As part of the Family Accommodation Day in Saturday, March 5, 2016 from 10:00 to 13:00 will be held Open door day Kvarner Family family accommodation 2016This is a great opportunity to get to know successful hosts with the quality mark “Kvarner Family” as well as an opportunity to see the houses and gardens, talk to the hosts and get in touch with the most important information about business opportunities. As part of the Open Day of Kvarenr family family accommodation on Thursday, March 3, 2016, starting at 17:00 in the National Reading Room Kostrena Sv. Lucia, will be held and educational workshop Kvarner Family.The workshop will discuss the new guest registration program eVisitor, the landlord as a carrier of information about the destination, the area of operation of the tourist and customs inspection, security in tourism, brand Kvarner Family and credit incentives, the importance of e-marketing, and the Kvarner Family Facebook page. The workshop is free and intended for all providers of household accommodation services as well as travel agencies that do business with providers of household accommodation services.
If you want to find employees for the new tourist season and you do not know where to start or you want to find a job in the tourism sector and you do not know who to ask, then this may be the article for you.In the sea of offers for work in hotels, private accommodation, restaurants and the like, it is much harder to manage today. The requirements of employers are different, from education, work experience, all the way to knowledge of foreign languages. Of course, everything depends on the job description, and according to the Moj posao portal, in 2015 the most sought after were waiters. In addition to the waiters, who were convincingly the most, there are also chefs, kitchen helpers, pizza masters, receptionists, assistant chefs and maids.Portal MojPosao.net for ten years now it has had a specialized action Jobs in Tourism, the aim of which is to increase mobility in the labor market in the summer months. The campaign is intended primarily for employers and offers more favorable advertising conditions. But even before that period, the job offer was segmented by categories, and as we find out, the category Tourism and Hospitality is one of the most popular with the largest number of ads:”Most ads in the category of Tourism and Hospitality were published for Zagreb and Zagreb County, about 25%. Of the counties by the sea, most advertisements were published in Istria, 14%, and in Split-Dalmatia County, 11%. 10% of ads in this category referred to the whole of Croatia ” – they state from the MojPosao.net portal and add that this category has a large number of ads throughout the year, but the emphasis is still on the spring months.We can often hear and read that tourism is one of the fastest growing branches in Croatia, and we received confirmation of such statements by reading the data from the Moj posao portal. Namely, in January and February this year, a total of over 5.000 ads were published on the portal, of which over 1.000 in the category of Tourism and Hospitality, which is as much as 65% more than last year at the same time.Furthermore, in the largest number of advertisements in tourism, as many as 66%, candidates with secondary education were sought. 40% of advertisements required skilled workers, and only 11% unskilled. In one-fifth of the ads, education is not listed as a condition. Work experience of an average of two years and one month was required in 56% of advertisements.Knowledge of a foreign language was given an advantage in 41% of advertisements, of which as much as 90% referred to a certain level of knowledge of English (46% advanced, 30% basic, 10% professional, and 4% of advertisements knowledge of English is not a requirement, but is an advantage). A total of 38% of the ads required some level of knowledge of German (15% advanced, 14% basic), and 21% required knowledge of Italian.The salary for each job, including the one in tourism, depends on a number of factors, of which experience is only one in them. The difference is whether you are a waiter in a hotel, restaurant or cafe. Again, restaurants differ within their category: for example, a waiter in a two-star hotel will certainly not have the same salary as a waiter in a five-star hotel. Location also has an impact on pay as well as the supply-demand ratio for a particular job.”What we know and what we have researched is the difference between the deserved, expected and real salary for jobs in tourism. Respondents believe that chefs deserve the highest salary, an average of 7.253 kuna. If we compare the received salary with the one from the MojaPlaca.hr service, the stated salary is as much as 60% higher than the real salary of a chef, which amounts to HRK 4.521. On the other hand, respondents think that chefs really earn 5.568 kuna, which is 23% more than the salary according to the MojaPlaca.hr service. The chef is followed by a pizza master who respondents believe deserves a salary of 6.065 kuna, which is 31% more