Oct 9, 2004 (CIDRAP News) – Lester Crawford, acting director of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), appearing before the House Committee on Government Reform yesterday, said he was pessimistic about the possiblility that any of the 48 million doses of influenza vaccine expected in the United States from Chiron Corp. can be salvaged for use this flu season, according to new service reports. FDA experts remain in England this weekend to make the final determination, with visits planned to the Liverpool plant whose manufacturing license was revoked earlier in the week, effectively cancelling half the US’s supply.Several lots of Chiron’s vaccine, Fluvirin, were found to be contaminated, leading to suspension of Chiron’s manufacturing license by Britain’s Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). It came out this week that the organism implicated in the contamination is Serratia, a bacterium that lives in water, soil, plants, and animals and is not dangerous if encountered on environmental surfaces.When Serratia is harbored in medical equipment, however, it can cause illness and has been documented in numerous outbreaks (see link below for example of bronchoscope contamination). In commenting on the Chiron situation, Dr. Robert Belshe, director of the division of infectious diseases and immunology at St. Louis University, conjectured that it may have come from bottles, vials, or rubber stoppers, according to a Wall Street Journal story.Aventis Pasteur, the other large supplier of inactived flu vaccine for the United States, has said it will be able to supply 55.4 million doses of its Fluzone, according to an Associated Press story. This is somewhat more than it had originally commited to, but doses beyond that cannot be made in time for this year’s flu season.MedImmune, makers of FluMist, an inhalable form of flu vaccine, was asked by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention to provide more than the 1.5 million doses promised. The company has said it can provide nearly 1 million extra doses by late November, according to the Associated Press. The doses will come from already-produced frozen bulk vaccine.FluMist is FDA-approved for use only in people aged 5 to 49, which is the group least in need of vaccination. Four million doses were produced for the 2003-2004 flu season but much of that supply went unused, partly because of its higher cost in comparison with injected vaccines. MedImmune has cut the cost of FluMist this year and is also working on a new formulation it expects to be available in 2007.Public health officials are working quickly to track down the doses of vaccine that are already in the hands of distributors and providers to ascertain how the unexpectedly limited supply can best be made available to the populations most in need of vaccinations (see link below to interim guidelines).See also:2003 New England Journal of Medicine article on Serratia contamination of brochoscopes [Abstract]CDC interim recommendations for flu vaccinehttp://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5339a6.htm
Ghanaian forward, Andre Ayew, was significantly involved over the weekend as Swansea came from behind to snatch a 1-1 draw at Preston North End.Despite an impressive start to the game where Swansea had several chances to take the lead, including an Ayew header, the away side went behind in the first half.Scott Sinclair bent a wonderful finish into the back of the net to give Swansea the lead.However, Swansea found an equaliser, a well-worked one which involved Gallagher and Ayew exchanging passes before the Ghanaian, through on goal had his ball across deflected into Brewster’s path with the striker finding the net.It was Andre’s fourth assist of a stellar season in which he’s also scored 10 league goals.Check out his assist here:
Workers attached to the Albion Sugar Factory on Thursday took to the streets to protest against the absence of a wage increase since the coalition Government took office.The workers were last given a wage increase in 2014 and as such, they are calling on the Government to deliver on its campaign promises.Stephen Indertatt, a representative of the Albion Estate fertilising gang, said during the coalition Government’s campaign programme, the nation was told that should they win the elections, sugar workers will benefit from a 20 per cent wage hike.He said although receiving nothing for the past three years, they are demanding aSugar workers at the Albion Sugar Estate on Thursday15 per cent wage hike for 2018.“Presently sugar workers are in dire need of increased wages. We need the Administration that is in power to intervene because they had promised us 20 per cent… They left us with zero.”Indertatt, who was part of Thursday’s protest action outside the Estate’s administration block, said Government has indicated its intention to increase the wages for other workers but has said nothing about them.He said Government is treating sugar workers like dogs, while they continue to give full support to the productive sector.Thursday’s strike attracted saw almost 100 per cent of harvesters and more than 75 per cent of factory workers.The strike also got support from the cultivation, mechanical tillage department and the field workshop. Workers from the central field workshop also took part in the strike on Thursday.“When [the Guyana Sugar Corporation] GuySuCo heard about this strike they were very upset. They say that we did it at Blairmont and that was okay but at Albion which a bigger estate that produces about 21,000 tonnes of sugar per week, we cannot afford to allow them to strike. So they invited us to a meeting on Wednesday,” the Union representative stated.He said the Union will attend the meeting. “We are hoping that they can come to the table with something to offer because these will do what it takes to ensure that they have something,” Tambron added.He explained that the workers have indicated to the union that they had enough and the union is finding it very difficult to hold them back from protesting.GuySuCo, he said, is setting the stage to show that the sugar industry is a failure as they did that at Rose Hall. The factory can grind but what they did is to allow the field to become overgrown.