Body of girl who tragically died in Australia to be returned to family today

first_img Google+ 365 additional cases of Covid-19 in Republic Twitter By News Highland – May 3, 2011 Facebook News WhatsApp Previous articleWest Donegal gorse fires now under controlNext articleRugby – Letterkenny end season with the double News Highland WhatsApp Pinterest Further drop in people receiving PUP in Donegal Google+center_img Twitter Body of girl who tragically died in Australia to be returned to family today RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR Facebook Man arrested on suspicion of drugs and criminal property offences in Derry 75 positive cases of Covid confirmed in North Main Evening News, Sport and Obituaries Tuesday May 25th The body of the young Irish backpacker who died while scuba-diving in Australia more than two weeks ago will be returned to her family today.23-year-old Elaine Morrow was diving off Queensland on April 18 when she failed to surface. Her body was recovered by divers.The young biology graduate’s remains are expected to be flown into Dublin Airport today, before being transported to her family home in Ballintra, Co Donegal, later tonight.Her funeral will be held on Thursday afternoon after a service at the Drumholm Parish Church of Ireland, Ballintra. There will be a wake for friends and neighbours tomorrow.Elaine had recently arrived on a one-year visa in Australia when she went scuba diving at Langford Island on April 18.She failed to resurface after she became separated from the dive team. Police said witnesses were unable to revive the NUI Maynooth graduate. Pinterest Gardai continue to investigate Kilmacrennan firelast_img read more

FDA Issues Emergency Approval of COVID-19 Test for “Pooled” Use

first_imgThe Food and Drug Administration over the weekend gave emergency approval to a new approach to COVID-19 testing that combines test samples in batches rather than running them one by one, thereby speeding up the process.The FDA announced on Saturday that it had reissued an emergency use authorization to Quest Diagnostics to use its coronavirus test with pooled samples.It is the first test to be authorized for use in that way.With pooling, labs would combine parts of samples from several people and test them together.A negative result would clear everyone in the batch.On the other hand, a positive result would require each sample to be individually retested.Pooling works best with lab-run tests, which take hours, not the quicker individual tests that are used in clinics or doctor’s offices.Today, the FDA issued the first Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for sample pooling in a #COVID19 diagnostic test. https://t.co/YtHeydxH1N pic.twitter.com/WF7Im9dIXP— U.S. FDA (@US_FDA) July 18, 2020 The potential benefits of sample pooling include stretching lab supplies further, as well as reducing costs and expanding testing to millions more Americans who may unknowingly be spreading the virus.Health officials continue to say they believe that infected, asymptomatic people are largely responsible for the rising number of cases throughout the country.“It’s a really good tool. It can be used in any of a number of circumstances, including at the community level or even in schools,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, said last month at a Senate hearing.Pooling does not save time or resources when used in a COVID-19 hot spot, such as a nursing home. That is because the logistical and financial benefits of pooling only show when a small number of pools test positive.Experts recommend the technique be used when fewer than 10 percent of people are expected to test positive for the virus.last_img read more

San Jose Sharks get message after labeled the ‘s-word’ by Pete DeBoer

first_imgSAN JOSE — Over the last few days, Sharks coach Pete DeBoer has used an rather unflattering word on multiple occasions when he’s described his team’s play.“I think lately it’s been more just soft coverage,” DeBoer said before the Sharks played the Boston Bruins on Tuesday. “Just soft around our net, letting guys get inside.”“We’ve been a soft team for 10, 12 games,” DeBoer said Friday morning before the Sharks hosted the Winnipeg Jets. “That doesn’t win you many games in this league.”The Sh …last_img read more

