Manchester City vs Liverpool: Will champions’ defence keep out hosts’ attack? | Football News

first_img Ahead of their meeting on Sunday, we take a look at some of the greatest goals between Liverpool and Manchester City in the Premier League 0:41 Jurgen Klopp  Jurgen Klopp looks ahead to the big Super Sunday clash with Manchester City and recalls how it hasn’t always been a happy hunting ground for his side. Former Manchester City captain Richard Dunne believes Sunday’s game between City and Liverpool is a potential title-decider 4:59 Liverpool come from 2-0 down to beat Manchester City with a stoppage time winner. At this stage of last season, City had already scored 24 goals, they have just nine this time around. The intensity without the ball has also looks toned down, something that you cannot accuse Liverpool of.I think this is a bigger game for City than it is for Liverpool in that regard. They have more questions to answer. More points to prove.A defeat would leave them nine points adrift of Jurgen Klopp’s team. Even at this stage, that is a huge gap to chase down. All those factors make Liverpool a very tempting proposition at 12/5 for an away win. It is not often you can get prices of such juice about a team than ran away with the title just a few months ago and remain consistently operating to the same performance level.JONES KNOWS PREDICTS: 1-3 (20/1 with Sky Bet)What the experts say… Liverpool Man City Greatest Goals Sunday 8th November 4:00pm 1:07 “I’m not interested what people think about us in the sense if we are one of the top two or the only one, or one of three or four, that’s not important when you prepare a game. That’s the job I have to do, I have to prepare my team for football games and the next one is a tough one.“If we look back at the previous two years, they were impressive for both teams. City won one [Premier League] and we won. We won the Champions League on top of that, City won the FA Cup.“That doesn’t mean this year we have the ticket to do it again, everybody has a chance. That’s why I said we don’t defend anything, we attack the next one, with all we have, whatever that means in a specific moment.”Jones knowsA monster of a football match.I just hope we get a cleanly run affair in order to gauge a true understanding of what levels these two teams are operating at. For the last two campaigns, these two have been streets ahead of the rest. Is that still the case? Are these two still the standard-bearers for the Premier League? Selection issuesBoth managers have a number of dilemmas regarding their starting line-ups at the Etihad.Guardiola must decide who starts at left-back, Joao Cancelo or Oleksandr Zinchenko, with Benjamin Mendy currently injured, and who partners Kevin De Bruyne and Rodri in a three-man midfield?And does the City boss go with the now fit-again Gabriel Jesus in attack, or the same front three who featured against Olympiakos and Sheffield United in their previous two games – Riyad Mahrez, Raheem Sterling and Ferran Torres?As for Liverpool, Klopp’s main questions revolve around the identity of Gomez’s centre-back partner, with Matip now available after a recent muscle problem, although both Phillips and Rhys Williams impressed in the role in the club’s last two matches.However, former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher thinks Klopp will go with the more experienced Matip on Sunday.“I think he’ll go with Matip, the big-game experience, and he wasn’t shy in putting him straight in against Everton, as well, another tough game for Liverpool away from home,” said the Sky Sports pundit.“The only thing is fitness and playing games, but I don’t think that’s ever really been a problem for Matip because he’s injured so often he’s always in that position where he’s coming back without having had the full training programme or games under his belt or a pre-season because he is very injury prone.“I actually think Matip has possibly been ready for the last game or two and the manager has almost kept him in reserve for the City game and making sure he’s got two recognised senior centre-backs for that City game. I fully expect Matip to play in this game.”The Liverpool manager also faces a tricky call up front given Roberto Firmino’s recent struggles in that position, in stark contrast to the electric form shown by Diogo Jota since his arrival at Anfield last summer.Carragher, though, believes the Brazilian will get the nod, just.“Jota’s form warrants a start, you can’t argue about that, but I just think the manager will go back to Firmino, the way they’ve set up before,” said the ex-Liverpool captain. Former Liverpool midfielder and manager Graeme Souness thinks Jurgen Klopp should start Diogo Jota ahead of Roberto Firmino when the champions play former winners Manchester City in the Premier League this weekend. 0:38 Liverpool take on title rivals Manchester City at the Etihad on Sunday afternoon in a contest that may ultimately come down to a battle between the Premier League champions’ uncharacteristically porous defence and the home side’s star-studded attack.Jurgen Klopp’s side may have had the meanest defence in the top flight for the past two campaigns – conceding just 22 and 33 goals in 2018-19 and 2019-20 respectively – but that rock-solid back-line has evaporated this season.- Advertisement – Pep Guardiola Roberto Firmino and Diogo Jota celebrate against Sheffield United Jurgen Klopp says he doesn’t need to discuss the importance of Roberto Firmino after he’s been criticised for his lack of goal scoring ahead of Liverpool’s game with Manchester City 0:52 – Advertisement – “I think Firmino this season, he’s not been at his best, there’s no doubt. I don’t think he was at his best last season. But they’ve always performed in the big games – Everton, Arsenal, Chelsea. That’s when teams play out from the back and that’s when Bobby Firmino is a huge part of that press and winning the ball back and almost not letting teams get out of their own half.“That was certainly the case in those three games I mentioned, those teams really struggled to get through the press of Liverpool.“I think Jurgen Klopp will know that Man City want to play out from the back and he’ll go with his pressing machine. There’s no doubt Jota can do this as well, ‘he’s a pressing monster’, that was the description of him from Pep Lijnders, Jurgen Klopp’s assistant, so there’s no worries about him on that score.