than the real salary and only 5% more than what they expect a pizza master to really earn. The most pronounced agreement between the deserved, expected and real salary, the respondents state for the position of animator. Respondents believe that animators earn HRK 4.813 (15% more than the real salary), and in reality they would expect HRK 3.938 for this job (6% lower than the real salary). For waiters, respondents believe that they deserve 6.004 kuna, while they really expect 4.526 kuna, which is 64% more than the real salary of 3.653 kuna. – they point out from the Moj Posao portal.Despite the differences between deserved, expected and real wages, both employers and employees in tourism seem to be satisfied. Employers are also more than positive regarding employment in tourism, and in last year’s survey of the MojPosao.net portal, as many as 95% of respondents who have already worked in tourism would work in tourism again. What could deter them from getting a job in tourism is the inability to get a permanent job or the desire to find a job in the profession.When looking for a new job or employees in the new tourist season, it is sometimes difficult to get the information you want. That is why we were interested in what employers and employees must pay attention to when looking for an employee, or a new job:”Since they often change their place of residence due to seasonal work, candidates find it very useful to know the amount of salary (covering travel expenses, possible accommodation) and information on accommodation possibilities (whether the employer provides accommodation). Employers are looking for candidates who are good at this type of job, which means that there is an important emphasis on previous work experience and concrete examples and achievements that confirm that the candidate is qualified for this job. The recommendations of former employers are also useful, as well as information on how long the candidate can be available, as the length of the season depends on many factors and can sometimes be unplanned. ” – advises MojPosao.net.For now, the offer for all occupations is less than the demand, but we advise employers to start looking for staff as soon as possible, because it can happen that in the middle of the season it is a bit harder to find employees, especially if it is more specific jobs, requirements or location.MojPosao.net – POSLOVI U TURIZMU
Croatian national airline Croatia Airlines and Indian national airline Air India (Both companies are members of the Star Alliance) have concluded commercial (code share) agreement on the use of flights with common designations of both carriers.According to this basic agreement, the international designation of Air India (AI) is published on Croatia Airlines flights from Frankfurt to Zagreb, Dubrovnik and Split vv, from London to Zagreb and Split vv, from Vienna to Zagreb and Split vv, from Rome to Zagreb, Dubrovnik and Split vv, and from Paris to Zagreb, Dubrovnik and Split vv Based on reciprocity, Croatia Airlines (OU) flight numbers are published on Air India flights from Frankfurt, London, Vienna, Rome and Paris to New Delhi vv, and from London to Mumbai vvThe cooperation starts on April 1, 2017 on Croatia Airlines flights from Frankfurt, Paris and Rome to Zagreb, Dubrovnik and Split, and from London and Vienna to Zagreb and Split. By introducing common code share (OU / AI) Croatia Airlines and Air India become the first and only airlines from their countries to provide air transport services between Croatia and India. “We are extremely pleased to have signed a very high level commercial agreement with Air India, which expands the existing cooperation in passenger transport. As part of this agreement, Croatia Airlines, as a European regional airline, gets the opportunity to position itself more strongly in the large and fast-growing Indian market. I believe that travelers from Croatia and India will recognize the value of our joint product and use an even better choice of travel” said Krešimir Kučko, President of the Management Board of Croatia Airlines.This partnership will further expand the network and improve the connectivity of flights of both airlines, and offers passengers exciting travel opportunities and an even greater choice of flights between Croatia and India. In addition, passengers will wait less for connecting flights, and they will be offered a more pleasant travel experience, a greater choice of flights and more competitive prices in the markets of Croatia and India, where Croatia Airlines and Air India are the leading airlines. “Air India is honored that Croatia Airlines, a member of the Star Alliance, is a partner in the joint designation agreement. This partnership will give Air India access to destinations in Croatia and we look forward to expanding our relationship with Croatia Airlines in the future. The partnership will also contribute to the further development of trade, tourism and cultural ties between India and Croatia ”Concluded Seema Srivastava, Air India’s Executive Director for Strategy and Planning.