Cape cultural tours with a difference

first_img29 April 2009Motivated to give tourists the kind of experiences they themselves would like to have when travelling, Cape Insights offer special-interest guided tours of unusual quality, featuring guides and guest lecturers of the highest standard.They present a variety of special-interest tours around Cape Town, tackling areas such as architecture, craft art, history, gastronomy and archaeology.Other tours on offer include trips to the World Heritage site of Mapungubwe in Limpopo province, the world-famous Kruger National Park and the wilds of the Eastern Cape.Where Cape Insights stands out is in the quality of the lecturers who join the tours to provide information, offer insights and stimulate discussions.‘The fairest Cape of them all’Sixteenth century British mariner Sir Francis Drake famously called the area “the fairest Cape of them all”. More recently, Richard Busch, travel editor for National Geographic Traveler, described Cape Town as “one of the most beautiful and compelling places to visit on the planet.“In addition to a city with fascinating historical sites, excellent museums, vibrant markets and a handsomely restored waterfront … I encountered mountain wilderness, rugged coastlines, sandy beaches, lush gardens, beautiful wine estates, superior hotels – and some of the most welcoming people I’ve ever met,” Busch is quoted as saying on Cape Insights’ website.The tours on offer are in-depth, entertaining and educational experiences ranging in length from nine days and eight nights to 12 days and 11 nights.While each tour has a special focus, many other highlights are provided, including visits to places that make the Cape so special, including Cape Point, Table Mountain, the Western Cape wine routes, and destinations featuring the striking Cape Dutch architecture and the plant life unique to region.Gastronomy TourWines from the famed Cape Winelands play a big role in the Gastronomy Tour, with a number of wine routes being visited. Interactive cooking opportunities are also on offer.This is all mixed together with visits to important sights in and around Cape Town, Franschoek, Stellenbosch and Hermanus, resulting in a 10-day, nine-night tour that offers an in-depth insight into food, wine and life in the Cape.The Gastronomy Tour is highlighted by the inputs of lecturers Phillipa Cheifetz, John Ford and Allan Mullins. Professor Brian Huntley (see under Archaeology Tour) and Dr Terence Rapke (History Tours) also contribute to the exploration of food and wine, and who can blame them? They help explore a wonderful selection of foods that draw from Cape Malay, Afrikaner and pan-African influences.Cheifetz, the food editor for Femina Magazine and a consultant editor for Taste Magazine, has published many best-selling cookbooks, including Cape Town Food, The Monday to Sunday Cookbook, and Lazy Days, which featured in the Gourmand World Cookbook 2007 Awards.Ford is the former cellar master of the International Wine and Food Society and chairman of the Oenophiles wine club. His speciality food and wine emporium has won the Outstanding Outlet award for several years from Eat In, South Africa’s definitive food lovers’ guide.Mullins is a Cape Wine Master. He sits on numerous wine tasting panels, is a wine selection manager for a leading retailer, has co-authored two books on wine and judged numerous wine events, including the Diners Club wine list of the year.Craft Art TourIf craft art is what grabs your interest, then Dr Elbe Coetsee and Margie Garratt are the authorities who will make your tour special.Taking place over 12 days and 11 nights, Cape Insights’ Craft Art Tour uncovers the creativity and unique art of the Cape and South Africa. It includes joining artists in their surroundings, and meeting the people who create forms that are both art and craft. It’s an opportunity to take a look at the past and the present, and at the ways of life that have inspired the art of the region.Dr Elbe Coetsee, with a PhD from the University of Pretoria, published Craft Art in South Africa, a ground-breaking contribution to the field. She also established the Mogalakwena Craft Art Development Foundation and initiated a craft centre to support the economic and social upliftment of the Pedi community in the North Western province of South Africa.Margie Garratt is a professional textile artist whose name is synonymous with quilting, and whose work crosses the boundaries between art and craft. She was the driving force behind Innovative Threads, an annual exhibition providing a greater multi-cultural understanding of South African textile and fibre art.Architecture TourThe architecture of Cape Town was heavily