The slide guitar work of Derek Trucks can be picked out from a universe away. While most impressionable with his own band Tedeschi Trucks Band, the Allman Brothers Band alum has been appearing more and more on the tracks of others. His most recent guest spot is with country star Wynonna Judd on her single “Keeps Me Alive” from her 2016 release Wynonna & The Big Noise. Now, the song has transformed into a music video, Wynonna’s first full-length concept video in 14 years.The music video of “Keeps Me Alive” features Wynonna Judd standing in a historic Oaklands Mansion in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, and is inspired by Johnny Cash’s “Hurt” video. Trucks’ wife and TTB partner Susan Tedeschi also appears on the album, along with Jason Isbell.Watch “Keeps Me Alive” below:
Harvard Medical School (HMS) released a series of revisions to its conflict of interest (COI) policy today (July 21) that strengthens its commitment to transparency and financial disclosure while recognizing the School’s commitment to industry collaboration.Among many provisions, the new policy includes a streamlined central system for reporting faculty financial interests with industry; requires the public disclosure of certain faculty financial interests; bans faculty from accepting corporate gifts, including travel and meals; and ends faculty participation in industry speakers bureaus, making it one of the most stringent of any medical college in the country. In addition, faculty disclosures will be made available to the public on the Harvard Catalyst website.“In all cases where financial interests are involved, an essential antidote to potential harm is transparency,” said HMS Dean Jeffrey S. Flier. “And so disclosure of relevant financial interests, both internally and for the first time publicly, will address this concern.”Flier, the Caroline Shields Walker Professor of Medicine, said the updated policy is aimed at clarifying appropriate relationships between the School and its industry contacts. It will protect the interests of the public and maintain the integrity of Harvard’s faculty and institutions, he said, while providing clarity of expectations in collaboration between companies and Harvard faculty.A comprehensive re-evaluation of the existing COI regulations has been a top priority for Flier since he was named dean in 2007, and the revised guidelines are the latest in a series of regular changes to a policy created in 1990.In January 2009, Flier convened the Harvard University Faculty of Medicine Committee on Conflicts of Interest and Commitment. The 34-member panel includes HMS faculty, senior administrators, and students. His request to the group: Devise a new set of recommendations for the faculty policy, based on changes in the biomedical field and grounded in modern conventions and practices.Ganesh Shankar — a medical student member of the committee — thought the new standards were an exciting reshaping of the “educational infrastructure” at HMS.“Medicine is constantly changing,” he said, “and we recognize that education in medicine must be equally dynamic.”The committee’s recommendations, accepted by Flier, will be formally incorporated into the School’s COI policy starting in January.The HMS group is a subcommittee of a University-wide body led by David Korn, Harvard’s vice provost for research, which recently conducted its own rigorous review of Harvard’s COI policies and principles.Previous HMS policy had regulated faculty interactions with industry for more than 20 years. The new guidelines include:a streamlined central system for reporting faculty financial interests with industrya public website for disclosure of certain faculty financial interestsno personal gifts from industry, including travel and mealsno faculty participation in industry speakers bureausa further strengthening of existing limitations on faculty financial interests in companies that own or license technologies studied in clinical researchnew limitations on industry support for Continuing Medical Education (CME) coursesnew training for students and faculty on critical decision making regarding companies that make drugs or medical devicesnew review requirements on proposed faculty board memberships with for-profit companies.Flier, a strong proponent of industry collaboration, has acknowledged that relationships between industry and academics involve an element of risk. “Some relationships,” he wrote in a white paper last year, “require scrutiny, analysis, institutional guidance, and, in specific cases, prohibition.”However, even as he announced the new, more stringent guidelines, Flier wanted to make absolutely clear that the goal was not to create a wall between industry and medicine. “That would be precisely the wrong thing to do at a time when we want to promote and develop human health,” he said. “Doing that requires effective interactions between industry and academia of a kind that are judged to be appropriate.”The central theme of the revised policy is transparency and increased disclosure of industry relationships, especially as related to ongoing research. They reinforce the restrictions already in place by:Prohibiting sponsorship of any research project by a business in which a faculty members holds equity. The prohibition is absolute if the business is privately held. If the business is publicly traded, then a faculty member’s financial interest in the company cannot exceed $30,000 a year.Prohibiting clinical research on a technology owned or licensed to a business with which the faculty member receives more that $10,000 in annual income. (The previous limit was $20,000.)Reporting of outside relationships with industry, including those relevant to ongoing faculty research, will continue to be part of a yearly disclosure process. And for the first time, Harvard will work with its 16 affiliated