Hawaii’s Reopening May Be Good for Tourism. Is it Good for Hawaiians?

first_imgMr. McMillan added that he believes that “in some markets, especially for international travel, until a vaccine is more widely available, testing will become part of the norm.”For Jonathan McManus, the owner of Hotel Wailea Relais & Chateaux in Maui, testing presents a way to reopen safely after months of carrying an empty property. He says it will let him keep employees in jobs.- Advertisement – “The resort bubble would let guests leave their rooms and enjoy on-site amenities while completing the mandatory quarantine while wearing GPS-monitored bracelets,” he said, noting that should Hawaii reinstate the mandatory quarantine for all travelers, these bubbles would make it possible for the resort to remain operational for inter-island travel and for locals.The staff at Timbers is made up of locals and their safety is essential, Mr. Moore said.“Our employees go home, many have large families and they are with parents and grandparents and children, and keeping them safe is essential to everyone’s well-being,” he said.- Advertisement – “What the data suggests so far is that here in Hawaii, testing has been the key to safely reopening,” he said. “We now understand the data and the importance of testing. Testing provides a high level of protection for visitors, staff and residents.”The hotel used to have an in-person welcoming process that included staff members putting leis on guests as they arrived and checking them in with a cocktail in hand. Now, a key is waiting for guests when they arrive, and capacity is capped at 60 percent. Each of the hotel’s 72 suites has its own heating, ventilation and air conditioning system.Gary Moore, managing director at Timbers Kauai at Hokuala, said that the reopening has been “anything but clear,” but what is clear is: “We have to find a way to live with the disease.” Mr. Moore said that despite various challenges, the lessons learned at his property about distancing people, mask enforcement, temperature checking and even separating guests and putting them in “bubbles,” could be applied at other resorts.- Advertisement –center_img – Advertisement –last_img read more

Anthony Joshua’s Chinese rival Zhilei Zhang stops Devin Vargas in four rounds | Boxing News

first_imgJames Dielhenn Senior Boxing Journalist @JamesDielhenn Zhilei Zhang is now unbeaten in 22 Zhilei Zhang is now unbeaten in 22

Sofia Richie Loves Nana Jacqueline Inspired by Barbie’s Dream Closet

first_imgSofia Richie Loves Nana Jacqueline Designs Inspired by Barbie’s Dream ClosetSofia Richie. MediaPunch/ShutterstockBarbie’s dream wardrobe has come to life in Hollywood! Los Angeles-based fashion brand, Nana Jacqueline, was inspired by the iconic doll and her fabulous style, and celebrities including Sofia Richie, Amelia Gray Hamlin, Bella Thorne and Bebe Rexha can’t stop wearing it.The line, created in 2013 by two best friends — Nana Li and Jacqueline Zhang — is known for its feminine, sexy and luxurious designs made with special details including rhinestones, bows, cutouts and more, making It-girls’ nostalgic fantasies come true.- Advertisement – – Advertisement – Regardless of what you choose, the ultimate goal is to for shoppers to feel like their best selves in the label. “Everything we create comes from two best friends dreaming together. … The Nana Jacqueline girl a confident girl who enjoys looking good and feeling sexy while passionately pursuing her dream life.”Listen to Get Tressed With Us to get the latest beauty and style news! “We have everything you would need out of Barbie’s dream closet including fun designs, trendsetting pieces and stunning accessories,” Zhang tells Stylish exclusively while celebrating the launch of the brand’s holiday collection.Sofia Richie Loves Nana Jacqueline Designs Inspired by Barbie’s Dream ClosetFilip MilenkovicAnd regardless of the occasion, expect to make heads turn in their minidresses, jackets, crop tops, skirts, pajamas and more. “Our pieces are really unique and help you stand out from the crowd,” she explains.“We love to celebrate and make you feel special in every moment of your life. … We want you to wear our pieces while celebrating important moments in your life such as birthdays, anniversaries, traveling, holiday parties, weddings and more,” the designer says. – Advertisement – “We also want to be there when you wind down and assist in making you feel luxuriously at peace and comfortable in our 100% silk loungewear.” Another plus: You can even mix and match the line’s glamorous pieces with cozy ones for a chic, in-between look.Sofia Richie Loves Nana Jacqueline Designs Inspired by Barbie’s Dream ClosetFilip Milenkovic“Pairing our dresses with our blazers can really help dress your outfit up or down. We also offer a lot of two piece sets, which include a dress and blazer to go from day to night. Adding any of our coats and knits is another great option,” Zhang suggests.- Advertisement –last_img read more