LinkedIn Share on Twitter To maintain the idea that we are moral people, we tend to lie or cheat only to the extent that we can justify our transgressions. New research suggests that situational ambiguity is one such avenue for justification that helps us preserve our sparkling self-image. Findings from two related experiments show that people are apt to cheat on a task in favor of their self-interest but only when the situation is ambiguous enough to provide moral cover.The research, conducted by psychological scientists Andrea Pittarello, Margarita Leib, Tom Gordon-Hecker, and Shaul Shalvi, at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel, is published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.“Whether in sensational corporate scandals or more ordinary transgressions, individuals often violate ethical principles to serve their self-interest. Our results suggest that such ethical failures are mostly likely to occur in settings in which ethical boundaries are blurred,” the researchers of the study write. “In ambiguous settings, people’s motivation directs their attention towards tempting information, shaping their self-serving lies,” says Pittarello.Using an “ambiguous dice” paradigm, the researchers had participants look at a computer screen that displayed the rolls of a total of six dice, while their gaze was monitored using eye-tracking equipment. The participants were asked to report the number rolled for the die appearing closest to a designated target on the screen.In one condition, participants were told that they would be paid according to the value they reported observing — thus, reporting a die roll of 6 would result in a bigger payoff than a die roll of 5. The participants could maximize their income by reporting a 6 for every trial, but then their cheating would be obvious and difficult to justify. The researchers hypothesized that participants would be tempted to cheat when they could justify their self-serving ‘mistakes’ by reporting having seen the outcome of the die roll that was actually second closest to the designated target.In another condition, participants were told they would be paid for the accuracy of their report. Mistakes in this condition could only harm participants’ potential payout, so the researchers hypothesized that the value of the second closest die would not influence participants’ reports. This condition served to rule out other factors that could potentially lead people to misreport the rolls.Overall, the participants reported the correct value in about 84% of the pay-for-report trials and about 90% of the pay-for-accuracy trials. Importantly, the mistakes made in the pay-for-report trials showed a self-serving pattern: Participants were more likely to report the second closest die when it was tempting (i.e., higher) than when it was not.And data on eye gaze showed that a tempting value on the second closest die did grab participants’ attention on pay-for-report trials; in these cases, they spent relatively more time gazing at the tempting die and less time gazing at the nearest die.In a second experiment, the researchers varied the distance between the nearest die and the target to see whether more ambiguous configurations — in which the target was very close to being in the middle between two dice — would lead to more self-serving mistakes.Again, the data showed that the temptation of a higher number on the second closest die influenced participants’ reports when they were compensated according to the number reported rather than the accuracy of the report.But the results also showed that ambiguity played an additional role in guiding behavior: Participants were more likely to report a tempting value from the second closest die when the target appeared relatively close to the middle than when it was clearly closer to the first die. As predicted, this effect did not emerge when participants were paid according to their accuracy.“These results indicate that situations in which ambiguity is high are especially prone to self-serving interpretation of available information. If you seek to boost own or organizational ethical behavior – then reduce ambiguity and make things clear,” says Shalvi. Email Share on Facebook Share Pinterest
LinkedIn The 28 odors make for 378 different pairs, each with a different level of similarity. This provides us with a 378-dimensional fingerprint. Using this highly sensitive tool, the scientists found that each person indeed has an individual unique pattern – an olfactory fingerprint.Could this finding extend to millions of people? The researchers say their computations show that 28 odors alone could be used to “fingerprint” some two million people, and just 34 odors would be enough to identify any of the seven billion individuals on the planet.The next stage of the research suggested that our olfactory fingerprint may tie in with another system of ours in which we all differ – the immune system. They found, for example, that an immune antigen called HLA, today used to assess matches for organ donation, is correlated with certain olfactory fingerprints. This part of the study was conducted together with Drs. Ron Loewenthal, and Nancy Agmon-Levin, and Prof. Yehuda Shoenfeld, all of Sheba Medical Center.The researchers think that olfactory fingerprinting, in addition to helping identify individuals, could be developed into methods for the early detection of such diseases as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, and it could lead to non-invasive methods of initial screening as to whether bone marrow or organs from live donors are a good match. Pinterest Share on Twitter Share Email Each of us has, in our nose, about six million smell receptors of around four hundred different types. The distribution of these receptors varies from person to person – so much so that each person’s sense of smell may be unique. In research recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), Weizmann Institute scientists report on a method of precisely characterizing an