WHO reports progress on H5N1 vaccines

first_imgFeb 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”last_img read more

Iran’s Khamenei urges fight against ‘tragic’ virus resurgence

first_imgKhamenei’s speech was his first to MPs since the new parliament took office at the end of May, dominated by conservatives and ultra-conservatives elected in February polls. According to his official site, Khamenei praised healthcare workers for “their sacrifices”.But he also strongly criticized “some people who do not even do something as simple as wearing a mask”, saying he felt “ashamed” of such behavior. Khamenei’s comments came as infections have again been on the rise in Iran since early May.  According to figures announced Sunday, 194 deaths from the COVID-19 disease and 2,186 new cases were recorded in the past 24 hours. The health ministry announced a record 221 deaths in a single day on Thursday. In total, 257,303 cases have been reported in the country, including 12,829 deaths, health ministry spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari said Sunday in a televised press conference. The rising toll has prompted authorities to make masks mandatory in enclosed public spaces and to allow the hardest-hit provinces to reimpose other measures against the virus.Iran had closed schools, cancelled public events and banned movement between its 31 provinces in March, but the government progressively lifted restrictions from April to reopen its sanctions-hit economy.On Saturday, President Hassan Rouhani said the country could not afford to shut down the economy, even as the outbreak worsened.Iran must continue “economic, social and cultural activities while observing health protocols”, Rouhani said during a televised virus taskforce meeting.But he reminded Iranians that restrictions, such as a ban on public and private gatherings, remained in place.”Gatherings, whether for funerals, weddings, parties, seminars or festivals are all harmful” to public health, Rouhani said.Authorities have previously reported the spread of the virus in areas where such bans had been ignored.On Sunday, Khamenei also told lawmakers that “parliament has the right to question… but is not permitted to insult or slander government officials”.His comments came a week after a session in which MPs heckled Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, largely over his key role in negotiating a 2015 nuclear deal with world powers.The deal had given the Islamic republic relief from international sanctions in return for limits on its nuclear program, but Iranian conservatives staunchly opposed the multilateral agreement, arguing the US could never be trusted.The US unilaterally abandoned the accord in 2018 as a prelude to reimposing biting sanctions.  Iran’s supreme leader Sunday called the resurgence of the novel coronavirus in the country “truly tragic” and urged all citizens to help stem what has been the region’s deadliest outbreak.”Let everyone play their part in the best way to break the chain of transmission in the short term and save the country,” Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said in a video conference with lawmakers, according to his office. Iran has been struggling to contain the outbreak since announcing its first cases in February, and has reported more than 12,800 deaths since then.center_img Topics :last_img read more

i3 Energy in fundraise for North Sea development

first_img30th Round license application Following i3’s submission of the Liberator Phase I Field Development Plan to the UK Oil & Gas Authority on September 15, 2017, the company commissioned AGR TRACS International Limited to prepare a Reserve Report (RR) over the Liberator field for the gross reserves that are expected to be developed and produced subsequent to the approval of the Phase I Field Development Plan.The Liberator field is planned to be developed via two horizontal producers in Phase I, targeting the Main and Northwest culminations of the Phase I area. The field will be tied into the Repsol Sinopec-operated existing Blake field ‘host’ infrastructure and produced through the Bluewater-owned Bleo Holm FPSO.A separate potential future Phase II plan is contemplated and may include further development wells, yet these potential reserves are not reported within the RR. UK independent i3 Energy has made progress with multiple funding options to finance its Liberator field development located in the UK North Sea. i3 Energy has been progressing multiple funding options to finance its 2018 development program and is in advanced discussions with multiple industrial parties regarding potential JV arrangements relating to both its 100% owned Liberator oil field and its application within the UK’s 30th Round, the company said in a statement on Wednesday.Pursuant to these discussions, the company said it has received indicative commercial interest from a counterparty to provide 100% of the funding for a multi-well development on Liberator and the company’s 30th Round application block, amounting to estimated total capital commitments of approximately $200 million.JV discussions have reached a mature stage and, should these commercial arrangements conclude in an expected six to eight weeks timeframe, the company would maintain a working interest of no less than 67% in its Liberator and 30th Round application blocks, after a multiple of the capital commitments have been refunded to the parties from post-production cash flow.The Joint Venture discussions also contemplate capital being provided to i3 by an industrial party to enable the Liberator development to proceed utilizing that party’s funding alongside other credit facilities, even in circumstances where the company is unsuccessful with its 30th Round application.However, there can be no certainty that these negotiations and discussions will lead to definitive agreements, the company noted. i3 raises over $3.6M Liberator Field Phase I The company has targeted and extensively evaluated seismic and well data on a highly attractive region of acreage that if awarded to i3 would add to the company’s portfolio 2C Contingent Resources of 22 MMBO (with 63% chance of commerciality) and Prospective Resources Best Estimate of 47 MMBO (with a 51% chance of commerciality), according to AGR.The 30th Round application has been submitted to the UK’s Oil and Gas Authority with work program commitments totaling $13 million.Neill Carson, i3’s CEO, commented: “We have been incredibly busy progressing multiple funding options for both our 100% owned Liberator development and the low risk development growth opportunity we have applied for in the 30th Round.“There is strong momentum within the company and today’s funding strengthens our financial position allowing us to continue our engineering plans for our Liberator development ensuring the company is ready for the next operational stage of the project.”Graham Heath, i3’s CFO, commented: “This fundraise enables the company to quickly advance key initiatives and procurement for our Liberator development, in addition to funding engineering activities that we believe will assist in concluding a successful joint venture in the near future.” The company has raised £2.57 million ($3.65 million) through the placing of 8,563,630 new ordinary shares in the capital of the company to new and existing investors at an issue price of 30 pence per share, representing a 0.4% premium to the 30-day average for the week ending January 26, 2018.The proceeds of the funding will be used towards prerequisite engineering, trees and wellheads for the Liberator development, and general corporate purposes.last_img read more