Apple Silicon Macs–Should you buy the new Macs with the new M1 chip? » Gadget Flow

first_img– Advertisement – Ever since the launch of their first product back in 1984, Apple has been a brand always focused in providing fast performance through compact product designs. Back in 2005, when Apple decided to switch from the IBM’s PowerPC G5 product line to Intel x86, it was because the PowerPC failed to deliver the 3 GHz Power Mac G5 within 12 months. Clearly, Apple was not ready to compromise on the speed and performance of the computers back in the day. Fast forward to 2020 and the situation is somewhat similar to what it was before. Primarily, if you look at all the discussions and updates from Apple for the past few years, it comes down to two possible reasons for this switch:Apple prefers its own underlying technologyWith product lineups like the iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch sustaining on its own underlying technology, Apple can be termed as one of those brands who solely relies on their own. So, it was inevitable from their side to come up with a new line of Macs that are solely run by their own Apple ARM-based Silicon processors. Apple Silicon Macs–Should you buy the new Macs with the new M1 chip? Apple Silicon Macs–Should you buy the new Macs with the new M1 chip?The new M1 chip comes with faster performance and better battery life See Also: Best Macbook Pro Accessories to buy in 2020Nevertheless, this is possibly one of the biggest updates in the tech industry ever since Apple chose to switch to Intel x86 chips back in 2005. So, is this Apple’s smartest move since 2005 to make one of their most popular products – the MacBook more self independent?As told by Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, at the WWDC 2020 keynote,From the beginning, the Mac has always embraced big changes to stay at the forefront of personal computing. Today we’re announcing our transition to Apple silicon, making this a historic day for the Mac. With its powerful features and industry-leading performance, Apple silicon will make the Mac stronger and more capable than ever. I’ve never been more excited about the future of the Mac.Why did Apple go for this switch to Apple Silicon?- Advertisement – Madhurima Nag is the Head of Social Media at Gadget Flow. She side-hustles as a digital marketing lecturer/speaker and loves to voice her opinion on marketing, crowdfunding and gadgets (of course!) in general. Not so fast-tracked relationship with IntelOther than Apple’s own ambition, one of the other factors which also triggered the switch is the constant delays they had to face with chip development at Intel. This was first experienced with Intel’s abnormally bad Skylake bug back in 2016. However, it was the only incident that could have been a possible trigger. Later in 2016, Intel promised to deliver their 10nm CPUs by Q3 2016. These chips would pack more power in compact designs which would have been a great benefit for companies like Apple who are always aiming for compact, seamless product designs. The chips would draw less heat from the CPU, thereby making it a great option for laptops. But unfortunately, Intel took over 3 years to ship those chips out. In fact, even until their last announcement, there still lies no date for the 10nm desktop chips.If you go back to the 2016 Apple MacBook Pro lineup, it was way thinner than before but the thermal capacity was a disaster. It wouldn’t be wrong to speculate that maybe Apple was designing these laptops expecting the 10nm chips to take control of the heat dissipation but with consistent delays, the entire lineups for the past few years have always been failing at the thermal juncture. So, it would not be unwise to say that these delays might have just accelerated Apple’s switch to an in-house processor, faster than expected.What are the benefits of this Apple Silicon transition?The new transition focuses on a lot of important factors that can actually make your new Apple Silicon Macs so much faster and better when it comes to combatting the heat throttle. They will also add advanced power management, a secure enclave, and a high-performing GPU to every Mac. This change focuses on better performance and using less battery power in new Macs made with Apple chips. And Mac-specific SoCs will give unique features to Mac but provide common architecture across product lines.Apple SiliconApple SiliconOther than this, the Apple Silicon transition also aims for a number of competitive