Zika animal studies yield new disease clues, optimism for vaccine

first_imgTwo separate animal studies today filled in more information gaps about Zika virus: one on rhesus monkeys that yielded new clues about infection during pregnancy, and one in mice showing encouraging results for two vaccine candidates.The primate study, by a team from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Duke University, appeared in Nature Communications. And the mouse findings were reported by a large research group that included scientists from Beth Israel Medical Center, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), and the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR) who published their results in Nature.Monkey studyThe findings from rhesus macaque monkeys is part of ongoing work to study Zika infection in the animals—looking for clues on how it might affect humans—at the Wisconsin National Primate Research Center. The study included eight animals, two of them pregnant.In their report, the investigators revealed that monkeys infected with the Zika strain currently circulating in South America can resist infection when challenged by the same strain 10 weeks later. The team said the immune system priming from an earlier infection might explain why birth defect outcomes haven’t been seen in Africa, where the virus has circulated for many years.The more startling finding was dramatically longer infections in pregnant animals. Monkeys that weren’t pregnant typically cleared the virus within 10 days of infection, but virus persisted in the blood of the pregnant ones from 30 to 70 days, according to the study.Emma Mohr, MD, PhD, pediatric infectious disease fellow and study first author, said in a UW-Madison press release, “What we’ve shown in the monkey model matches a lot of what people have observed in epidemiological studies of humans.”The immunity findings bode well for vaccine design, David O’Connor, PhD, a pathology professor who led the study, said in the press release. It suggests the sort of immunity that occurs naturally is sufficient. If you can mimic that in a vaccine, you’ll likely have a very successful vaccine.”Virus activity in pregnancyProlonged Zika infection during pregnancy might play a role in severe complications to fetuses, and O’Connor said his concern about the link to the virus is higher now than it was 6 months ago. Researchers said maternal immune compromise during pregnancy could explain the persistence, but experts are considering another possible mechanism: that prolonged maternal Zika virus levels might reflect viral shedding from the fetus back into the mother’s bloodstream.If the second possibility holds true, clinicians might be able to monitor Zika load in the blood of pregnant women weekly or biweekly as a way to gauge possible damage to their babies, O’Connor said in the statement.The team is monitoring the pregnant Zika-infected monkeys with ultrasound and tests on amniotic fluid, but so far they can’t tell if the fetuses are infected or if they have any birth defects such as microcephaly.Vaccine candidates perform well in miceMeanwhile, scientists involved in the mouse study tested two vaccine candidates: a DNA vaccine developed at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center based on the strain circulating in Brazil and a purified inactivated vaccine developed at WRAIR based on Zika virus from Puerto Rico.A single shot of vaccine protected all mice challenged with the virus 4 weeks later and those experimentally exposed to Zika virus 8 weeks later. The teams also found that antibody levels seemed to correlate with protection against the disease.Experiments involving the DNA vaccine suggested that protection was solely from antibodies prompted by the vaccine.Taken together, the findings offer great hope that a safe and effective vaccine for humans will one day be feasible, the group wrote.Stage set for first human trialsCol. Stephen Thomas, MD, with the WRAIR Zika program, said in a press release from the US Military HIV Research Program (MHRP) that their group is moving forward with the purified inactivated vaccine because it is similar to vaccines that have already been licensed and involves technology the group has used to successfully develop other flavivirus vaccines.”Researchers are trying to mitigate risk by avoiding unproven technologies that could cause a licensing delay,” he added.WRAIR also has in-house production capacity that allowed them to make small batches of vaccine for the mouse study, with production under way on a vaccine lot for use in initial human studies that are expected to launch by the end of the year. The first human trials of the DNA vaccine tested in the study are also expected to begin by the end of the year.In February, Inovio reported promising preclinical findings in mice for a candidate DNA vaccine against Zika virus that it is developing with partners including GeneOne Life Sciences. The Food and Drug Administration recently cleared the launch of that vaccine’s phase 1 study in humans, expected to begin in the next few weeks with initial results later this year.See also:Jun 28 Nat Comm abstractJun 28 UW-Madison press releaseJun 28 Nature abstractJun 28 MHRP press releaseJun 28 NIAID press releaseJun 28 Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center press releaseFeb 16 CIDRAP News story “Inovio reports promising Zika vaccine results in mice”last_img read more

Bike And Pedestrian Trail Across East End?