“But I just think for this game and the type of game it will be and the fact that Bobby has played so many games against Man City and Liverpool have had success in those games, I just think he’ll go back to that.”Klopp: More than two-horse PL title racecenter_img Carragher: Title race still between City and LiverpoolJamie Carragher joined the Pitch to Post Preview Podcast to analyse Man City vs Liverpool, assess each side, and give his verdict on the title race.Merson: City must beat LiverpoolPaul Merson insists City must beat Liverpool on Super Sunday for the psychological gain, given the injuries Jurgen Klopp’s side have. Kevin De Bruyne and Joe Gomez How to followCity vs Liverpool will be broadcast live on Sky Sports Premier League from 4pm on Super Sunday; kick-off at 4.30pm. Sky Sports customers can watch in-game clips in the live match blog on the Sky Sports website and app. Highlights will also be published on the Sky Sports digital platforms and the Sky Sports Football YouTube channel shortly after the final whistle. GRAPHIC 5:01 Pitch to Post Preview: Jamie Carragher on Man City vs Liverpool; Steve Bruce on Callum Wilson; Chelsea’s title chances assessedJamie Carragher and Steve Bruce are among the guests on this week’s Pitch to Post Preview Podcast.Sky Sports pundit Carragher joins Peter Smith and Adam Bate to look ahead to the big Super Sunday clash between Man City and Liverpool, while Steve Bruce is on the line to discuss Newcastle’s Friday Night Football trip to Southampton and the form of star striker Callum Wilson.Also on the show, we analyse how Chelsea have turned around their defensive problems, how Leicester have coped with injury problems, and Adam makes a bold Pitch.Listen to the Sky Sports Pitch to Post Podcast on: Spotify | Apple | Castbox Former Liverpool winger John Barnes says the return of fit-again Gabriel Jesus for Manchester City makes him more nervous for Sunday’s clash and believes Roberto Firmino has been ‘unfairly criticised’ for his lack of goals Kick off 4:30pm Jurgen Klopp dismissed the idea of a two-horse race for the Premier League, insisting Liverpool and City have no divine right to compete for the title because of previous success.Asked if it was more of a two-horse Premier League title race this season, Klopp told Soccer Saturday: “Yes, it always was. Until a specific point, it was last year for a very long time at least a three-horse race, that’s clear. I’m not surprised about that.“Nothing is guaranteed, could anybody have imagined that the virus could stop the whole world in pretty much a week and that it would do that for eight or nine months? Football is no different, you can take nothing for granted.“I don’t think about us one of two teams, I think about as a team that has to do a lot of things right to be successful, and then we will see where it leads up to. We take a look back at this memorable clash between Manchester City who began a new era under their new owners and title-chasing Liverpool Jurgen Klopp says Manchester City are one of the hardest teams to face in world football – Advertisement – Pep Guardiola believes Liverpool are favourites to win the Premier League once again this season, but the Manchester City manager expects a strong challenge from other teams, including Tottenham and Chelsea. I think the league will be won by one of those. Neither side has reached the heights of last year, certainly Liverpool haven’t, and I think Aguero missing for City is a big miss, and Van Dijk for LiverpoolGraeme Souness I would say Liverpool certainly are. Barring the anomaly at Aston Villa, they have put in some excellent performances with their full-backs, central midfield and deadly front three still the best in the business.However, I am yet to be convinced that City are the same beast though. I would say they are massively vulnerable this season for a top-two finish.This has been the worst start after six league games in Guardiola’s 12-season senior managerial career. His City side have won fewer games, scored fewer goals and conceded more goals than in any of his previous seasons in charge of Barcelona, Bayern Munich and City. 2:46 Liverpool have worrying let in 15 goals in their seven Premier League games this campaign, as many as they shipped in their first 26 top-flight matches last term. Indeed, it’s the most the Reds have conceded seven games into a league campaign since 1964-65, while only newly-promoted West Brom have let in more so far this season. With star man Virgil van Dijk missing from the visitors’ back-line this weekend for their toughest examination of the campaign, City must be fancying their chances of closing the gap on the leaders given both the potency of their forward line and their seemingly settled defence.And with City having won their last three home league games against Liverpool by an aggregate score of 11-1, the omens look good for Pep Guardiola’s team.So can Liverpool’s ever-changing back four – Klopp used his 36th different centre-back partnership in Tuesday’s 5-0 Champions League win at Atalanta – step up and blunt their hosts’ pacy attack?Have the tables turned?Analysis by Sky Sports’ Adam Smith:Liverpool epitomised defensive solidity for the majority of last season – at least up until lockdown, when the title was effectively secured – while City struggled to maintain their customary watertight ways.As the graphic below reveals, Van Dijk started every single league fixture at centre back and Joe Gomez started more than half of the games – with Dejan Lovren and Joel Matip each starting around one in five matches.But City were rocked by Aymeric Laporte’s long-term injury, forced to rotate and test numerous partnerships in the Frenchman’s absence – in fact, defensive midfielder Fernandinho was the most regular starter in the centre of defence.Fast forward to this campaign and there is far less consistency. The graphic below suggests Liverpool are once again the most consistent – but Van Dijk has been potentially ruled out for the remainder of this season.Similar to how Fernandinho stepped in for Laporte at City last term, Fabinho is now the Reds’ second most regular starter at the back from available players – although the makeshift defender misses out this weekend with injury – with Matip and Nat Phillips also featuring.For City, consistency appears to be emerging, with Ruben Dias settling in seamlessly since his summer switch from Benfica, while Laporte now his regular partner at the back – with fellow new boy Nathan Ake, Eric Garcia and John Stones all in reserve.So, defensively, Liverpool now face the same struggles City did last season: a long spell without their key lynchpin at the back and a period of experimentation to rekindle solidity.But Liverpool’s defensive frailties and risky high line were exposed before Van Dijk was injured, particularly after the 7-2 defeat against Aston Villa – which has led to a skewed season average of 2.1 goals conceded per game.Leeds and Aston Villa both targeted attacks down Liverpool’s right flank – namely against Trent Alexander-Arnold and Gomez – and the majority of the Reds’ goals conceded this term have come from areas marshalled by that pair. MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - JULY 02: Sky TV presenters Micah Richards and Roy Keane before the Premier League match between Manchester City and Liverpool FC at Etihad Stadium on July 2, 2020 in Manchester, United Kingdom. (Photo by Visionhaus)Image:Michah Richards, Roy Keane, Jamie Carragher and Jamie Neville will form the Sky Sports punditry line-up on Super Sunday 1:25 Roberto Firmino and Diogo Jota celebrate against Sheffield United 2:19 Dunne: City vs Liverpool almost a title deciderFormer City captain Richard Dunne says Sunday’s match against Liverpool is “massive” and expects it to have a significant impact on the Premier League title race. – Advertisement –last_img read more