hospitals and institutions to capture all required information through a common reporting mechanism for the approximately 12,000 Harvard Medical School employees who work at the Medical School and its affiliated hospitals and institutions. Previously, each organization managed its own disclosure process.Also for the first time, such financial disclosures will also be made publicly available on the HMS Catalyst website and will be part of a comprehensive institutional monitoring system. In certain instances, financial disclosures will also be subject to review by the HMS Standing Committee on Conflict of Interest.The new disclosure mechanism, Flier said, will allow HMS to identify any potentially troubling trends and “areas where there might be a need for further policy revision.”The new recommendations will also prohibit faculty participation in industry speakers bureaus if only industry presentations are used.“It’s one of the biggest departures in the policy,” said Flier. “If you are Harvard Medical faculty, you can’t function as a member of a speakers bureau and give company-determined and prepared talks. It’s vital that our faculty maintain their intellectual control.”The new guidelines also impact the small percentage of Harvard’s Continuing Medical Education courses that receive company funding.Building on previous requirements, the new recommendations state that a course must be funded by more than one industry sponsor, with no one sponsor being able to support more than 50 percent of a particular course’s budget.As part of the new policy, HMS will also develop a dean’s fund. It will solicit unrestricted industry donations to support Harvard’s Continuing Medical Education efforts, including research on best CME practices and technology-based teaching methods. “There will be no connection between the company and what we do with it,” said Flier.He added that the fund “ties into the broader interest of how to use Harvard Medical School to have a positive influence in the world.”Included in the new policy is a broad statement, in compliance with Massachusetts law, that prohibits the faculty from receiving industry-sponsored personal gifts of any kind. The new HMS gifts requirement will also extend to nonclinical faculty.“Even if you are a Ph.D. scientist working on cells or mice you are subject to this policy,” said Flier. “We are now saying that this is part of our overall faculty policy.”The updated HMS COI policy, said Korn, who heads the University’s efforts on COI policy, will further the School’s dedication to professional codes, institutional values, integrity, and transparency. It will also help HMS continue its efforts to enhance the future health of the country. “When all parties are clear on the rules governing potential relationships, and compliant with them, the hope is that more collaborations may be fostered and the significant educational, research, and health benefits captured for the benefit of the public.”“Under our new policy, we will limit potential abuses,” wrote Flier in an article appearing on the HMS website, “while promoting our great capacity to do good.”Additional reporting by Colleen Walsh
When Michael Martin’s father slipped while clearing snow and fell from the roof of the family’s home, he lay on the ground for two hours with a shattered hip and broken wrist, trying the whole time to call 911 from his cell phone.“He couldn’t get through,” recalled his son. The younger Martin, now completing his M.B.A. studies at Harvard Business School (HBS), was inspired by the incident to help start a venture that aims to revolutionize the way 911 calls are placed and received.RapidSOS won the $70,000 grand prize in the fourth President’s Challenge at the Harvard Innovation Lab (i-lab) on Thursday, 24 hours removed from capturing the $50,000 grand prize in the HBS New Venture Competition.“It’s overwhelming,” said Martin, CEO of RapidSOS, which beat out nine other finalists at the President’s Challenge Demo Day. “The Harvard community has been standing by us. I must have bothered nearly every professor at HBS on this idea, and all of them have generously donated their advice and their time. We’re overwhelmed by the generosity.”The flagship competition at the i-lab, the President’s Challenge invites participants to create entrepreneurial solutions to some of the world’s most pressing problems.The RapidSOS team — Martin, Alex Santana, and Julia Cohen, all of HBS, and Nick Horelik of MIT — set out to improve an emergency system they said fails for millions of people every year. Sixty percent of mobile 911 calls can’t be located by the current system, which is based on a 1960s copper-wire infrastructure, Martin said.“We are a way to push a button on your phone or connected device and transmit all your data directly to first responders,” he said. The technology will work in 137 countries across the globe, he said.On top of the awards from the President’s Challenge and the New Venture Competition, RapidSOS just closed a Kickstarter Campaign in which nearly 700 people gave $60,000 to beta test the product. “We’re off to the races,” Martin said. “We’ll be fully launched at the end of the summer.”Santana, among the first generation in his family to go to college, came to HBS “really wanting to work on something important. It’s very, very satisfying to see that the community agrees with what we’re doing.”With the venture having pulled in nearly $200,000 in two weeks, Santana added: “Honestly, I’m still waiting for someone to wake me up.”Three runners-up in the President’s Challenge were awarded $10,000 apiece toward their startups.Rumi Spice seeks to cultivate peace in Afghanistan through sustainable market-driven economic development in Afghan saffron. Its team members are Benjamin Bines, Emily Miller, and Kimberly Jung, all of HBS, Carol Wang, who earned her J.D. from Harvard Law School, Keith Alaniz, and Christopher Counts.Safire works with farmers to make clean cooking fuel from organic waste. The team consists of Aura Castillo, Francisco Mejia of the Harvard Kennedy School, Kevin Kung, and Tom Osborn.TetraScience is developing an Internet-of-Things platform for drug discovery. Its team comprises Alok Tayi of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Peng Wei, Salvatore Savo, and Siping Wang.Five members of the Rumi Spice group served in the military in Afghanistan. The team hopes to boost the market for saffron, a spice used in paella, risotto, and rice pilaf dishes as well as many Indian desserts, to benefit Afghan farmers who might otherwise grow poppies for the opium trade.