influenced by three men: early Cape governor Simon van der Stel, famous English businessman and colonialist Cecil John Rhodes, and Sir Herbert Baker, who was the dominant force in South African architecture for two decades. Their contributions are are all explored in Cape Insights’ Architecture Tour.Highlights include a private visit to Groote Schuur, formerly the Prime Minister’s residence, which was commissioned by Rhodes and designed by Baker. There is also a behind-the-scenes tour of the Houses of Parliament.In addition, the origins and evolution of the Cape Dutch style are traced. Contemporary issues are also dealt with, including low-cost housing and urban pressures.Dr Hans Fransen and Andre van Graan help make the tour special, along with Dr Antonia Malan (see under Archaeology Tour).Fransen has been knighted in the Netherlands with the Ridder in de Orde van Oranje-Nassau for his work as an art and architecture historian. Since emigrating to South Africa in 1995, he has served as curator of the Stellenbosch and Groot Constantia museums, assistant director of the SA National Gallery, and director of the Michaelis Art Collection.Van Graan, a restoration architect who worked on both Hampton Court Palace and Windsor Castle, specialises in Edwardian and Art Deco architecture, focusing on the work of Sir Herbert Baker. He has led tours of Baker’s architecture, including a visit by the British Furniture History Society.Archaeology TourCape Insights’ Archaeology Tour explores the remarkable beauty of the Cape, and investigates the greatest diversity of five-million-year-old fossils to be found anywhere in the world.The spiritual beliefs of the San Bushman are also looked into, including their rituals and patterns of kinship, and how they survived for thousands of years before the arrival of colonisers.Areas visited include the West Coast National Park, Ramsar site Langebaan Lagoon, the Cedarberg Mountains, the Overberg and the “Whale Coast”.Among those who will interpret the earth’s secrets, providing information and entertainment, are Dr John Compton, Dr Antoineta Jerardino, Dr Antonia Malan, and Prof Brian Huntley.Compton, an associate professor in the Department of Geological Sciences at the University of Cape Town, is the author of The Rocks and Mountains of Cape Town.Jerardino, an archaeologist and heritage impact assessor for the South African Heritage Resources Agency, has been part of a team excavating open shell middens and rock shelters along the West Coast with the aim of reconstructing the ways San Bushmen hunter-gatherer groups exploited marine resources.Malan, a member of the Historical Archaeology Research Group, is actively involved in local heritage issues, is a trustee of Cape Town Heritage Trust, has chaired the Vernacular Architecture Society of South Africa (VASSA), and edits the VASSA Journal.Huntley, a former chief executive of the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) based at Kirstenbosch, spearheaded its transformation into a world-class organisation of high visibility and credibility. He founded the Southern African Botanical Diversity Network and acts as senior policy adviser to the Department of Environmental Affairs.History ToursCape Insights’ History Tours look back as far as the Stone Age and progress all the way through to the present. The tour includes visits to The Castle and The Slave Lodge. First-hand accounts of life on Robben Island are provided, while the past, from pre-history to present times, is unravelled through the stories of individuals living and working in one spot, all brought together in an 18th century wine cellar.Lecturers Dr Nigel Penn, Dr Antonia Malan and Dr Terence Rapke provide the expert information and analysis.Penn, an associate professor in the the University of Cape Town’s Department of Historical Studies, is the author of numerous books, including The Forgotten Frontier: Colonists and Khoisan on the Cape’s Northern Frontier in the 18th Century, and Robben Island: The Politics of Rock and Stone.Malan has pioneered historical archaeology, excavating a number of historical sites and devising new ways of using archival records to interpret remains, which have substantially contributed to the understanding of slavery and early European settlement at the Cape.Rapke is a classicist and ancient historian who has taught in Ghana, Australia, and South Africa, authoring numerous papers and reviews on Greek and Roman history along the way. For the past eight years he has led tours around the Western Cape, his translocated special interests being Cape history and wine.SAinfo reporter and Cape InsightsWould you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img read more

