Oct 21, 2008 (CIDRAP News) – The philanthropic arm of the Internet search company Google today announced it is awarding more than $14 million for various projects aiming to prevent the next pandemic by detecting new pathogens and disease outbreaks in Africa and Southeast Asia.The awards by Google.org are going to six different initiatives aiming to “identify hot spots where new diseases may emerge, detect new pathogens circulating in animal and human populations, and respond to disease outbreaks before they become global crises,” the company said in a news release.”Business as usual won’t stop the next AIDS or SARS,” Dr. Larry Brilliant, Google.org executive director, said in the news release. “The teams we’re funding today are on the frontiers of digital and genetic early detection technology. We hope that their work, with partners across environmental, animal, and human health boundaries, will help solve centuries-old problems and save millions of lives.”The statement said three of the grants are for efforts to use mapping and weather and climate data to help predict where and when disease outbreaks will occur:The Woods Hole Research Center in Falmouth, Mass., will receive $2 million to support satellite mapping of forests to improve monitoring of forest loss and settlement expansion in tropical countries.Columbia University International Research Institute for Climate and Society will get $900,000 to improve the use of forecasts, rainfall data, and other climate information in East Africa and to link weather and climate experts to health specialists.University Corporation for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo., is awarded $900,000 to develop a system for using weather projections to inform and target responses to disease threats in West Africa.”For Rift Valley fever and malaria, long-term weather forecasts and deforestation maps can show us where to look for outbreaks, up to six months in advance,” said Frank Rijsberman, director of the grant program for Google.org.The other three grants, the company said, are for projects designed to detect early signals of possible epidemics through blood sampling, molecular diagnostics, mining of digital data, and other surveillance efforts:The Global Viral Forecasting Initiative (GVFI) will receive $5.5 million for collecting and analyzing blood samples from humans and animals in hot spots in Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of Congo, China, Malaysia, Lao PDR, and Madagascar. The grant will be matched by the Skoll Foundation. Dr. Nathan Wolfe, GVFI’s founder and director, said the project’s aim is to monitor the movement of viruses from animals into people.Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, New York City, is awarded $2.5 million to support research to speed the discovery of new pathogens and promote rapid regional responses to outbreaks by establishing molecular diagnostics in hot spot countries, including Sierra Leone and Bangladesh. Columbia’s Dr. Ian Lipkin and colleagues already have discovered more than 75 viruses.Children’s Hospital Corp., in Boston, will receive $3 million to combine the online disease-detection efforts of HealthMap with ProMED-mail’s global network of human, animal, and ecosystem health specialists who report disease outbreaks. The project will assess emerging-disease reporting systems, expand networks in Africa and Southeast Asia, and develop news tools to improve outbreak detection.See also: Oct 21 Google releasehttp://www.google.com/intl/en/press/pressrel/20081021_googleorg.htmlJuly 21 CIDRAP News story describing HealthMap and other nontraditional disease-monitoring initiatives: “More efforts look outside the box for outbreak signals”
The Wisconsin men’s soccer team wrapped up its 2013 regular season schedule Friday night at the McClimon Complex with a 2-[media-credit name=”Claire Larkins ” align=”alignright” width=”336″][/media-credit]0 victory over Ohio State on senior night. The win extended the Badgers’ home-unbeaten streak to 13 games, good for best in the country.“It’s unbelievable to finish undefeated, untied at home,” Wisconsin head coach John Trask said of his team who finished a perfect 9-0-0 at home this season. “Compliments to the seniors, the captains, and the rest of the squad because that’s never an easy thing to do.”The home winning streak is of great importance to the players as it is a sign of how much they have been through and how their hard work has truly begun to pay off.“We’ve been through so much together,” senior co-captain Chris Prince said. “Now we realize how short of time we have left. [Coach] Trask has always had the saying ‘you have to protect your home turf, you have to be perfect at home’ and this is the first year we’ve implemented that.”Coming into Friday night’s game, the Buckeyes (6-6-5, 1-3-2 Big Ten) had allowed just nine goals to their opponents all season and the Badgers (13-3-2, 4-2-0) became just the fourth team to score more than one goal in a game against Ohio State this season.Coming into the match, the focus was on which team’s strength would in out: Ohio State’s conference-best defense, or Wisconsin’s conference-best offense. The Badgers provided the answer to that question rather quickly.The first goal came in the 23rd minute when senior Tomislav Zadro put a diving header in the back of the net off of a Drew Conner cross from inside the box. The goal was Zadro’s fourth of the season and the assist was Conner’s team-leading seventh.In the 72nd minute, senior Nick Janus netted his team-leading ninth goal of the season on a strike from inside the box to give the Badgers the 2-0 advantage. This was the ninth game of the season in which the Badgers scored multiple goals; they had seven such games in 2012 and eight in 2011.Prince pointed to the fact that because the Badgers have spent so much time getting their defense to the level it is currently at, the offense is able to play loose and with relative ease.“It’s so much fun knowing that we can go anywhere on the field and know something good is going to come out of it,” he said.The shutout was the seventh of the season for the stingy Badgers defense and just the fourth time this season that the Buckeyes were shutout in a game that did not end in a 0-0 draw.“The whole season our defense has been strong,” senior co-captain Blake Succa said after the victory. “I expected nothing different tonight and we didn’t disappoint.”For what Trask described as a “typical Big Ten game,” the match was intense from the first to the final whistle. Seven yellow cards (four Ohio State, three Wisconsin) were handed out, tied for the highest number of cautions handed out in any Big Ten match involving the Badgers this season.“It was a very physical game,” Prince said. “That’s what we expect whenever we play them. Tonight we were the better team and found a way to put two goals in. There’s no way to get a better win on senior night.”Succa mentioned that because the Badges were familiar with the physical nature of Ohio State that all they had to do was to make sure that they matched the Buckeyes’ big, strong and physical play and the soccer would take care of itself.Going forward, the Badgers have just a few days before they head to Columbus, Ohio, to battle with the rest of the Big Ten in the annual Big Ten Tournament. Having already assured themselves of a birth in the NCAA Tournament, Columbus serves as a place for Wisconsin to get the best possible seeding it can – one that might even permit them to host a game in the opening round.“We’ve put our mark thus far on the regular season,” Succa said, “Honestly I don’t know what to expect moving forward. We’re just taking it day-by-day with the Big Ten Tournament up next to hopefully improve our seeding for the NCAA Tournament.”No matter what seed they receive, the Badgers are more than confident that they can play with not just the best of the Big Ten, but the best the country has to offer.“Anyone in the country,” Prince said of who his team could beat. “I’m telling you this is the best team, the best group of guys I’ve ever been around in my entire life. We have so much confidence in ourselves, and I’m excited to see where we go from here.”The Badgers — seeded No. 2 in the tournament — will open the Big Ten tournament Nov. 13 against No. 7-seeded Northwestern, with a second-round matchup against either No. 3 Michigan State or No. 6 Ohio State Nov. X should they beat Northwestern for the second time this season.