“Saffron gives farmers up to six times more income than growing poppy for opium,” said the startup’s CEO, Jung, a former Army captain who is currently completing her M.B.A. studies at HBS.“Farmers make up 80 percent of the population in Afghanistan. Think about this from a global security perspective. To us, especially, as military service people who all have been deployed in Afghanistan, this is huge.”Her fellow veterans in the group include Bines, who served as a Navy fighter pilot, and Miller, a former Army captain.Nearly 300 hundred students across Harvard took part in the President’s Challenge.“The i-lab has come to embody so many of the aspirations that we have for Harvard,” said Harvard President Drew Faust. “It’s a place where thinkers and doers connect, a place where ideas transcend disciplines and fields, where people meet across the boundaries of schools, where meeting kindles deeper understanding that in turn leads to another answer or maybe another question.”Faust encouraged a round of applause for Gordon Jones, the i-lab’s outgoing Evans Family Foundation Managing Director, who will depart to become dean of Boise State University’s new College of Innovation and Design.“You have infused this building with an enormous amount of energy,” Faust told Jones. “You have made it so much more than a building. You have made it a model for all of us as we think about entrepreneurship and innovation and what they can be within this university.”
The world won’t be able to fish its way to feeding 10 billion people by mid-century, but a shift in management practices could save hundreds of millions of fish-dependent poor from malnutrition, according to an analysis led by Harvard researchers.At its heart, the issue is one of supply and demand. Global fish catches peaked in 1996, while world population is expected to rise through 2050, from 7.3 billion to between 9 billion and 10 billion. But a range of other factors complicates the issue, including natural processes, economic pressures, international regulations, and human health.The analysis of databases from the University of British Columbia-based organization Sea Around Us, by a team led by Samuel Myers at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, says that those likeliest to suffer the effects of fishery declines are the poor, particularly those for whom fish make up a significant part of their diet.The work estimates that, in the coming decades, 11 percent of the global population — 845 million people — will be vulnerable to micronutrient deficiencies due to a reliance on seafood, a figure that climbs to 19 percent, or 1.39 billion people, if nutrients found only in animal sources, such as vitamin B12 and DHA omega-3 fatty acids, are included.Lead author Christopher Golden, a research scientist at the Harvard Chan School and associate director of the Planetary Health Alliance, said that it is important to keep in mind nutrition in determining how fisheries are managed.“We’re missing an enormous piece of this picture, because many of the consequences of the way we manage resources and conserve natural systems will have very strong and powerful downstream effects on human health,” Golden said. “It’s not just a biodiversity issue, it’s not just an economics issue. We need to be really thinking through this third dimension: human health and well-being.”The Planetary Health Alliance launched in January, in partnership with the Wildlife Conservation Society and with support from the Rockefeller Foundation. The study was conducted under the joint leadership of Harvard, the University of British Columbia, the University of Washington, and the University of California at Santa Barbara, with funding from the Wellcome Trust and the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center.The new analysis “is a powerful reminder of how the futures of our food sources, the environment, and our health are entirely interdependent,” said Clare Matterson, director of strategy at the Wellcome Trust.Michael Myers, managing director at the Rockefeller Foundation, said that the problems facing fisheries are an example of the type of interdisciplinary challenge the field of planetary health is intended to address.“We must recognize and embrace the broad connections between human health and the environment in order to identify more effective solutions for keeping people healthy,” he said.According to the report, to be published Thursday as a commentary in the journal Nature, deficiencies in the micronutrients fish provide, including vitamin B12, iron, and zinc, can affect maternal mortality, child mortality, cognitive defects, and immune function. Some 45 percent of mortality in children under 5 is attributable to undernutrition.The problems facing subsistence fishing populations go beyond overfishing, which in some regions has been successfully addressed through sound management. Destructive fishing practices and coastal pollution are degrading the aquatic environment. Climate change is also inflicting damage.Warmer water and acidification bleaches coral reefs while rising temperatures are forcing tropical species poleward. The effects