10 months agoFulham join Premier League scamble for Marseille winger Clinton N’Jie

first_imgTagsTransfersAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Fulham join Premier League scamble for Marseille winger Clinton N’Jieby Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveOlympique Marseille winger Clinton N’Jie has been offered a return to England.The Mirror says N’Jie is a target for Fulham and Newcastle.The Whites have joined the chase for the pace-merchant but relegation rivals Burnley and Cardiff are both also interested.The 25-year-old was set to join Sporting CP on loan last summer before the move fell through. N’Jie had an ill-fated two seasons with Spurs before returning to OM last summer. last_img read more

Police and Indigenous blockades going up work to begin again on BC

first_imgOn Thursday, hereditary chiefs struck a deal with the RCMP to abide with an interim court injunction by not blocking access to the work site.In exchange, the chiefs said members of the First Nation would not be arrested and the Unist’ot’en camp would be allowed to remain intact.Chief Na’Moks said they made the temporary agreement to protect Wet’suwet’en members, some of whom were already traumatized after another checkpoint was dismantled and 14 people were arrested on Monday.The Unist’ot’en is a house group within the five clans that make up the Wet’suwet’en First Nation.The agreement applies to an interim court injunction, which is meant to prevent anyone from impeding the company’s work until the defendants, which include members of the Unist’ot’en camp, file a response.Some members of the Wet’suwet’en say the company does not have authority to work on their territory without consent from the nation’s hereditary clan chiefs. SMITHERS, B.C. – The RCMP lifted an exclusion zone Friday that cut off public access to a forest service road in northern British Columbia at the site of a confrontation this week between Mounties and opponents of a natural gas pipeline.Police say the public and media can travel on the road in the Wet’suwet’en First Nation territory but the RCMP will be patrolling it to ensure everyone’s safety.Earlier Friday, a convoy of work trucks passed through the police roadblock heading to the Unist’ot’en healing camp to dismantle barriers that had blocked workers from starting construction on the Coastal GasLink pipeline. TransCanada Corp. says it has signed benefit-sharing agreements with the elected councils of all 20 First Nations along the pipeline route. Its Coastal GasLink pipeline would run from northern B.C. through the Wet’suwet’en territory to LNG Canada’s $40 billion export terminal in Kitimat.Coastal GasLink president Rick Gateman said the agreement lays the groundwork for the company to have free access to the area for pre-construction and construction work on the pipeline.The RCMP said in a news release Thursday that police would continue “roving patrols” of the Morice West Forest Service Road.The Mounties said they also set up a temporary RCMP detachment on the road that will be staffed by general duty police officers who “will undergo cultural awareness training on the Wet’suwet’en traditions and will have enhanced training in conflict resolution.”last_img read more

RCMP find boat in Northern Manitoba search for Kam McLeod and Bryer

first_imgThis is the damaged aluminum boat found by #rcmpmb officers on the shores of the Nelson River during a helicopter search on friday afternoon. pic.twitter.com/56Ez8alVTs— RCMP Manitoba (@rcmpmb) August 4, 2019The RCMP say members of the team are highly trained and have access to a range of advanced equipment to assist in their underwater searches.Earlier this week the RCMP announced they would scall back the search for Schmegelsky and McLeod in Northern Manitoba.  In the next Province, the OPP have been investigating several tips that the pair is now in that Province.  So far the OPP have not been able to confirm the tips.The Underwater Recovery Team is about to search an area of interest. Police say a damaged aluminum boat was spotted on the shore of the Nelson River on Friday. pic.twitter.com/CRCtast2F5— Joe Scarpelli (@ScarpelliGlobal) August 4, 2019Police continue to stress, that if you believe you’ve seen Kam McLeod and Bryer Schemelsky, contact your local police department immediately or 911.  Sightings have been posted to social media before being shared with the RCMP, that has caused delays in the investigation.According to MyGrandePrairieNow.com, the RCMP have confirmed the pair were seen in a Fairview Gas Station on July 20.  The sighting was not reported to the RCMP until several days later.  This is the second confirmed sighting of the pair in Alberta. The last confirmed sighting of the pair was on July 22 in Gillam Manitoba.  The pair are wanted in connection with three homicides in Northern B.C. that all occurred during the week of July 15, 2019. GILLAM, M.B. – RCMP have started to search the Nelson River near Gillam and Fox Lake Cree Nation in the hunt for Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky.On Sunday the RCMP confirmed they called in Underwater Recovery Team on Friday after finding RCMP officers searching from a helicopter, located a damaged aluminum boat on the shore of the Nelson River.Based on this new information, five members of the RCMP Underwater Recovery Team (URT) were immediately deployed. They arrived in Gillam on Saturday, August 3rd, and are expected to conduct a thorough underwater search of significant areas of interest today.last_img read more

