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H5N1 virus change may ease jump from birds to humans, WHO says

first_imgJan 12, 2006 (CIDRAP News) – An H5N1 avian influenza virus recovered from a Turkish patient has a mutation that may enable the virus to spread more easily from birds to humans, though the finding’s significance for human health is not yet clear, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported today.Viruses recovered from the first two Turkish children to die of avian flu have been analyzed in London, the WHO said. A sample from one of the patients has a mutation at “the receptor-binding site,” a reference to hemagglutinin, a protein that enables flu viruses to attach to and enter host cells.”One of the mutations has been seen previously in viruses isolated from a small outbreak in Hong Kong in 2003 (two cases, one of which was fatal) and from the 2005 outbreak in Viet Nam,” the WHO said. “Research has indicated that the Hong Kong 2003 viruses bind preferentially to human cell receptors more so than to avian cell receptors. Researchers at the Mill Hill [London] laboratory anticipate that the Turkish virus will also have this characteristic.”What the finding may mean for human health will depend on clinical and epidemiological data now being gathered in Turkey, the agency said. It added that it has found no evidence of sustained person-to-person transmission of the virus in any country so far.In a Washington Post report today, the WHO’s Michael Perdue called the finding “a little concerning because the virus is still trying new things in its evolution.” Perdue is overseeing the WHO’s response to the Turkish outbreak from agency headquarters in Geneva, the story said.The WHO statement did not suggest whether the mutation could be a factor in the rapid increase in reported human cases in Turkey since the first two were revealed Jan 4. The number reached 18 today with the report that three more Turkish children have tested positive for an H5 avian flu virus, a finding that usually points to H5N1. The tests were done in a Turkish lab.The cases include two children, aged 4 and 6, in Sanliurfa province in southern Turkey and in Siirt province in the east, the WHO reported. Both had contact with sick birds. The other patient was a 12-year-old girl who died Jan 7 in eastern Turkey and was the sister of two teenagers who died of avian flu earlier.The WHO so far has officially recognized just four cases in Turkey on the basis of confirmation by outside labs.The analysis by the British lab showed that the viruses from the two Turkish children were very similar to H5N1 viruses recovered from birds in Turkey, the WHO said. The viruses were also closely related to viruses isolated from migratory birds that died at the Qinghai Lake nature reserve in China last spring.The WHO said the studies also indicate that the Turkish viruses are sensitive to both classes of antiviral drugs used against flu: oseltamivir (a neuraminidase inhibitor) and amantadine (an adamantane). H5N1 viruses are usually described as insensitive to adamantanes, though some strains have been susceptible.”WHO and collaborating experts will review the data on amantadine sensitivity. Oseltamivir remains the drug of first choice recommended by WHO,” the agency said.The agency said its pandemic alert level is still in phase 3: “human infections with a new virus subtype are occurring, but the vast majority of these infections are acquired directly from animals.”See also:Jan 12 WHO news releasehttp://www.who.int/csr/don/2006_01_12/en/index.htmllast_img read more