individual’s sense of smell, which they call an “olfactory fingerprint.”The implications of this study reach beyond the sense of smell alone, and range from olfactory fingerprint-based early diagnosis of degenerative brain disorders to a non-invasive test for matching donor organs.The method is based on how similar or different two odors are from one another. In the first stage of the experiment, volunteers were asked to rate 28 different smells according to 54 different descriptive words, for example, “lemony,” or “masculine.” The experiment, led by Dr. Lavi Secundo, together with Dr. Kobi Snitz and Kineret Weissler, all members of the lab of Prof. Noam Sobel of the Weizmann Institute’s Neurobiology Department, developed a complex, multidimensional mathematical formula for determining, based on the subjects’ ratings, how similar any two odors are to one another in the human sense of smell. The strength of this formula, according to Secundo, is that it does not require the subjects to agree on the use and applicability of any given verbal descriptor. Thus, the fingerprint is odor dependent but descriptor and language independent. Share on Facebook
LinkedIn Email In fact, previous findings from the Burrone lab were the first to uncover that changes in AIS structure could alter the excitability of neurons to stabilise their overall electrical activity (Grubb & Burrone Nature 365:1070). What is less known is what happens to the unique synapses that form along the AIS, when this region of the axon is modified. “We know very little about these odd axonal synapses, other than they are in the right place to modulate neuronal output by acting directly on the axon initial segment”, says senior author Prof Juan Burrone, “but what happens when the AIS changes was, until now, a mystery”.This study shows for the first time that in slices of the hippocampus, a region of the brain known to be important for learning and memory, increases in neuronal activity causes the AIS to move away from the cell body, along the axon, by about half its length. The synapses however stay in place, causing a mismatch between the AIS and the synapses that control it.In collaboration with Dr Daniel Cattaert at the INCIA in Bordeaux, the authors used computational models to study the functional consequences of this arrangement. This approach revealed that the synapses that were left behind, those that lie in the gap between the cell body and the AIS, are particularly important for decreasing neuronal excitability, allowing neurons to remain functional even when under constant stimulation.As Dr Winnie Wefelmeyer, the leading author of this study puts it: “The axon initial segment is like the vocal chord of the neuron: without it, it would be unable to communicate. Changing the position of the AIS relative to the modulating synapses ensures that what the neuron is saying stays meaningful”. In biology, stability is important. From body temperature to blood pressure and sugar levels, our body ensures that these remain within reasonable limits and do not reach potentially damaging extremes. Neurons in the brain are no different and, in fact, have developed a number of ways to stabilise their electrical activity so as to avoid becoming either overexcitable, potentially leading to epilepsy, or not excitable enough, leading to non functional neurons.A new study published in PNAS by researchers from the MRC Centre for Developmental Neurobiology characterises a novel way in which neurons remain electrically stable when confronted with chronic increases in neuronal activity.The site at the centre of this control mechanism is a short segment of the axon, where electrical activity is initiated in the first place. Also known as the axon initial segment (or AIS for short), this remarkable structure is responsible for integrating all the information that a neuron receives via its synapses to produce an action potential, the electrical currency of information used by neurons. It is perhaps no surprise then that modulating this domain should have an important impact on a cell’s excitability. Share on Twitter Pinterest Share on Facebook Share
Share on Twitter New research published in The Journal of Sex Research investigated whether heterosexual men and women considered certain anal behaviors as “having had sex.”The study of 3,218 adults from the United States found that people labelled a variety of behaviors as having had sex. About 90 percent of the participants considered penile-anal intercourse as having sex, but there was less agreement about whether oral-anal contact or manual-anal contact counted as having sex. Men were more likely than women to count these two latter behaviors as having had sex.PsyPost interviewed the study’s corresponding author, Kimberly R. McBride of the University of Toledo. Read her responses below: LinkedIn Email Share on Facebook Pinterest Share PsyPost: Why were you interested in this topic?McBride: Existing research examining the labeling of behaviors as having “had sex” among heterosexual samples has focused on penile-vaginal behaviors and penile-anal intercourse. Those studies have consistently demonstrated that heterosexuals are less likely to categorize penile-anal intercourse as having “had sex” when compared to penile-vaginal intercourse and they are less likely to label oral-penile (fellatio), oral-vaginal (cunnilingus), and manual (e.g. vaginal fingering) behaviors as “sex” when compared to either type of intercourse. Evidence also indicates that people are more likely to label a behavior “sex” when they have behavioral experience.Our team was interested in determining whether the same pattern of differences would be observed when focusing, specifically, on anal behaviors in a sample that all have some form of behavioral experience (anal intercourse, manual-anal, oral-anal). From our perspective, understanding how people categorize anal behaviors is important because it has implications for clinical assessment, research measurement, and sexual health education. It also