In Pennsylvania, Trump Voter Fury Foretells a Nation Still Divided

first_imgPITTSBURGH — Like many Trump supporters, Dennis Tippie watched the steady tallying of votes that wiped away the president’s early lead in Pennsylvania, not with a faith that democracy was playing out but with dark and rising anger.“If he does end up with that number of electoral votes,’’ he said last week of Joseph R. Biden Jr., as Mr. Biden appeared on his way to winning the state and the White House, “he would have gained them through fraud, deception and simple criminality.’’- Advertisement – Updated Nov. 8, 2020, 8:34 a.m. ET She cited reports on social media and Fox News in support of her belief that the election was hijacked: black Sharpies given to Arizona voters made ballots invalid; Republican poll watchers in Philadelphia were not allowed to see the counting; Nancy Pelosi controls the company supplying election machines in Nevada.Those charges, some raised by the Trump campaign and the president himself, are distortions or outright conspiracies. Arizona election officials, for example, said black Sharpies do not invalidate a ballot, and a judge allowed observers in Philadelphia within six feet of ballot canvassing.But Ms. Bell, 32, who left a job this summer as an assistant in a doctor’s office, insisted that “Americans are being silenced” and made the baseless charge, “It’s a coup.” “I don’t believe his supporters will accept Biden’s win and wouldn’t even if it were a larger margin,” she added. “I have a feeling that all the Trump flags and signs will stay put until they disintegrate.”Interviews with voters in Pennsylvania, primarily Trump supporters, showed that Pennsylvania mirrored a nation still mired in tribal polarization. The country may be staggering forward as bitterly divided as ever. But others were not swayed by Mr. Biden’s appeals for unity after four divisive years.Jessica Bell, a Trump voter in suburban Philadelphia, said, “we are locked and loaded” because she sees the country headed for civil disorder.“I have my TV on the news 24/7,’’ Ms. Bell said. “I have my phone in my hand keeping up with social media. I’ve gotten about six hours of sleep since Monday. I’ve been watching very, very closely.” While Mr. Biden pulled off major successes in flipping Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania back to Democrats, and achieved the rare ouster of an incumbent, he did not notch the landslide demolishment of Mr. Trump that many Democrats had yearned for, despite leading in the popular vote by more than four million.Instead, Mr. Biden will inherit a country where many Americans are already backed into mutually hostile corners. It threatens the president-elect’s most basic campaign pledge: to unite Americans, to move past divisiveness as a governing strategy, to heal the “soul of the nation.”“I think we’re a long way from unifying the country, and I’m sure that Trump will continue to work on dividing us,” said Catherine Lalonde, the chairwoman of the Democratic Party in Butler County, a blue-collar region in western Pennsylvania.- Advertisement – Many Trump supporters, in turn, have no more generous view of Biden voters. “Most of them are morons,” said Lois Peters, a retired department store saleswoman in Westmoreland County.She was baffled that Biden voters could not see what she does, that the former vice president is mentally unfit to lead, and that a permissive, liberal Biden administration would give rise to violence and looting, as in the aftermath of some demonstrations against police shootings and abuse of Black people this spring.“That V.P. of Biden’s, oh my God, that woman is vicious,” Ms. Peters said of Ms. Harris. Then she caught herself. “Now I’m sounding vicious,” she said. She continued, “But I feel like that, I do.”Mary Jo DePalma, 60, who with her husband owns a jewelry store in Westmoreland County, said Democrats “seem to hate the president so bad” that she feared even Mr. Biden’s victory would not end their animosity toward the right. “It’s going to take a miracle to heal the nation,” she said. “I believe this started a long time ago, not just in the past three years.”“I hope two years from now, I’m dead wrong,” she added. “I want the country to be united. I want to continue to have faith in America.” But in red Pennsylvania — a vast swath from the northeast through the center to the southwest — Mr. Trump gave up very little ground. He won most rural and small-city counties, with their faded industrial economies, by landslides. It suggests that the message behind Trumpism — a combination of a promised industrial restoration and white grievances — has lost none of its appeal.“The people here still feel forgotten,” said Rob Gleason, a former chairman of the state Republican Party who lives in Johnstown, once a steel-making center, now bleeding population and struggling. “I can’t tell you how many people are saying Trump’s saying what I’ve been thinking all my life.”center_img – Advertisement – Four years ago, Cambria County, which includes Johnstown, went for Mr. Trump by 37 points. This year, the county favored him by an identical margin.“The Trump support here in the rural counties and out west, it will linger for two years,’’ Mr. Gleason said.He predicted that with Mr. Biden in the White House, Republican senators will block him at every turn, with an eye on gaining seats in the 2022 midterms.“You know the Senate won’t give him an inch,” he said.Democrats’ opinions of Trump supporters over the past five years have been driven partly by reporters’ treks to places like Johnstown, once a Democratic stronghold. Many Democrats view the president’s base as being in thrall to an authoritarian, energized by his racism and xenophobia, and unable to separate reality from his endless lies. No evidence exists of fraud, deception or criminality in the tallying of absentee ballots that piled up during the worst health crisis to hit the nation in a century. The state’s Republican-controlled legislature refused to allow those ballots to be processed as they came in, compounding the delays until the race was called on Saturday, making Mr. Biden the 46th president-elect.But Mr. Tippie, a retired truck driver who imbibed the president’s words partly through Fox News, agreed with Mr. Trump and his surrogates that the election had been stolen before their eyes. He lives in Nanty Glo, Pa., in the interior of the state that the so-called elites in Philadelphia sometimes call “Pennsyltucky.” To Mr. Tippie, Mr. Biden is “a total fool,” his running mate, Kamala Harris, is “a very scary woman,” and a Biden presidency would be both illegitimate and disastrous. But, he said, “I’m not resigned to him being president.”- Advertisement – Some Democrats were hopeful that with Mr. Trump out of office, the nation would return to a semblance of normalcy, that sowing division as government policy would end.In Erie County, which Mr. Trump had won in 2016 after it long voted Democratic, the president had raised expectations and hopes with his promises of restoring industry. But Mr. Trump lost Erie County this year, in part because of his mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic and the chaos he sowed, said Carl Anderson III, a Democrat on the county council.“His flaws have been exposed,” Mr. Anderson said. “There are elements of extremists and ideologues who will initially not accept the outcome and perhaps protest, but as the dust settles and reality emerges, normalcy will take over.”The nature of Mr. Biden’s narrow victory in Pennsylvania underscored the challenges he will now face. His vote count was driven by a surge of suburban voters: He improved on Mrs. Clinton’s 2016 margins in the vote-rich counties surrounding Philadelphia by notable margins, including by more than 7 percentage points in Chester County and nearly five points in Montgomery County, the state’s third most populous. Many of the president’s supporters were swayed by his blizzard of disinformation that illegal voting had been rampant and election officials were suppressing a Trump victory. They envision a Democratic White House that would kowtow to leftists, give up the fight against China and embolden rioters and looters.While Mr. Biden did slightly better in Pennsylvania’s many Trump counties than Hillary Clinton did in 2016, the margins did not tighten as much as Democrats expected or hoped for. With record turnout approaching 7 million in the state, Mr. Biden’s advantage over Mr. Trump was less than 1 percentage point as of Saturday night — a far cry from Barack Obama’s victories of more than 10 points in 2008 and more than five in 2012.Certainly, there were Trump voters ready to accept the results as fair and to move forward.Chace Torres, 37, was making grilled-cheese sandwiches for his family in Northampton County on Thursday night. At the time, Mr. Trump’s lead in the state, once close to 700,000, was ebbing away as mailed-in ballots were counted.“I think the Trump supporters are going to suck it up and move on,” said Mr. Torres, a union railroad worker. “We’re not going to run out tomorrow and loot and riot. We’re going to put our heads down, go to work, feed our children, take care of the country like we always do.”last_img read more