Vedanta Ltd makes oil discovery in KG block

first_imgNew Delhi: Mining baron Anil Agarwal-led Vedanta Ltd Wednesday announced an oil discovery in its Krishna Godavari basin block in the Bay of Bengal. The block previously had a gas discovery in the very first well drilled. In a statement, Vedanta said “it has notified the Directorate General of Hydrocarbons and Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas of an oil discovery in the second exploratory well H2, located in the block KG-OSN-2009/3, Krishna-Godavari Basin, East Coast of India”. Also Read – Thermal coal import may surpass 200 MT this fiscalVedanta holds 100 per cent participating interest in the block. “Multiple reservoir zones were encountered in the well H2 within the Mesozoic sequence between the depths of 3,310 metres to 4,026 metres with hydrocarbon indications during drilling and downhole logging,” it said. The zone from 3,403 metres to 3,431 metres was tested through conventional well testing (Drill Stem Test) and flowed oil to the surface. “Further appraisal will be required to establish the size and commerciality of the oil discovery,” Vedanta said. Also Read – Food grain output seen at 140.57 mt in current fiscal on monsoon boostThe first exploration well A3-2 drilled in the block was a gas discovery. “Evaluations are ongoing based on the results of the first well A3-2 and the second well H2 to finalise the forward programme,” it added. Cairn India, the company Vedanta bought and merged with itself, had in June 2010 won the KG-OSN-2009/3 block in the 8th round of New Exploration Licensing Policy (NELP). It had committed to drill six exploratory wells on the block. These were expandable to 10. The KG basin is a proven basin where there have been many hydrocarbon discoveries. The company acquired around 1,000 square kilometres of 3D seismic data based on which it drilled two wells. KG-OSN-2009/3 offshore block in the Bay of Bengal was originally spread over in an area of about 1,988 sq km which was later reduced to 1,298 sq km due to exclusion of area within firing range. It is located in the shallow waters of the Indian Ocean along the East coast of India, approximately 1.5 km from the Indian coastline.last_img read more

March 6 2000 After a winter drought the daily pr

first_imgMarch 6, 2000After a winter drought, the daily progress today is that it is raining! Joy, tothe rain! Allen, who cooks in theArcosanti Cafe , stands beside a water harvesting vessel. Photo by: DoctressNeutopialast_img