provides some insight into factors that influence individual conceptualizations of having “had sex.”What should the average person take away from your study?The same patterns of labeling observed in previous research were noted in the current study. The majority of heterosexuals in our sample, 89% of women and 92% of men, categorized penile-anal intercourse as having “had sex.” However, there was significant variation in the labeling of non-intercourse anal behaviors and no consensus on which specific behaviors “counted.” Respondents that had experience with a particular behavior were more likely to categorize it as having “had sex” than those without. Our data also indicated differences in labeling by age and gender, with older respondents and men being more likely to “count” behaviors as having “had sex” when compared to younger respondents and women.Are there any major caveats? What questions still need to be addressed?The most significant questions that remain are why variability in labeling exists and how individual characteristics such as behavioral experience, age, and gender contribute to variation. While a number of hypotheses have been developed to explain differences, additional research is needed. Further, studies that explore the reasons why people do not categorize specific behaviors as “sex” would help improve our understanding of the underlying cognitive processes that influence categorization.The primary caveat is that our cross-sectional approach did not allow us to examine changes in labeling and the participation in anal sexual behaviors over time. It should also be noted that the data was collected in 2007 and it is possible that attitudes have shifted.Is there anything else you would like to add?To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study to examine the labeling of both penile-anal intercourse and non-intercourse anal behaviors in a sample of heterosexuals with some form of anal sex experience. We view this as an important first step to understanding how heterosexuals are thinking about anal sex, which may have implications for sexual health outcomes. For example, unprotected receptive anal intercourse is a well-established risk factor for the acquisition of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STI), yet roughly 10% of our sample did not count it as having “had sex.” It is possible that people are less likely to take protective measures, such as using a male latex condom, when they do not perceive a behavior to be “sex.” Improved understanding of behavioral categorization may allow healthcare providers and sexual health educators to more accurately assess risk as well as address gaps in the knowledge of their patients and clients who may be a greater risk for adverse sexual health outcomes based on their behavioral practices.The study, “Heterosexual Women’s and Men’s Labeling of Anal Behaviors as Having ‘Had Sex’“, was also co-authored by Stephanie A. Sanders, Brandon J. Hill and June M. Reinisch.
Cannabis does not become any more rewarding when combined with tobacco, according to new research published in the journal Psychopharmacology.“Cannabis and tobacco are two of the world’s most commonly used drugs, and around the world they are also used together in the same product (“joint”, “spliff”) but when we consider the use of cannabis, we tend to forget that it’s often mixed with tobacco (77.2% of cannabis users in the last year, in the UK, used tobacco in their joints),” the study’s lead author, Chandni Hindocha of University College London, told PsyPost.“Given that both drugs have reinforcing effects, we wanted to know if cannabis and tobacco, individually and combined, affected your ‘wanting’ and ‘liking’ of both drug and non-drug reward types – in particular, food, given that cannabis has a classical symptom – the munchies. It’s an important topic as we often consider the importance of the rewarding effects of cannabis but do not consider that most smoke it with tobacco.” Share Share on Twitter Pinterest Email LinkedIn Share on Facebook The double-blind placebo-controlled study of 24 smokers found no evidence that tobacco influenced the rewarding effects of cannabis.“Participants came in the lab four times and each time they smoked a different combination of cannabis and tobacco together in a joint (active cannabis + active tobacco, active cannabis + placebo tobacco, placebo cannabis + active tobacco, and placebo cannabis + placebo tobacco),” Hindocha said.“They completed tasks asking them how much cannabis and tobacco they wanted to smoke, how much they liked cannabis/tobacco drug-related images, and measures of craving.”The researchers found that people under the influence of cannabis viewed cannabis-related imagery as less pleasant but viewed food-related imagery as more pleasant, compared to placebo.The participants were also asked how many cigarette or cannabis puffs they would be hypothetically willing to buy in the next 3 hours, at increasing prices. But people under the influence of cannabis became significantly less likely to buy cigarettes or cannabis at higher prices.“Forty-one percent of the data regarding demand for cannabis was missing because once a participant had smoked the active cannabis in the study they no longer wanted any more cannabis,” Hindocha explained.“Another way to do this study is a to do a self-administration study of individual and combined cannabis and tobacco in humans, which would have provided a direct demonstration of the abuse potential of the drugs combined relative to their components.”A second study published in Psychological Medicine, which used data from the same experiment, reported that combining tobacco and cannabis did not improve the experience of being stoned.Hindocha said the findings had a clear take away message: “there’s no point adding tobacco to cannabis.”The study, “Individual and combined effects of cannabis and tobacco on drug reward processing in non-dependent users“, was co-authored by Will Lawn, Tom P. Freeman, and H. Valerie Curran.
