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Ebola genomes sequenced

first_imgResponding rapidly to the deadly outbreak of Ebola virus disease (EVD) in West Africa, a team of researchers from the Broad Institute and Harvard University, working with the Sierra Leone Ministry of Health and Sanitation and researchers elsewhere, has sequenced and analyzed many Ebola virus genomes. Their findings could have important implications for rapid field diagnostic tests.The researchers hope their results will speed up scientific understanding of the epidemic and assist global efforts to contain it.The researchers sequenced 99 Ebola virus genomes collected from 78 Ebola patients in Sierra Leone during the first 24 days of the outbreak. (Some patients contributed samples more than once, allowing researchers a clearer view into how the virus can change in a single individual over the course of infection.) The team found more than 300 genetic changes that make the 2014 Ebola virus genomes distinct from the viral genomes tied to previous outbreaks. They also found sequence variations indicating that the present outbreak started from a single introduction into humans, subsequently spreading from person to person over many months.The variations they identified were frequently in parts of the genome that encode proteins. Some of the variation detected may affect the primers, or starting points for DNA synthesis, used in polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based diagnostic tests, emphasizing the importance of genomic surveillance and the need for vigilance. The researchers reported their results online today in the journal Science.“By making the data immediately available to the community, we hope to accelerate response efforts,” said co-senior author Pardis Sabeti, a senior associate member at the Broad Institute and an associate professor at Harvard University. File photo Kris Snibbe/Harvard Staff PhotographerTo accelerate response efforts, the research team released the full-length sequences on the National Center for Biotechnology Information’s DNA sequence database in advance of publication, making the data available to the global scientific community.“By making the data immediately available to the community, we hope to accelerate response efforts,” said co-senior author Pardis Sabeti, a senior associate member at the Broad Institute and an associate professor at Harvard University. “Upon releasing our first batch of Ebola sequences in June, some of the world’s leading epidemic specialists contacted us, and many of them are now also actively working on the data. We were honored and encouraged. A spirit of international and multidisciplinary collaboration is needed to quickly shed light on the ongoing outbreak.”The 2014 Zaire Ebola virus outbreak is unprecedented both in its size and in its emergence in populated areas. Previous outbreaks had been localized mostly to sparsely populated regions of Middle Africa, with the largest outbreak reporting 318 cases in 1976. The present outbreak has manifested in more densely populated West Africa. Since it was first reported in Guinea in March, 2,127 cases have been reported, with 1,145 deaths, as of the end of last month.Augustine Goba, director of the Lassa Laboratory at the Kenema Government Hospital in Sierra Leone and a co-first author of the paper, identified the first EVD case in Sierra Leone using PCR-based diagnostics.“We established surveillance for Ebola well ahead of the disease’s spread into Sierra Leone and began retrospective screening for the disease on samples as far back as January of this year,” said Goba. “This was possible because of our longstanding work to diagnose and study another deadly disease, Lassa fever. We could thus identify cases and trace the Ebola virus spread as soon as it entered our country.”The research team increased the amount of genomic data available on the Ebola virus fourfold, and used the “deep sequencing” technique, in which sequencing is repeated often enough to generate high confidence in the results, on all available samples. The researchers sequenced at a depth of 2,000 times on average for each Ebola genome to get an extremely close-up view. This allowed them to detect multiple mutations that alter protein sequences — potential targets for future diagnostics, vaccines, and therapies.The Ebola strains responsible for the current outbreak likely have a common ancestor, dating back to the first recorded outbreak in 1976. The researchers also traced the transmission path and evolutionary relationships of the samples, revealing that the lineage responsible for the current outbreak diverged from the Middle African version of the virus in the last decade and was spread from Guinea to Sierra Leone by 12 people who had attended the same funeral.The team’s catalog of 395 mutations (more than 340 that distinguish the current outbreak from previous ones, and more than 50 in the West African outbreak) may serve as a starting point for other research groups.“We’ve uncovered more than 300 genetic clues about what sets this outbreak apart from previous outbreaks,” said Stephen Gire, a research scientist in the Sabeti lab at the Broad Institute and Harvard. “Although we don’t know whether these differences are related to the severity of the current outbreak, by sharing these data with the research community, we hope to speed up our understanding of this epidemic and support global efforts to contain it.”“There is an extraordinary battle still ahead, and we have lost many friends and colleagues already, like our good friend and colleague Dr. Humarr Khan, a co-senior author here,” said Sabeti. “Providing this data to the research community immediately and demonstrating that transparency and partnership is one way we hope to honor Humarr’s legacy. We are all in this fight together.”The work was supported by Common Fund and National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Health and Human Services, the National Science Foundation, the European Union Seventh Framework Programme, and the Natural Environment Research Council.Other researchers who contributed to this work include Kristian G. Andersen, Rachel S.G. Sealfon, Daniel J. Park, Lansana Kanneh, Simbirie Jalloh, Mambu Momoh, Mohamed Fullah, Gytis Dudas, Shirlee Wohl, Lina M. Moses, Nathan L. Yozwiak, Sarah Winnicki, Christian B. Matranga, Christine M. Malboeuf, James Qu, Adrianne D. Gladden, Stephen F. Schaffner, Xiao Yang, Pan-Pan Jiang, Mahan Nekoui, Andres Colubri, Moinya Ruth Coomber, Mbalu Fonnie, Alex Moigboi, Michael Gbakie, Fatima K. Kamara, Veronica Tucker, Edwin Konuwa, Sidiki Saffa, Josephine Sellu, Abdul Azziz Jalloh, Alice Kovoma, James Koninga, Ibrahim Mustapha, Kandeh Kargbo, Momoh Foday, Mohamed Yillah, Franklyn Kanneh, Willie Robert, James L.B. Massally, Sinéad B. Chapman, James Bochicchio, Cheryl Murphy, Chad Nusbaum, Sarah Young, Bruce W. Birren, Donald S. Grant, John S. Scheiffelin, Eric S. Lander, Christian Happi, Sahr M. Gevao, Andreas Gnirke, Andrew Rambaut, and Robert F. Garry.last_img read more

