Feb 16, 2007 (CIDRAP News) – The World Health Organization (WHO) today reported “encouraging progress” on development of H5N1 avian influenza vaccines, while cautioning that global capacity to make the vaccines remains very limited.Following a 2-day meeting of vaccine experts in Geneva, the WHO said new vaccines aimed at various strains of H5N1—considered the likeliest candidate to spark a flu pandemic—look promising.”For the first time, results presented at the meeting have convincingly demonstrated that vaccination with newly developed avian influenza vaccines can bring about a potentially protective immune response against strains of H5N1 virus found in a variety of geographical locations,” the WHO said in a news release.”Some of the vaccines work with low doses of antigen, which means that significantly more vaccine doses can be available in case of a pandemic,” the agency added.However, the statement continues, “WHO stresses that the world still lacks the manufacturing capacity to meet potential global pandemic influenza vaccine demand as current capacity is estimated at less than 400 million doses per year of trivalent seasonal influenza vaccine.” The current world population is more than 6 billion.Sixteen companies from 10 countries are developing prototype pandemic flu vaccines against H5N1, the WHO said. Five of those companies also are developing vaccines against other avian flu strains, including H9N2, H5N2, and H5N3. More than 40 clinical trials have been completed or are under way, most of them involving healthy adults. But some companies have begun clinical trials in children and the elderly.So far, all the vaccines were safe and well tolerated in the groups tested, the agency said. Most of the companies are using vaccine strains corresponding to H5N1 viruses provided by WHO collaborating laboratories.Because pandemic flu viruses are products of constant evolution, no one knows how well any of the prototype vaccines under development would work against a pandemic H5N1 virus, but experts hope that the vaccines would provide some protection. Once a pandemic strain emerges, it is expected to take at least 6 months to produce a vaccine precisely matching it.Today’s statement strikes a different tone from that of a report on flu research released by the WHO last November. That report, based on a meeting of 22 scientists in September, said vaccine developments at that point did not look promising. One problem cited was that H5N1 viruses had branched off into a number of different subgroups, and vaccines that worked well against one subgroup did not work well against others.The November report also said many fundamental questions about H5N1 vaccines remained to be answered. Because of the many unknowns, the report cautioned governments against stockpiling pre-pandemic vaccines. Today’s brief statement does not mention stockpiling.The WHO meeting drew more than 100 flu vaccine experts, who heard and discussed information on more than 20 projects. The aim was to review progress in vaccine development and reach a consensus on future priorities. The meeting was the third of its kind in 2 years, the WHO said.The statement does not give an estimate of how many doses of H5N1 vaccines have been made so far, and further information was not immediately available.In 2006 the WHO launched its global pandemic influenza action plan, a program expected to cost $10 billion over 10 years, the statement noted. One goal of the plan is to enable developing countries to build their own flu vaccine production facilities.In launching the program last October, the WHO called for an urgent effort to boost vaccine production capacity and develop better vaccines, while cautioning that it would take 3 to 5 years for the effort to bear fruit.See also:Feb 16 WHO statement on vaccine developmenthttp://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/notes/2007/np07/en/index.htmlNov 2, 2006, CIDRAP News story “WHO report calls H5N1 vaccine stockpiling premature”Oct 23, 2006, CIDRAP News story “WHO seeks urgent push for pandemic flu vaccines”
Governor Wolf Announces New PAsmart Apprenticeship Grants to Boost Northwest PA’s Industries February 06, 2019 PAsmart, Press Release, Workforce Development Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf announced $467,000 in PAsmart grants for Northwest Pennsylvania today as part of his PAsmart initiative. The grants will support the northwestern region’s plastics, advanced manufacturing, and building and construction industries with on-the-job training opportunities and private- and public-sector partnerships to help Pennsylvanians in this region gain the skills they need to succeed in the 21st century economy.