Jun 22, 2010 (CIDRAP News) – An informatics expert from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) today spoke with clinicians about possible public health connections to electronic medical records, which she said could have been useful during the H1N1 pandemic and might ease information flow during future public health events.The discussion follows recent federal investments to promote greater use of health information technology.In March, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced the award of $162 million in economic stimulus funding designed to ease health information exchange and further health information technology (IT). The funding is part of a wider $2 billion effort to encourage more meaningful use of health IT and an electronic health record (EHR) for every citizen by the year 2014, according to a Mar 15 HHS press release.In a clinicians conference call, Nedra Garrett, acting director of the CDC’s division of informatics practice, policy, and coordination, said recent health IT and EHR incentives present tremendous opportunities for public health. She said challenges are to connect public health alerts and guidance to relevant patient data in the EHR and to make sure systems have a meaningful impact on point-of-care practices, such as ordering lab tests and distributing educational information to patients.She said the CDC envisions working with other government agencies to employ other public health EHR-based IT applications such as food recalls and vaccine adverse event reporting.As an example of how the system would work, a patient presenting to a doctor’s office with flu symptoms such as cough, chills, and fever would generate an anonymous electronic patient profile containing the symptoms and the provider and patient’s zip code that transmit to a central alert repository, which would send the physician diagnosis, treatment, and prevention resources targeted to the patient.Garrett added that the anonymous patient profile could also include useful public health data such as the patient’s occupation or recent travel history.Having public health systems interface with EHR might be able to prevent clinicians from being bombarded during health emergencies, as they were during the H1N1 pandemic with multiple sources, some of which provided contradictory information.Garrett said clinicians will be most likely to find EHR-based public health alerts useful if they strike a balance of providing the most relevant information at the right time. She said an alert system would also likely include a severity scale to help clinicians gauge the urgency of the notices.Though the concept is still in its infancy, Garrett said the CDC has launched a small pilot program in an ambulatory setting. The CDC is collaborating with 10 providers of a GE Healthcare customer site in Chicago. The project is focusing on foodborne disease alerts, and Garrett said the CDC hopes to have preliminary findings by the end of the year.”Researchers can evaluate how often we need to trigger the alerts and how specific the information needs to be,” she said.During the question-and-answer part of the conference call, clinicians seemed eager to broaden the public health applications for EHR beyond just public health alerts to include functions such as surveillance and disease reporting. However, they also had concerns about local health and emergency medical service officials being included in the system, the scope of the information that the public health system might pull from medical records, and the interoperability between different EHR systems.Garrett said there are several complicated issues to sort out, such as making sure rules and governance issues are addressed. “We have more questions than answers, but we are moving in the right direction,” she said.See also:Mar 15 HHS press release
Jan 19, 2011 Avian flu outbreak kills 500 poultry in MyanmarHighly pathogenic avian flu has been confirmed in Myanmar poultry for the first time in almost a year, according to a World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) report filed yesterday. The farm, in Bumay village in Sittwe township, housed 800 3-month-old layer chickens. Starting Jan 6, 500 of the 800 birds died, and a highly pathogenic H5 avian flu strain was confirmed. The other 300 chickens were culled to prevent disease spread. The village is home to eight farms that house a total of about 5,000 chickens, according to the report. Workers on the affected farm have tested negative for the virus, according to a story today in the Myanmar newspaper Mizzima. The last outbreak in the country was in March 2010, according