China approves its first H5N1 vaccine

first_imgApr 3, 2008 (CIDRAP News) – China’s State Food and Drug Administration (SFDA) yesterday approved the country’s first prepandemic H5N1 influenza vaccine, an inactivated whole-virus product made by Sinovac, a Beijing-based biotechnology company.China’s approval of Sinovac’s Panflu vaccine marks the third H5N1 vaccine to win approval from national or international regulatory bodies. In April 2007, the US Food and Drug Administration approved a Sanofi Pasteur H5N1 vaccine. A month later, the European Union approved a mock-up pandemic flu vaccine made by Novartis (it is designed to speed vaccine production when a pandemic emerges and will not be manufactured until then).Sinovac said its vaccine is approved only to supply China’s national vaccine stockpile and will not be available for commercial sale, according to a company press release yesterday. In 2006 the company said it planned to produce 20 million doses of the vaccine over the next few years, according to a previous report. The latest information gave no production estimate.”This vaccine is reserved for emergencies in the country and we have to get instructions on how much to produce,” Liu Peicheng, Sinovac’s publicity supervisor, told Reuters today.Vaccine experts say there is no guarantee that vaccines based on current H5N1 strains will be effective if a pandemic H5N1 virus emerges, but they hope such vaccines will provide some protection and buy time while a vaccine specifically matched to the pandemic strain is developed.The Sinovac vaccine contains an inactivated Vietnam strain of H5N1 virus and an aluminum hydroxide (alum) adjuvant. A phase 1 study of the vaccine, published in a 2006 issue of The Lancet, induced potentially protective immune responses in 78% of volunteers after two 10-microgram (mcg) doses.In late December 2007, Sinovac in a press release reported preliminary phase 2 results for the vaccine. The trial included 402 adults (aged 18 to 60). Groups received two doses of 5, 10, or 15 mcg of the vaccine.Each dosage induced varying degrees of immune response, but the 10- and 15-mcg dosages reached standards set by the EMEA to indicate good results for seasonal flu vaccines. Sinovac said the trial did not show any serious adverse reactions among the volunteers.The researchers who conducted the phase 1 trial said a whole-virus vaccine offers a dose-sparing advantage, because 20% to 23% of the vaccine antigen is lost during the preparation of split-virus vaccines. However, Iain Stephenson, MD, of the Infectious Disease Unit at Leicester Royal Infirmary in Leicester, England, had said in a Lancet editorial that though whole-virus vaccines usually produce a better response than split or subunit counterparts, it is difficult for manufacturers to switch production methods. Also, he said whole-virus vaccines are linked to febrile reactions in children.Sinovac has also completed a phase 1 trial of a split-virus H5N1 vaccine, which was found to be safe for children, adults, and elderly people, according to its December 2007 press release.Peicheng said Sinovac is also conducting trials to see if its H5N1 vaccine yields cross-protection against other strains, including those from Indonesia, Turkey, and Anhui province in China, Reuters reported.China has reported three H5N1 cases so far this year, all of them fatal.Vietnam starts H5N1 vaccine trialIn other vaccine developments, Vietnamese researchers said today that clinical trials have begun for an H5N1 vaccine that the country is developing, according to a report from Reuters. The vaccine is based on a Vietnam strain of H5N1 virus.The vaccine is being tested in 11 volunteers, all of whom are researchers, the report said. They received their second dose of the vaccine today at the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology in Hanoi.Nguyen Tuyet Nga, an epidemiologist and virologist who is leading the trial, told Reuters that the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) have helped with the project, though no foreign pharmaceutical firms are involved in the study.Subjects in the trial are receiving two injections 28 days apart, with doses ranging from 3.75 to 45 mcg, Nga said. She also told Reuters that researchers would test the vaccine at a later date to see if it offers cross-protection against other H5N1 strains. The report did not say if the Vietnamese vaccine is a split- or whole-virus product or if it contains an adjuvant.Vietnam has reported five H5N1 cases this year, all of them fatal.See also:Sep 7, 2006, CIDRAP News story “Chinese report results for whole-virus H5N1 vaccine”Apr 2 Sinovac press releasehttp://www.sinovac.com/?optionid=754&auto_id=569Dec 24, 2007, Sinovac press releasehttp://www.sinovac.com/?optionid=754&auto_id=496Oct25 to Nov 2, 2007, CIDRAP News report “The pandemic vaccine puzzle: A seven-part series on the chances for immunizing the world against pandemic flu”last_img read more

COVID-19: Does Indonesia need a lockdown? It depends on how you define it

