Experts propose steps to ease food safety info flow

first_img The study was produced by the Food Safety Research Consortium (FSRC), a group of university-based research institutions, based at the University of Florida in Gainesville, that is working on initiatives to improve the nation’s food safety system. The group’s projects include the development of analytical and decision tools to help guide interventions and resource allocation. The new report was funded by a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Assess the costs and benefits of proposed changes The report lists several examples of shortcomings in the food safety information system. It says that government and industry lack research plans on how to address contamination in produce and that planning for the FoodNet system, which collects foodborne illness data, has not involved food-industry risk managers. Analyzing information gaps May 22, 2008 (CIDRAP News) – A team of food safety researchers, flanked by federal, state, and industry officials, today unveiled a sweeping report on how food safety information is shared and called for new federal policies to make the system more transparent and useful. “For all actors in the food safety system—public and private—the effectiveness of what they do depends on the quality of the information they have on potential hazards and how to minimize them,” the FSRC noted in the report’s introduction. Authors of the report are Michael Taylor, professor of health policy at George Washington University, and Michael Batz, executive director of the FSRC and head of food safety programs at the University of Florida’s Emerging Pathogens Institute in Gainesville. Prioritizing information needs Establishing a gateway Web site that could connect the network of food safety databases If government agencies and the food industry could somehow pool their data on chemical and microbial contamination, “this data would provide a much more robust picture of the nature and distribution of hazards across the food supply than we have today,” the authors wrote. To support more information sharing, stakeholders need incentives and the federal government should take a lead role to establish policy changes, Taylor and Batz asserted. Though some federal legislative proposals call for putting all federal food safety functions in one agency, the authors said their suggestions don’t depend on that reform measure, because such unification wouldn’t solve all of the information-sharing problems. “The need for improvement extends well beyond federal agencies,” they wrote. Taylor and Batz concluded that though there are no quick cure-alls for improving the flow of food safety information, they are buoyed by stakeholders’ high interest in removing some of the roadblocks. Taylor and Batz based their evaluation of the nation’s food safety information systems on the results of four workshops that were attended by public health and food safety experts, government officials, industry representatives, researchers, and consumers. “We believe that lasting solutions must respect these institutional realities and must include mechanisms that facilitate diverse institutions working together in new ways,” they wrote. Seek regular input from all food safety participants Identify legislative changes needed to ease the flow of information The report suggests establishing a food safety information system council, housed in the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), composed of senior food safety officials from key federal agencies and state and local departments. With a budget of $25 million the council would: See also: Launching a food safety epidemiology user group to ensure that data from publicly funded epidemiology efforts are accessible and timely Prioritize, plan, and coordinate actions to improve the collection and flow of food safety information Compiling a database of past and future food safety research activities However, Taylor and Batz wrote that much of the food safety information system is in “stove pipes” that are isolated and inaccessible to other users. They attribute the fragmentation to a variety of causes, including regulatory constraints, intellectual property concerns, and a variety of funding sources. They also found that food safety agencies are overburdened with competing priorities and responsibilities. Food Safety Research Consortium report on improving the nation’s food safety information infrastructure Easing access to industry food safety information Increasing access to information from publicly funded food safety research In addition, the report calls for a food safety information system stakeholder forum that would advise the new council and help implement new initiatives such as: More effective communication between food safety groups is need to ensure safety and reduce risks, since food production and distribution over the past decades have become increasingly complex, the authors wrote. At the same time, technology for collecting, managing, and sharing data has also advanced and has the potential to improve food safety, they said. Report annually to Congress The 129-page report, Harnessing Knowledge to Ensure Food Safety: Opportunities to Improve the Nation’s Food Safety Information Infrastructure, was released at a briefing at George Washington University in Washington, DC, and is available on the group’s Web site.last_img read more