advantages:1. Apple won’t have to depend on other OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturer) for the same chips. If you look at the effectiveness of Apple’s volume impact on Intel, they are not even close to what other big tech giants like Dell and Lenovo has. So, quite naturally, their priorities in hardware manufacturing is considered less as compared to the others.2. Apple will not have to negotiate their desired features with OEMs based on what other tech giants are looking forward to. They can simply do what they want with their own Silicon chips.3. Thanks to the in-house switch, iOS apps will be able to run natively on this hardware. There’s no translation required and the brand value for seamless connectivity across devices which Apple vouches for, will actually work faster than ever.4. Vertical control of both hardware and software will give Apple the power to do anything with their devices that no other computer manufacturer has been able to do so far. Whether it’s about launching affordable Macs or going for even more compact designs with both laptops and desktops, it’s now in their hands to explore the world of computing at its best.Are there any disadvantage of the Apple Silicon transition?As of now, the most important fact worth considering is that Apple is stepping in this game for the first time and they are trying to compete the performance of these Silicon chips with Intel. That might be causing a few hiccups and bottlenecks in the beginning like it happens for most product launches initially. However, this should not be a long term issue for the company as with time, the transition will slowly fall into place.Another factor worth considering is Apple’s compatibility with Windows. One of the benefits of Apple’s move to Intel back in 2006 was that it meant that Mac users could run Windows on the Mac. This opened the Mac up to people who were hesitant about leaving Windows behind. But with the Apple Silicon, this might be an issue if Windows fail to run on it.The new M1 chip frameThe new M1 chip frameHowever, these are all speculations so far that come with any new product launch. Apple’s been leading the smartphone and tablet industry with their ARM-based chips and now with the transition to Macs, we just hope it goes even better.Apple Silicon M1 specs–How cool is it?Apple Silicon has been at the heart of iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch so far. But now with this transition, the M1 chip will usher in a whole new era for the Mac. The primary focus of this chip is to focus on power efficiency while maintaining performance. Until now, a Mac needed multiple chips to perform at its best. But M1 does it all through a uniform memory architecture. This dramatically improves performance and power efficiency. It is the first personal computing chip built using industry-leading 5nm technology. It comes with 4 high performance single thread cores which delivers the similar performance as current Macs but with low power consumption. In fact, it is seen that M1 will give about 3X better performance per watt as compared to previous Mac chips. The new M1 chip at a glanceThe new M1 chip at a glanceM1 also comes with integrated graphics to give you 2X better performance than other PC chips by using just one-third of the power. M1 excels in machine learning with 11 Trillion operations per second. In order to make the Silicon Macs work even better, the macOS Big Sur has been customized specifically for the M1 chip-based Apple Silicon Macs. This makes processes like launching apps or any other daily activity you do on your Mac even more instantaneous.M1 chip CPU performanceM1 chip CPU performanceWhen it comes to security, M1 comes with hardware-verified secure booth, automatic encryption, and more. The apps you get in Apple Silicon are –1. Universal apps – One app for all of your Macs you can download from the App Store2. Rosetta 2 – Translation software for non-universal apps. 3. iOS and iPad apps on your Mac. Yes, that’s finally happening.The new M1 GPU performanceThe new M1 GPU performanceAll Apple apps, including Final Cut Pro and Logic Pro, will run natively on ARM. What’s more, Microsoft and Adobe are working on running on Apple Silicon. Because macOS Big Sur will include Rosetta 2, it will automatically translate Intel apps to Apple Silicon at the time of install. Apple Silicon M1 supported modelsThe wait is finally over and we have the supported models from Apple with the brand new M1 chip.The new