first_imgMost importantly, does Indonesia – with its ever-increasing number of confirmed COVID-19 cases, 227 at the time of writing – actually need to impose a lockdown?To answer the above questions, one must first understand the basic definitions of the terms.This photo taken on February 16, 2020 shows medical staff members working at the isolation ward of the Wuhan Red Cross Hospital in Wuhan in China’s central Hubei province. (AFP/STR)Lockdown? What lockdown?  It seems that at the height of any crisis, a buzzword tends to pop up and dominate public discourse due to the sheer frequency of its usage by state officials and ordinary people alike.During the current public health crisis caused by outbreak of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), which the World Health Organization has officially declared a pandemic, that buzzword seems to be “lockdown” – a term that carries apocalyptic connotations and imagery, thanks in no small part to popular culture.But what exactly does an actual lockdown entail? How does it differ from community quarantine? According to Bayu Krisnamurthi, who headed the National Committee for Avian Flu Control and Pandemic Preparedness in Indonesia, the terms lockdown and community quarantine are synonymous in that both are used interchangeably to refer to a type of quarantine in which all citizens in a certain region are prohibited from going in and out of the territory without official permission from authorities.In terms of scale, quarantine procedures vary from self-isolation – which entails confining confirmed or potential patients to observation in their homes – to lockdown, also known as community quarantine.In practice, however, quarantine protocols are more nuanced than they may seem on paper. For example, some countries have imposed “total lockdowns”, while others have merely decided to implement “partial lockdowns” – that is, controlling the movement of their population by imposing a “general community quarantine” or, in a slightly bleaker situation, an “enhanced community quarantine”.Read also: Social distancing and super-spreaders: Coronavirus lingo goes viralThe first country to impose a total lockdown during the early stages of the COVID-19 outbreak was China. The country implemented the emergency protocol in the outbreak’s epicenter of Wuhan, Hubei province. The city’s population of 11 million was kept from leaving Wuhan to contain the spread of the disease.However, as the number of confirmed cases and fatalities quickly grew in other regions across the province, the Chinese government scrambled to put 15 other cities including Huanggang and Ezhou on lockdown, affecting nearly 60 million people.Chinese-style lockdownThroughout the lockdown, the Chinese government issued an order to shut down all non-essential companies and schools, and it banned certain modes of transportation.China’s efforts have paid off in recent weeks as the country reported fewer than 200 new cases of infection per day, a drastic fall from the about 3,000 new cases recorded daily last month, as reported by the South China Morning Post.Despite its apparent efficacy, the lockdown has taken a toll on the country’s social cohesion, with public protests and disturbances becoming increasingly common across affected cities as residents complain about the surge in prices for staple foods, among other things.As of the time of writing, China has recorded a total of 80,881 cases and 3,226 fatalities.In Europe, a number of countries including Italy – the hardest-hit country in Europe and the second hardest-hit nation globally after China – have followed suit and have imposed what has been dubbed a “Chinese-style lockdown” in several major cities since the WHO declared the region a new epicenter of COVID-19 on Friday.The entire country of Italy has been put under total lockdown, with Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte extending restrictions already in place in “red zones” in the northern provinces to the rest of the nation, CNN reported.Italy’s healthcare system is overwhelmed by COVID-19 patients that have to be given immediate treatment. The country has 35,172 confirmed cases and 2,937 fatalities at the time of writing.Similarly, France has taken a hard-edged approach to the pandemic by imposing a total lockdown throughout the country, akin to the ones implemented in China and Italy. French President Emmanuel Macron said during a press conference that strict confinement was the only effective weapon against the virus. It has infected more than 6,600 and killed 148 in France, as reported by AFP.The French lockdown entailed the deployment 100,000 police officers to patrol the streets, as well as a $150 fine for any violation of the emergency protocol.Commuters take the Woodlands Causeway to Singapore from Johor a day before Malaysia imposes a lockdown on travel due to the coronavirus outbreak in Singapore March 17, 2020. (REUTERS/Edgar Su)Partial lockdownIn contrast, South Asian countries have implemented comparatively lenient restrictions, probably due to the fact that the number of confirmed cases and deaths in the region is nowhere close to the number recorded in other, more affected regions.Instead of a fully-fledged lockdown, Malaysian Prime Minister Muhiyiddin Yasin announced earlier this week a “movement control order” – also known as a partial lockdown – that restricts mass gatherings from March 18 to 31. In addition, the order bans all overseas travel to and from Malaysia and closes all schools, government offices and private businesses except “those involved in providing essential services”.However, despite the seemingly stringent rules, the Malaysian government is still allowing its citizens to leave their houses to purchase groceries and other essentials. Certain outdoor activities such as jogging and exercise are still allowed, provided that Malaysians avoid close contact with each other.Malaysia has confirmed more than 500 COVID-19 cases at the time of writing.Read also: How a 16,000-strong religious gathering led Malaysia to lockdownIn the Philippines, President Rodrigo Duterte has put the Manila metropolitan area under general community quarantine and the