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Georgia Drought Worsens

first_imgMacon received only 20 percent of its normal rainfall. Athens and Augustagot less than a third of normal. Columbus received 36 percent of normal while Savannah got62 percent of its normal. Atlanta was the only major city reporting above averagerainfall, ending the month 0.13 inches above normal.For the year, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Macon, and Savannah have receivedabout two-thirds of their normal rain. Columbus has received just over half of its normal. Short 30 1 5/28/99 27 37 Adequate 33 42 VeryShort As reported by county agents For more information, go to the GASS site. 42center_img 34 24 5Yr Avg 5/29/98 Soil Moisture in Georgia 6 —Percentages— 23 Surplus 1 Soil moisture conditions continued to decrease across Georgia the duringthe last week of May. All of Georgia except the northwest corner is now in severe drought,according to the Palmer Drought Severity Index, calculated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration ClimatePrediction Center (CPC). The northwest is in mild drought.Most sections of the state need 8 to 11 inches of rain to end the drought.Northwest Georgia needs more than 2.5 inches. The crop moisture index from CPC continues to show a loss of soilmoisture. Topsoil moisture is abnormally dry and yield prospects are deteriorating acrosscentral, southwest and southeast Georgia. Topsoil moisture in south central Georgia isexcessively dry with yield prospects reduced.The National Agricultural StatisticsService reports that 72 percent of the state has short to very short soil moisture.Only 28 percent of the state has adequate or surplus moisture.For more information, go to the Drought ’99 Web site, or talk toyour local county Extension Service agent about the drought’s effects on crops,landscaping, gardens or livestock.last_img read more