of climate change could reduce catch by 6 percent globally and by as much as 30 percent in certain tropical regions. Warming tropical seas will hold less oxygen and cause fish to get smaller, cutting overall biomass by about 20 percent by 2050.As Golden pointed out, people in industrialized nations can compensate for the nutritional gap left by a decline of fish through replacement foods, supplements, and vitamins. The same choices are often not available to those in developing nations.Among developing countries there is wide variation in threats to fish supplies. A large island nation like Madagascar, where Golden has worked on the interface between human health and the environment for 17 years, suffers most from unsustainable fishing practices and foreign fleets in its waters — issues that better management might address. However, developing island states, such as Kiribati, Maldives, Palau, and Vanuatu, may face intractable problems. Climate change will probably push local fish species toward the poles, while rising seas may flood low-lying, aquaculture-heavy areas. The poor will probably fall back on less-nutrient-rich foods, such as rice and tubers.“Wealthy nations are somewhat immune to these environmental effects,” Golden said. “They can create systems of food imports, intensive agricultural food production, fortified foods, and supplements that buffer them from the potential pitfalls or consequences, whereas it is poorer populations dependent on the direct pathway from the environment to their own well-being that are most at risk. There’s almost a reverse Robin Hood system where the wealthier nations are now going into biodiversity-rich areas, with robust fish populations, and using foreign fleets to capture resources — both legally and illegally — and bring them back to wealthier populations that don’t need them.”Some see aquaculture as an answer to the problem, but Golden balked at that idea. While global aquaculture has exploded, outstripping wild catch destined for human consumption for the first time in 2014, much of the production is intended for the developed world or for developing nations’ elite. In addition, he said, aquaculture is not entirely divorced from wild fisheries, as wild stock provides meal for farmed fish.While it’s unlikely that wild harvests will provide nutrition to match a larger human population, better management could improve catches by as much as 10 percent, Golden said, and, if such practices pay heed to nutrition, hundreds of millions of cases of malnutrition could be avoided.“It’s a really important time to be sounding this alarm so nutrition-sensitive policies can be implemented,” he said.
This is the fourth installment of an ongoing series “Sweet on Dell Technologies.”We’re a technology company with software, services, security, cloud, PC and enterprise infrastructure businesses. We’re aligned and interconnected to drive synergy and joint engineering across our businesses. We’re about pooling our resources, cross-selling together and, ultimately, creating value for all stakeholders. Compare this with your typical conglomerate, and it’s apples and oranges.Conglomerates are combinations of businesses operating in typically unrelated industries under one corporate roof. More and more, I hear Dell Technologies referred to as a conglomerate, which misses the mark. It’s an easy shorthand, which I get. But it’s misused in our case and sidesteps the bigger picture of why we created Dell Technologies in the first place.In my role, I meet with industry analysts, investors, and customers every week, where I emphasize the advantages of working with Dell Technologies and all the variables in our equation, including:A shared vision and a laser-focus on developing technologies for digital transformationCommitment to R&D across our vast portfolio, totaling $20B in investments in R&D in the last five years aloneAbility to collaborate to bring a differentiated portfolio to market with products that deliver end-to-end IT and data solutionsGiving customers a seamless, comprehensive Dell Technologies experience across sales, services and supportHelping our customers simplify and manage their technology environment in a multi-cloud worldA simplified channel of engagement for partners to cross-sell and procure products and solutions across Dell TechnologiesTake UnderArmour. They recognized these advantages and chose to work with Dell Technologies to manage and protect their data company-wide. As they’ll tell you, data is the fuel to their organization. With our help, we’ve been able to de-centralize their data in a way that supports the global nature of their business, with zero downtime – and still gives them a holistic view. And, our innovative products have allowed their team members to work smarter. Ultimately, our solution set gives them visibility, reliability and scalability, allowing them to continue to design and innovate while knowing their data is in the right hands.Our tightly woven fabric lets us strip complexity out of the IT procurement, installation, maintenance process. And like with UnderArmour, provides a better overall customer experience. We’re removing friction and operational barriers, simplifying terms and conditions and strengthening end-to-end support. To be sure, we know we need to continue to build our capabilities, but we are uniquely positioned to help our customers on their transformation journey. The fact that Dell Technologies is not a conglomerate spread across diverse industries makes this possible.To become the essential infrastructure company – from the edge to the core to the cloud – not only for today’s applications, but for the cloud-native world we’re entering—we must think bigger and be bolder. And that’s the greatest strength of a comprehensive, integrated family of products under the interconnected Dell Technologies umbrella.