to the OIE.Jan 18 OIE reportJan 19 Mizzima story Global experts, Haitian officials at odds on cholera vaccination plansInternational health experts and the Haitian government disagree on how to use cholera vaccination to fight Haiti’s cholera epidemic, which has claimed about 3,800 lives and caused 189,000 illnesses, according to a report in the Jan 20 issue of Nature. Earlier in the epidemic, which began in October, vaccination was dismissed as impractical in the face of a very limited vaccine supply and the rapid spread of the disease. But most international experts now favor a limited pilot project that would help determine whether a broader effort is worthwhile and how to use cholera vaccines in future outbreaks elsewhere, the story said. An expert committee convened by the World Health Organization is recommending a pilot campaign that would use the 250,000 to 300,000 available doses of Dukoral, a vaccine made by Crucell. But the Haitian government, fearing that those denied vaccination would be resentful, is demanding a much larger campaign. Jean Ronald Cadet, vaccination program manager in Haiti’s health ministry, said the government wants at least 1 million doses as the prerequisite for launching an immunization drive and ultimately wants to vaccinate 6 million people, according to the story. Such an effort would require major increases in vaccine production.Jan 20 Nature reportDec 20 CIDRAP News story on vaccination issue Glaxo launches phase 3 trial of IV zanamivir GlaxoSmithKline today announced that it has launched a phase 3 clinical trial to compare intravenous (IV) zanamivir (Relenza), a drug licensed through Biota, with oral oseltamivir in patients hospitalized with influenza. The study’s endpoint is time to clinical response, and the company hopes to enroll 462 patients in more than 20 countries. IV zanamivir isn’t approved for sale in any country, but during the 2009 H1N1 pandemic the FDA allowed physicians to request to use it on an emergency basis. The approved zanamivir formulation is an inhaled drug, which can be difficult to administer to severely ill flu patients who have impaired lung function and can’t use a nebulizer. Zanamivir has served as a key treatment for managing oseltamivir-resistant flu infections.Jan 19 Glaxo press release Serology shows Taiwan was hit with novel H1N1 earlier than thoughtAs much as 14% of Taiwan’s population may have been infected with pandemic flu from April to June of 2009, before the first clinical cases were detected by surveillance in June, according to a new serologic study. Starting in the fall of 2009, researchers tracked 306 people from households with schoolchildren in central Taiwan. They took three separate samples from each patient over time for hemagglutination inhibition (HI) assay and defined seroconversion to 2009 H1N1 influenza as an HI titer of 1:40 or higher and a fourfold increase in neutralization titer. They found novel H1N1 antibody incidence to be 14.1% from April to June 2009 and 29.7% from July to October 2009, with the earliest instance of seroconversion occurring from Apr 26 to May 3. They found no age-specific pattern in their data, which they say may highlight “the importance of children as asymptomatic transmitters of influenza in households.”Jan 18 PloS One study DoD biodefense research changes focus from treatment to detectionThe US Department of Defense (DoD) is cutting back on the hunt for new treatments for victims of biological attacks while stepping up efforts to find better ways to detect mutant forms of deadly viruses such as Ebola and Marburg, the Boston Globe reported this week. A 5-year, $1 billion quest by the DoD Transformational Medical Technologies program for new medicines for deadly viruses was not very successful, yielding only two drugs that look promising, the story said. As a result, the next $1 billion for the program will be used mainly to develop better ways to identify mutant versions of lethal viruses, in view of the concern that bioterrorists may try to tinker with such viruses to make them more virulent. Alan S. Rudolph, director of science and technology at the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, said that research could pave the way for the development of antidotes that could eventually win Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval, according to the story. He said the ultimate goal still is to develop drugs that are effective against multiple viruses. Biodefense specialists said it has become clear that it is easier to modify a pathogen for an offensive threat than it is to develop an effective defense.Jan 17 Boston Globe story