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Outdoor Updates: Hiker missing for a week in Arkansas mountains is found alive

first_imgTourism to national parks in southern WV creates nearly $70 million in economic benefit The world premiere of the film takes place on June 20 at 7 pm at Blue Ridge Community College’s Thomas Auditorium. The film will also play June 22 at 7:30 pm at the NC Arboretum and June 23 at 7:30 pm at White Horse Black Mountain. Tickets are $15 and reservations can be made online at www.saveculture.org. Film about people who have protected southern rivers to make world debut June 20 Hiker missing for a week in Arkansas mountains is found alive A man who went missing after embarking on a solo hike to celebrate his 38th birthday has been found alive. Josh McClatchy set out to hike Arkansas’ Buckeye Trail but soon texted his mother that he was lost. For the following six days, his friends and family worked alongside rescue agencies to search for McClatchy in a rugged and remote area of Arkansas. A rescue helicopter eventually spotted the hiker, who had wandered four miles off of the trail. It took rescuers 3.5 hours to carry McClatchy off of the mountain and back to the trailhead where he was transferred to a hospital and reunited with his family. The hiker was severely dehydrated but otherwise in good condition. His mother told ABC that it was her son’s first time hiking alone. center_img A newly released National Park Service report shows that more than 1.36 million visitors to the New River Gorge National River, Bluestone National Scenic River, and Gauley River National Recreation Area in southern West Virginia spent over $60 million in communities surrounding the three parks in 2018. The spending supported nearly 850 jobs and had a cumulative benefit to the local economy of almost $70 million. WNC’s History and Documentary Film Center, the Center for Cultural Preservation, will soon release a new film about the ordinary people who did extraordinary things to protect southern rivers and streams. The film, titled Guardians of Our Troubled Waters, is the center’s sixth feature film. The film chronicles early and remarkable river stewards who stood up against the destruction of rivers and wetlands in Western North Carolina, East Tennessee and South Florida and those who carry on the fight today. The report also shows that, throughout the country, 318 million park visitors spent over $20 billion in communities within 60 miles of national parks. The National Park Service reports that national park tourism is a significant economic driver, bringing in $10 for every $1 invested in the National Park Service.last_img read more

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U.S. presents Legion of Merit to Former MINUSTAH Commander

first_imgBy Dialogo September 02, 2010 U.S. Air Force Gen. Douglas Fraser, Commander of U.S. Southern Command, presented the United States Defense Department’s Legion of Merit medal to Brazilian Army Maj. Gen. Floriano Peixoto Vieira during a formal award ceremony Aug. 31 at Brazil’s Army headquarters in Brasilia. Fraser presented the medal on behalf of the President of the United States of America in recognition of Peixoto’s countless contributions and meritorious service in support of the international relief efforts that helped save lives and alleviate human suffering following the devastating earthquake that struck Haiti Jan. 12. The Legion of Merit was established by an act of Congress in 1942 and is one of the highest military decorations awarded by the United States to U.S. or foreign military personnel who distinguish themselves by exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services. The citation accompanying the medal praises Peixoto’s “leadership, dedication and tireless efforts” as Force Commander of the United Nation’s Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH). “Major General Floriano Peixoto’s strategic assessment of potentially volatile situations and adept cooperation with the Haitian Military Police ensured a stable security situation for the international organizations working to deliver aid to the Haitian people,” the citation reads. His inspirational leadership following the tragic collapse of the UN Stabilization Mission headquarters is also credited in the citation with helping to ensure the stabilization mission continued despite the catastrophic effects suffered as a result of the disaster. Peixoto, and the UN forces he commanded, played a key role during one of the most historic international relief missions in modern history. One of the many organizations supported by MINUSTAH was Joint Task Force-Haiti, established by U.S. Southern Command after the quake to oversee U.S. military assistance to the historic relief effort. Peixoto and the commander of JTF-Haiti, Lt. Gen. Ken Keen, have a strong friendship dating back to their time together more than two decades ago at the Brazil Airborne Brigade and the Command and General Staff College in Rio de Janeiro. The pre-existing bond between the two commanders helped expedite the coordination efforts between JTF-Haiti and MINUSTAH. Because of MINUSTAH’s important contributions in providing security for the relief efforts, the task force was able to focus on supporting search and rescue, medical assistance, distribution of aid and logistical efforts in the immediate aftermath of the disaster. On May 26, Brazilian Deputy Consul General Roberto Parente and Peixoto recognized Keen with Brazil’s Order of Rio de Branco for his contributions to the internationally supported relief mission in Haiti during a formal ceremony at the headquarters of U.S. Southern Command in Miami.last_img read more

