The anthrax vaccine currently in the national stockpile, Anthrax Vaccine Adsorbed (AVA), was developed in the 1950s and is produced by Emergent BioSolutions under the brand name BioThrax. The product, required for US military personnel serving in high-risk areas such as the Middle East, is given in six doses over 18 months, followed by an annual booster. Both companies—Emergent BioSolutions, based in Rockville, and PharmAthene, based in Annapolis—announced in Jul 31 statements that they submitted responses to a request for proposal (RFP) from the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The RFP was issued in February and seeks 25 million doses of recombinant protective antigen (rPA) anthrax vaccine, based on a key anthrax protein, with a shelf life of at least 2 years. Feds spell out vaccine requestThe contract would require companies to secure Food and Drug Administration approval for the rPA anthrax vaccine. Initially, the vaccine would be used for pre-exposure prophylaxis in adults, with a future label extension to allow postexposure prophylaxis alongside antibiotics. David P. Wright, PharmAthene’s president and CEO, said the competition for the HHS contract is stiff, according to the Sun report. “This will not be a cakewalk for us. We have very strong competitors, but I believe, with the caliber of staff we have, that we will be successful at the end of the day in producing for this country the vaccine we need,” he told the Sun. Oct 31, 2007, CIDRAP News story “GAO critiques anthrax vaccine procurement, management” HHS request for proposal listing Aug 12, 2008 (CIDRAP News) – Two Maryland pharmaceutical companies recently announced that they have submitted proposals to produce and deliver at least 25 million doses of a next-generation anthrax vaccine to the nation’s Strategic National Stockpile. Jul 29 CIDRAP News story “Anthrax vaccine maker wins NIAID grants” Federal officials said they expect to award the contract to one or more companies, based on available funding, by late September. Federal officials didn’t say if any other companies submitted proposals to produce an rPA anthrax vaccine for HHS. Robin Robinson, director of the HHS Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), said the agency received multiple offers and that they appear promising, according to a report yesterday in the Baltimore Sun. It said phase 1 and 2 studies involving 700 human subjects suggest that its rPA anthrax vaccine is safe and well tolerated and produces a protective immune response. Jul 31 PharmAthene press release In May, VaxGen sold its experimental anthrax vaccine to its competitor, Emergent BioSolutions, according to previous reports. One month earlier, PharmAthene acquired an rPA anthrax vaccine candidate that was developed by Avecia, a biotechnology company based in the United Kingdom. The National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) has supported both candidates with research grants. Phase 2 studies completeEmergent BioSolutions said its vaccine candidate is a reformulated and more stable version of the rPA 102 vaccine that was originally developed at the US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases. In its statement, the company said phase 2 studies of rPA have been completed. The company said it would produce the vaccine at its new manufacturing facility in Lansing, Mich. PharmAthene said its new anthrax vaccine consists of rPA adsorbed into alhydrogel and packaged as a filled syringe for intramuscular injection. In its statement, the company said preclinical studies suggest that two or three doses administered several weeks produce an immune response that requires annual boosters. Federal officials have been seeking a new vaccine formulation that can provide immunity in three doses, rather than the six doses required for the licensed vaccine, and that will cause fewer side effects. Robinson told the Sun that BARDA expects to allocate $1.5 billion toward adding anthrax vaccines to the national stockpile. The government has said it wants to boost the national anthrax vaccine stockpile from 18.2 million doses to enough to protect 300 million, the report said. In 2007, HHS withdrew an $877.5 million contract to VaxGen, a South San Francisco, Calif., biotechnology company, after it missed some of its development milestones. The contract required VaxGen to produce 75 million doses of the rPA anthrax vaccine, enough to immunize 25 million people. A number of service members have reported serious side effects from the vaccine, and some sued to shelve the program. However, in late February a US district court judge dismissed the suit. Jul 31 Emergent BioSolutions press release The latest federal call for a new version of the anthrax vaccine came 4 months after the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the investigative arm of Congress, criticized previous attempts to secure a second-generation anthrax vaccine as premature, unrealistic, and vague regarding its intended use. See also: James Jackson, senior vice president and chief executive officer (CEO) of Emergent BioSolutions, said in the statement its analytical and nonclinical data support the vaccine’s stability improvements: “We believe that the current formulation will meet the US government’s stability requirements for an rPA vaccine,” he said.