Writer Maggie OFarrell has survived some terrifyi

first_imgWriter Maggie O’Farrell has survived some terrifying episodes. She’s had a machete pressed to her throat during a robbery, once contracted amoebic dysentery while traveling and nearly bled out while giving birth to her first child.All told, O’Farrell says she has experienced 17 different brushes with death — each of which she details in her new memoir, I Am, I Am, I Am. The book was inspired, in part, by O’Farrell’s daughter, who was born with severe eczema and life-threatening allergies. O’Farrell says she wanted to understand what happens to people when they come “back from the brink.””These experiences always take up residence inside us,” she says. “We’re different people afterwards. We’re wiser, we’re a little bit sadder — but also we value what we have.”Interview Highlights On a frightening incident that happened when she was 18 and working at a retreat in a mountain valley I was on this walk … and I realized I had seen [a man] further down the valley, and I still don’t know how he got ahead of me to intercept me on the way up, and so I walked past him and then he came after me. And he said he wanted to show me a bird on the lake, and so he put his binocular strap around my neck, and I knew, as everybody does, that it wasn’t right, it wasn’t true, it wasn’t just about the bird, and I knew he meant to harm me. … I think there is a kind of almost animal instinct, a bit like dogs sniffing each other; you know that somebody means you harm.So I talked my way out of it. I just ducked out under the binocular strap and I talked to him and I kept him talking and I asked him about the birds and I knew that the only way I could save myself — because he was a lot bigger than me and he was a lot stronger than me — the only way to get out of there was to use my brain instead. …[Police] didn’t tell me anything, but they asked me about the incident in very close detail and then asked me to look at some photographs and to say if I saw the person with the binoculars among these photographs, which I did, and I pointed him out. I knew what had happened. I could sense it, and I said to them, “He has killed someone, hasn’t he?” And they wouldn’t tell me anything, but then a few days later I read in the newspaper that a girl had been killed, that she had been raped and then strangled and then buried not very far from where I had been walking.On overhearing a nurse say she was going to die when she was hospitalized with encephalitis, a virus in her cerebellum, at age 8 As a child nobody tells you things. All the conversation about you and your illness and your symptoms and your prospects are all done elsewhere — they’re all told to your parents when you’re not in the room. So you have to become this person who picks up on things. You’ve got to look at … the facial expressions of the people looking after you, your parents and the nurses and the doctors, you’ve got to try and interpret the silences around you, what people are saying and what they’re not saying.And so hearing from this nurse in the corridor mistakenly let slip that I was expected to die, I think that was the biggest shock to me. When I heard it, I knew it in a sense. It didn’t come as a huge shock, but it made everything that was happening around me suddenly made sense. I thought, “Of course. Of course I’m dying. How did I not realize that?” …You couldn’t hear that and not be changed by it. And then when I didn’t die they said I wouldn’t walk again, that I would lead a life of incapacity. And so for whatever reason, I managed to find a loophole out of both of those destinies that were mapped out for me. So I’ve always felt, really, since then, or I’ve grown up with this sense that I lived this almost charmed existence, that I managed to hoodwink these two paths in life, and almost as if I’m living on borrowed time or extra time. … I’ve always been really filled with the idea that I must make the most of it and I must live the biggest and the broadest life I possibly can, because it’s been a gift twice over.On nearly bleeding out during the birth of her first child I labored for three days — three very long days and nights, I would like to say — and after three days the baby’s heartrate was dipping and it was showing signs of distress. So I said I really need to talk to a doctor. … And the doctor who came to my bedside was the very same doctor who I had seen all those months before who had been so rude to me, and so I begged for a cesarean. … And he did grant me a cesarean, but he said it would go down on my notes as medically unnecessary and thought I was being hysterical and lying.So basically what happened in the operation was that because the labor had gone on for so long, my son had got jammed in an immovable position and so they had to kind of wrestle to get him out, poor child. And during that something must’ve ruptured because I started hemorrhaging and started losing blood. This is quite graphic, all my intestines came out. Everything came out of my abdomen, so they had to try to get it all back in again, and stop the bleeding and it was all going pretty badly wrong.On staying calm when her daughter is experiencing a life-threatening allergic reactionThe most useful thing that someone told me — and this is a friend of mine who actually is a play therapist, so she’s trained to play with children in hospital — and [what] she said to me is, “What you have to remember is that your emotions and your daughter’s emotions are on a loop. So whatever you’re feeling … she is feeling — and vice-versa. … If she is terrified and panicking, you need to be calm, because whatever calm and confidence you exude, she will pick up, because it’s all in a loop.”And that’s one of the single best pieces of advice I ever had on being a parent to a child with additional needs, that you’ve got to hang onto that.Therese Madden and Thea Chaloner produced and edited this interview for broadcast. Bridget Bentz, Molly Seavy-Nesper and Scott Hensley adapted it for the Web. Copyright 2018 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.last_img read more

