‘Viral history’ tool VirScan offers new insights into antibody response to SARS-CoV-2 Medical, political analysts ponder Trump’s coronavirus battle, and what it means for the president and the nation Related People who survive serious COVID-19 infections have long-lasting immune responses against the virus, according to a new study led by researchers at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH).The study, published in Science Immunology, offers hope that people infected with the virus will develop lasting protection against reinfection. The study also demonstrates that measuring antibodies can be an accurate tool for tracking the spread of the virus in the community.The immune system produces proteins called antibodies in response to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. “But there is a big knowledge gap in terms of how long these antibody responses last,” said Richelle Charles, an investigator in the Division of Infectious Diseases at MGH and a senior author of the paper. To find out, she and her colleagues obtained blood samples from 343 patients with COVID-19, most of whom had severe cases. The blood samples were taken up to four months after a patient’s symptoms emerged. The blood’s plasma was isolated and applied to laboratory plates coated with the receptor-binding domain (RBD) of the virus’ “spike” protein, which attaches to cells, leading to infection. The team studied how different types of antibodies in the plasma bound to RBD. The results were compared to blood samples obtained from more than 1,500 individuals prior to the pandemic.The researchers found that levels of an antibody called immunoglobulin G (IgG) remained elevated in infected patients for four months and were associated with the presence of protective neutralizing antibodies, which also demonstrated little decrease in activity over time.“That means that people are very likely protected for that period of time,” said Charles. “We showed that key antibody responses to COVID-19 do persist.”They also found that measuring IgG was highly accurate in identifying infected patients who had symptoms for at least 14 days. Since the standard PCR (nasal swab) test for SARS-CoV-2 loses sensitivity over time, augmenting it with a test for antibodies in patients who have had symptoms for at least eight days (at which time 50 percent are producing antibodies) will help identify some positive cases that might otherwise be missed, said Charles, a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School (HMS). When COVID and the election collided Infection detection In another finding, Charles and her colleagues showed that people infected with SARS-CoV-2 had immunoglobulin A (IgA) and immunoglobulin M (IgM) responses that were relatively short-lived, declining to low levels within about two and a half months or less, on average.“We can say now that if a patient has IgA and IgM responses, they were likely infected with the virus within the last two months,” said Charles.Knowing the duration of the immune response by IgA and IgM will help scientists obtain more accurate data about the spread of SARS-CoV-2, explained co-senior author of the study Jason Harris, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at MGH, and an associate of pediatrics at HMS.“There are a lot of infections in the community that we do not pick up through PCR testing during acute infection, and this is especially true in areas where access to testing is limited,” he said. “Knowing how long antibody responses last is essential before we can use antibody testing to track the spread of COVID-19 and identify ‘hot spots’ of the disease.”Lead authors of the paper are Anita Iyer, a postdoctoral fellow at MGH, and Forrest K. Jones, a doctoral student in infectious disease epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.Funding was provided by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institutes of Health, and MassCPR.
With the realization of the 1st phase of the project, it is planned to invest over 500 million kuna and create 250 new jobs The project envisages the construction of an elite tourist resort, which includes the construction of a 5 * hotel, with a total capacity of approximately 100 rooms, SPA and wellness center, club house with restaurant, coffee bar, beach club for hotel guests, as well as construction of 29 villas and 23 bungalows that will be branded by the elite hotel operator. With the realization of the 1st phase of the Project, it is planned to create 250 new jobs. As a representative of the investor, the company Azurna uvala doo, the Agreement was signed by the director Milenko Bijedić, accompanied by the Mayor of Šolta Nikola Cecic-Karuzic, who emphasized that this project is of special importance for the island of Solta, as well as for the whole of Dalmatia, as well as the further development of Croatian tourism. The total investment value of the entire project is estimated at HRK 1.075.750.000, while the project is declared strategic only in the part related to the 1st phase of implementation, the planned investment value of HRK 508.899.597,00 and the creation of approximately 250 new jobs. Further phases of the project are planned to be realized when the conditions for that are met, and so far about 183 million kuna of private capital has been invested in the preparation and development of the project. On that occasion, Minister Darko Horvat expressed satisfaction that another large project is being put into fast procedure, after the same thing was done last week with the geothermal power plant project that is planned to be built in Draškovac. “This is another indicator of the direction we have set for ourselves and the proactive approach we have taken towards domestic and foreign investors. By creating a stimulating framework and a positive investment climate, we make a great contribution to the realization of important projects throughout our beautiful country.”, The Minister pointed out. This created all the necessary preconditions for initiating the procedure of passing the Decision of the Government of the Republic of Croatia on declaring this project a strategic project of the Republic of Croatia. Yesterday, the Ministry of the Economy, Entrepreneurship and Crafts signed an Agreement on the preparation and implementation of the strategic investment project of the Republic of Croatia Tourist Resort “Uvala Livka, island of Solta”. Cover photo: TZ Šolta