MacBook Air with M1 Apple SiliconThe MacBook Air redefines what a thinner light notebook can do. With 8-incredibly powerful cores, the CPU new MacBook Air with M1 soars to a 3x faster performance than before. Like managing huge raw libraries in Lightroom and 5X faster graphics performance. It provides immersive gaming at significant higher frame rates. The new Air is up to 3x faster than the Windows laptops of its class. With 16-cores, machine learning is 9x faster than previous Air. Even storage gets a boost with 2x faster SSDs. The new Air gives you that performance with a silent design. It also provides up to 15 hours of wireless web battery life and 18 hours of video playback. With M1 and Big Sur, MacBook Air still starts at $999.The new MacBook Air with M1 at a glanceThe new MacBook Air with M1 at a glanceThe new Mac Mini with M1 Apple SiliconIt delivers Mac desktop experience in an incredibly small form factor. M1 comes to Mac Mini and gives it up to 3x faster CPU performance. The 8-core GPU gives the Mini a 6 fold increase in graphics performance. If you compare Mac mini to the top-selling PC desktop in its price range, it’s 1/10th the size with 5x performance. The new Mac Mini starts at just $699. The new Mac Mini with M1 at a glanceThe new Mac Mini with M1 at a glanceThe new Mac Mini portsThe new Mac Mini portsThe new 13-inch MacBook Pro with M1 Apple SiliconWith M1, the 13-inch MacBook Pro becomes way more powerful, and way more Pro. It comes with nearly 8x performance over previous MacBook Pro and up to 3x faster than best-selling Windows laptop in its class. The new MacBook Pro can play back 8k ProRes video in Resolve without dropping a single frame. It comes with 17 hours of wireless web browsing and 20 hours of video playback battery life. The studio-quality mics give you a super clean audio during conference calls. With Big Sur and M1 chip at the heart of it, the new MacBook Pro is still just $1299. The new MacBook Pro with M1 at a glanceThe new MacBook Pro with M1 at a glanceWhen will the new Silicon Macs be available?All the three products will be available for order starting today, and shipping begins next week. The transition to M1 Silicon will take time and the company is predicting a 2-year timeline for the entire transition to happen.So, does that mean you should wait it out? Definitely out if you’re up for experimenting with the new M1 chip experience right away. But if you’re expecting all of your favorite apps to be available on the Mac app store for the new MacBooks right away, you might have to wait it out.Big Sur in M1 chip based MacBook ProBig Sur in M1 chip based MacBook ProApple Silicon Macs are not just another MacBook series from Apple. They represent a cult breakthrough in the world of tech where a brand is trying to go all in-house with their hardware lineup. It’s been a tremendous year for Apple and we being Apple fans, couldn’t have asked for more. What’s your take on the new Silicon Macs? Would you buy them? Share with us in the comments below. After 15 years, the tech industry is up for a massive upgrade. Yes, the Apple Silicon Macs are finally here and we couldn’t be more excited for it. These Macs are setting a benchmark in the world of computing and paving the way for Apple to be closer to a more self-sustainable brand. Will that work in favor of Apple or no? Keep on reading to find out more.When Apple announced the iPhone 12 series last month and all the cool things it can do with 5G, Ceramic Shield, and MagSafe, it seemed like the best from Apple this year. But hey, there’s still One More Thing left to add to the amazing lineup from the brand this year. Announced back in WWDC 2020, Apple has finally set a launch date for their own Apple Silicon backed MacBook series. If you’ve been a MacBook user forever, you’d know that this was an impending announcement most of us Mac lovers were waiting for. From a brand who’s got tremendous success with their own custom chips in the mobile world, such a transition for laptops and eventually desktops, was inevitable. But when you think of such a major transition happening in the world of Macs, you’d also be somewhat skeptical about its success.Apple Silicon Macs TransitionApple Silicon Macs transition- Advertisement – The Gadget Flow Daily Digest highlights and explores the latest intech trends to keep you informed. Want it straight to your inbox?Subscribe ➜ Apple Silicon Macs–Should you buy the new Macs with the new M1 chip? – Advertisement –last_img read more