entire island of Luzon under enhanced community quarantine from Mar. 17 to Apr. 13.Whereas the general community quarantine is essentially identical to Malaysia’s movement control order, the enhanced version is closer to a total lockdown – but still not as stringent.During an enhanced community quarantine, the government strictly regulates food provisions and healthcare. It also increases the presence of uniformed personnel on the streets to enforce quarantine procedures, according Philippine Interagency Task Force spokesperson Karlo Nograles.Private establishments providing basic necessities such as convenience stores, markets, hospitals, clinics, pharmacies and delivery services – among others – are allowed to remain in operation during the enhanced community quarantine.What about Indonesia? A partial lockdown is an optionThe above cases present Indonesia with an abundance of options, each with its own strengths and limitations, as the government considers how to best stem the spread of COVID-19 in the country.Indonesia has yet to issue any stringent regulation beyond its campaign to promote social distancing. The government is reluctant to conduct mass testing to isolate confirmed cases, one of the only alternatives to implementing a lockdown in the face of the worst pandemic in recent history.  The government is expected to act fast, with scientists calling for a community quarantine ahead of Idul Fitri, when the country’s predominantly Muslim population travels to hometowns and villages across the archipelago, thereby increasing the risk of a nationwide outbreak.President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has called on the public to work, study and worship from home to prevent a nationwide outbreak, but he stressed that the government was “not leaning toward issuing a lockdown policy” at the time.”I have to emphasize that issuing a lockdown policy, either at the national or regional level, is under the authority of central government. Such a policy cannot be issued by regional administrations,” Jokowi told a press conference on Monday.However, if push comes to shove, as it likely will in the coming weeks with the approaching Idul Fitri holiday, scientists seem to have agreed that imposing a partial lockdown is Indonesia’s best bet.Members of the Indonesian Young Scientist Forum (IYSF) have called on the government to impose a lockdown on areas considered outbreak hotspots.“Measures to limit crowds and the movement of individuals in vulnerable areas should be maximized if the number of [confirmed] cases per day doubles,” the forum said in a letter addressed to Presidential Chief of Staff Moeldoko.IYSF member Berry Juliandi from Bogor Agricultural University said a partial lockdown was the most fitting option since it would still give the public a degree of freedom. “It would be better if [the government imposed] a partial lockdown. It limits individual movement but still allows access to essentials,” Berry said.Indonesian passengers wearing face masks ride a Trans Jakarta bus on March 18, 2020. (AFP/Adek Berry)Island lockdown?Airlangga University scholar Nidom, who also helms the Coronavirus Research and Vaccine Formulation Team, said that if the government decided to impose a lockdown due to future escalation, it should implement an island-based lockdown, instead of the usual city-based lockdown, considering the country’s vast archipelagic expanse.“A lockdown is feasible but only if it’s not imposed in individual cities […]. It would be better if [the government] imposed an island-based lockdown instead. Indonesia is an archipelagic state, the sea could serve as the best isolator,” he said.In Java, for example, such a measure could be carried out successfully assuming that all regional heads on the island joined forces and issued joint policies for the island’s entire population, instead of contradicting each other if left to their own devices, he said.Furthermore, such a massive undertaking would require greater involvement from members of the public as well as a concerted effort on the neighborhood level, such as turning houses of worship into shelters for COVID-19 patients, Nidom said. However, in such a scenario, schools and offices would remain operational as usual, he added.Bayu said that although the lockdown remained a viable option, the mitigation of the pandemic could ultimately be accomplished through a strict social-distancing protocol.“Social distancing serves as an alternative to quarantine,” Bayu said. “The spread of the coronavirus can mainly be prevented by not touching infected objects and other people, as well as not touching our own faces.” Editor’s note:This article has been updated to correct the number of COVID-19 cases in Italy. Topics :last_img read more

West Indies looking for upturn in their one-day form