How Dustin Johnson has failed to turn 54-hole major leads into wins | Golf News

first_imgMost of the field criticised the course set-up during the third day, where Johnson needed 38 putts on his way to a seven-over 77 and slipped into a four-way tie for the lead going into Sunday, with the American continuing to experience a cold putter on the final day.Johnson missed four putts from inside eight feet and took 35 blows of the flat stick during a frustrating level-par 70, with a final-hole birdie only enough to finish third and two strokes adrift of Brooks Koepka. Dustin Johnson finished joint runner-up alongside Louis Oosthuizen Dustin Johnson finished joint runner-up alongside Louis Oosthuizen

Survey: a third of people think flu vaccine causes flu

first_imgDec 20, 2004 (CIDRAP News) – In one of several reports on influenza vaccine last week, federal health officials reported that about a third of people who responded to a survey last winter thought that the vaccine caused flu.The random telephone survey of 2,231 adults in 11 states showed that 32.8% thought they could acquire flu from the vaccine, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported in the Dec 17 issue of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. The survey was conducted last February.Most of the flu vaccine used in the United States is an injectable vaccine containing inactivated (killed) flu virus. Also available this year is an intranasal vaccine, FluMist, involving a weakened, live virus. The injectable vaccine is approved for those aged 6 months and up, whereas FluMist is approved only for healthy people between the ages of 5 and 49 years.In a news teleconference the day the survey findings came out, CDC Director Julie Gerberding, MD, sought to dispel the notion that flu vaccine can cause the illness it is intended to prevent.”There’s absolutely no information to even suggest that could be the case,” she said, as quoted in the conference transcript. “Based on the kind of vaccine production and experience we’ve had, we know that flu vaccine does not cause flu; at least injectable flu vaccine does not cause flu. But there’s a disproportionate number of people in the old age groups who are afraid that it does.”Gerberding made the remarks while discussing the varying levels of flu vaccine coverage for people in vaccination priority groups, including the elderly, chronically ill, and children aged 6 to 23 months. According to another, larger CDC survey, states where fewer than 30% of residents received flu shots between September and November of this year included Arizona, Oklahoma, Illinois, Florida, South Carolina, Vermont, and Maine. Overall, the survey showed, 34.8% of people in priority groups were vaccinated during that period.”Where states have large numbers of elderly people, there is a disproportionate reluctance to get vaccine because of fears of the vaccine itself,” Gerberding said. “So I’m trying to send a very strong message today that flu vaccine does not cause flu, and if you are 65 or older, please get the shot.”Her comments came as the CDC reported that the nation was expected to have enough doses to meet the demand from priority groups this season and that some states had extra vaccine.The February survey also showed that 82% of the respondents were willing to wear a mask if they visited a healthcare provider because of a flu-like illness, but only 8% of those who had visited a provider for that reason had actually been asked to wear a mask.In other findings, about 71% of respondents said they believed flu vaccine was “somewhat or very effective,” and 64% were willing to vaccinate their children against flu.CDC. Experiences with influenza-like illness and attitudes regarding influenza prevention—United States, 2004-04 influenza season. MMWR 2004 Dec 17;53(49):1156-8 [Full text]See also:Transcript of Dec 16 CDC news conference read more