Dubai warmly welcomes UK quarantine move | News

first_imgThe United Arab Emirates has been added to the quarantine free list for UK travellers, opening travel opportunities for business and leisure.The addition of commercial capital Dubai, which is seen as a key winter sun destination for British travellers, has been heralded as particularly significant by the tourism sector.- Advertisement – OlderQatar Airways adds new destinations to global network Saeed Al Maktoum, chairman and chief executive, Emirates airline and Group, echoed the positive sentiments: “We welcome the decision to add the UAE to its list of countries where arriving travellers are exempt from quarantine. “This is a positive development for the many people in the UAE who have been yearning to spend time with family and friends in the UK, and vice versa. “We believe this move will benefit businesses and tourism, and Emirates is ready to reinstate more flight services between Dubai and the UK to serve customer demand.”Dubai, popular for its hotels, experiences, skyline, and contrasting desert is synonymous with winter sun holidays, is the perfect place to escape the impending UK winter. Issam Kazim, chief executive of Dubai Corporation for Tourism & Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism), said: “Following the announcement to include Dubai on the UK’s travel exemption quarantine list, we are delighted to welcome British visitors back to the city from December 3rd [when current UK lockdown restrictions are set to expire].“Since opening our borders on July 7th a key priority for us has been to safeguard the health and wellbeing of our residents and guests in Dubai. “We hope these stringent measures and the news of today’s travel exemption quarantine list give confidence to British visitors to come and experience Dubai for some winter sun.” Brits can expect to see a few changes – with social distancing measures front of mind – to keep visitors safe from the moment they step off their flight, but will still encounter warm hospitality, unique experiences and plenty of sunshine.More InformationBreaking Travel News this week spoke to Shahab Shayan, senior manager for international operations at Dubai Tourism, about how the emirate was preparing for the return of tourists next year.Find out what he had to say, here. Dubai is considered the Middle East’s Leading Destination by voters at the World Travel Awards. NewerUnited Arab Emirates added to quarantine-free list for UK travellers – Advertisement – The move gives Brits the opportunity to travel to one of the most popular and dynamic holiday and business destinations in the world as it joins the air corridor list removing the requirement to quarantine for 14-days upon return to the UK.Mansoor Abulhoul, the United Arab Emirates ambassador to the UK, commented: “The announcement of a UAE-UK travel corridor is brilliant news and a testament to the strength of the UAE-UK relationship. “This lays a promising foundation for when normal international travel resumes.- Advertisement – “The UAE remains one of the safest places in the world against Covid-19 and continues to have one of the highest testing rates globally. “Our hotels, restaurants and malls have been up and running since April and look forward to hosting many British visitors again soon.”Over 1.5 million UK citizens visit the Middle East destination every year, while around 120,000 are currently resident there.- Advertisement –last_img read more

The 2020 Hurricane Season in Rewind

first_imgThe 2020 hurricane season, which brought destructive storms from Central America to the Gulf Coast of the United States and beyond, has proved to be one for the record books.The storms began before the hurricane season officially kicked off, with the formation of Tropical Storm Albert in mid-May, two weeks before the official start of the Atlantic season on June 1.- Advertisement – In August, midway through the six-month season, scientists upgraded their outlook to say 2020 would be “one of the most active seasons,” and said they expected up to 25 named storms by the time it was over. By November, even that upgraded expectation was exceeded: There have now been 30 named storms — 13 of them hurricanes — breaking a record set in 2005, when 28 storms grew strong enough to be named. Fifteen that year became hurricanes.The latest storm, Hurricane Iota, was swirling toward Central America, a region still recovering after a hit from Hurricane Eta two weeks ago. Iota, now a Category 4 hurricane, was expected to make landfall on the border of Nicaragua and Honduras on Monday night and was forecast to produce catastrophic winds and dump up to 30 inches of rain in the area all week. – Advertisement – The busy hurricane season has raised repeated questions about how exactly climate change is affecting hurricanes in the Atlantic. While researchers aren’t able to say for certain that climate change will mean longer or more active hurricane seasons in the years to come, they do believe that global warming is changing storms.Scientists say that the warm Atlantic surface temperatures have assisted to increase storm activity this season. The warmer ocean temperatures are “absolutely responsible for the hyperactive season,” said James P. Kossin, a climate scientist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. “It’s very likely that human-caused climate change contributed to that anomalously warm ocean.”And research on the topic is ongoing.Scientists have found that climate change affects how hurricanes form and strengthen; rising ocean temperatures linked to global warming can cause storms to weaken more slowly after they move onto land and remain destructive for longer. In a recent study, scientists found that 50 years ago a typical storm would have lost more than three-quarters of its intensity in the first 24 hours, when it might travel several hundred miles inland, but now it would lose only about half.Henry Fountain contributed reporting. – Advertisement – While Central America braced for Iota, its second major hurricane of the season, it was still recovering from the destruction left by Eta, a storm that made landfall in early November as a Category 4 and claimed at least 60 lives.The Gulf Coast of the United States was also battered this season by seven named storms. Eta thrashed Florida twice, leaving tens of thousands without electricity and flooding beach communities.Louisiana saw at least five storms this year, including Zeta, which in late October pulverized parts of New Orleans. In August, Hurricane Laura made landfall on the state’s coast as a Category 4 storm with 150-mile-per-hour winds, destroying office buildings, a sky bridge, trees and power lines. The storm was also responsible for at least six deaths in the state. According to Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale, a major hurricane, Category 3 or higher, has winds beginning at 111 miles per hour. There have been six major hurricanes this season including, Laura, Teddy, Delta, Epsilon, Eta and Iota.center_img The strongest was Hurricane Iota, which grew to a Category 5 storm with maximum sustained winds of 160 miles per hour, according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami.Category 5 hurricanes in the Atlantic basin are rare this late in the season. “It’s the latest ever,” Mr. Feltgen said, listing other late-season Category 5 hurricanes including Mitch in 1998 and an unnamed storm in 1932 that passed just east of the Cayman Islands on Nov. 9 and then struck Cuba later that day as a Category 4.Which areas have been hit the most and the hardest? How has climate change affected hurricanes? – Advertisement – Iota, a Category 4 hurricane approaching Central America, became the latest storm this season. Before Iota, there was Theta, the season’s 29th named storm, breaking the annual record set in 2005, the year Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast.In September, when Tropical Storm Wilfred formed in the eastern Atlantic Ocean, it exhausted the list of prepared storm names and pushed meteorologists to the 24-letter Greek alphabet to name the next storms, only the second time meteorologists resorted to Greek letters. “We’ve only done it once,” Dennis Feltgen, a spokesman and meteorologist with the National Hurricane Center in Miami, said earlier in the season, “and that was 2005.”Six of those hurricanes have been major storms. There have been a record-breaking number of named storms.last_img read more

