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Today's Headlines: March 9, 2018

Government Affairs & National Security

Ominous Biosecurity Trends Under Putin ( Nature) Regimes of all types throughout history have sought to harness science for war. As a result, otherwise beneficial technology can become 'dual-use'. Biological weapons are among the starker examples: research meant to save lives is used to take them. Now, in the run up to elections in Russia, and with concerns mounting about the nation's role globally, biological-weapons specialists Raymond Zilinskas and Philippe Mauger deliver Biosecurity in Putin's Russia. Go to article

Medicine and Public Health

Flu Vaccine Grown Without Eggs Provided Measurably Better Protection This Season, FDA Says ( STAT) The sole influenza vaccine made in cell culture in the US may have worked about 20 percent better this flu season than the standard vaccines made in eggs, Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said Thursday. Go to article

Science and Technology

Monoclonal Antibodies for Emerging Infectious Diseases - Borrowing from History ( New England Journal of Medicine Perspective) Although antibodies play pivotal roles in the immune response to infection, they have seen limited use as therapeutic agents for infectious diseases. Yet there is a long history of plasma-derived treatments for several pathogens. Emil Adolf von Behring, for example, won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1901 for the application of animal-derived serum therapies, principally against diphtheria. Since then, plasma-based therapy has been attempted for infectious disease outbreaks ranging from the 1918 influenza pandemic to Ebola outbreaks from 1976 onward. Go to article

Health Security's Blind Spot ( Science) The severity of this year's influenza virus is a reminder of the daunting task facing the global health community as it struggles to prevent infectious diseases from sparking deadly epidemics. Go to article

Gene Knockout Using New CRISPR Tool Makes Mosquitoes Highly Resistant to Malaria Parasite ( Medical Xpress) Deleting a single gene from mosquitoes can make them highly resistant to the malaria parasite and thus much less likely to transmit the parasite to humans, according to a new paper from scientists at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health's Malaria Research Institute. Go to article

Sanofi Is Jettisoning Its Infectious Disease Unit to Evotec - Handing over Cash, Staff and a Pipeline ( Endpoints News) Sanofi is spinning out its infectious disease research unit to Evotec, the German contract development organization known for its deal savviness. And the Paris-based pharma giant $SNY - suffering from a long drought that has blighted its internal R&D ops - is handing over 60 million Euro (around $74 million) upfront for the operation along with continued financing, 10 experimental infectious disease projects and 100 of its staffers to get it all going. Go to article

Other 21st Century Threats

21 People Treated After Spy Poisoned with Nerve Agent, UK Police Say ( CBS News) British police now say a total of roughly 21 people have sought treatment after a nerve agent was used to attack an ex-Russian spy and his daughter. Wiltshire acting police chief Kier Pritchard told Sky News on Thursday that "a number" of those people got blood tests, support and hospital advice. Go to article

Syria: Medical Data Reveals an Outrageous, Relentless Mass-casualty Disaster in East Ghouta ( Relief Web) Medecins Sans Frontieres/Doctors Without Borders today releases medical data collected from the hospitals and clinics that the independent medical humanitarian organization supports in Syria's besieged East Ghouta enclave. Covering the first two-week period of the military offensive, the numbers reveal a relentless barrage of mass casualty influxes; at a time when medical supplies are extremely limited, medical facilities have been hit by bombs or shells, and the medics are completely exhausted. Go to article


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