first_imgThe expansion of a New York State bicycle and pedestrian path that currently runs from Battery Park in Manhattan all the way up to Montreal, with another section that runs from Albany to Buffalo, was discussed by the East Hampton Town Board November 20. The idea is to extend the path across Long Island, all the way to Montauk Point. Councilman David Lys, who is shepherding the possible extension of the Empire State Trail across East Hampton, led the talk. He was joined by Andrew Drake, an environmentalist with the town’s land acquisition department.Drake had attended, at the board’s behest, a November 7 meeting in Hauppauge held by the New York State Bicycling Coalition and the Trust for Public Land. The meeting served as a preliminary discussion on how the entities would extend the trail to Montauk Point. Drake said the trail currently in place is about 750 miles long; and that as of 2016, 80 percent of the statewide trail had been completed. In January 2017, Governor Andrew Cuomo approved $200 million of funding to complete that final 20 percent, he said. However, funding has not yet been allocated for the eastern Long Island part of the trail, he said.If the project goes forward on Long Island, Drake said, it would reap major benefits for the community. One being, he said, “to get people out to recreational opportunities, get people out into nature.” The trail would be safer for cyclists keeping them away from vehicular traffic, he said.Drake said the existing trail is 10 to 12 feet wide, and never goes above or below grade by more than 2 percent, making the Empire State Trail compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.In upstate New York, the trail frequently runs along utility cable corridors. That will not be so easy on Long Island, Drake said. Instead, particularly on the East End, a path adjacent to state roads would be considered. The eastern portion of the trail would run along the North Fork, then go south along Route 114 to Montauk Highway, and east to Montauk Point.The portion of the trail on state roads would not simply be a bike lane, but, rather, a path separated from the vehicular roadway, for the safety of bikers, joggers, and walkers. On its way to the Montauk Lighthouse, it would connect with existing bike paths, such as the one that runs through Hither Woods. Lys presented fellow board members with a design guide. He said that water kiosks would be dotted along the trail. He also said that it is possible that state or even federal funding could be obtained to expand shared use paths throughout the town. Springs, for example, would greatly benefit with the addition of a network of paths for bikers and pedestrians alike. As part of the hamlet studies, a proposed map was created that shows a series of trails throughout Springs, including a Springs to Amagansett trail, as well as a trail from Springs that leads to the beach in Amagansett.t.e@indyeastend.com Sharelast_img read more

Stateside job creation thanks to Airgas

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Air Liquide and Puregas develop joint upgrading unit

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AMETEK Land hires new Product Manager

first_imgGet instant access to must-read content today!To access hundreds of features, subscribe today! At a time when the world is forced to go digital more than ever before just to stay connected, discover the in-depth content our subscribers receive every month by subscribing to gasworld.Don’t just stay connected, stay at the forefront – join gasworld and become a subscriber to access all of our must-read content online from just $270. Subscribelast_img

Fugro Wins Geotechnical Services Contract Offshore Mexico

first_imgFugro has been awarded a contract of around USD 90 million by Mexico’s national oil company PEMEX for ultra deep water geotechnical and pilot hole (drilling and logging) services associated with the de-risking of drilling locations and field developments planned offshore Mexico. The overall duration of geoconsulting and drilling activity is expected to be 14 months.“This contract award represents a further strengthening of Fugro’s long and successful history in working with PEMEX and reinforces Fugro’s market leadership internationally as the preferred service provider for deepwater and ultra deepwater geotechnical data gathering, interpretation and consulting services, ” said Fugro in a press release.Fugro utilises ultra deepwater vessels such as the Fugro Synergy for work of this nature.Fugro’s geotechnical soil data collection, lab testing and consultancy services are centered around onshore and offshore site investigation. The geotechnical information is used to design foundations for offshore structures, on and offshore pipelines, ports, large buildings, bridges, and other infrastructure.[mappress]October 24, 2013last_img read more