For the past 12 years, the University of Georgia has tapped its own talent to help keep its dozens of Athens-based buildings safe from termites. UGA entomologist Brian Forschler and his students took on the job several years ago. Since then, they’ve been able to tackle the campus termites less expensively and with fewer chemicals by staying vigilant and taking care of termite swarms early.Forschler, a professor with the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, has studied termites and their biology for more than 25 years.An encyclopedia of termite knowledgeA virtual encyclopedia of termite knowledge, he can tell you how often they eat, what they eat, which treatments kill them and, oddly enough, how often they mate. He can even control the direction they travel using a trail of ink. “The ink contains a solvent that mimics the trail pheromone that’s found in the termites,” he said. “That’s how they follow each other in the dark. They are really different from the textbook definitions. Everything about termites is cryptic since—unlike ants—they are below ground and you can’t see them.”All this termite knowledge led Dexter Fisher, director of facilities management at UGA, to ask Forschler to take over termite treatment and prevention on campus. Why pay when “family” can do the job?“We had been using exterminators, but when you have a professional on campus who can even tell you what kind of termites you have and what country they came from, why wouldn’t we use him?” Fisher said. “It costs $2,000 to $3,000 per building, and they don’t go into near as much detail as Brian does. That was way too much money to spend and we need ways to cut down on expenses.”The university still uses an outside company to inspect new buildings and receive a five-year warranty that covers termite damage, he said. The termite project collaboration between the UGA Physical Plant and the department of entomology provides UGA students with easy on-campus research plots. Students learn by treating termites on campus“And it’s an invaluable learning opportunity,” Forschler said. When termites are reported in any of UGA’s 178 main buildings, Fisher notifies Forschler, and he and his students come to inspect. Using listening devices, moisture probes and the naked eye, he evaluates the site, graphs it and provides an inspection report as required by the state of Georgia.Like commercial pest control companies, Forschler and his students use a variety of intervention methods including baits, wood injections and targeted applications of sprays or foams. But sometimes the plan of action doesn’t require any chemicals.“It’s surprising to me how many landscape alterations are parts of our plans,” he said. “Landscapers are sometimes (pest control operators’) worst enemies.” Sometimes landscaping attracts termitesTo help keep termites at bay, Forschler recommends keeping soil off of the sides of a building’s foundation. Soil can stack up around foundation walls over time or as result of a landscape project.“In the case of the UGA Ramsey Center, the builders backfilled the lawn and pushed soil up against the building,” he said. “It covered the weep-holes in the brick veneer and gave termites an open highway into the offices on the ground floor.”In the past nine years, Forschler has responded to 57 termite reports at 43 building on the Athens campus. Most reports are of termite swarm sightings that usually occur in the spring. Termites have swarmed from locations, like concrete pillars, not associated with any known termite food. “In every case to date, the termites have not swarmed from those same locations in the years that followed,” he said. “In one instance, it has been nine years since the first swarm.”They like old and new alikeMost of the termites that Forschler sees on campus are eastern subterranean termites, an invasive species of termite that can survive in rearranged habitats. The termites are not partial to old or new buildings; 90 percent of the time they find their way into buildings by following expansion joints, he said.Forschler and his team of students have reduced the amount of pesticides applied for termite management on campus by 99 percent. “This is a little exaggerated because most of our buildings are very big, like the libraries for instance,” he said. “We only use ounces or maybe quarts per treatment instead of gallons of insecticide. We are pretty low tech.”The collaboration has saved thousands of dollars for the university, Fisher said. “It’s been a win-win situation for both sides.”