January 26, 2018 Governor Wolf to Enlist Non-Partisan Mathematician to Evaluate Fairness of Redistricting Maps SHARE Email Facebook Twitter National Issues, Press Release, Redistricting, Voting & Elections Harrisburg, PA – Governor Wolf today announced he will enlist a non-partisan mathematician, Moon Duchin, Ph.D. an Associate Professor of Mathematics from Tufts University, to provide him guidance on evaluating redistricting maps for fairness. Governor Wolf has made clear since the Supreme Court ruled the map unconstitutional that he saw this as an opportunity to eliminate partisan gerrymandering and deliver the people of Pennsylvania a fair Congressional map.“Moon Duchin has been a leader in applying mathematics, geometry, and analytics to evaluate redistricted maps and work to eliminate extreme partisan gerrymandering,” Governor Wolf said. “The people of Pennsylvania are tired of partisan games and gridlock – made worse by gerrymandering – and it is my mission to reverse the black-eye of having some of the worst gerrymandering in the country. I am open and willing to work with the General Assembly but I will not accept an unfair map and enlisting a non-partisan expert is essential to ensure that is possible.”Biography:Moon Duchin is an Associate Professor of mathematics at Tufts University and serves as director of Tufts’ interdisciplinary Science, Technology, and Society program. Her mathematical research is in geometric group theory, low-dimensional topology, and dynamics. She is also one of the leaders of the Metric Geometry and Gerrymandering Group, a Tisch College-supported project that focuses mathematical attention on issues of electoral redistricting.Duchin’s research looks at the metric geometry of groups and surfaces, often by zooming out to the large scale picture. Lately she has focused on geometric counting problems, in the vein of the classic Gauss circle problem, which asks how many integer points in the plane are contained in a disk of radius r. Her graduate training was in low-dimensional topology and ergodic theory, focusing on an area called Teichmüller theory, where the object of interest is a parameter space for geometric structures on surfaces.Duchin has also worked and lectured on issues in the history, philosophy, and cultural studies of math and science, such as the role of intuition and the nature and impact of ideas about genius. She is involved in a range of educational projects in mathematics: she is a veteran visitor at the Canada/USA Mathcamp for talented high school students, has worked with middle school teachers in Chicago Public Schools, developed inquiry-based coursework for future elementary school teachers at the University of Michigan, and briefly partnered with the Poincaré Institute for Mathematics Education at Tufts.Education:PhD in Mathematics, University of Chicago, 2005MS in Mathematics, University of Chicago, 1999BA in Mathematics and Women’s Studies, Harvard University, 1998Curriculum Vitae: Moon Duchin CV.pdf read more
Premier League clubs spent around £850 million this summer – but how much of it was wisely spent, and which clubs needed to dip into their pockets a bit more?We have given last season’s top six Premier League clubs a grade for their efforts over the summer.ARSENALBuying Petr Cech addressed a key weakness for Arsenal and proved Wenger can recruit at the top of the market. Sadly, he failed to take on board either of these lessons when it came to all other areas of his squad, leaving Arsenal in the preposterous position of being the only club in the top five European leagues not to sign an outfield player this summer. If only Karim Benzema had been up for it…Ins: Petr Cech (Chelsea)Outs: Ryo Miyaichi (St Pauli), Abou Diaby (Marseille), Lukas Podolski (Galatasaray), Carl Jenkinson (West Ham, loan), Wojciech Szczesny (Roma, loan) Total spend: £10mNet spend: £8mGrade: ECHELSEA Oh dear. Let’s start with Pedro and acknowledge that he is a fantastic signing who makes Chelsea a more dangerous team. But reported moves for John Stones and Paul Pogba evaporated and deadline day was marked by the arrival of two defenders of dubious quality. A cry for help from Jose Mourinho with his side struggling for form? It certainly wasn’t a great look in the face of Manchester City’s transfer onslaught.Ins: Asmir Begovic (Stoke), Nathan (Atletico Paranaense), Danilo Pantic (Partizan), Radamel Falcao (Monaco), Pedro (Barcelona), Baba Rahman (Augsburg), Kenedy (Fluminense), Papy Djilobodji (Nantes), Michael Hector (Reading)Outs: Petr Cech (Arsenal), Mohamed Salah (Roma, loan), Didier Drogba (Montreal), Christian Atsu (Bournemouth, loan), Gael Kakuta (Sevilla), Mario Pasalic (Monaco, loan), Josh