US official admits problems in BioShield program

first_img Some experts at the hearing said Project BioShield needs more personnel and increased legal authority to support risky research, the Post reported. Tara O’Toole, a University of Pittsburgh biodefense expert who works in Baltimore, estimated that HHS needs another 100 employees to manage the program efficiently. About 40 people work on the program now, the story said. Under questioning from members of both parties, administration officials conceded many criticisms that the drug and biotechnology industry has aimed at Project BioShield in recent months, the newspaper said. See also: The story said corporate executives warned that they need clearer direction from the program to help them decide what kind of research to launch. Executives also complained of delays, bureaucratic inertia, and other problems with the program. Alex M. Azar II, a deputy secretary in the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), acknowledged that Project BioShield has problems and promised increased efforts to make it work, according to an Apr 7 report in the Washington Post. He promised that HHS would publish a draft plan and invite comments later this year and follow up with a final plan soon afterward. In addition, the story said, HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt has promised to reorganize the Office of Public Health Emergency Preparedness, which runs the program. “We recognize that more can and must be done to aggressively and efficiently implement Project BioShield,” Azar was quoted as saying. “We will make this process more transparent and work to educate the public and industry about our priorities and opportunities.” Speaking to the health subcommittee of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, Azar “conceded that the lack of a strategic plan has left industry guessing about the government’s priorities,” the Post reported. Azar reported that HHS has committed close to $1.1 billion in BioShield contracts so far. The largest project is an $877 million contract with VaxGen Inc., Brisbane, Calif., for 75 million doses of a new anthrax vaccine. The BioShield program, enacted in July 2004, was designed to speed the development of drugs and vaccines to counter the effects of biological, chemical, nuclear, and radiological agents. Rep. Anna G. Eschoo, D-Calif., was quoted as saying, “I think what’s lacking in all this is a real sense of urgency. I can’t help but think we are not prepared if, God forbid, any of these catastrophes were to be visited upon the United States.” The contract, awarded in November 2004, calls for VaxGen to deliver the vaccine by November 2007. The Post said the company has conceded it is at least a year behind schedule in making the vaccine. Stewart Simonson, the HHS assistant secretary in charge of that office, resigned in March. Some congress members had criticized him as lacking the scientific expertise needed for the position, the story said. Apr 12, 2006 (CIDRAP News) – The Bush administration acknowledged last week that its $5.6 billion program to build a supply of medical countermeasures against biological weapons and other threats is struggling and needs help, according to a newspaper report. Jul 21, 2004, CIDRAP News story “Bush signs BioShield legislation”last_img read more