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SOUTHCOM Commander Visits Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica and Haiti

first_imgBy Dialogo February 11, 2013 Marine Gen. John F. Kelly, the commander of U.S. Southern Command, concluded on February 7 a three-day trip to the Caribbean, after meeting with leaders from three nations. Kelly visited Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica and Haiti to address continued military cooperation and common security issues. The general’s discussions with each nations’ leaders focused on cooperation in combating transnational threats like organized crime and drug trafficking, support responses to natural disasters, and training engagements. This was Kelly’s first visit to the Caribbean as commander of SOUTHCOM since assuming command in November. In Trinidad and Tobago, Kelly met with Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, Minister of National Security Jack Warner, Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston Dookeran and members of the Trinidad and Tobago Defense Force led by Chief of Defense Staff, Maj. Gen. Kenrick Maharaj. “Our discussions on various topics, chief among them regional security challenges, shared goals, and the important partnership between our countries were very good,” said Kelly in a statement. “Security challenges have also changed and today we need to confront or counter threats ranging from stateless actors engaged in illicit trafficking of drugs, arms, money and people, to natural disasters.” During his visit to Jamaica, Kelly met with senior Jamaican defense and government leaders to discuss military cooperation and regional security. The general also met with U.S. embassy officials in Kingston, including U.S. Ambassador Pamela Bridgewater, to discuss U.S. military support to the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative and U.S.-Jamaica bilateral relations. Kelly’s final stop in Haiti included meetings with Haitian, U.S. and international senior leaders to learn about the U.S. partnership with Haiti and its collaboration with other international, nongovernmental and public-private partners working to assist the Caribbean nation. The general met with U.S. Ambassador Pamela White to discuss support to U.S. government assistance efforts in Haiti and security cooperation focus areas with MINUSTAH and the Haitian National Police. MINUSTAH Force Commander, Maj. Gen. Fernando Rodrigues Goulart, hosted Kelly at the UN mission’s camp, where they discussed the UN force’s mission and assistance to the Haitian National Police. At Haitian National Police headquarters, the U.S. military commander spoke with Director General Godson Orelus to hear the Haitian leader’s perspectives on the country’s security, vision for the Haitian National Police and thoughts on security cooperation with the United States. Kelly also met with the new Minister of the Interior Honorable David Bazile and shared lunch with members of the military serving in Haiti and the Marine Security Detachment, Port au Prince.last_img read more

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Long Island Hosting Prescription Drug Take Back Day

