Beijing Warns of Bird Flu; Chirac Urges Calm

China today warned the public of a possible "massive" outbreak of bird flu, and said the country's agriculture officials were on high alert. The announcement came as China reported that two more people — who had both been around sick or dead birds —had died of the H5N1 bird flu strain, and that there was a new poultry outbreak in the country's east. "In view of the current situation, the possibility of a massive outbreak could not be ruled out," the official New China News Agency quoted Agriculture Minister Du Qinglin as saying.

BioBOOM Op/Ed: IT BEGINS... Do you yahoo or aol message/video conference? Get on it, this maybe the new interactive human relationship forum or would you rather shake hands in the lab hallway?

Beijing Warns of Bird Flu; Chirac Urges Calm - Los Angeles Times

Researchers Demonstrate Value for the First Genetic Test for High Blood Pressure and Sensitivity to Salt

Two genes at most were necessary to predict with a 78 percent accuracy which people with high blood pressure (hypertension) had a low renin levels, a substance that is currently measured to help establish the diagnosis of salt (sodium chloride) sensitivity. Thus, the researchers found different genetic bases for low renin in the blood and for salt sensitivity. Salt sensitivity is defined as a greater than 10 percent increase in blood pressure following a high-salt meal.

Salt Sensitivity

Scientists Find Virus in Some Prostate-Cancer Patients

But the researchers do not know whether the virus causes prostate cancer, infection or any other ailment in humans, they reported at a scientific meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology in San Francisco

Scientists Find Virus in Some Prostate-Cancer Patients - New York Times

Stem Cells May Be Key to Cancer

"The real attractiveness of the cancer stem cell hypothesis, in my view, is that if the 1 percent of cells that are left after successful chemotherapy are really cancer stem cells, then obviously that provides the rationale for different forms of therapy that target them," said Dr. Vogelstein, a leading cancer researcher at Johns Hopkins.

Stem Cells May Be Key to Cancer - New York Times:

India Declares Arrival of Avian Flu Where 50,000 Birds Died

About 50,000 birds have died in the area in the last few days and samples sent to a government laboratory confirmed bird flu in the western Maharashtra State and eight people were being checked for the disease after tests on poultry in a western state showed they were infected with the deadly A(H5N1) strain.

India Declares Arrival of Avian Flu Where 50,000 Birds Died - New York Times

Genome data may contain small but significant errors

Researchers at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and New York University describe a high throughput microarray technique that involves testing many samples simultaneously which can be used to assemble physical maps and validate genomic sequence assemblies. The findings appear in the latest issue of the Journal of Computational Biology

Genome data may contain small but significant errors

Bird flu 'could take 142m lives

The study, prepared for the Sydney, Australia-based Lowy Institute think tank, says there are "enormous uncertainties" about whether a flu pandemic might happen, and where and when it might happen first. The report, titled Global Macroeconomic Consequences of Pandemic Influenza, looks at four possible scenarios:

- Mild, in which the pandemic is similar to the 1968-69 Hong Kong flu;

- Moderate, similar to the 1957 Asian flu;

- Severe, similar to the 1918-19 Spanish flu (which infected an estimated 1 billion people and claimed as many as 50 million lives);

- An "ultra" scenario that is worse than the Spanish flu outbreak. In its "ultra" or worst-case scenario, Hong Kong's economy is halved, the large-scale collapse of Asian economic activity causes global trade flows to dry up, and money flows out to safe havens in North America and Europe. Deaths could top 28 million in China and 24 million in India - Bird flu 'could take 142m lives'�� - Feb 15, 2006


Greetings Kill: Primer for a Pandemic

To the pantheon of social arbiters who came up with the firm handshake, the formal bow and the air kiss, get ready to add a new fashion god: the World Health Organization, chief advocate of the "elbow bump. Distancing also encompasses less drastic measures, like wearing face masks, staying out of elevators — and the bump. Such stratagems, those experts say, will rewrite the ways we interact, at least during the weeks when the waves of influenza are washing over us.

Greetings Kill: Primer for a Pandemic - New York Times

BioBOOM Op/Ed: New meaning to the Neil Simon play title "Death of a Salesman". Do you really want to be shaking hands with a rep in your lab if this thing hits?

Spread of Bird Flu Boosts Pandemic Chances

Experts said that compared with eight months ago, this is a major extension of the avian influenza epidemic. Over the next few days, the World Organization for Animal Health and the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization will try to match that sequence with the genetic sequence of viruses from birds in other countries affected by bird flu. If it turns out that H5N1 was carried to west Africa by migratory birds, we need to be prepared for the possibility that within the next six months it could be brought back to the northern hemisphere — but perhaps along a different flyway. That could mean that countries in Western Europe and North American should be bracing themselves for the possible introduction of H5N1 avian influenza.

Spread of Bird Flu Boosts Pandemic Chances - Yahoo! News

Firms give U.S. millions for genetic research

The new project, called the Genetic Association Information Network, aims to speed the NIH's part of that hunt with an influx of private cash and access to some high-tech industry laboratories. The National Institutes of Health announced the partnership Wednesday with Pfizer Inc. and Affymetrix Inc., saying the project's discoveries won't become the property of the two companies but will be available to all scientists. - Firms give U.S. millions for genetic research - Feb 8, 2006

BioBOOM Op/Ed: Seeding the market = smart move. So Illumina, Merk, Invitrogen, Glaxo, Qiagen, Abbott, ABI and others... when you going to pony up?

Stem cells implanted in hearts

Adult stem cells have been implanted in two Australian men with badly blocked arteries in what scientists say is a world first. Two months ago, they had stem cells extracted from their bone marrow, which were then multiplied in a laboratory using technology developed by Australian Stock Exchange listed company, Mesoblast. Dr Thambar, of the Hunter Medical Research Institute, said both men's arteries were "too far gone" for any further conventional treatment and they suffered severe symptoms such as chest pain. Both had undergone earlier heart-bypass surgery. The men - one in his 50s, the other in his 60s - had left hospital with apparently no side effects from the treatment, Dr Thambar said.

Stem cells implanted in hearts - Breaking News - National - Breaking News

DNA Kits Aim to Link You to the Here and Then

Several years ago, the Internet helped to encourage a greater American fascination with genealogy. Now DNA testing has added a new twist that has people like Ms. Bopp paying hundreds if not thousands of dollars to look at genetic information in order to uncover details about their heritage. More than a dozen companies, like Family Tree DNA in Houston, Relative Genetics in Salt Lake City and African Ancestry in Washington, now sell home DNA tests; the prices range from $100 to $900 each.

DNA Kits Aim to Link You to the Here and Then - New York Times

Windfall for drug industry raises questions

The boost in profits comes from a shift in the drug coverage of 6.4 million poor and elderly people from Medicaid to the new Medicare drug benefit. Unlike Medicaid, which requires drug companies to charge their lowest or "best price" for medications, the Medicare program relies on competition among private drug plans to keep prices low. By eliminating the need to discount drugs for the government, the industry can now pocket the savings. "The net effect over 10 years is probably closer to $40 billion in extra profit," said Stephen Schondelmeyer, a pharmaceutical economics professor at the University of Minnesota.

KRT Wire | 02/02/2006 | Windfall for drug industry raises questions

BioBOOM Op/ED: Just what some politicians needed. This will be interesting to see how the blame game plays out. Our guess is it will be a focal point of the midterm elections.

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