Iraq confirms human bird flu case, suspects more

first_imgJan 30, 2006 (CIDRAP News) – Updated information on a teen-aged girl’s death means that Iraq has joined the unenviable fraternity of nations hit by human cases of H5N1 influenza.The girl’s name was Shengeen Abdul Qadr, according to a New York Times story today. Her age has been variously reported as 14 or 15; she lived in the village of Raniya in northern Iraq, about 60 miles from Turkey, the Associated Press (AP) reported. Initial tests led authorities to deny she had avian flu.The story of her illness suggested a strong link, however. The girl touched a dead bird infected with the H5N1 virus on Jan 14, according to a statement by the Iraq health minister reported in the Times, and died three days later.The girl’s preliminary diagnosis of H5N1 was made over the weekend, following testing at a US military laboratory in Cairo, Egypt, the Times reported. Avian flu is also suspected in the case of the girl’s uncle, who lived in the same house and died Jan 27 after suffering symptoms like hers, according to the AP.Samples from the girl and her uncle will be tested in Britain, Reuters reported.A Reuters report from Geneva today said Iraq is investigating a possible third human case of H5N1 infection. That case involves a 54-year-old woman who was hospitalized on Jan 18 with respiratory symptoms and is still being treated, World Health Organization (WHO) officials told Reuters. She is from the same area in northern Iraq, near the city of Sulaimaniya, as the girl and her uncle.In addition, the Times quoted health minister Dr. Abdul Mutaleb Mohamed Ali as saying that two other people in other parts of Iraq had been tested for H5N1 infection, but the story gave no results or details in those suspected cases.Confirmation of the teen-aged girl’s infection prior to discovery of poultry outbreaks in Iraq suggests that H5N1 may be spreading stealthily, under the radar of existing surveillance systems, the newspaper noted.”We shouldn’t be seeing human cases first, and this points to serious gaps in surveillance,” WHO spokeswoman Maria Cheng said in that story. “But given the situation in Turkey, I don’t think we’d be surprised to see isolated human cases in surrounding areas.”Kurdish officials in northern Iraq today quarantined four villages over concerns that birds and people in the area may be infected, the Times reported. Some 150 teams of people were canvassing the area to cull birds.Other avian flu news came from two previously unaffected places—Cyprus and Saudi Arabia—and from Hong Kong, where the H5N1 virus first made news in 1997.A bird in northern Cyprus has been confirmed to have H5N1 infection, Reuters reported Jan 29. Cyprus is an island about 75 miles south of Turkey.Ill birds were found near Famagusta on the east coast of Cyprus on Jan 23, Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported Jan 29. About 1,500 poultry have been culled in the village since then, and stringent border checks are taking place between the Turkish north of Cyprus and its Greek southern region.In Saudi Arabia, 37 falcons were culled after five of the valuable sporting birds tested positive for H5 antibodies, according to an AFP story on Jan 28. Tests to determine the neuraminidase (N) type were under way, the story said.The falcons were boarded at a veterinary center in Riyadh. After the testing was done in the course of a ministry team inspection, the 37 falcons were killed and burned, AFP reported.Last November, neighboring Kuwait announced the finding of a flamingo infected with H5N1 and an imported falcon with H5N2.In Hong Kong, authorities have confirmed that an oriental magpie robin found dead in a privately owned hut in the Sha Tau Kok area near the Chinese border had H5N1, Reuters reported yesterday. The species is common in Hong Kong and often kept as a pet. A wild magpie robin in Hong Kong tested positive for H5N1 earlier this month.last_img read more