“Our world is constantly changing with new businesses, new industries, and new technology. To keep up, we need a workforce development system that is just as innovative and flexible to prepare people for those emerging fields and careers,” Governor Wolf said. “These PAsmart grants will provide opportunities for students, workers and job seekers to gain the technical skills needed in growing industries in Northwestern Pennsylvania.”The governor launched PAsmart last year to bolster STEM education, apprenticeships and job training. The governor’s budget unveiled Tuesday builds on the success of PAsmart to create opportunities for Pennsylvanians from birth to retirement. The governor’s Statewide Workforce, Education, and Accountability Program (SWEAP) provides opportunities for Pennsylvanians from birth to retirement. The proposal expands access to early childhood education, increases investments in schools, and partners with the private sector to build on the PAsmart initiative, a groundbreaking approach to workforce development for Pennsylvania’s economy. Governor Wolf’s goal is to develop innovative solutions that close the skills gap and rapidly meet the needs of employers.The apprenticeship grants announced today support potential and existing programs to increase “earn while you learn” opportunities across Pennsylvania. The Industry Partnership grants will help to establish industry programs connecting workers and multiple employers in the same industry in a public-private partnership to provide job training.The following PAsmart grant winners and amounts were awarded in Northwest Pennsylvania. To view full details, visit Northwest PAsmart Grants.NWPA Job Connect – A $60,000 pre-apprenticeship grant was awarded to develop sponsored certified pre-apprenticeships in Northwest Pennsylvania and invest in education and training opportunities that support economic growth by building a pipeline of skilled and ready workers for registered apprenticeship programs in the Northwest area.Greater Erie Community Action Committee – A $45,950 pre-apprenticeship grant was awarded to administer a registered pre-apprenticeship program. The program will recruit, train and educate students about the opportunities in plastics in Northwestern Pennsylvania.Thomas P. Miller and Associates – A $280,555 Ambassador Network grant was awarded to convene a consortium of partners to identify local needs and provide quarterly webinars, technical assistance and promote apprenticeship growth and retention.NWPA Job Connect – A $43,252 Next Generation Manufacturing Industry Partnership grant was awarded to create a partnership in the Advanced Manufacturing industry.NWPA Job Connect – A $36,984 Next Generation Building and Construction Industry Partnership grant was awarded to create a partnership in the Building and Construction industries.Department of Labor & Industry (L&I) Deputy Secretary for Workforce Development Eileen Cipriani met with the Greater Erie Community Action Committee (GECAC) at Executool Precision Tooling in Erie today to highlight the new SWEAP proposal, as well as GECAC’s pre-apprenticeship PAsmart grant award.“SWEAP overhauls how state government coordinates education, workforce, and human services strategies so people can get the skills to be successful in in-demand jobs with family-sustaining wages, through programs such as registered apprenticeships,” said Cipriani. “The pre-apprenticeship grant awarded to the Greater Erie Community Action Committee will allow the organization to establish a pre-apprenticeship program to reach students in high school on career opportunities in their own backyard.”GECAC’s registered pre-apprenticeship program will recruit, train and educate local students about opportunities in plastics. The pre-apprenticeship program will offer a robust overview and hands-on experience in injection molding, and will build on the growing plastics industry in Erie County. Executool Precision Tooling is a registered employer under the pre-apprenticeship program, and partner Erie Together will assist in recruiting local employers and school districts to participate. Related technical instruction will be offered through Penn State Behrend’s Office of Community and Workforce Programs. The pre-apprentice program will be the first step for students who want to explore the plastics trade.“We are excited about the opportunity to support the PAsmart initiatives,” said Danny Jones, Chief Executive Officer of GECAC. “We believe this pre-apprenticeship will be a powerful program that will connect students to in-demand jobs opportunities and training throughout Erie County.”Cipriani toured Executool’s manufacturing facility in Erie and met with GECAC and Erie Together staff, Executool company officials and local school district administrators. Executool staff led the tour of the facility shop floor, including manufacturing equipment such as milling machines and lathes that pre-apprentices will operate as they are introduced to CNC basics and the basic mechanics of plastic injection molding.