Aug 18, 2006 (CIDRAP News) – The World Health Organization (WHO) today changed the H5N1 avian influenza strains recommended for candidate vaccines for the first time since 2004, causing some experts to question how far the virus has evolved.The WHO’s new prototype strains, prepared by reverse genetics, include three new H5N1 subclades.The hemagglutinin sequences of most of the H5N1 avian influenza viruses circulating in the past few years fall into two genetic groups, or clades. Clade 1 includes human and bird isolates from Vietnam, Thailand, and Cambodia and bird isolates from Laos and Malaysia. Clade 2 viruses were first identified in bird isolates from China, Indonesia, Japan, and South Korea before spreading westward to the Middle East, Europe, and Africa. The clade 2 viruses have been primarily responsible for human H5N1 infections that have occurred during late 2005 and 2006, according to WHO.Genetic analysis has identified six subclades of clade 2, three of which have a distinct geographic distribution and have been implicated in human infections:Subclade 1, IndonesiaSubclade 2, Middle East, Europe, and AfricaSubclade 3, ChinaOn the basis of the three subclades, the WHO is offering companies and other groups that are interested in pandemic vaccine development these three new prototype strains:An A/Indonesia/2/2005-like virusAn A/Bar headed goose/Quinghai/1A/2005-like virusAn A/Anhui/1/2005-like virusReport raises alarm, offers opportunitiesMichael T. Osterholm, PhD, MPH, a leading pandemic preparedness expert, said recognition of the three subclades demonstrates how diverse the virus is and how dynamically it is evolving. He said the WHO notice is more important for the questions it raises than for the vaccine guidance it contains. “Does that mean H5N1 is closer to becoming an agent that can readily transmit human-to-human? That’s the billion dollar question,” he told CIDRAP News. Osterholm is director of the University of Minnesota’s Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, publisher of the CIDRAP Web site.Many experts who follow the ongoing analysis of the H5N1 virus sequences are alarmed at how fast the virus is evolving into an increasingly more complex network of clades and subclades, Osterholm said. The evolving nature of the virus complicates vaccine planning. He said if an avian influenza pandemic emerges, a strain-specific vaccine will need to be developed to treat the disease.Recognition of the three new subclades means researchers face increasingly complex options about which path to take to stay ahead of the virus, he commented. Their goal is to develop a vaccine that is effective against a broad array of virus strains, one of which may be the pandemic trigger. “Does that mean one of these subclades is the lucky or unlucky one? That’s the key issue,” Osterholm said.Paul Targonski, MD, PhD, a genetics epidemiology expert who works in vaccine research at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., said that the WHO’s release of the subclade strains is an important, progressive development in vaccine research. What’s new for vaccine researchers is seeing the smaller differences between the H5N1 virus clades, he told CIDRAP News.Though the information makes the development of an H5N1 vaccine more complex, it also provides good information for designing more targeted and effective vaccines, Targonski said.Next steps for vaccine developersSome researchers will use the WHO’s new prototype strains to develop vaccines to treat regional outbreaks, while others will use them to craft a more global vaccine that addresses the most common H5N1 virus strains, Targonski predicted.Until now, researchers have been working on prepandemic vaccines for H5N1 viruses in clade 1. In March, the first clinical trial of a US vaccine for H5N1 showed modest results. In May, French researchers showed somewhat better results in a clinical trial of an H5N1 vaccine that included an adjuvant.Vaccine experts aren’t sure if a vaccine effective against known H5N1 viral strains would be effective against future strains. Although the new viruses will now be available for vaccine research, WHO said clinical trials using the clade 1 viruses should continue as an essential step in pandemic preparedness, because the trials yield useful information on priming, cross-reactivity, and cross-protection by vaccine viruses from different clades and subclades.See also:Mar 30 CIDRAP News article “H5N1 vaccine trial shows limited benefit”April 11 CIDRAP News article “Would an imperfect vaccine be useful in a flu pandemic?”May 12 CIDRAP News article “Sanofi reports results for H5N1 vaccine with adjuvant”Jul 20, 2005 CIDRAP News article “WHO won’t change H5N1 strains picked for vaccines”
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The government announced Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi had tested positive for COVID-19 on Saturday but rumors that the minister was ill had been circulating for days before the announcement. Budi, who has long suffered from asthma, had been absent from a number of events he was scheduled to attend since the beginning of the month. Prior to that, he had been on a number of work-related trips, including to Kertajati Airport in West Java and Luwu and Toraja in South Sulawesi. He was also active in the evacuation of Indonesian crew members from the virus-stricken cruise ship Diamond Princess on March 2.On March 10, in response to reporters’ questions about Budi’s absence, Transportation Ministry spokesperson Adita Irawati said Budi was suffering from typhoid symptoms and “resting at home.” On Thursday, the Transportation Ministry installed a disinfectant box in front of the Karsa building at its offices in Central Jakarta. Visitors were required to enter the box to be sprayed with disinfectant and have