DNA vaccine protects mice from 1918 flu virus

first_imgOct 20, 2006 (CIDRAP News) – Government researchers reported this week that they have developed a vaccine that protects mice from the deadly 1918 “Spanish flu” virus, demonstrating that immunization against it is possible. The study shows, he said, “It’s in fact reasonably straightforward to develop the vaccine strategy that can handle the virus pretty readily, and by doing that it gives us an opportunity to ask questions about how that occurs from the mechanistic point of view.” Mice that were injected with vaccines containing the plasmids showed both cellular and humoral immune responses, in the form of T-cells and neutralizing antibodies, according to the report. To assess how the vaccine worked to protect the mice, the researchers depleted one group of vaccinated mice of T-cells and then dosed them with the virus; they all survived. Further, the team transferred antibodies, in the form of purified immunoglobulin-G (Ig-G), from vaccinated mice into unvaccinated mice and then exposed the latter to the virus. Eight of 10 of these mice survived. In contrast, mice that received Ig-G from an unvaccinated control group all died. Nabel said he thinks there’s a “remote chance” that the 1918 virus could once again infect humans, perhaps through a lab accident. Some experts think that people might have some natural protection from it because of past exposure to H1 viruses, he added. The Spanish flu pandemic of 1918-19 killed as many as 100 million people worldwide. In recent years scientists have reconstructed the 1918 virus by analyzing samples from frozen bodies of flu victims in Alaska and from an Army collection of autopsy specimens. They have studied its effect on mice in an effort to learn why it was so lethal. “By building upon earlier research where scientists successfully reconstructed the 1918 pandemic flu strain, Dr. Nabel and his colleagues have demonstrated that this virus is vulnerable to intervention,” NIAID Director Dr. Anthony S. Fauci commented in a news release. “Antibodies confer all of the protection against the virus, we learned from the study,” said Nabel. As in mice, immunity in humans probably would depend on antibodies, but the possibility of a role for cellular immunity in humans can’t be excluded, the PNAS article states. Nabel, director of the NIAID’s Vaccine Research Center, told CIDRAP News, “There has always been this question, Was there something special about this virus in terms of its ability to evade immunity and resist what have become traditional approaches to vaccination? Do we have to do something differently to get a good vaccine?” The pseudoviruses were incubated with blood samples from immunized and nonimmunized mice. The researchers found that the antibodies from the immunized mice neutralized the pseudoviruses, while the samples from the nonimmunized mice had no effect, the NIAID said. To test the 1918 vaccine’s antibody-inducing power while limiting the risk to lab workers, the scientists created artificial viruses, or “pseudoviruses,” by grafting the 1918 virus HA onto a weakened form of lentivirus (the virus family that includes HIV). The scientists, led by Gary J. Nabel, MD, PhD, of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), created a vaccine using a piece of DNA from the 1918 virus, called H1N1. Mice that were injected with the vaccine and later exposed to the 1918 virus all survived, according to the report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).center_img In addition, the researchers report that they devised a new technique for identifying antibodies that can neutralize dangerous influenza viruses, using an approach that reduces lab workers’ exposure to those viruses. “This method was also effective in identifying neutralizing antibodies to the H5N1 avian flu virus and could be used to screen for monoclonal antibodies that may be used as an antiviral treatment,” Nabel said in the NIAID release. The study also showed that the vaccine induced the production of protective antibodies and that these antibodies could be used to protect unvaccinated mice from the virus. To create a vaccine, the team created plasmids, or short strands of DNA, carrying genes for the 1918 virus’s hemagglutinin (HA) protein, the surface protein that enables the virus to attach to and enter host cells, according to an NIAID news release. (In contrast, conventional flu vaccines typically use killed whole flu viruses or live but weakened viruses rather than small pieces of viral DNA.) The researchers created one plasmid reflecting the normal (wild) form of the virus’s HA and one that was modified to represent a weakened form. The study provides “proof of concept” that immunization against the 1918 virus is possible, but it doesn’t mean that a human vaccine for the virus would have to be a DNA vaccine, according to Nabel. “The other advantage of this new assay is that it’s much more sensitive than the previous method of detecting antibodies: hemagglutination inhibition or microneutralization,” Nabel told CIDRAP News. “And there’s a very good correlation so far between what we see in this assay and the traditional ones.” He also said the technique is straightforward enough to be widely used. “I think the one scientific piece of information is that we certainly can generate a vaccine that would be protective, and we know how it works,” he said. “Once we know the mechanism, that it’s antibody-mediated, it tells us that there are many different ways to get this type of antibody vaccine,” he said. “I think there’s no need for us to rely on a DNA vaccine in humans. It should be applicable to a variety of platforms.” The article says that DNA vaccines generally have been much less effective in humans than in rodents. Two weeks after vaccination, in a Biosafety Level 3 lab at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the vaccinated mice and unvaccinated controls were given large intranasal doses of the 1918 virus. All the vaccinated mice survived, while the control mice all died. Kong W, Hood C, Yang A, et al. Protective immunity to lethal challenge of the 1918 pandemic influenza virus by vaccination. Proc Nat Acad Sci 2006;103(43):15987-91 [Full text]last_img read more

Australia approves CSL’s H5N1 vaccine

first_imgJun 17, 2008 (CIDRAP News) – Australian authorities have approved an H5N1 avian influenza vaccine made by the Australian-based pharmaceutical company CSL Limited, giving the country a home-grown defensive tool if the virus evolves into a pandemic strain.Meanwhile, Swiss-based Novartis has withdrawn its application for a European license for its own H5N1 vaccine, saying it couldn’t meet a deadline to supply additional clinical data requested by regulators, the European Medicines Agency (EMEA) announced yesterday.CSL announced today the approval of its vaccine, Panvax, by Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration. The Australian government had provided more than $7 million to help develop the vaccine, according to a report from the Courier Mail, a Brisbane newspaper.Panvax can be used only when the Australian government officially declares that a flu pandemic is under way, CSL said in a news release.”In the event of a pandemic, CSL will rapidly gear up to manufacturing levels that will ensure all Australians have access to safe, effective coverage against avian flu,” said Mary Sontrop, general manager of CSL Biotherapies, in the news release.The release quoted Australian Health Minister Nicola Roxon as saying, “This places Australia in an excellent position in terms of its preparedness to manage an avian flu pandemic should one arise and should reassure all Australians.”Other H5N1 vaccines that have been licensed so far include a GlaxoSmithKline product that was approved by the European Union in May and a Sanofi Pasteur vaccine that was endorsed by the US Food and Drug Administration in April 2007. The US government is stockpiling Sanofi’s vaccine.CSL said the immunogenicity and safety of Panvax have been tested in three clinical trials, involving adults aged 18 to 64 and adults older than 64. The vaccine, given in two doses, was found to be safe and well tolerated.The CSL statement listed no details about the composition of the vaccine. But a chart of clinical trials on the Web site of the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations says it is a split-virus vaccine that is produced in eggs and is used with an adjuvant. Experts say that with egg-based production, it will take 4 to 6 months after the identification of a pandemic flu strain to develop and launch mass production of a precisely matched vaccine.Roxon said Australia already has 1.2 million doses of a foreign-made vaccine on hand, according to the Courier Mail report.Novartis withdrawalThe EMEA said Novartis withdrew its application for licensing of Aflunov because it could not meet a deadline for supplying more clinical data requested by the agency’s Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP).”The CHMP had requested additional data because a good clinical practice (GCP) inspection showed that the main study had not been conducted in compliance with GCP, so that its results could not be considered reliable for use in the evaluation of the vaccine,” the EMEA statement said.Novartis had submitted its application in November 2006. The EMEA said withdrawal of the application does not preclude a reapplication later.See also: Jun 17 CSL news release read more