“As owner of Executool I’m very excited for the opportunity to work with GECAC, Penn State, and Erie Together on this pre-apprenticeship program,” said Gary Mayes, President, Executool Precision Tooling. “With our combined collaboration, we are bringing great career opportunities to the local region. Being a part of this educational program is a phenomenal benefit for my company.”Apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programs approved by L&I’s Apprenticeship and Training Office (ATO) provide employer-driven training to create a more productive, highly-skilled workforce for employers and help reduce employee turnover. The program provides job seekers with increased skills, and a nationally recognized credential to support future career advancement and increased wages.The Wolf Administration created the ATO in 2016. Since then, the office has registered 137 new sponsors and 187 new apprenticeship programs or occupations, bringing the total number of registered apprentices to 16,940 statewide.For more information about pursuing an education and career in Pennsylvania at any stage of life, visit PAsmart.Visit ATO for more information about apprenticeship programs and the Apprenticeship and Training Office. SHARE Email Facebook Twitter
For a long time, young Braves supporters knew nothing but success.Behind John Smoltz, Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux, Chipper Jones and Andruw Jones, not to mention Hall of Fame manager Bobby Cox, Atlanta won 14 division titles from 1991 to 2005. A generation raised at Fulton County Stadium and Turner Field enjoyed watching one of MLB’s most loaded squads of the past 30 years. Now, the kids of those fans could experience another star-studded Braves team rise to the upper ranks of the league and stick there for a long time. This burgeoning group may not quite stack up to the talented rosters of the 1990s and early 2000s, but the recent long-term contract extensions given to Ronald Acuña Jr. and Ozzie Albies leave the franchise well-equipped to not only contend but also to excite for a long time.MORE: Watch ‘ChangeUp,’ a new MLB live whiparound show on DAZNAcuña, 21, hit his fifth home run of the season Thursday, a towering shot that entered the concourse in deep left field at SunTrust Park. The 2018 NL Rookie of the Year signed an affordable eight-year, $100 million contract extension on April 2.Ronald Acuna Jr. goes very deep.pic.twitter.com/I7HPtGcGLl— Sporting News MLB (@SN Studio_mlb) April 12, 2019Albies, 22, was an All-Star as a rookie last year, mashing 24 home runs and stealing 14 bases. He inked a much-scrutinized, team-friendly seven-year, $35 million contract Thursday.”To lock both of them up between seven and 10 years, it’s pretty special,” first baseman Freddie Freeman told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “Our fan base took to them right away, and you see all those Albies and Acuña jerseys out there. To know that they’re going to be here for a long, long time, it’s good for fans to know that.”Freeman, who has been the Braves’ top offensive weapon since his MLB breakthrough in 2011, is signed through 2021.With Acuña and Albies assured to be under team control for almost a decade, Atlanta should be able to re-sign Freeman or improve in other areas. That adaptability is boosted by the presence of other up-and-coming pre-arbitration players such as Dansby Swanson, Johan Camargo, Sean Newcomb and Mike Foltynewicz.The Braves made the postseason in 2018, before they were expected to compete, and they can now bank on their young players to carry them farther.MORE: Red Sox field architect shares PTSD experiences, hopes to inspire othersStill, there are challenges that could keep Atlanta from enjoying another golden era. As it signs its developing stars to team-friendly deals, other teams around the league are following suit, meaning several NL clubs could boast similarly excellent lineups.The Nationals have a gifted trio in Trea Turner, Juan Soto and Victor Robles. The Phillies acquired a host of All-Star-caliber players this past offseason and seem willing to splurge to bolster their roster if needed. Even the Mets, an enigma with an uncertain future, remain dangerous with Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard and an improving offense. Yet Acuña and Albies seem uniquely special because of their on-field tools and the energy they bring to the clubhouse. The speed, power and defense are there. The natural comradery between them is apparent, too.”We’re more than best friends,” Albies told reporters. “We’re brothers to each other.”In the coming years, Braves fans will find out the heights that brotherhood can reach.