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first_img But at last month’s World Health Assembly, the voting gathering of the WHO’s 193 member states, the countries restated their case as an issue of sovereignty. A group of more than 20 countries asserted that they retain rights to isolates from their territories under the 1991 International Convention on Biological Diversity, which protects unique genetic resources. Doris Bucher, PhD, of New York Medical College, who is attending the Toronto meeting, runs the lab that makes most of the seed strains for seasonal flu vaccine production. The strains are distributed to manufacturers for free. Introducing fees or royalties into the virus-sharing system could have a dramatic effect, she said in an interview: “It would slow down the process. It would raise the price of vaccine,” she said. “The need to balance the sharing of viruses through global surveillance and the need to make the access to vaccines and those sorts of technologies broadly available should not come as a surprise,” Dr. Keiji Fukuda of the World Health Organization’s (WHO’s) Global Influenza Programme said in a speech yesterday. “We see there is a need to increase the access of the developing world to vaccine.” Defensibility of property claims unclearIt is not clear whether Indonesia and its partners could assert enforceable property rights over isolates from their territories, according to several intellectual-property experts. May 23 CIDRAP News story “WHO adopts resolution on flu virus sharing” In speeches and interviews here, international public-health figures are stressing their desire to avoid a confrontation. “It does worry me, because it makes the whole thing murkier, and it is difficult enough already,” said Dr. John Wood, a conference speaker and principal scientist at the United Kingdom’s National Institute of Biological Standards and Control. “It could also spread to seasonal [vaccine], I agree.” New twist in an ongoing disputeThe fear of a legal claim that could disrupt flu surveillance and vaccine manufacturing is the latest chapter in a dispute that began late last year when the government of Indonesia withdrew from the 55-year-old system by which flu viruses are shared around the world. Under that system, which was developed for tracking and controlling seasonal flu and has now been extended to flu strains that could spark a pandemic, viruses are isolated in a country and analyzed to increasing levels of sophistication by a national lab, regional lab, and WHO Influenza Collaborating Centers in Tokyo, Melbourne, London, and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. Gene sequences from the analyses are used to identify emerging strains of flu and then passed free of charge to pharmaceutical companies to be commercialized as vaccines. Intellectual property concerns have already touched pandemic-flu vaccine research. The reverse genetics process that mutes H5N1’s highly pathogenic aspects, producing a vaccine seed strain that will reproduce in chicken eggs, is owned by MedImmune Inc. That company has agreed to suspend licensing fees during the pandemic-vaccine research phase and will begin charging only when the vaccines go into commercial production. Indonesia ceased sending isolates to the WHO at the end of 2006 as a protest, triggering intensive international negotiations. Its government and several other Southeast Asian countries, including Thailand, lodged their objections in front of the WHO’s executive board in January, casting the impasse as an issue of human rights and equity. And in a resolution passed by the WHA after almost a week of negotiation, the group asked for international reconsideration of the virus-sharing system, increased investment in developing-world research, and a guarantee of “fair and equitable [vaccine] distribution” as the price of continuing to send isolates to the WHO. “We have some hard things to deal with,” Fukuda said in an interview. “We do not know whether we will face a pandemic in a short time or a long time. Given that kind of uncertainty . . . I think there is a real practical want on the part of all of the parties involved not to have a long discussion and to come up with practical solutions.” Since then, the WHO has promised to create a stockpile of pandemic vaccines for developing-world use, given contracts to support flu manufacturing in countries that lack the capacity, and set up meetings in August and November to continue to negotiate virus-sharing. Indonesia has meanwhile released only a few isolates. “There has to have been an ‘act of man’ to have changed the thing found in nature,” he said. “To be patentable, it has to be new, it has to be useful and it has to be something that didn’t exist before.” Under US law and the voluntary International Patent Cooperation Treaty, natural organisms such as wild-type viruses cannot be patented, said Gerry Norton, PhD, a flu virologist who heads the intellectual-property group at the Philadelphia law firm Fox Rothschild. Jun 19, 2007 – TORONTO (CIDRAP News) – The continuing debate over developing countries’ ability to afford pandemic-influenza vaccines has produced a disturbing complication: the possibility that Indonesia and other countries affected by H5N1 avian flu will assert legal ownership of the viral isolates on which the vaccines would be based. An ongoing series of international meetings extending into next autumn has been set up in hopes of defusing the situation, Fukuda and other WHO officials said. Developing countries paid little heed to the system for most of its existence because they do not manufacture vaccine and typically do not vaccinate their populations against seasonal flu. However, the Southeast Asian countries where H5N1 is concentrated have a strong interest in protecting their populations against a potential pandemic—but they would be unable to afford the pandemic-flu vaccines that Northern Hemisphere manufacturers might produce. However, the United States is not a signatory to the Convention, indicating that it does not consider its provisions binding. The European Union, where most vaccine manufacturers are based, is a signatory to the treaty but has not ratified it. See also: The prospect of a territorial or intellectual-property claim on the isolates—which are used both to track the movement and evolution of the virus and to develop vaccines against it—is roiling senior members of the international flu community, who are meeting in Toronto this week at the International Conference on Options for the Control of Influenza. About 1,400 experts from 65 countries are attending. Convention on Biological Diversityhttp://www.cbd.int/convention/convention.shtml But the potential effect of Indonesia’s property claim—regardless of the country’s ability to recover in court—is so much wider, and the ripple effect it could trigger so uncertain, that it is provoking significant anxiety in the international flu community. The countries probably can assert a claim to their isolates as real property rather than intellectual property under the Convention on Biological Diversity, said Elizabeth Haanes, PhD, a microbiologist and director in the biotechnology practice of the Washington, DC, law firm Sterne, Kessler, Goldstein & Fox. Article 15 of the Convention specifies that “the authority to determine access to genetic resources rests with the national governments.” “But they could say you can’t export our strains, or they could exert government control over how and when people can handle them within Indonesia—and they could do that by just passing a law, not seeking a patent,” he said. Experts worry about ripple effects”A developing-world country’s remedy, if their resources were used in the commercial development of vaccine, would probably be through the international courts, but that would be very difficult to enforce,” Haanes said. “On the other hand, the countries hold the trump card because they have the viruses—and I think they realize that not sharing this material will be bad for them as well as bad for everyone else. Hopefully, there will be a negotiated settlement.” Moreover, patent laws that protect intellectual property cannot be enforced outside a country’s borders, even if the country subscribes to the patent treaty, said Larry S. Millstein, PhD, a molecular biologist and partner with the Washington-area law firm Holland + Knight. If such a claim were successful—which legal experts say is far from guaranteed—it could both disrupt the fragile and relatively low-profit flu vaccine system and potentially threaten the legal standing of other biological products as well. Feb 6 CIDRAP News story “System for global pandemic vaccine development challenged” If rights were asserted over isolates of potentially pandemic strains, they could equally be sought for the seasonal flu strains used to make millions of doses of vaccine each year.last_img read more