Fastnet in management shuffle

first_imgFastnet Oil and Gas, the UK and Irish listed E&P company with assets in Ireland and Morocco, has announced management changes following the appointment of Carol Law as CEO in December 2014.The company also announced a review of its cost structure in light of the lower oil price environment.Fastnet says that, as a result of this internal review, Will Holland’s employment as Chief Financial Officer of the company has been terminated and he leaves the Board with immediate effect.“Difficult decisions have to be taken in the current climate,” says CEO Carol Law.According to the company’s press release, Ross Crockett, who has been the company’s Financial Controller for the last three years, will continue to support the company’s financial matters going forward.Michael Lynch, who has been working with Fastnet for the last two years in a variety of capacities, has been appointed Investor and Public Relations Manager.Carol Law, CEO of Fastnet, commented:“As previously indicated the Board of Fastnet is determined to deliver reductions in general and administrative costs going forward as part of our drive to restore shareholder value. Difficult decisions have to be taken in the current climate. “The Fastnet Board and management team have collectively over 120 years of business and management experience and we have each individually weathered many storms successfully. I look forward to working with the Board and management team as we strive to develop and grow the Celtic Sea asset portfolio, participate in future drilling offshore Morocco, as well as maximise the value of our existing cash balance through opportunistic M&A.” [mappress mapid=”1145″]last_img read more

Harvey Gulf hits another milestone with LNG-powered vessel

first_imgHarvey Gulf International Marine achieved another milestone in maritime history by receiving the first ABS Classification Certificate and the first USCG Certificate of Inspection for a vessel powered by LNG.The M/V Harvey Energy is the first LNG-powered vessel in service in North America, the company said in a statement. Harvey Gulf recently performed the first truck to vessel transfer of LNG, the first vessel to bunker LNG and was the first U.S. Flagged LNG-powered vessel to enter into port while being powered by LNG.The vessel will be based out of Port Fourchon, LA and will immediately begin its long-term charter role.The M/V Harvey Energy built at GCSG in Gulfport, MS is based on the Vard Marine 1 311 design and is 310x64x24.5 ft powered by 3 Wartsila 6L34DF dual fuel gensets providing 7.5MW of power fueled by Wartsila’s LNGPac system.[mappress mapid=”16746″]last_img read more

Saab Seaeye ROV Explores Shipwrecks Off Rhode Island

first_imgLive images of historical shipwrecks are being filmed by a Saab Seaeye Falcon ROV and beamed directly to educational and public audiences ashore in a live telepresence-enabled exploration project.The University of Rhode Island’s research vessel, Endeavor, is exploring the remains of two shipwrecks located off the coast of Rhode Island. They include the German U-Boat U-853, sunk at the very end of World War Two.Also aboard Endeavor, a scientific team is a conducting an acoustic tracking experiment for tracking fish using newly developed technology.The programme is aimed at raising public awareness and for educating students about significant historical and natural resources located off the coast of Rhode Island.Schools, colleges and the general public are able to view live programs over the Internet – broadcast in high bandwidth – using the ship-to-shore satellite telepresence system and the video streaming facilities at the Inner Space Center.TV channel, Rhode Island PBS is also simulcasting the live webcasts.Named Deep Reef by the exploration team, their Saab Seaeye Falcon is equipped with camera technology used in movies like ‘Avatar’, and low-light cameras that can see in the dark, along with single-mode fibre optics and a gigabyte Ethernet.Prior to the Falcon’s exploration a side-scan sonar system surveyed the shipwreck sites ready to construct a dive plan for navigating the ROV safely around each wreck.In addition to exploring shipwrecks, Dr David Gruber, associate professor of biology at City University New York, says the Falcon will image the seabed sedimentary geological formations and the marine biological habitat associated with the wreck sites and surrounding region.He adds that the scientific team will also conduct an acoustic tracking experiment with newly developed technology that includes a miniature archival tag for long-range fish tracking.Source: Saab Seaeyelast_img read more

Meriaura appoints two

first_imgKoskinen has been working at VG-Shipping since 2003, most recently as the director of ship management. Rosin, previously vice managing director, joined Meriaura in 2014. He will be responsible for the chartering and operation of the Meriaura fleet.According to Meriaura, the company has made a mutual agreement with Elisa Mikkolainen for her to discontinue her duties of managing director.Meriaura Group has embarked on an expansion strategy to increase its fleet with vessels or long-term charter agreements, as reported here in October when the company acquired multiple vessels.The company recently delivered a 439-tonne crane on board its multipurpose deck carrier, Meri. The vessel, measuring 105.4 m in length, transported a Liebherr LHM 550 mobile harbour crane to the port of Rosyth, UK, where it will be used for bulk handling, as HLPFI reported here.www.meriaura.filast_img read more