their temperatures checked. Budi Setyadi, the ministry’s land transportation director general, said the installation of the box was part of a trial for COVID-19 prevention measures that could be implemented at transportation hubs across the country. On Friday, Adita once again denied rumors that Budi had been infected by the virus. “Regarding rumors circulating about the transportation minister’s health, we hereby state that Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumad is being treated in a hospital due to typhoid and asthma, which he has suffered from for a long time,” Adita told The Jakarta Post. “Right now, the minister is in stable condition and being monitored by doctors.”On Saturday night, after announcing that Budi had tested positive for COVID-19, Pratikno said that the health minister had “acted quickly” to anticipate the possibility of other ministers getting infected by the virus. “We want to emphasize that many people who test positive can recover quickly,” he said. “Once the President received the information, he ordered the health minister and all his ranks to work even harder to protect the public.”Pratikno declined, however, to say when Budi had been admitted to the hospital or when he had likely been infected.As of Sunday morning, Indonesia has reported 96 confirmed cases of COVID-19, resulting in five deaths. Eight patients have since recovered.Topics : Budi attended on March 11 a Cabinet meeting on land disputes in North Sumatra at the State Palace in Central Jakarta. The meeting was led by President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo.Attendees included State Secretary Pratikno, Cabinet Secretary Pramono Anung, Presidential Chief of Staff Moeldoko, Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Mahfud MD, Coordinating Economic Minister Airlangga Hartarto, Finance Minister Sri Mulyani, Agrarian and Spatial Planning Minister Sofyan Djalil, Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya Bakar, State-Owned Enterprises Minister Erick Thohir, Home Minister Tito Karnavian, Attorney General ST Burhanuddin, Indonesian Military (TNI) commander Air Marshal Hadi Tjahjanto, National Police chief Gen. Idham Azis, as well as North Sumatra Governor Edy Rahmayadi and acting Medan Mayor Akhyar Nasution, among others. Later that day, Budi also met with the Dutch minister for infrastructure and water management, Cora Van Nieuwenhuize, to discuss cooperation between Indonesia and the Netherlands in the transportation sector. Kami juga menandatangani Joint Statement (Pernyataan Bersama). Kami sepakat untuk meningkatkan kerja sama di bidang transportasi, serta pengembangan kapasitas dan kapabilitas sumber daya manusia perhubungan. pic.twitter.com/8DhQeyOSAY— Budi Karya Sumadi (@BudiKaryaS) March 11, 2020
The law, a copy of which was obtained by The Jakarta Post, mostly revises articles related to mining permits, such as their issuing authority, rights and obligations. A lesser portion of the bill addresses the environment, local communities and the commodity prices.Read also: House approves revised Mining Law amid outcryHere are some key points in the recently passed law:Expanding mining reserves The House of Representatives passed a revision of the 2009 Coal and Mineral Mining Law on Tuesday in a move criticized by some experts and NGOs over a lack of transparency and alignment with business interests.The law, jointly drafted by the House and government, seeks to develop the downstream mining industry, grow the economy and create jobs but is deemed to be sidelining the environment, local communities and regional administrations in the process.“The spirit of this bill is to make all coal and mineral commodities, whether managed by state-owned enterprises or private entities, give returns to the government in the form of added value,” said Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry special advisor Irwandy Arif on April 29. Opening new mining territory and ramping up exploration activity are the two ways by which the government plans to grow Indonesia’s coal and mineral reserves.“Reserves are the soul of our mining industry. No reserves means no activity,” said Irwandy.The revised law “obligates” miners to explore new reserves every year (Article 36A), whereas the law previously only “allowed” such activity. It even requires miners to allocate an exploration fund (Article 112A) that is subject to further regulation.Furthermore, the revised law allows miners to explore Indonesian seas (Article 1), whereas the previous law limited offshore activity to 12 kilometers off the coast. The revision is meant to replace depleting onshore tin reserves.Indonesia is the world’s second-largest producer of tin, a commodity mainly used for soldering, according to the latest US Geological Survey.Protecting mining giantsThe revised law guarantees continued operations for six giant coal miners, whose mining contracts (PKP2B) will expire between 2020 and 2025. House of Representatives Speaker Puan Maharani (right) attends a plenary session at the House building in Central Jakarta on Tuesday. (Antara/Muhammad Adimaja)The revised law says the giants, which have been paying higher royalty rates than regular miners, may continue operations for 20 more years based on special mining permits (Article 169). “We are certain the bill will provide long-term legal and investment certainty,” said Indonesian Coal Mining Association (APBI) executive director Hendra Sinadia on Tuesday.Experts have criticized the rule. They said the expiring contracts were the key driver to expediting the legislative process, especially as the coal industry has taken a beating from collapsing coal demand amid the coronavirus pandemic. Coal was Indonesia’s number one export last year.