possible weaknesses based on experiences at labs outside the CDC, and targeting ways to boost the agency’s culture of safety.The group’s chair is Kenneth Berns, PhD, professor emeritus in the Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology at the University of Florida, and its co-chair is Joseph Kanabrocki, PhD, associate vice-president for research safety and associate professor of microbiology at the University of Chicago. The group will meet for the first time in August.Jul 24 CDC statement on external advisory groupIn related developments, the CDC has lifted a moratorium on the movement of materials from its clinical tuberculosis lab, based on safety plan reviews from an internal group, Frieden, and Bell, the agency said in a separate statement today.In the wake of the safety lapses, the CDC put a moratorium on the movement of samples from its high-containment labs, but said it would remove them lab by lab based on safety reviews that prioritize facilities that support patient care.The CDC said the biosafety level 3 (BSL-3) TB lab uses a “heat kill” process to inactivate bacterial samples from patients, which are then handed off to a BSL-2 lab for rapid genetic analysis to assess drug resistance and assist with drug treatment selection.Jul 24 CDC statement on lifting of TB sample moratoriumMeanwhile, the former head of the CDC’s anthrax lab that was involved in one of the safety lapses has resigned, the New York Times reported yesterday. Tom Skinner, a CDC spokesman, said Michael Farrell, PhD, stepped down voluntarily.In late June, media reports said the CDC had reassigned Farrell while it was investigating the incident.Jul 23 Times story Brazil plans large-scale use of GM mosquitoes to fight dengueNext week a factory designed to raise millions of genetically modified (GM) mosquitoes will open in Brazil as the country prepares to use the altered bugs to fight dengue fever, according to a Jul 23 report in New Scientist.The hope is that the GM mosquitoes, once released, will mate with females in the wild, whose offspring will die before reaching adulthood. That should reduce the number of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, which carry the dengue virus.The step marks the first commercial-scale use of GM mosquitoes, the story said. It was approved by Brazil’s National Technical Commission for Biosecurity in April.The factory, in Campinas state, will be run by the biotech firm Oxitec, based in Abingdon, UK. The company will release millions of the mosquitoes in Jacobina, a town in Brazil’s Bahia state, in an expanded research program. A larger release could follow if approved by the government.But it is uncertain whether the plan will succeed, the story says. A trial release of the mosquitoes in Jacobina last year led to a 92% reduction in mosquito eggs, but this has not yet reduced dengue cases, according to preliminary study results.An Oxitec official said every trial so far has led to excellent control of mosquitoes in urban settings. But two Brazilian observers, an agronomist and an economist, said the release of the mosquitoes should not have been approved without a fuller evaluation of the trial releases done so far. Jul 23 New Scientist report  GSK seeks approval of world’s first malaria vaccineDrug maker GSK announced today that it has filed for European Union approval of its experimental malaria vaccine, called RTS,S, which is intended for use in Africa and could become the world’s first licensed vaccine for the disease.The company filed under special rules that allow the European Medicines Agency (EMA) to evaluate the safety and efficacy of a vaccine or medicine made in Europe but intended exclusively for use outside Europe to combat a disease recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a major public health problem, according to a GSK press release. The EMA will collaborate with the WHO in evaluating the vaccine.RTS,S is intended for use only against Plasmodium falciparum malaria, which is most common in sub-Saharan Africa, GSK said. It said about 90% of estimated deaths from malaria occur in that region, and 77% of those are in children under age 5.GSK said it has been working on the vaccine for 30 years. A Reuters report today said hopes for the vaccine were dampened when a phase 3 trial in babies aged 6 to 12 weeks showed that it reduced malaria episodes by only 30% compared with a control vaccine.GSK said in the release, “An effective vaccine for use alongside other measures such as bednets and anti-malarial medicines would represent a [sic] advance in malaria control.”If the EMA approves the vaccine, the WHO could make a formal policy recommendation about its use by the end of 2015, GSK said. Clearance by the EMA, the firm said, would also be the basis for seeking marketing authorizations from African governments. Jul 24 GSK press release Jul 24 Reuters story  Haiti to launch cholera vaccination campaignNext month Haiti will begin to vaccinate 200,000 people in three departments considered at highest risk for the disease, according to a statement yesterday from the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO/WHO).The immunization campaign will involve Artibonite, Central, and West departments and use vaccines from a global stockpile. PAHO/WHO will oversee the storage and distribution of the vaccines as well as training, supervision, monitoring, and evaluation of the campaign.”Vaccination is an important complementary measure in the fight against cholera,” said PAHO/WHO Assistant Director Francisco Becerra. “But the long-term objective is to eliminate cholera, which will require sustained improvements in access to water and sanitation for the population.”Although cholera cases in the first half of 2014 were only a quarter of what they were in the same period in 2013, the disease still sickened 6,730 people and killed 51 through Jul 5, the two agencies said. Since the outbreak first started in 2010, Haiti has seen more than 703,000 cholera cases and 8,562 deaths.Last week, United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon presented 400,000 doses of oral cholera vaccine to the country from the global stockpile. Ban said last week that the UN has a “moral responsibility” to help Haiti halt the outbreak.Jul 23 PAHO/WHO statementJul 14 CIDRAP News scan on Ban visit to Haiti WHO notes global progress against viral hepatitisThe world is starting to see progress in the battle against viral hepatitis, including advances in treatment of chronic hepatitis C, the WHO said yesterday in a news release to mark World Hepatitis Day, which will be observed Jul 28.”For years, viral hepatitis has been largely neglected,” said WHO Director-General Margaret Chan, MD, MPH, in the statement. “But now we are beginning to see greater awareness and global momentum building to tackle it.”Recent steps included the endorsement by 194 countries at the World Health Assembly (WHA) this year of a resolution to intensify efforts to prevent, diagnose, and treat viral hepatitis. The resolution emphasizes the importance of comprehensive national plans. The WHA added that testing is key to combatting the disease and emphasized prevention steps, such as programs geared toward injected-drug users.One of the most significant developments in the past year, the WHO said, has been the dramatic advances in the treatment of chronic hepatitis C, including new drugs, with others in the pipeline. “But major challenges remain to make such treatment affordable and accessible to those populations in greatest need,” the agency added.The WHO also noted that World Hepatitis Day coincides this year with the 20th International AIDS Conference in Melbourne, where multiple sessions have addressed viral hepatitis and HIV co-infection.Jul 23 WHO news releaselast_img read more