Powerful quake in southern Mexico kills six

first_imgA 7.4 magnitude earthquake struck southern Mexico on Tuesday, killing six people, sending hundreds fleeing from their homes and forcing the closure of a major state-owned oil refinery. Hundreds of aftershocks were reported in the hours following the initial tremor, which was felt in Mexico City, some 700 kilometers distant from the epicenter in Crucecita, in Oaxaca state.”We had to leave because there is a risk that the market will collapse. We are hardly selling anything because of the pandemic and now if the market is closed we will have a worse time,” said Juana Martinez, 60, a flower-seller in Oaxaca city. Quake adding to virus woes Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum also activated response protocols, adding that two people had been injured. Apart from some building facades falling, she said there had been “no major incidents” reported.The earthquake was felt in several parts of the capital of 8.8 million people which in 2017 was hit by a 7.1 magnitude quake that left 360 people dead throughout the country.That same year, 96 people died after an 8.1 magnitude quake struck the south of the country, with Oaxaca the worst affected state.The quake has hit at a time when Mexico is already reeling from the coronavirus pandemic.It has suffered more than 23,000 COVID-19 deaths — the second most in Latin America — and 191,410 cases.On Tuesday the country recorded its highest number of cases in a 24-hour period, with 6,288 new infections, according to the Ministry of Health.Medical staff were evacuated from some hospitals in the capital alongside patients, although those suffering from the coronavirus remained isolated inside the buildings, alongside their caretakers.”All those that are in an area with COVID patients remain inside, only those of us who weren’t there at the time” have come out, said Jaime Gomez, a nurse at a hospital caring for coronavirus patients.Many of the people that fled into the streets of the capital were not wearing face masks.”With all the virus problems and now the tremors, and I’ve just lost one child and the other is ill, so imagine [how I’m feeling],” a tearful Maria Teresa Duran, 80, told AFP. Mexican Oil said its refinery in Salina Cruz in Oaxaca had been shut down as a precaution after a fire broke out at the plant “that was immediately stifled.”One of the dead from the earthquake was a worker at the refinery, who was killed after falling off a high structure. Other refineries in the state are operating as normal, Mexican Oil said.Rescuers were battling to reach a remote area of the rugged state amid reports that 15 workers had become trapped while constructing a highway.The quake also caused slight damage to four hospitals and a clinic, as well as to churches, markets and other buildings, authorities said.Six hours after the quake, 447 aftershocks had been recorded across the region, the strongest at a magnitude of 4.6.The US Pacific Tsunami warning center initially said hazardous waves as high as three meters could strike anywhere within 1,000 kilometers of the quake’s epicenter, affecting the Pacific coast of Mexico and Central and South America. Topics : All the deaths occurred in Oaxaca, with the majority due to the collapse of buildings. A woman died near Crucecita, and five other people died in towns located within 150 kilometers of the epicenter, officials said.The 7.4 quake struck at a depth of 23 kilometers, the US Geological Survey reported. An initial tsunami warning was later reversed.There was no damage reported to “strategic infrastructure” including ports, airports, refineries and hydroelectric plants, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said in a video published on social media. last_img read more

Baseball falls to UC Irvine, set to host SoCal Classic

first_imgAt the plate, the Trojans had difficulties catching up to UCI’s starter, freshman lefty Nick Pinto, who limited USC to just two hits and no runs over his six innings of work.  “It’s definitely a learning experience, all of us are new together,” Gill said. “So we’re all kind of learning together, so I think they’re frustrated. I’m frustrated a little bit.”  The USC baseball team failed to get on the scoreboard until it was too late Tuesday evening, falling to UC Irvine 5-1. The Trojans are now riding a three-game losing streak against the Anteaters. Gursky, unlucky to find himself in line for a loss after such a strong performance, was relieved by sophomore righty Ethan Reed in the seventh inning. The game was broken open shortly after by way of a 3-run homer by senior outfielder John Jensen to put UCI up 4-0. “I think we have the best hitting team in the [Pac-12], hands down,” Gursky said. “You can’t bring your hitting every day, but our guys no doubt are going to bounce back.” Neither team was particularly sharp at the plate as the teams combined for 21 strikeouts and no extra-base hits aside from the lone home run of the evening from UCI. “Where we didn’t go well tonight was our offense,” head coach Jason Gill said after the game. “We struck out 10 times on a Tuesday. I’ll tip my cap to their pitcher but we have to do better than that.” The Trojans will host three ranked opponents over the weekend, facing off against No. 22 TCU Friday and No. 2 Vanderbilt Saturday before a matchup with crosstown rival No. 6 UCLA at Dedeaux Field Sunday. USC will be back in action starting Friday in the annual Southern California College Baseball Classic in Los Angeles against a stacked lineup of elite programs. USC kicks off the action Friday against TCU. First pitch is set for 6 p.m., Saturday’s game will start at 2 p.m. and Sunday’s weekend finale begins at 3 p.m. Sophomore righty Ethan Reed allowed a 3-run home run in the seventh inning against UC Irvine Tuesday. USC fell to the Anteaters 5-1. (James Wolfe | Daily Trojan) UCI tacked on an additional insurance run in the top half of the ninth, extending its lead to 5-0 heading into the final half-inning. The Trojans tacked on a run in the ninth, but their comeback attempt fell short as they finished the game with just four hits combined over nine innings.  The junior lefty’s troubles came in the sixth, however, as UCI managed to load the bases on Gursky without recording a hit. An error, a hit by pitch and an intentional walk loaded the bases with just one out for the Anteaters in the top half of the inning. Gursky worked out of the jam to limit UCI to just one run on a deep sacrifice fly in his final inning of work.  The USC baseball team will be tested this weekend in the Southern California College Baseball Classic. (Colin Huang | Daily Trojan) “At the end of the game we didn’t give up, we got a run right there at the end,” Gursky said. “We wish we got the win but at the end of the day there’s some positives we can learn from and take going forward into a tough weekend we’re about to have.”  The loss moves the Trojans to a mark of 4-4 at home this season and 7-4 overall. Despite the outcome, junior lefty Brian Gursky pitched well in his second appearance on the hill for the Trojans this season, his first coming in USC’s 7-1 win at Cal State Fullerton on Feb. 25. Gursky pitched six hitless innings, striking out six of the first nine batters he faced. TCU comes in at 10-2 overall after sweeping Cal in a three-game series last weekend. The 2019 NCAA Champion Vanderbilt Commodores head into the weekend’s trio of games at 11-3 overall on the season with just one loss in their last 11 games. UCLA will come into the weekend looking to avenge its first loss this season, falling to UCSB on Tuesday. The Bruins still carry an 11-1 record and remain a favorite to compete for the Pac-12 title this year. “[Gursky] had command of three pitches,” Gill said. “He was down in the strike zone, so when they did put the ball in play it was usually chopped ground balls at our middle infield. He was great.”last_img read more