McEachran (Brentford), Tomas Kalas (Middlesbrough. loan), Filipe Luis (Atletico Madrid), Marco van Ginkel (Stoke, loan), Patrick Bamford (Crystal Palace, loan), Lucas Piazon (Reading, loan), Juan Cuadrado (Juventus, loan), Oriol Romeu (Southampton), Marko Marin (Trabzonspor, loan), Islam Feruz (Hibernian, loan), Michael Hector (Reading, loan)Total spend: £59mNet spend: £24m Grade: DLIVERPOOLAs so often with big squad renewals of this kind, it still needs to come out in the wash. But Gomez has looked bright, Milner and Clyne are solid Premier League performers and Christian Benteke is a striker of real quality, so we have this down as a successful window, even taking into account the loss of Sterling. Firmino still has it all to prove, although he’s shown flashes of quality.Ins: Christian Benteke (Aston Villa), Roberto Firmino (Hoffenheim), Nathaniel Clyne (Southampton), Danny Ings (Burnley), Joe Gomez (Charlton), James Milner (Manchester City), Adam Bogdan (Bolton) Outs: Steven Gerrard (Los Angeles Galaxy), Glen Johnson (Stoke), Sebastian Coates (Sunderland), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City), Andre Wisdom (Norwich City, loan), Rickie Lambert (West Brom), Brad Jones (free), Iago Aspas (Celta Vigo), Mario Balotelli (AC Milan, loan), Lazar Markovic (Fenerbahce, loan), Fabio Borini (Sunderland), Tiago Ilori (Aston Villa, loan)Total spend: £78mNet spend: £18mGrade: B-MANCHESTER CITY After rightly getting stick for last season’s poor performance in the transfer market, albeit hamstrung by FFP considerations that no longer apply, City have outmanoeuvred the rest of the pack with a brilliant summer’s work. Sterling and De Bruyne could be two of the most exciting and dangerous young players in England this season and putting them either side of David Silva is a wonderful prospect. They look a team reinvigorated – and all it took was nearly £150m.Ins: Raheem Sterling (Liverpool), Patrick Roberts (Fulham), Fabian Delph (Aston Villa), Enes Unal (Bursaspor), David Faupala (Lens), Kevin De Bruyne (Wolfsburg), Nicolas Otamendi (Valencia)Outs: Scott Sinclair (Aston Villa), James Milner (Liverpool), Dedryck Boyata (Celtic), Angelino (New York City, loan), Micah Richards (Aston Villa), Karim Rekik (Marseille), John Guidetti (Celta Vigo), Jason Denayer (Galatasaray, loan), Stevan Jovetic (Inter Milan), Edin Dzeko (Roma), Rony Lopes (Monaco)Total spend: £143m Net spend: £100mGrade: A+MANCHESTER UNITED United have made some excellent signings, bringing in the young talents of Memphis, Martial, Darmian and Schneiderlin coupled with the experience of Schweinsteiger. But they managed to alienate and then fail to sell David De Gea and have left the struggling Wayne Rooney horribly exposed with only Martial as any real back-up. Another centre-back was also required and they never signed their world-beater despite trawling Europe for one so, despite spending nine figures, they are still left with real weak points in their squad. Another up and down window for Ed Woodward, to put it kindly.Ins: Morgan Schneiderlin (Southampton), Memphis Depay (PSV), Bastian Schweinsteiger (Bayern Munich), Matteo Darmian (Torino), Sergio Romero (Sampdoria), Anthony Martial (Monaco)Outs: Tom Cleverley (Everton), Ben Amos (Bolton), Tom Thorpe (Rotherham), Saidy Janko (Celtic), Nani (Fenerbahce), Will Keane (Preston, loan), Robin van Persie (Fenerbahce), Angel Di María (Paris St-Germain), Javier Hernandez (Bayer Leverkusen), Jonny Evans (West Brom), Adnan Januzaj (Borussia Dortmund, loan), Anders Lindegaard (West Brom), Rafael (Lyon), Tyler Blackett (Celtic, loan)Total spend: £100mNet spend: £28mGrade: C+TOTTENHAM Has something happened to Daniel Levy? Spurs were ominously quiet on Deadline Day, secretely hoping Saido Berahino would pull a Peter Odemwingie and drive down to London. He didn’t, leaving them hopelessly short in attack and Alderweireld as their only addition of real quality. One cause for celebration, however, is that they kept hold of Hugo Lloris, Christian Eriksen and Harry Kane. Still, the conclusion is a bleak one.Ins: Toby Alderweireld (Atletico Madrid), Kevin Wimmer (Cologne), Kieran Trippier (Burnley), Clinton N’Jie (Lyon), Son Heung-min (Bayer Leverkusen)Outs: Jordan Archer (Millwall), Cristian Ceballos (Charlton), Bongani Khumalo (Supersport United), Paulinho (Guangzhou Evergrande), Lewis Holtby (Hamburg), Etienne Capoue (Watford), Younes Kaboul (Sunderland), Benjamin Stambouli (Paris St-Germain), Vlad Chiriches (Napoli), Roberto Soldado (Villarreal), DeAndre Yedlin (Sunderland), Aaron Lennon (Everton)Total spend: £50mNet spend: £15mGrade: D+–Follow Joy Sports on Twitter: @Joy997FM. Our hashtag is #JoySports read more