Dr. Bhofal Chambers of CDC is poised to become Speaker of the 54th Legislature. Maryland County Representative, Bhofal Chambers, wants the General Auditing Commission (GAC) to audit the National Legislature in order to account for resources allotted to that august body over the years.The intent, Dr. Chambers said, is to provide a high degree of transparency and accountability in the operations of the first branch of the Liberian government.According to him, since the inception of the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf-led government, no agencies have been able to conduct audits on money and goods used by the Legislature. As such, “it is pivotal that a holistic audit is carried out in order to change public perception about lawmakers [and the Capitol Building].”He maintained that auditing the Legislature would encourage other spending agencies of government to conform to the tendency of being accountable to the state.The Maryland County lawmaker furthered that in an effort to achieve this goal, “both chambers of the Legislature must provide budget performance reports detailing spending over the years.”He noted that a robust Legislature should present a ‘legislative performance report’ like other ministries and agencies do before discussing the 2014/2015 National Budget.“We need to have an inventory of all the things that come to the Legislature to give us an understanding of where we are and what to do next,” Dr. Chambers indicated.He made the assertions recently when a media organization bestowed an honour on him for his outstanding advocacy in the Legislature.Receiving the honour, Dr. Chambers indicated that Liberians’ situation remains deplorable; with government providing no living quarters for low income earners.Chambers: “Liberia has many resources but our citizens are lacking in many things.It’s not God’s will for these things to happen but the poor management of the vast resources here remains our challenge.We have problems with leadership, and until we can change that; our advocacy will continue until the right thing is done for the good of our people.”Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
…residents blast Govt for failure to operationalise …“not in the business of making plantain chips” – Minister GaskinBy Lakhram BhagiratThe residents on the Island of Leguan in the Essequibo River are concerned about the future of the multimillion-dollar plantain chip factory, which is yet to become operational some two years after it was completed.The project was started in 2015. However, since its completion in 2016 and several commitments towards operationalising the facility, the residents on the island of Leguan are yet to benefit.The factory, which has the capacity to employ over 30 persons, is yet to be opened and residents are growing concerned as they expressed disappointment at Government’s apparent disinterest in the facility. During a recent visit to the island by Guyana Times, residents said the Business Ministry needs to provide answers about the facility.Resident, Hans Buer, told this publication that they have received word that Government is considering selling the factory. He added that efforts to confirm whether this is the case proved futile since the Business Ministry does not respond to correspondences regarding the factory.“The factory was never opened and they said yes they would open the factory last year. They will open it this year and the Ministry don’t answer my messages via email or Facebook. I know nothing,” he said.“I hear they are going to sell out the building. If opened, that it can employ 20-30 people and it is good for the people, but we hear nothing. They have security guards but the factory is empty as it is,” Buer added.Presently, while the building is completed, this publication observed that electricity is yet to be connected and residents indicated the building has no equipment for the functioning of the factory. However, the regional administration is paying two persons to guard the unoccupied, empty building.According to Government, the size of the property is 8625 square feet and includes machines such as slicing processors, blanching, dewatering, frying, de-oiling, seasoning and packaging equipment.In 2016, the Business Ministry in a local newspaper advertisement invited interested investors to submit Expressions of Interest along with their business proposal for undertaking the factory. In addition, in May 2017, Permanent Secretary of the Business Ministry, Rajdai Jagernauth, told the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee that the factory would be operational by the end of June but that never came to fruition.Plantain chips businessOpposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo has repeatedly accused the Government of running a “plantain chip economy”, positing that there is no vision for proper economic development. In response to those allegations, last year President David Granger said that if it has to start with plantain chips then so be it adding that small things could end up big.“I know somebody who started off producing fruit juices at Timehri and today those fruits juices are being bottled or boxed…it may start with plantain chips… small things could end up big,” Granger was quoted as saying.However, when Guyana Times contacted Business Minister Dominic Gaskin, he related that the Ministry is not in the business of making plantain chips. Gaskin said they had previously advertised for persons or businesses who were interested in running the factory to indicate such, noting that they received one response.