Today's Headlines: May 15, 2019
Global Health Security
'Health Workers Just Fill Their Pockets': Mistrust Mars Congo's Ebola Response  (The Guardian) Masika, an editor and poet, said she thought health workers in this restive region were more interested in making money than helping people. “Some of the health workers, instead of eradicating the disease, are just filling their pockets,” she said. Go to article
Impunity Remains: Attacks on Health Care in 23 Countries in Conflict in 2018 (Relief Web) There were at least 973 attacks on health workers, health facilities, health transports and patients in 23 countries in conflict in 2018, the Safeguarding Health in Conflict Coalition reported today. At least 167 health workers died and at least 710 were injured. This marks an increase in the number of documented attacks compared to 2017, when the coalition reported 701 such instances. Go to article
Report of the International Seminar “Rapid International Response to Biological Incidents: Lessons for the Biological Weapons Convention” (UNODA) This report summarizes the main issues raised by the speakers in their presentations and related discussions. Furthermore, the Seminar Agenda and Speakers’ biographies are annexed to this report. Go to article
Vaccination Lags Behind in Middle-Income Countries  (Nature) Indonesia, Iraq and South Africa now rank among the ten countries with the highest number of under-immunized children worldwide, even though these countries are richer than many of their neighbours. What is going on? Go to article
7 Things to Watch at the 2019 World Health Assembly (Global Health Now) An Ebola outbreak rages. Prices of medicines and vaccines continue to climb skyward. Health care costs force 100 million people into extreme poverty. The globe’s preeminent health organization has been massively reorganized—and needs a new budget. Go to article
DRC Ebola: Rapid Implementation of Safe Coordination of Security (H5N1) Health Minister Oly Ilunga announced the immediate establishment of security coordination in Beni, Butembo and Goma, including the National Police, FARDC and Strategic Services and MONUSCO to develop a strategic operational plan in the shortest possible time, within the framework of the fight against Ebola.  Go to article
North Kivu: Civil society demands more soldiers, policemen and blue helmets in Butembo (H5N1) The civil society of North Kivu calls for the reinforcement of the presence of the FARDC, the police and the MONUSCO blue helmets in Butembo, current home of the Ebola epidemic. This increased strength will help deal with the attacks on teams responding to this disease, said Edgard Mateso, vice president of this structure.  Go to article
Outbreak of African Swine Fever, Vietnam, 2019 (CDC; Emerging Infectious Diseases) African swine fever is one of the most dangerous diseases of swine. We confirmed the 2019 outbreak in Vietnam by real-time reverse transcription PCR. The causative strain belonged to p72 genotype II and was 100% identical with viruses isolated in China (2018) and Georgia (2007). International prevention and control collaboration is needed. Go to article
Science & Technology
Illumina Files Patent Infringement Suit Against BGI Europe in Denmark (Genome Web) Illumina said today that it has filed a patent infringement lawsuit against BGI Europe, a subsidiary of BGI Group, in the Maritime & Commercial High Court of Denmark. According to the complaint, BGI's sequencing products, including the BGISEQ-500 and MGISEQ-2000 instruments and related sequencing chemistry reagents of BGI Group subsidiary MGI Tech, infringe Illumina's European patent EP 3 002 289 B1, which covers sequencing-by-synthesis chemistry. Go to article
Microbe-Hacker Ginkgo Bioworks Pushes Further Into Medicine With Acquisition Of Genome Mining Platform And Antibiotics Discovery Deal With Roche (Forbes) Ginkgo Bioworks said today that it had acquired the genome mining platform of Warp Drive Bio, a subsidiary of Revolution Medicines, that will help it push ahead in the search for new antibiotics and other pharmaceutical applications. With the acquisition, Ginkgo will resume the work to find a new class of antibiotics with pharmaceutical giant Roche that Warp Drive had begun before being sold to Revolution, Ginkgo CEO Jason Kelly told Forbes. Go to article
On the Evolutionary Ecology of Multidrug Resistance in Bacteria (PLOS; Pathogens)  We test predictions from this model in six bacterial datasets and find them to be qualitatively consistent with observed trends. The higher than expected frequencies of multidrug resistance are often interpreted as evidence that these strains are out-competing strains with lower resistance multiplicity. Our work provides an alternative explanation that is compatible with long-term stability in resistance frequencies. Go to article
Other 21 st Century Threats
The Author of World War Z Is Worried About Germ Warfare (Slate) What if Zika had been cooked up in a lab? In 2016, I asked that question in an op-ed for the  New York Daily News . At the time, Zika was spreading across the country, and Congress seemed to be treating it like the common cold. I couldn’t believe the laziness, the incompetence. Here was a government that would spend trillions on national security but wouldn’t lift a finger for public health. But what if national security depended on public health? Go to article
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