first_imgHARARE, Zimbabwe (CMC) – Captain Jason Holder hopes the key areas addressed during the recent one-week camp in South Africa will see West Indies turn the page on their dodgy One-Day International form, in the Tri-Nations Series here which bowled off yesterday.West Indies were swept 3-0 by Pakistan last month and have now lost 12 of their last 16 games in the last four bilateral series. They were good enough to reach the final of the Tri-Nations Series against Australia and South Africa in the Caribbean earlier this year, but lost to the Aussies.“I think it is a situation where we need to come together as a team. We’ve struggled in the last few one-day series in terms of batting the 50 overs and that is one area we have addressed,” Holder said ahead of his side’s first game tomorrow.“In terms of the bowling, we need to be a lot better in the first power-play and then we have to close in the last 10 overs. Those are the significant areas we have paid some attention to.“I think once we do that and we string some big partnerships (together) – in the past I think we have found ourselves getting a lot of starts but not carrying on – we leave less for the middle and lower order to do.”West Indies open their campaign tomorrow against Sri Lanka before taking on the hosts on Saturday in their second outing.Last year, the Caribbean side suffered a 3-0 whitewash away to the Sri Lankans and Holder said they were expecting a strong challenge from them again, along with a tough showing from Zimbabwe.“It’s going to be tough. Obviously they are two good teams. Sri Lanka play good cricket and obviously are of a higher rank and Zimbabwe have a point to prove,” the all-rounder explained.“They are playing in their backyard as well so they will be (familiar) with their conditions. It’s a situation where we have to assess as early as possible and go out and play some good aggressive cricket.”West Indies endured a long difficult tour of the United Arab Emirates recently, where they were trounced in the Twenty20, one-day and Test series by Pakistan.Their only success came in the final Test in Sharjah when they produced an admirable performance to win by five wickets.Holder said the camp in Potchefstroom had been a great chance for the unit to re-assess.“We had a good week in Potchefstroom. I thought the guys had a few days off to catch themselves and recuperate after the long series in Dubai,” he said.“It’s just a situation where we got what we wanted out of the training camp and moving into the (Tri-Nations Series) I think we are much better prepared.”last_img read more

14 Things Men Notice About A Woman Instantly

first_imgYou know what they say – never judge a book by its cover. And it’s completely true. However, on a realistic level, it takes quite a while to get to know someone. To form a deep connection can often take months, if not years, of time together, having conversations about everything under the sun and getting to know their opinions, dreams, and more. It’s tough to establish that kind of compatibility over the course of one drink, or even one meal together. So, it’s a reality that sometimes, there are things that you notice right away. And this is as true for guys as it is for girls.So, have you ever wondered what exactly it is that makes someone go across a crowded coffee shop to say hello? What exactly causes that initial spark? Here are 14 things that men notice about a woman instantly.14 Her smileA smile is one of the most beautiful things a woman can wear, and guys definitely take notice. If your smile is friendly and genuine, something that comes easily in response to his silly jokes, it says something about you. If all he sees is sarcastic or mocking smiles, that also says something about you – something that might make it less likely that he’ll choose to approach you out of the blue. When a girl has a genuine, open smile, not only does it send a positive message to guys about their personality, it also just really makes it easier for them to feel comfortable approaching her.13 Her laughLet’s face it – men love it when you laugh at their jokes. It makes them feel hilarious and entertaining and just gives them a little confidence boost. So it only makes sense that he’s always listening for your laugh – but don’t just bust out your fake giggle because you think that’s what he wants to hear. It can get irritating when someone giggles at absolutely every comment and statement, particularly if your giggle is very obviously fake. However, just like a real smile, a genuine laugh is something he definitely notices.12 Her eyesThe saying that the eyes are a window to a person’s soul exists for a reason – eyes can be one of your most expressive features, and can often communicate whether you’re truly interested or not, whether you’re nervous, happy, etc. So, while you might assume that a man’s attention would immediately go to some aspect of your physique, think again – many polls and studies confirm the fact that, when it comes to first impressions and things that men notice instantly, eyes are at the top of the list. If there’s a guy who isn’t making eye contact and is instead just checking out your assets, just move on to someone else – that’s not the guy for you.11 Her hygieneThis is one of those things that isn’t really something men notice – until it is. If your personal hygiene is top notch, you’re always freshly showered with freshly laundered clothing, he likely won’t notice – he’ll just notice things like your gorgeous locks or your awesome outfit. However, if a man meets someone with greasy, unwashed hair, someone who emits an unpleasant odour, someone whose clothes are obviously soiled and wrinkled, it’s a definite turn off. In fact, a recent match.com poll suggests that bad personal hygiene is actually one of the biggest first date turn-offs. So, while some men may get a bad rap for being a little messy, trust us – they definitely care about hygiene.10 Her personal styleUnless he works in fashion or is very, very interested in clothing, chances are a man won’t be able to tell your Balenciaga from your Kate Spade. He probably won’t be able to name what cut your jeans are, or immediately know where your killer heels are from. However, men definitely notice your outfit because it says a lot about your personality. There are no hard and fast rules – some guys love a girl who gets all glammed up, others