Imagine for a minute A company makes a vaccine th

first_imgImagine for a minute: A company makes a vaccine that protects kids from a life-threatening disease but, with little warning, decides to stop selling it in the U.S.That’s exactly what happened last year in West Africa, for a vaccine against rotavirus — a disease that kills about 200,000 young children and babies each year.As NPR reported in November, the pharmaceutical giant Merck & Co. Inc. announced it was ending a long-term agreement to supply its rotavirus vaccine, RotaTeq, at a reduced price to families in four West African countries. At the same time, the company began selling the vaccine in China, for more than 12 times the price.Merck’s decision meant that more than 2 million babies were at risk of missing the vaccine, health experts told NPR.”You have a major manufacturer of a vaccine announcing that they’re going to exit from the market, and it created a bit of a panic for countries that were accustomed to having this vaccine,” says Deborah Atherly of the nonprofit PATH, which helps develop vaccines for low-income countries.Now the situation has changed — for the good.After NPR broke the news of Merck’s pullout, other vaccine manufacturers stepped up to fill in the gap. “Because of these efforts, very few to no children will miss out on rotavirus vaccination in these four countries,” Gavi wrote to NPR in an email.This is a huge success story, Atherly says. “We deal with tons of challenges in global health, and this is one, in which the global health community rallying with the countries, has really created success.”Rotavirus is a ubiquitous infection. “Almost every child, whether you live in the U.S. or you live in a developing country, is infected with this disease,” says Dr. Mathuram Santosham, a pediatrician at Johns Hopkins University who has studied the disease for more than 40 years. In rich countries, the infections are rarely lethal but can be severe. Before the U.S. introduced the rotavirus vaccine in 2006, infections caused more than 50,000 hospitalizations each year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says.In poor countries, without good health care systems, rotavirus can be deadly. Children can have six to 20 bouts of diarrhea in a day and dehydrate extremely fast, Santosham says. “It is particularly important for the children in the poorest countries — and the poorest children in the poor countries — to receive this vaccine.”But the vaccine is expensive. Here in the U.S., it costs about $200 for a course of two-to-three doses administered in the first year of a baby’s life. So in 2012, the two companies that manufacture a vaccine, Merck and GlaxoSmithKline, agreed to drastically reduce the price for poor countries to about $10 a course.For six years, the pharmaceutical companies stuck to those agreements. GSK delivered nearly 220 million doses to 42 countries. And Merck delivered more than 30 million doses to four countries in West Africa — Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Mali, and São Tomé and Príncipe.But last year, Merck informed UNICEF and Gavi that it would not ship about a third of those doses for 2018 and 2019. And in 2020, the company would stop supplying the vaccine altogether to West Africa. The company told NPR that “supply constraints” were preventing it from fulfilling its agreement to the West African countries. The company also expressed “deepest regret to all of the parties involved” in an email to NPR.It looked like more than 2 million babies would go without the vaccine. At the time, GSK told NPR it wasn’t able to help the countries in West Africa because the company was experiencing its own supply problems. “We also cannot confirm the availability of the doses necessary to support new programmes in 2019,” the company wrote in an email.But then after NPR’s story aired, GSK changed course. The company is now filling in almost half of the vaccine gap left by Merck. Earlier this year, GSK begun supplying Rotarix to the Ivory Coast — where nearly a million babies are born each year. “GSK is pleased that we have sufficient capacity and hopes to fulfill the demand for Rotarix in Ivory Coast for as long as required,” a spokesperson wrote in an email to NPR.The other part of the vaccine gap will be filled largely by one of two Indian pharmaceutical companies. Last year, the World Health Organization gave its stamp of recommendation two new rotavirus vaccines, Rotavac and Rotasiil, which are manufactured by Bharat Pharmaceuticals and Serum Institute of India, respectively. Back in November, health experts said three West African countries — Mali, Burkino Faso, and São Tomé and Príncipe — would eventually switch to these vaccines. But that was expected to take at least two years.Now all three countries are speeding up the timeline and plan to roll out the new vaccine by 2020, says Heather Deehan, chief of UNICEF’s Vaccine Centre. In the meantime, the countries are relying on stocks of the Merck vaccine to continue immunizations.”As a result of a strong collaboration among UNICEF, the countries and manufacturers, there was no interruption in the countries’ vaccine programs,” Deehan says.In a follow-up interview with NPR, Merck’s chief marketing officer, Michael Nally, said that one reason the company ended its agreement with Gavi was because the competing vaccines were more desirable for low-income countries than RotaTeq. GSK’s vaccine requires one less dose, while the Indian vaccines will be less expensive.”We’ve had to come to a conversation around, we are probably not going to be the product of choice in those markets,” Nally said.In the meantime, Merck has successfully launched sales of RotaTeq in China. The vaccine is now available in at least seven Chinese provinces, and a course costs about $130, or about 12 times the cost of the vaccine in the West Africa. Merck’s Chinese distributor, Chongqing Zhifei Biological Products Co., hopes to obtain more than $450 million worth of the vaccine in the next several years. Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.last_img read more