“There is no urgency except one: saving those six corporations that control 70 percent of national production,” said University of Indonesia economist Faisal Basri in a discussion last month.Centralizing permit issuanceThe authority to issue mining permits is now centralized under the energy ministry (Article 35) instead of under governors and regents to streamline a process that in the past often ran up against bureaucratic hurdles at the regional level.However, activists have lambasted such a “re-centralization” as defying Indonesia’s 2004 Regional Autonomy Law, which is meant to distribute wealth from Jakarta.“Regional problems are those of political corruption and law enforcement, not of the vision and philosophy of dividing power between the central government and regions,” said Aryanto Nugroho of mining watchdog Publish What You Pay (PWYP) Indonesia.In compensation, lawmakers increased the share of mining profits to provinces from 1 percent to 1.5 percent. The share to regencies hosting the mines remains at 2.5 percent, but the share to neighboring regencies was decreased from 2.5 percent to 2 percent.Read also: Coal barons win“We understand if the central government sees a lot of regulatory overlap,” said Regency Administrations Association (APKASI) chairman Abdullah Azwar Anas. “But environmental damage is felt in the regions and we cannot control what is happening on the field.”APKASI, PWYP, AEER and other civil society organizations say they were never consulted about the new law.Helping local communities and the environmentSeveral articles defend the interests of local communities and the environment, but activists say these articles pale compared to those related to mine expansion.“When mining concessions expand, it means deforestation expands and the surrounding communities are pushed further inland,” said Pius Ginting of environmental watchdog Association of People’s Emancipation and Ecological Action (AEER).Mining watchdogs have criticized the bill as failing to delineate a mine’s limit, leaving rivers, forests, small islands and natural disaster-prone regions susceptible to degradation.Nevertheless, the law’s Article 161B states that miners failing to complete land restoration projects face up to Rp 100 billion (US$6.74 million) in fines or five years of imprisonment. Such projects entail restoring vegetation in a mining pit.The law also obligates miners to allocate funds, the sum of which will be set by the government (Article 108), to empower communities living around a mining concession.Nationalizing resourcesThe law tightens the government’s grip over nationally strategic reserves, foreign-owned mining companies and commodity selling prices.“Coal and mineral resources have to be controlled by the state to ensure optimal, efficient, transparent, sustainable and environmentally-friendly management,” said House member Sugeng Suparwoto on Tuesday.Lawmakers are giving state-owned enterprises (SOEs) first pick over strategic reserves (Article 75). They also require foreign-owned miners to divest 51 percent ownership to either Indonesia or locally-owned private companies (Article 112). Divesting through the Indonesian Stock Exchange is forbidden.Lawmakers also enable the government to set coal and mineral selling prices (Article 5). The principle is to balance prices between small metal ore miners and smelting companies as Indonesia bans metal ore exports.Bigger share: Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. CEO Richard Adkerson (second right) and PT Indonesia Asahan Aluminium (Inalum) president director Budi Gunadi Sadikin (right) sign a divestment agreement, witnessed by Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Ignasius Jonan (left) and Finance Minister Sri Mulyani in Jakartra on Thursday, July 12, 2018. The government, through Inalum, will have a 51 percent stake in PT Freeport Indonesia following the agreement. JP/Dhoni Setiawan (JP/Dhoni Setiawan)Indonesia recently seized control over gold and copper miner PT Freeport Indonesia, which had previously been controlled by a US-based company, and is acquiring a controlling stake in nickel miner PT Vale Indonesia.“A central issue for foreign investors is divestment, because that has a major impact on investment returns in a capital-intensive industry like mining,” American Chamber of Commerce in Indonesia managing director Lin Neumann told The Jakarta Post on Wednesday.Developing downstream industriesThe law introduces incentives for metal ore and coal miners to develop downstream facilities, such as metal smelters and coal-fired power plants, to extract more bang for the buck from Indonesia’s underground wealth.It guarantees 30-year permits with unlimited renewals (Article 47) for miners integrated with downstream facilities. Nonintegrated miners’ permits are capped at 20 years with two extensions.However, Djoko Widajanto of the Indonesian Mining Association (IMA) said miners needed even more incentives to develop downstream facilities, as such facilities were capital intensive and required highly skilled laborers.“Developing processing and refining industries will multiply commodities’ physical value,” he told the Post on Tuesday. “But developing this requires time until reserves are depleted.”Read also: Omnibus bill to centralize permit processing, offer incentives for minersDeveloping downstream industries was another key reason for revising the law this year, as Indonesia, formerly the world’s top nickel exporter, banned such exports starting this year. A complete ban on exporting metal ore is slated for 2022.Despite the ban, the law allows miners to continue exporting raw commodities for three years (Article 170A) if the miners are developing or have developed downstream facilities.The law’s Chapter IVA requires the energy ministry to create, within two years, a five-year downstream industry development roadmap.Topics :