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York The sixth biannual National Prescription Drug Take Back Day is scheduled for Saturday with up to 50 participating drop-off locations across Long Island that will accept unused prescription medication—no questions asked.Law enforcement officials said the goal is to empty medicine cabinets of unwanted painkillers before they’re stolen by substance abusers. Environmentalists said that the event ensures the drugs are incinerated instead of thrown in the garbage or flushed down the drain, eventually leaching into drinking and surface water supplies.“I urge all New Yorkers to check their medicine cabinets and visit one of the many drug take back sites this Saturday to discard their unused medications and eliminate the potential dangers associated with these drugs,” said Gov. Andrew Cuomo.More than 2 million pounds of drugs—over 1,000 tons—have been incinerated since the Drug Enforcement Administration launched the national program two years ago. Upward of 6 million Americans abuse prescription drugs, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health.The event will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. Locations can be found on the event website. There are about 250 drop-off locations across New York State. The drugs will then be disposed of at the Covanta Energy-from-Waste facilities.“Dispersing oxycotin, antibiotics, and valium should be left to doctors, not to the water company,” said Adrienne Esposito, executive director, Citizens Campaign for the Environment. More information about how drug pollute the environment can be found at www.dontflushyourdrugs.net.Those who miss the event can still anonymously drop off drugs in designated bins installed in Nassau and Suffolk county police precinct station houses.Those who need help can call OASAS toll-free, 24-hour, 7-day a week HOPEline at 1-877-8-HOPENY, which is staffed by trained clinicians who can answer questions, help refer individuals to treatment services and provide other vital resources to facilitate recovery. All calls are anonymous and confidential.last_img read more

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Building superstar SEG relationships

first_img 4SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr $1.5 billion/112,000-member Elevations Credit Union, Boulder, Colo., has used Salesforce customer relationship management software to manage its select employer group relationships since 2011 with unprecedented results.“It’s not just the software,” emphasizes CUES member Dennis Paul, the CU’s VP/business and community development. “It’s how effectively you use the software.” For Elevations CU, the goal is to help its team work smarter, not harder. “We use CRM strategies to develop and cement relationships by making every interaction emotionally driven rather than transaction-driven,” clarifies Paul.Elevations CU knows that “out-of-sight is out-of-mind,” and many CUs struggle to see the true ROI on SEG relationships. Instead, with dedicated CRM practices, a CU’s business development team can be in constant contact with its partner companies, positioning the CU as a key resource.Case in PointLaura Zavala, business development officer at Elevations CU, meets with SEGs monthly. Together, they discuss numerous items that vary in focus. However, no matter the meeting, Laura always pays particular attention to the cues her SEG contacts provide. For example, what’s top of mind in the workplace? Are the employees concerned or needing a certain product or service? Are there other seasonal SEG or specific employee needs? How can the CU help to ensure that employees thrive? continue reading »last_img read more

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Activists come together to create ‘Black Lives Matter: Community Action Plan’

first_img“Depending on people’s interests they will go into those groups and we will have facilitators there facilitating the conversation and jotting down ideas that they may have and then at the end we’ll collectively come up with some demands to present to the city officials,” said Salka Valerio, a community member and organizer at the event. Organizers called the event, “Black Lives Matter: Community Action Plan,” and said participants will be broken out into groups to brainstorm solutions for some of the issues discussed in last week’s protests. BINGHAMTON (WBNG) — Members of the community gathered at Recreation Park for an organized “Community Action Plan” event on Sunday. Participants were split up into four different discussion groups, spread throughout the park for social distancing. Each group tackled different matters, the four groups included criminal justice reform, education, the housing crisis, and substance abuse. Valerio tells 12 News that while this week’s demonstrations allowed individuals to “be loud” and have their voices be heard, the goal of Sunday’s event was to put their words into action and come up with solutions.last_img read more

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Oakdale Mall pushes back reopening plans

first_imgThe malls says it will announce an opening date on its Facebook page. (WBNG) — The Oakdale Mall announced on Facebook Wednesday it will not be opening on July 20 as originally scheduled. The malls says its unable to get the advanced air filters it needs due to high demand.center_img The filters are one of the requirements a mall needs to reopen, the state government says. Malls must also be located in a region that is in phase four.last_img

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John Rahm shot: Spaniard holes incredible effort across a pond during Masters practice

first_imgThe patrons may be absent but the players still attempt the tradition of skimming their ball across the pond on to the 16th green at Augusta National as they prepare for the Masters, which starts on Thursday.And Spain’s Jon Rahm manages to hole his effort, with the help of the slope and a friendly pin position.- Advertisement – Available to UK users only.Follow the Masters across the BBC from Thursday 12 November. Full details here – Advertisement –last_img

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