“We got someone who was interested and there was some issues relating to the suitability of the equipment and the electricity supply and a number of things and then we finally got it resolved they said they were no longer interested. So we have to start all over again looking for someone to take it up and that is the situation as it stands,” he said.When asked about whether the process has restarted, the Minister explained that there are some additional issues to be ironed out before they can proceed further on the project.“The equipment (for the factory) was ordered since 2014, before our Government came into office. This equipment was ordered, and I don’t know really how the specifications were generated for the equipment, but it was delivered afterwards, and the equipment met the specifications of the contract. However, apparently it looks like it is not the most suitable for what it is required for so we don’t want to advertise it again and run into the same problem. So we have to figure it out what to do with this, right now what is the problem,” Gaskin explained.This project falls under the previous Administration’s Rural Enterprise Development programme, which commenced back in 2014. These projects initially comprised the construction of two call centres – one in Tuschen in Region Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara) and one in Enmore in Region Four (Demerara-Mahaica), and two chip factories, one in Leguan and one in the neighbouring island of Wakenaam. However, the Wakenaam factory was deemed unsuitable for a number of reasons.The main economic activity on the island of Leguan is farming, particularly rice, but since the announcement of the plantain chip factory, a number of farmer converted some of their property to facilitate the anticipated demand for the commodity. Ever since a number of farmers have been left with large plantain fields and not enough market.However, some residents say the increased plantain production is nothing compared to the lack of job opportunities on the island. They said they have accepted the fact that there are only so many jobs that would be available on the roughly 12-square miles island, nothing that is the reason the factory is even more important to them.“We got no jobs for the young people. They go to school here and write CXC and get all them subject but then them got to go to Parika or town (Georgetown) fuh look wuk. What sense that make because them can’t stay here and develop the island. Them got fuh move out. Government got to do something man,” resident Bharrat Narine said.The man then explained that the proposed 30 jobs that the factory was expected to create would have been a step in the right direction towards improving the standard of living on the island, as well as increase its economic standing.For now, the Leguan plantain chip factory sits idle, with no electricity, two security guards, and sheep grazing in the yard on overgrown grass.
Pramerica Systems Ireland has celebrated a historic milestone when it hired its 1,000th employee – in its Letterkenny outlet.The Pramerica team nail their Donegal colours to the mast!Heather Smith joined the well-known local employer as a systems tester.Heather is from England, studied Japanese at Oxford University and spent a couple of years working in Japan. “The company is extremely proud to reach this historic milestone,” said Caroline Faulkner, senior managing director and chief information officer.“We’re very proud of the organization we have built for Prudential and the positive financial impact we have on the local community and our strong ties with local educational institutions,” adds Faulkner.Pramerica is a software and contact centre subsidiary of U.S.-based Prudential Financial, Inc that provides technology and operations services for PFI businesses in the United States.Pramerica Roundabout. Photo:- Clive WassonIt was established in 2000 as a software development operation with 88 employees. Since then, the company has evolved into a multifunctional global business solutions centre with 1,000 employees, Faulkner noted. Most recently, Pramerica has expanded its services to PFI’s offices in Poland and Japan, offering new opportunities for Japanese-speaking systems testers – including its 1,000th employee, Heather.Heather moved to Ireland in 2010 from the Netherlands. She recently moved to County Donegal from Drumfries to accept her position at Pramerica.She and her partner have two daughters ages 12 and 14. She spends her free time travelling and enjoying hiking and other outdoor activities. In fact, Heather is a member of rowing clubs in the United Kingdom, Japan and the Netherlands. She is also a swim coach for 8- through 15-year old children.“Pramerica is one of the most recognizable brands in Ireland,” said Heather.“I’m excited about being a member of such a respected company and I look forward to providing relevant contributions with my new colleagues.” Pramerica staff members are also actively involved in their local communities.Last year employees volunteered close to 7,000 hours of time in a number of company-sponsored projects. In doing so, they awarded top youth volunteers across Ireland through the Pramerica Spirit of the Community programme; raised awareness for disability, cancer, depression, homelessness, vulnerable youth and distressed animals, and shared their knowledge with young people in the community through initiatives such as Coder Dojo.Pramerica also partners with a number of educational institutions locally and nationally and has a unique link with Mulroy College in Milford through the Schools’ Business Partnership.PRAMERICA TAKES ON ITS 1,000TH EMPLOYEE – IN LETTERKENNY! was last modified: March 4th, 2014 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:donegalletterkennypramerica