US to give FAO $44 million for avian flu control

first_imgNov 11, 2008 (CIDRAP News) – The United States will contribute another $44.4 million to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO’s) campaign to prevent and control avian influenza, the FAO announced today.The top recipients of the money will be Egypt, Indonesia, and Vietnam, the FAO said in a news release. Other beneficiaries will be Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, India, Laos, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, and the regions of South Asia, West Africa, and Central Africa.”Although many countries have successfully managed to get avian influenza under control, the virus remains present in ten countries and is mainly entrenched in countries like Egypt, Indonesia and Vietnam,” FAO Chief Veterinary Officer Joseph Domenech said in the release. “The additional US funds will enable FAO to continue its work in support of countries that are still struggling to get the virus under control.”The contribution brings total US support for the FAO’s avian flu program to $112.8 million, the agency reported. The United States is the leading donor of funds for the program, which operates in 96 countries, the statement said.The FAO said funds contributed to its avian flu program total about $282.7 million. Other major donors are Sweden, Australia, Japan, the European Commission, the United Kingdom, Canada, Germany, the World Bank, the UN Development Programme, the Asian Development Bank, and France.The FAO announcement comes less than a month after the United States, at a donor conference in Egypt, pledged $320 million for international avian and pandemic flu preparedness and prevention. That pledge brought the total of delivered and promised US funds for avian flu to $949 million, the US State Department said at the time.A report released by the State Department in October gave a breakdown of the $629 million in US funds pledged through December 2007 for avian and pandemic flu efforts. It listed the following sums:$233 million for bilateral activities, including $51 million in bilateral cooperative agreements with national influenza centers and other laboratories in 39 countries$128.5 million for regional programs, including support for global disease-detection sites$102 million to international organizations, including $42 million to the World Health Organization and $10 million to build human vaccine production capacity in developing nations$66.5 million for stockpiles of nonpharmaceutical supplies, including 1.6 million personal protection kits, about 250 lab specimen collection kits, and 15,000 decontamination kits$66 million for international technical and humanitarian assistance and international coordination$17.5 million for wild-bird surveillance and international research, including the US launch of the Global Avian Influenza Network for Surveillance$15.5 million for global communications and outreachSee also: Nov 11 FAO news release 27 CIDRAP News story “Donors meeting nets funds for avian flu fight”October 2008 US State Department report “Avian and Pandemic Influenza: The Global Response”last_img read more

FDA starts criminal probe in Salmonella outbreak

first_img The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) today said the case count in the outbreak has risen to 529 in 43 states, an increase of 28 since the last official count on Jan 25. Investigators have found 16 case clusters (two or more cases), all of them in institutions that served King Nut peanut butter, one of the brands under which PCA peanut butter is sold, the report says. But he added, “If it’s chopped peanuts or peanut paste, an ingredient that going to be processed by someone else, it’s probably not as clear-cut an issue whether that would be an adulterant or not, depending on whether the subsequent processing includes a ‘kill’ step.” J. Leek Associates, also known as JLA Global, has a lab in Blakely, Ga., according to the company web site. The announcement comes 3 days after the FDA first reported that PCA had sold peanut products that had initially tested positive for Salmonella. In an inspection report published on Jan 28, the FDA said that in 12 cases over the past 18 months, initial tests had detected Salmonella in various PCA peanut products. In each case the company had the product retested and then sold it after the second test was negative, according to the FDA. The US House Energy and Commerce Committee announced plans to hold a hearing on the outbreak on Feb 11. Criminal investigation”I can confirm that the FDA Office of Criminal Investigation is involved with the Justice Department in an investigation of Peanut Corp. of America,” Stephen Sundlof, DVM, head of the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN), said at a press teleconference this afternoon. The FDA said “boutique brands” of peanut butter could be contaminated if they contain PCA peanuts, though it continued to say there is no evidence that any national peanut butter brands in retail stores are contaminated. The FDA said a shipment of chopped peanuts from the PCA facility in Blakely, Ga., was rejected by Canada last April because it contained metal fragments, which led to an inspection of the facility in June. In a Jan 28 statement, the company said, “PCA uses only two highly reputable labs for product testing and they are widely used by the industry and employ good manufacturing practices. PCA categorically denies any allegations that the company sought favorable results from any lab in order to ship its products.” See also: The FDA’s investigation prompted PCA this week to expand its previous product recall to cover all products produced at the Blakely plant since Jan 1, 2007. The recall covers oil-roasted and dry-roasted peanuts, granulated peanuts, peanut meal, peanut butter, and peanut paste. The company also said that during the FDA’s recent 2-week investigation of the Blakely plant, the company took corrective action “where possible.” The firm added, “PCA does not agree with all the observations noted [in the FDA report], and there are some inaccuracies.” Sundlof today repeated the advice to consumers to check the FDA Web site (see link below) to learn what products have been recalled or will be recalled in coming days. Consumers can also call a CDC hotline at 1-800-CDC-INFO or check manufacturer Web sites or phone lines as listed on product labels. Craig Hedberg, PhD, a foodborne disease expert at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, said today that Salmonella in a ready-to-eat product such as peanut butter is clearly an adulterant that makes the product unfit for consumption, but in peanut products to be used as ingredients in other foods, the situation may be less clear. “It turned out that the peanuts had metal fragments in them, and under FDA instructions, PCA destroyed it so it couldn’t enter commerce,” Sundlof said. “FDA inspected the facility so it couldn’t happen again.” Given the organism’s heat resistance, “some temperatures used in processing peanut butter or paste in other products might be inadequate to eliminate Salmonella introduced after the initial peanut roasting,” the CDC said. A heat-resistant pathogenIn a report today, the CDC said peanuts for peanut butter are usually roasted at 350°F, hot enough to quickly kill any Salmonella. But in high-fat, low-water foods like peanut butter, Salmonella can withstand temperatures as high as 194°F for 50 minutes, the agency said in today’s issue of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. The AP story said an FDA report had said the peanuts contained a “filthy, putrid or decomposed substance, or is otherwise unfit for food.” Today FDA officials said that’s the official language the agency uses when food is contaminated with metal fragments. “It’s an open investigation at this time and we can’t talk at all about the investigation,” he said. In a statement, the two Democrats said they are inviting officials from PCA, FDA, the Georgia Department of Agriculture, and two private laboratories: Deibel Labs Inc. and J Leek Associates Inc. Waxman called the situation at the PCA facility “alarming,” adding, “It shows major gaps in our food safety system.” Charles Deibel of Deibel Labs told Congress yesterday that his lab occasionally did some testing for PCA, according to an AP report published today. Deibel said his lab tested some Salmonella cultures that came from a J. Leek Associates facility to identify the speicifc strain present, according to the AP story. Jan 30, 2009 (CIDRAP News) – The US Food and Drug Administration said today it is starting a criminal investigation of Peanut Corp. of America (PCA), the company whose peanut processing plant in Georgia has been linked with a Salmonella outbreak involving more than 500 cases nationwide. Sundlof mentioned the possibility of contamination in “boutique brands” of peanut butter. “With the expanded recall covering dry and oil-roasted peanuts, we certainly recognize the possibility that those nuts may be purchased and ground by certain stores and boutiques into their own brand,” though no national brands have been implicated, he said. House committee hearing setRep. Henry A. Waxman, D-Calif., and Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich., today announced their plan to hold a hearing on the Salmonella outbreak on Feb 11. Waxman is chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, while Stupak chairs the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee. “If they identified Salmonella in their [peanut butter] product, it shouldn’t have been shipped,” he told CIDRAP News. “If they’re arguing that the intitial [test] results were not valid for some reason, they have to justify why it’s not valid.” Jan 29 MMWR early release report on multistate Salmonella outbreak Deibel testified that manufacturers “can’t retest away a positive result,” the AP reported. The company sells peanut butter to institutions and food service operations but not retail stores. It also sells peanut products to food companies for processing into a variety of other products, such as crackers, cookies, candy, ice cream, and pet food. The CDC said today that 54 companies using PCA ingredients had recalled at least 431 products containing peanut butter as of Jan 28. In response to questions, Veneziano said the episode led to an inspection of the Blakely plant by Georgia officials on Jun 10, 2008. He said the inspectors did not look at “other issues” besides those raised by that specific contaminated shipment. House Energy and Commerce committee release on hearings The outbreak strain is actually two very closely related strains of Salmonella enterica serotype Typhimurium, the report notes. But it says an unopened container of King Nut peanut butter in Minnesota recently yielded Salmonella Tennessee that matched the strain in the multistate outbreak linked to ConAgra peanut butter in 2006-07. No increase in Salmonella Tennessee infections has been seen recently. Metal found in chopped peanutsAn Associated Press (AP) report published today prompted Sundlof’s revelation of the PCA shipment of chopped peanuts that was rejected by Canada because it contained metal fragments. Hedberg noted that Salmonella is a known risk with raw chicken, so food processors recognize they have to deal with it. However, “Peanut products don’t fall in the category that we’d necessarily assume could be contaminated with Salmonella,” he said. If there’s a risk of contamination, the firm receiving the product should be warned so they can handle it properly, he added. Domenic Veneziano, director of import operations in the FDA Office of Regulatory Affairs, said the tainted product was shipped back to the PCA facility on Apr 11, 2008. “They tried to recondition and clean up the shipment and it couldn’t be done,” he said. “As a result, working with FDA it was decided it was best to destroy the product,” which was done on Nov 17. The plant implicated in the 2006-07 outbreak is about 70 miles from Blakely, the report says, adding, “The relationship of the S Tennessee finding to the current outbreak is being investigated further.” The CDC report, which gives a detailed account of the outbreak investigation, says 116 of the 529 people sickened in the outbreak were hospitalized, and the number of deaths possibly related to it remains at 8. The most recent known illness onset was Jan 16. Ohio has the most cases, with 72, followed by California with 68 and Minnesota with 36. The FDA announcement came amid a flurry of other developments related to the outbreak: The FDA has inspected PCA facilities in Texas and Virginia and found no evidence of a connection to the outbreak, said the FDA’s Michael Rogers. FDA Salmonella outbreak update page With the expanded recall, roughly another 350 firms that bought products from PCA may be affected, in addition to 77 companies identified previously, said Jack Guzewich, deputy director of the Office of Food Defense Communication and Emergency Response at CFSAN. ‘Boutique brands’ of peanut butterIn other comments at today’s news briefing:last_img read more