Wisconsin draws Michigan in Big Ten Tournament

September 16, 2020 | bfiqjzlr | No Comments

first_imgAfter finishing sixth in the Big Ten, the Wisconsin women’s soccer team will head to Bloomington, Ind., where they will take on Michigan in the first round of the conference tournament.For the second season in a row, Wisconsin (12-6-1, 5-5-1 Big Ten) will play for the Big Ten title, earning the No. 6 seed in the eight-team bracket.Last year, UW made an early exit, losing in the first round to Minnesota 2-0.Redshirt junior forward Paige Adams said the team is excited to begin the postseason.“We are really pumped for the game tomorrow,” Adams said. “It is kind of do-or-die for us, so we’re really excited and I think we are going to do well.”UW has seemingly hit a late-season stride, winning five games in a row before falling to Iowa 2-1 in the last game of the regular season Saturday in Iowa City.During that six-game stretch, the Badgers have scored 13 goals and allowed only seven.Adams said she believes the team has some momentum from its winning streak but learned from the loss to the Hawkeyes.“The last game was kind of a wake-up call for us,” Adams said. “It was a learning experience for us and the wins that we had before. I think we are going to carry that through into the tournament.”Wisconsin will take on No. 3 seed Michigan (13-4-2, 7-2-2) Wednesday in the first round of the tournament.The Badgers hope to avenge a 3-0 loss suffered at the hands of the Wolverines earlier this season at the McClimon Complex.Michigan dominated Wisconsin in the previous matchup, holding the Badgers to only four shots on goal and tallying 11 shots as a team.Although the Wolverines were dominant in their September match with the Badgers, Michigan has faltered as of late, currently riding a three-game winless streak. Most recently, Michigan fell in its regular season finale with Illinois, a team Wisconsin defeated 2-1 just three weeks ago.Senior forward Monica Lam-Feist said the team learned from its earlier game with Michigan and has made some adjustments.“We definitely looked at that game and what we need to do differently,” Lam-Feist said. “We changed some things, so going forward we feel comfortable with what we are going to do.”UM’s biggest threat to UW will be junior forward Nkem Ezurike, who has 11 goals and one assist on the season, with two of those goals coming against Wisconsin in September.Freshman midfielder McKenna Meuer said the defensive unit needs to put pressure on the Michigan attack to avoid giving up three goals again.“Our motto all year has been ‘Make them go around us, not through us,’” Meuer said. “So, we want them to play down the outsides and not down the middle, as well as making them play in front of us and then make the tackles that we need to make to get the ball back.”UW’s offense has been playing well as of late, scoring seven times in its last three games.After being shut out by the Wolverines in the regular season, Adams said the key to the offensive success Wednesday is possession.“What we are really going to try to do is just, once we win the ball, counter and keep the ball,” Adams said. “I think that is something we sometimes struggle with is keeping [the ball] after we win it. So, if we can just connect that first pass and then get forward, I think we are going to be a lot more successful.”It is now win-or-go-home for the Badgers, and with the outcome of Wednesday’s game having a large influence on Wisconsin’s NCAA Tournament chances, it is safe to say this is the biggest game of the year for UW.Lam-Fiest said she knows this is a critical game for Wisconsin, and the team will not be holding back going into Wednesday’s match.“We know that it is do-or-die,” Lam-Feist said. “We don’t want to be safe and not put it all out there. So we are really excited to go out there and play our game and give everything we have.”last_img read more

Dessie Hughes Dies

September 16, 2020 | rkbamvjw | No Comments

first_imgDuring a successful career as a jockey, Hughes rode Davy Lad to victory in the 1977 Cheltenham Gold Cup, and came back two years later to claim the Champion Hurdle aboard Monksfield. Hughes’ biggest successes as a trainer came with Hardy Eustace who won back-to-back Champion Hurdles in 2004 and 2005. He is survived by his wife Eileen, daughter Sandra and son and three-time champion jockey Richard.last_img