J&J moves up start of coronavirus vaccine human trials to July

first_imgTopics : Last March, J&J signed deals with the US government to create enough manufacturing capacity to produce more than 1 billion doses of its vaccine through 2021, even before it has evidence that it works.There are currently no US approved treatments or vaccines for the virus. A vaccine is seen as essential to ending the pandemic that has infected more than 7.2 million people and killed over 412,000 globally, while battering economies worldwide.J&J initially expected safety trials to start in September. Chief Scientific Officer Paul Stoffels told Reuters the company has been working closely with its US government partners to accelerate that timeline.”Based on the strength of the preclinical data we have seen so far and interactions with the regulatory authorities, we have been able to further accelerate the clinical development,” Stoffels said in a statement on Wednesday. Johnson & Johnson moved up the start of human clinical trials for its experimental vaccine against the highly contagious coronavirus by two months to the second half of July, as the drugmaker rushes to develop a prevention for COVID-19, the company said on Wednesday.The acceleration should allow J&J to take part in the massive clinical trials program planned by the US government, which aims to have an effective vaccine by year end.J&J shares rose nearly 2% to $148.69.center_img J&J’s study will test the vaccine for safety and early signs of efficacy in 1,045 healthy volunteers aged 18 to 55 years, and in those aged 65 and older. The trial will take place in the United States and Belgium.The company is also in talks with the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases(NIAID) to start larger, late-stage trials ahead of schedule, depending on results of the early studies and regulatory approval.The United States is planning to test a handful of coronavirus vaccine candidates in trials that will enroll up to 30,000 subjects with the aim of getting an answer on efficacy as quickly as possible. National Institutes of Health Director Dr. Francis Collins told Reuters that companies will need to complete their safety trials by the end of summer to be included in those studies.Stoffels said last week that J&J hopes to have results of its vaccine efficacy trials in the first quarter of 2021. He added that the company is “working hard to bring it back to the end of the year.”A lot will depend on how much virus is circulating at that time, he said.”If you have an incidence of 1% a year versus 4% a year, it’s totally different. And that’s where these trials are so unpredictable,” he said referring to the percentage of new cases occurring in the population at the time.The company plans to test the vaccine in high-transmission regions within the United States. If the incidence is low, “we will complement that with international sites to make sure that we reach enough endpoints quickly to prove the vaccine works,” Stoffels said.Moderna Inc, which is working in close partnership with NIAID, has started testing its vaccine candidate in a 600-subject mid-stage trial. The company expects to begin late-stage trials in July.Moderna’s vaccine uses messenger RNA technology, an approach that has yet to produce any approved vaccines. J&J is utilizing the same technology used to make its Ebola vaccine, which won European regulatory approval late last month.There are about 10 coronavirus vaccines in human testing. Experts have said a safe and effective vaccine could take at least 12 to 18 months from the start of development, which would shave several years off the typical vaccine development timeline.last_img read more

Malouda banished to spend final year with youth team

first_imgFlorent Malouda was Wednesday night turned into Chelsea’s latest £4million-a-year outcast – after being banished from any involvement with the Blues first team.Just months after similar treatment of Nicolas Anelka and Alex fanned the dressing room flames that helped bring down Andre Villas-Boas, former France skipper Malouda was told he must train with the youth team for the last year of his £80,000-per-week stay at Stamford Bridge.Malouda announced his internal exile on his Twitter feed, posting a picture of the under-21 block at the club’s Cobham base with the message: “This is where I’ll train for my last season with the Blues!!!”And last night Chelsea confirmed the 32-year-old had been told he has no place in Roberto Di Matteo’s thoughts for the rest of the season, despite being named in the club’s 25-man Premier League squad – he was omitted from their Champions League players – only on Tuesday.Chelsea insisted that Malouda – a £13.5million signing from Lyons by Jose Mourinho and who has scored 45 goals in 230 appearances – had been dumped because he wanted to leave the club.Potential moves back to Lyons and also Brazilian side Santos fell through over the midfielder’s personal terms, with Malouda reluctant to take a pay cut. Malouda, who signed a four-year deal in 2009, has consistently frustrated the Blues hierarchy with his contribution since the last few months of the Carlo Ancelotti era.But his high wages have prevented the club offloading him, with Chelsea unwilling to help sweeten any possible deal.Even so, the treatment of a seasoned international who played in the Champions League Final triumph over Bayern Munich runs the risk of upsetting the dressing room, as Villas-Boas’ decision to exile Anelka and Alex did last season.While Chelsea maintained the cases were different, the club were adamant in December that both Anelka, who went to Shanghai Shenhua, and Alex, who joined Ancelotti at Paris St Germain, had been cast aside because of their desire to quit Stamford Bridge.Di Matteo has revamped the squad over the summer, with Didier Drogba, Jose Bosingwa, Salomon Kalou, Michael Essien and Raul Meireles all leaving and Eden Hazard, Oscar, Cesar Azplilcueta, Victor Moses and Marko Marin all arriving. Malouda, though, looks like being lucratively-rewarded passenger until the transfer window reopens in January and while the majority of the Francophone block at the club have departed, Di Matteo’s decision could backfire if there is internal resentment at the treatment of the Frenchman.last_img read more