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Today's Headlines: October 11, 2017

Biological Agents & Infectious Diseases

Yemen's Man-Made Cholera Outbreak is About to Break a Record ( Chicago Tribune) In a matter of days, the deadly cholera epidemic in Yemen will set a world record. The outbreak is entirely man-made. Two-and-a-half years of civil war have decimated Yemen's water sanitation system and its hospitals. Without access to clean water, doctors or medical supplies, hundreds of thousands of Yemenis have contracted cholera, which spreads through fecal bacteria in water. Go to article

Monkeypox: Five Patients Recover Discharged in Bayelsa ( Daily Post) Five patients hit with Monkey Pox virus have been discharged from the Niger Delta University Teaching Hospital, in Bayelsa State.This brings to 8 the total number of those discharged. Go to article

County Has Spent $3 Million on Hepatitis A Crisis So Far ( The San Diego Union-Tribune) San Diego County has spent nearly $3 million on containing a hepatitis A outbreak that has infected hundreds and killed 17, according to data released Monday, and that total could double by 2018. Go to article


Domestic Preparedness & Response

Puerto Rico's Health Care is in Dire Condition, Three Weeks After Maria ( New York Times) Harry Figueroa, a teacher who went a week without the oxygen that helped him breathe, died here last week at 58. His body went unrefrigerated for so long that the funeral director could not embalm his badly decomposed corpse. Go to article

House by House, Firefighters Confront Deadly California Blazes ( USA Today) With hand tools and hoses, firefighters across California's wine country are battling flames in a fight that sees the yellow-shirted line win most of its challenges but suffer emotionally devastating losses. Go to article

Puerto Ricans Fleeing Their Hurricane-Ravaged Island Are Pouring into the US Mainland ( Los Angeles Times) When Sinthia Colon's sister-in-law called from Orlando offering plane tickets to flee Puerto Rico, she did not hesitate. Hurricane Maria had destroyed her small farm, wrecked the local power grid and spurred her town of San Lorenzo to impose a curfew to combat looting. Go to article


Global Health Security

Ring Vaccination with rVSV-ZEBOV Under Expanded Access in Response to an Outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease in Guinea 2016: An Operational and Vaccine Safety Report ( The Lancet: Infectious Diseases) In March, 2016, a flare-up of Ebola virus disease was reported in Guinea, and in response ring vaccination with the unlicensed rVSV-ZEBOV vaccine was introduced under expanded access, the 1st time that an Ebola vaccine has been used in an outbreak setting outside a clinical trial. Go to article

Global Pandemics and Global Public Health ( ICM) The global health architecture is increasingly under strain, largely due to recent, ongoing, and potential global health crises. Pandemics and epidemics are occurring at an unprecedented rate in recent years, spurred by globalization, environmental changes, and a crowded world population. Go to article


Government Affairs & National Security

First Shipment of ANTHIM Anthrax Treatment Delivered to Strategic National Stockpile ( Global Biodefense) Elusys Therapeutics, Inc. announced today that the company has delivered the 1st doses of ANTHIMĀ® (obiltoxaximab) Injection, its treatment for inhalational anthrax, to the US Strategic National Stockpile, the US Government's repository of critical medical supplies for public health emergency preparedness. Go to article

Why the White House Requested a $5 Billion Loan for Puerto Rico ( New York Magazine) During his visit to hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico last week, President Trump said of the island's massive debt, "We're gonna have to wipe that out." The White House later walked that back, as the president does not have the power to magically erase Puerto Rico's financial problems. Go to article

Pharma's Puerto Rico Problems Could Mean Drug Shortages: FDA Chief ( Reuters) The head of the FDA said on Tuesday the country may start to see a small number of drug shortages within 2 or 3 weeks due to delays in restoring manufacturing operations in Puerto Rico, where 10 percent of drugs prescribed in the US are made. Go to article


Medicine & Public Health

Zika Blood Test Approved by FDA for Screening Donor Blood (The Pharmaceutical Journal) A blood test for detecting the Zika virus in donated blood has been approved by US regulators. The FDA gave the go ahead for the cobas Zika test, which detects Zika virus RNA, to prevent the virus "entering the US drug supply." Go to article

In Harvey's Wake, Health Officials Watch for West Nile and Other Mosquito-Borne Diseases ( STAT News) Health officials in Texas will be on watch in coming weeks for any increases in mosquito-borne diseases including the West Nile and Zika viruses after Harvey's heavy rains and flooding brought water that filled ponds and ditches and crept into trash and debris that piled up. Go to article


Science & Technology

Inside Cells, Genetic War Could Create New Species ( Wired) In the complex cells of humans and other organisms, 2 different genomes collaborate to sustain life. The larger genome, with DNA encoding thousands of genes, resides in the cell nucleus, while copies of the much smaller one sit in all the energy-producing organelles called mitochondria. Normally, they work in quiet alliance. Go to article

NS1 is the Fluid for "Flu-Transmission" ( PNAS) The development of modern medicine has allowed us to conquer numerous infectious diseases; however, we human beings constantly face threats from novel infectious diseases that have been previously unrecognized. These so-called "emerging infectious diseases" are often caused by zoonotic pathogens, which mostly originate in wild animals. Go to article

Modifying Your Own Genes is Just an Injection Away--If You're Feeling Lucky ( Fast Company) "What we've got here is some DNA, and this is a syringe," Josiah Zayner tells a room full of synthetic biologists and other researchers. He fills the needle and plunges it into his skin. "This will modify my muscle genes and give me bigger muscles." Go to article

Programmable Assembly of Pressure Sensors Using Pattern-Forming Bacteria ( Nature Biotechnology) Biological systems can generate microstructured materials that combine organic and inorganic components and possess diverse physical and chemical properties. However, these natural processes in materials fabrication are not readily programmable. Here, we use a synthetic-biology approach to assemble patterned materials. We demonstrate programmable fabrication of 3D materials by printing engineered self-patterning bacteria on permeable membranes that serve as a structural scaffold. Go to article
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