Clippers take shooting guard C.J. Wilcox at No. 28 in NBA Draft

first_imgUnlike some of the players taken in the first round of Thursday’s NBA Draft, shooting guard C.J. Wilcox out of the University of Washington was stoked about the team that selected him No. 28 — the Clippers.Wilcox, of Pleasant Grove, Utah, was hanging out with family and friends in San Diego — his parents moved there about two years ago — when he got news that the Clippers were about to pick him.“Everybody was nervous until the pick happened,” he said. “We got the call a couple of minutes before and started celebrating before my name was even called. So it was a really surreal moment, but everybody’s excited and ready to get started.”Wilcox, who stayed through his senior year in college, is 6-foot-5 and a good shooter. As a senior, he averaged 18.3 points and 2.5 assists. He shot 45.3 percent from the field, 39.1 percent (90 of 230) from 3-point range. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error “He’s a great shooter,” Rivers said. “You know I value shooting. You know, when you’re at 28, I don’t think you can afford to pick what needs you have. I have never thought that.”Rivers pointed to last season when he selected small forward Reggie Bullock even though that position was not a need at the time. And with shooting guards J.J. Redick and Jamal Crawford in the current fold, the Clippers didn’t necessarily need another one.“We have Jamal and J.J., but he’s the best player,” Rivers said. “I think you can always make it work whem you can get the best player. And I thought as far as shooting, in this league you need it; you can never have enough of it. I’m a big believer of it.“I thought he may have been the best shooter in the draft. If not No. 1, No. 2.”Wilcox holds the school record at Washington for made 3-pointers with 301, which is sixth in Pac-12 history. He is second all-time in scoring at UW with 1,880 points.There were several trades made on draft day, but none involved the Clippers.“The day was an interesting day,” Rivers said. “We were close to doing a couple of things, I’ll tell you that. And actually, a pick wasn’t involved. I think we would have ended up with another pick, actually, if we had done one deal.“Most deals fall apart. We didn’t have great confidence this morning when we woke up that the deal we thought we may get would happen.” Interestingly, when Rivers was asked if he could talk about who the other players were he might have picked before Wilcox, he stopped a reporter short.“No, because some are maybe still in play, so no would be the answer to that one,” he said. “You know, summertime I may tell you.”center_img Wilcox had already talked to Clippers coach Doc Rivers about what will be expected of him once the season commences.“I just talked to Doc not too long ago and defense was the first thing he brought up,” Wilcox said during a telephone interview with reporters at the Clippers’ headquarters in Playa Vista. “It’s something I’m definitely capable of doing, so you know, that comes first. Definitely, my ability to shoot the ball is going to help stretch the floor, you know, help Chris Paul and some of the other guys get going and make their jobs a little bit easier.“Kind of do my part, fill my role and go from there.”There were several players the Clippers might have picked ahead of Wilcox had they still been available. Rivers wouldn’t say specifically who they were. But the Clippers were thought to be interested in shooting guard Jordan Adams (UCLA), point guard Shabazz Napier (UConn), power forward Clint Capela (Switzerland) and shooting guard P.J. Hairston (Tex Legends, D-League). They went to Memphis (No. 22), Charlotte (No. 24), Houston (No. 25) and Miami (No. 26), respectively.However, Rivers seemed nothing but happy to get Wilcox, who was a fifth-year senior last season for the Huskies.last_img read more