Novartis gets US contract for cell-based flu vaccine plant

first_imgJan 15, 2009 (CIDRAP News) – The US government has awarded Novartis a $487 million contract to help build a plant in North Carolina that the company says will be capable of producing 150 million doses of cell-based pandemic influenza vaccine within 6 months after the start of a pandemic.Because of the advantages of growing flu vaccines in cell culture instead of in chicken eggs, the conventional method, the Novartis facility is expected to increase the US capacity to make pandemic flu vaccine by 25%, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) said in a news release.The facility, which Novartis said is already under construction in Holly Springs, N.C., also will make prepandemic flu vaccines, HHS said. The contract calls for HHS and Novartis to share the cost of the facility, with HHS providing 40% and the company paying 60%.”We currently anticipate that by 2012 the site will provide jobs for more than 300 highly skilled people with the capability to produce cell-based flu vaccine, prepandemic vaccine and 150 million doses of pandemic vaccine within six months of the declaration of an influenza pandemic,” said Dr. Andrin Oswald, CEO of Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics, in a news release.Dr. Robin Robinson, director of HHS’s Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), told CIDRAP News that $317 million of the contract is for facility construction and $170 million is for buying prepandemic and/or seasonal flu vaccines.Under the contract, Novartis is to supply “two commercial-scale lots” of prepandemic vaccine per year for 3 years, according to the company announcement. Robinson said that could amount to at least 3 million doses per year and explained that the contract actually provides for either seasonal or prepandemic cell-based vaccine. The contract also gives HHS the option to continue buying vaccine for 17 more years.Novartis already makes a cell-based seasonal flu vaccine that was approved by the European Union in May 2008, Robinson noted. He said the company also has applied to the EU for licensure of a cell-based H5N1 prepandemic vaccine.”This year Novartis will be making a regulatory submission for [US] licensure of a seasonal influenza vaccine using this cell-based technology,” Robinson said. “It’s likely that by the end of this year or early next year that product will be licensed.” That vaccine will initially be made in Germany, he added.HHS awarded Novartis a $220 million contract in May 2006 to speed the development of cell-based flu vaccines. Although the company announced plans for the North Carolina facility in July 2006, Robinson said the earlier contract was for development of cell-based flu vaccines, not for the facility. Most of the vaccine development has been done in a plant in Marburg, Germany, he said.The HHS statement said, “Cell-based vaccine production could more easily meet surge capacity needs because cells could be frozen and stored in advance of an epidemic or developed rapidly in response to an epidemic. Cell-based vaccine production also dramatically reduces the possibility for contamination and promises to be more reliable, flexible, and expandable than egg-based methods.”As noted by HHS, all current US-licensed flu vaccines are grown in eggs, a method that has changed little since the 1950s. “In place of eggs, cell-based vaccine production uses laboratory grown cells that are capable of hosting a growing virus. The virus is injected into the cells where it multiplies,” the agency said. Later the cell walls are removed and the viruses are harvested, purified, and killed.”We believe this is the capstone for the original plan we set out for pandemic preparedness and medical countermeasures” and to build up US flu vaccine production capacity, Robinson commented.He noted that HHS has a goal of establishing a US capability to produce 600 million doses of pandemic vaccine within 6 months of the declaration of a pandemic. Besides Novartis, Sanofi Pasteur and other companies are also expected to produce pandemic vaccines, he said.The new contract also includes about $2 million for clinical studies to show that vaccines made in the North Carolina facility are comparable with Novartis vaccines made in Germany, Robinson reported.See also: Jan 15 HHS news releasehttp://www.hhs.gov/news/press/2009pres/01/20090115d.htmlJan 15 Novartis news releaseJul 18, 2006, CIDRAP News story on Novartis planthttp://www.cidrap.umn.edu/cidrap/content/influenza/general/news/jul1806novartis.htmlMay 4, 2006, CIDRAP News story on HHS’s awarding of $1 billon for cell-based vaccine developmenthttp://www.cidrap.umn.edu/cidrap/content/influenza/panflu/news/may0406vaccines.htmlNov 1, 2007, CIDRAP News story “The pandemic vaccine puzzle: Looking to new vaccine technologies”last_img read more