US offers schools advice on teaching kids kept home by flu

first_imgAug 25, 2009 (CIDRAP News) – If schoolchildren have to stay home for extended periods because of H1N1 flu, there are options for making sure they keep up their studies, the US Department of Education said yesterday. The recommendations aim to help schools maintain studies for small groups of students who might be sent home because they are at high risk for flu complications or for large numbers affected by school dismissals. See also: The recommendations were announced by Education Secretary Arne Duncan along with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, city and school officials from Washington, DC, and officials from the private-sector partners, according to the press release. The six-page document lists several options for getting learning materials to students at home: Live class meetings conducted via conference calls or webinars. The Department of Education said it is working with various private-sector partners to make resources such as pre-printed lesson plans, conference call services, webinar support, podcasting, and virtual classrooms more affordable and accessible for schools. Companies and groups involved in the effort include Google, Apple, Microsoft, Scholastic Inc., Pearson, Curriki, and the International Association for K-12 Online Learning. Hard-copy packets Distance-learning recommendations Recordings of class sessions, provided via podcasts, television, DVD, or onlinecenter_img Aug 24 news release about distance learning recommendations Questions and answers on the recommendations Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance on school responses to flu for the 2009-10 school year Online materials The document also provides information on challenges that districts may face in setting up various distance learning options and lists some potential resources and partnerships that may help. For example, the North American Council for Online Learning is cited as a resource that can help schools post materials on the Internet. The recommendations suggest that teachers prepare take-home assignments in advance for distribution to affected students and use the Internet and telephones to post homework materials, conduct classes, and keep in touch with students and parents, the department said in a press release. Teacher check-ins via telephone, e-mail, or Web conferencing The agency released a list of distance-learning options and resources that schools could use to maintain “continuity of learning” during flu outbreaks, ranging from hard-copy materials to webinars and online courses, along with practical issues and obstacles those options might entail.last_img read more