love someone who shows up to a date with sneakers, a fresh face, and a basic t-shirt. Men just notice when you’re rocking an outfit that obviously suits you, and your personality.9 Her hairLet’s face it – many women put a lot of time into their hair, from getting it cut and colored to styling it before dates. It can take a lot of effort to tame those tresses some days. And, while a man might not really be able to comment on that subtle ombre effect you recently incorporated, or discuss the various styles of bangs you’re contemplating, he’ll definitely notice your locks in general. It’s a biological thing – once upon a time, men saw thick and lustrous hair as a sign of a woman’s health, so they’re naturally drawn to someone whose hair looks healthy.8 Her sense of humourIt can be intimidating to meet someone who is serious all of the time and never cracks a joke. While it might be tough to be outgoing and toss jokes left and right if you’re a very shy, introverted type of person, even a dry and sarcastic sense of humour will catch his attention. Guys love when you laugh at their jokes, but they also love when you’re able to make them laugh. So, whether your sense of humour is more subtle and witty or whether you crack up over fart jokes and physical comedy, he’ll definitely take notice. Perhaps it’ll even help him decide which comedic film to take you to on your first date!7 Her friendsLet’s face it – your group of friends is your group of friends for a reason. Even though you might think you’re totally different from some of the ladies in your circle of friends, the fact that you’re able to remain close suggests you likely have a lot in common, even if it’s just more abstract values. Guys know this. A quiet homebody likely isn’t going to be BFFs with the biggest party girl on the block, for example. So, if he spots you on a girl’s night out, even if it’s you he’s interested in, he likely will notice the company you keep.6 Her scentGuys are pretty much fascinated by the way women smell. While some guys will try to amp things up by wearing cologne, or sniffing a few extra deodorants to find that perfect scent, there isn’t quite as much variety in the world of men’s scents as in women’s. As a result, most women have a distinct scent that will definitely linger in a guy’s mind, whether it’s the simple smell of the detergent you use, the shampoo you washed your hair with while getting ready, or the signature perfume that you spritz on every time you leave the house- it could even be your natural pheromones!5 Her confidenceThere are a lot of different girls in this world, and it can be easy to assume that men will only notice the loud, in-your-face extroverts who are shouting over the music at whatever bar you’re at. That couldn’t be further from the truth. While a drunken yell might catch a guy’s attention for a moment, what they really notice is something simpler – confidence. Confidence comes in all shapes and sizes, and even a relatively shy woman can still pack a huge punch of confidence. Whether his values align with yours, whether you’re his ‘type,’ whatever, if a man senses that a woman is confident, that’s sexy.4 Her make-upUnless you’ve caught the eye of a professional make-up artist, chances are men will never know the difference between the original Naked palette and the Naked 3. When they hear about a Too Faced Chocolate Bar, they assume it’s just a brand of literal chocolate that they’re unfamiliar with. However, make no mistake – guys will definitely notice your make-up. Make-up is a great way to express yourself, so even though you might rock a cat eye and bold lip one night and a simple, fresh-faced look another, your make-up on any given night says something about your personality that he’s sure to take note of.3 Her voiceWhile what keeps a man’s attention in the long run will be the conversations you have and the actual words that come out of your mouth, your voice is definitely what he notices instantly. Do you have a lower, sultry voice that will make his pulse race, or will you charm him with your feminine vocals? Do you have a bit of a Valley Girl thing going on, or do you rock the full Jersey accent? Southern drawl? An accent from a foreign country? Whatever you were blessed with, he’ll notice as soon as you utter the first “hello.”2 Her heightWith height, as with most other physical characteristics, every guy has a preference. Some men love statuesque women 5’10 and above who would fit right in strutting their stuff on the runway, while others love petite ladies. However, regardless of a man’s preference, he’ll definitely notice your height. I mean, you notice a guy’s height, right? It’s kind of hard to ignore such a basic physical characteristic. So whether you decide to rock flats or your biggest sky-high heels, he’ll notice how tall you are.1 Her overall attitudeWhile it’s incredibly difficult to notice more personality-driven things right off the bat, compared to physical traits like eye color or height, there’s one thing that every guy will notice almost immediately – your overall attitude. Let us explain. While it takes awhile to truly get to know someone, your attitude comes through in pretty much everything you saw, and can either send a warning signal or a sign that he’s found a great girl. For example – are you constantly insulting the waitress and complaining about every aspect of your meal? Or are you able to laugh things off when they go wrong, and treat others with kindness? Whatever your overall attitude is, it will come through in your actions and words almost immediately.Sourcelast_img read more