NEWS SCAN: H5N1 in kids, meningitis vaccine, rare malaria, TB genotyping, E coli in water, food safety, livestock tracking, climate change

first_imgMar 12, 2009WHO asks Egypt to probe H5N1 cases in childrenThe World Health Organization (WHO) is asking Egypt’s health ministry to investigate why so many young children are becoming infected with the H5N1 avian influenza virus, according to a report today from the Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN), part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Human Affairs. Of seven H5N1 case-patients that Egypt has reported this year, all have been children younger than 3 years. All reportedly had contact with sick or dead poultry. John Jabbour, a senior WHO epidemiologist, said the cases might reflect decreased vigilance and warned that families must remain alert, because the virus is endemic in Egyptian poultry.[Mar 12 IRIN story]New meningitis vaccine said to offer eradication hope for AfricaTo begin eradicating meningitis from Africa, the WHO will launch a mass vaccination campaign later this year in Burkina Faso using 25 million doses of a new vaccine that for the first time will offer long-term protection from the disease, according to an IRIN report published today. The WHO said it hopes to immunize 250 million people in Africa’s “malaria belt” by 2015. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation supported development of the new vaccine.[Mar 12 IRIN story]Rare simian malaria sickens US womanFor the first time in decades, an American has been diagnosed with a rare simian malaria infection, according to a report in tomorrow’s issue of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR). Four Plasmodium species cause most malaria infections, but a fifth—Plasmodium knowlesi—is emerging as an important zoonotic threat, and, unlike other forms of simian malaria, it can cause a life-threatening disease. The 50-year-old woman from New York had traveled to a remote part of the Philippines to visit family and got sick after returning to the United States. She recovered after treatment with atovaquone-proguanil and primaquine.[Mar 13 MMWR report]Genotype study tracks TB clusterTuberculosis (TB) genotyping can help detect outbreaks early and help identify relationships between patients, especially when investigators have difficulty identifying patient contacts, researchers report in tomorrow’s issue of MMWR. They used the technique to investigate a cluster of eight TB cases in the Detroit area between December 2004 and April 2007. They found that six of the patients were probably involved in the same chain of transmission.[Mar 13 MMWR report]Well water tests negative for E coli outbreak strainWater from private wells near the site of a Locust Grove, Okla., Escherichia coli outbreak last August contained three different strains of the pathogen (O141, O179, and O113), but not the rare O111 strain that sickened about 300 people and killed one man, the Associated Press (AP) reported today. The tests were conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.Obama seeks better coordination of food safety effortsIn the wake of the Salmonella outbreak tied to peanut products, President Barack Obama said yesterday he has ordered the nation’s food safety agencies to coordination their efforts better and to find ways to detect contaminated food more quickly, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC) reported yesterday. He said he has ordered the departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services to come up with a plan for better integration of their food safety efforts. Obama made the remarks in a White House interview with the AJC and other newspapers.Call for mandatory farm-animal identification system stirs debateThe idea of requiring all livestock owners to participate in the US National Animal Identification System (NAIS) drew support and opposition from different farm groups at a congressional hearing yesterday. The voluntary program was set up in 2004 to track farm animals for disease-control purposes, but many want to make the program mandatory, noted a report by Farm Futures. At a House Agriculture subcommittee hearing, officials of the National Pork Producers’ Council and the National Dairy Producer Federation testified in favor of mandatory participation, the report said. But the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and R-CALF USA (the Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund) opposed it.WHO urges focus on health effects of climate changePolicy-makers should pay attention to the health effects of climate change as they set priorities for steps to mitigate it, the WHO said yesterday. Health hazards related to climate change include an increased risk of extreme weather, changes in infectious disease dynamics, and rising sea levels, the agency said. The WHO estimates that about 150,000 deaths per year in low-income countries can be traced to climate change. Immediate causes include crop failures, diarrheal diseases, malaria, and flooding. The WHO made the statement in conjunction with a climate change conference in Copenhagen.[Mar 11 WHO statement]last_img read more