Feb 3, 2006 (CIDRAP News) – A new test developed by federal experts offers preliminary detection of H5 avian influenza in human patients in about 4 hours, compared with 2 to 3 days for other methods, government officials announced today.”This laboratory test is a major step forward in our ability to more quickly detect cases of H5 avian influenza and provides additional safeguards to protect public health,” Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt said in a news release.The test is to be used on respiratory samples from patients suspected of having avian flu on the basis of severe illness and possible exposure to sick birds, Dr. Steve Gutman of the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) Center for Devices and Radiological Health said at a news teleconference this afternoon.The FDA announced its approval of the test, following an unusually quick 2-week review. The test, called the Influenza A/H5 (Asian Lineage) Virus Real-time RT-PCR Primer and Probe Set, was developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).Because of the concern that H5N1 avian flu may lead to a human flu pandemic, “FDA acted quickly to evaluate and expedite CDC’s request for approval of this test,” Acting FDA Commissioner Andrew von Eschenbach stated in the news release. He said the rapid review did not compromise the quality of the review process.Gutman said the test yields “a presumptive not a definitive positive.” The test determines only the hemagglutinin (H) type of the virus; further testing is needed to confirm the result and identify the neuraminidase (N) type, officials said.”The test provides preliminary results on suspected H5 influenza samples within four hours once a sample arrives at the lab and testing begins,” the news release states. “Previous testing technology would require at least two to three days to render results.”The CDC will distribute the test to its Laboratory Response Network (LRN), consisting of about 140 labs throughout the country, many of them public health labs, officials said.When LRN labs using the test get positive or equivocal results, they will send the sample to the CDC for confirmatory testing, which will take about 2 to 4 hours once the sample arrives, said Stephan Monroe, acting director of the CDC’s Viral and Rickettsial Diseases Division.Gutman said a negative result from the test does not conclusively rule out the possibility of avian flu. “It’s not intended for general screening of people in the general population; it’s for people with severe respiratory illness who might’ve been exposed to sick birds,” he added.The CDC is sharing the test with the World Health Organization (WHO) and its collaborating labs, which so far have included labs in the United Kingdom, Japan, and Australia, officials said.Concerning use of the test by other labs outside the United States, Monroe said the CDC would distribute the technology only to labs that the CDC judges to have the technical capacity and biosafety measures to use the test properly.The CDC is not charging other labs for the test and is not making money on it, Monroe said. So far the test has been strictly a government-funded project, he said.CDC Director Dr. Julie Gerberding commented in the news release, “The use of this test by laboratories that are part of the LRN, in conjunction with other laboratory testing and clinical observations, may enable earlier detection of influenza cases caused by this specific virus and allow public health agencies to investigate sources of infection and more quickly respond with control and prevention activities.”See also:Feb 3 FDA news releasehttp://archive.hhs.gov/news/press/2006pres/20060203.htmlFeb 3 early release MMWR articlehttp://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm55e203a1.htm?s_cid=mm55e203a1_e
(REUTERS) – Sri Lanka’s Kaushal Silva roared back into form with a century in the final Test against Australia yesterday, boosting the hosts’ hopes of a 3-0 sweep against the world number one team at the Sinhalese Sports Club ground in Colombo.A day after the opener split the webbing on his left hand which needed six stitches and dropped down to number three, Silva struck 115 as Sri Lanka reached 312 for eight at stumps on the penultimate day of the Test to lead by 288 runs.Dhananjaya de Silva was batting on 44 with Suranga Lakmal yet to open his account at the other end as Australia’s hopes of a pride-salvaging win looked rather dim against the hosts’ formidable spin attack on a final-day track.The day belonged to Silva who, after scores of 4, 7, 5, 2 and 0 in the last five innings, cover-drove an Adam Voges full toss to bring up his third Test fifty in 251 balls.The relief reflected in his animated celebration as the 30-year-old took off his helmet, swung his bat and roared in delight before being hugged by batting partner Dinesh Chandimal.Resuming on 22 for one, Sri Lanka lost three wickets in the morning session before the 58-run stand between Silva and home captain Angelo Mathews (26) steadied the home ship.Overnight batsman Dimuth Karunaratne (22) fell to a clever piece of stumping by Peter Nevill off the bowling of Nathan Lyon who trapped Silva leg-before in his next over but the batsman used the review option to get the umpire’s decision overturned.Kusal Perera (24) fell to Jon Holland while Mitchell Starc dismissed Kusal Mendis (18) leg-before to claim his 24th wicket in an otherwise spinner-dominated series.Mathews fell to Lyon (4-123) in the second session but Silva added 90 runs with Chandimal (43) for the sixth wicket to consolidate Sri Lanka’s position.Holland ended Silva’s 269-ball stay with Steve Smith taking the catch in slip as the batsman walked out to a standing ovation.SRI LANKA 1st innings 355 (D. Chandimal 132, D. de Silva 129; M. Starc 5-63) AUSTRALIA 1st innings 379 (S. Marsh 130, S. Smith 119, M. Marsh 53; R. Herath 6-81) SRI LANKA 2nd innings (o/night: 22-1)D. Perera lbw b Starc 8D. Karunaratne stp. Nevill b Lyon 22K. Silva c Smith b Holland 115K. Perera c Nevill b Holland 24K. Mendis lbw b Starc 18A. Mathews c Smith b Lyon 26D. Chandimal lbw b Lyon 43D. de Silva not out 44R. Herath c Smith b Lyon 5S. Lakmal not out 0Extras: (b-4, lb-3) 7Total: (for 8 wickets, 95 overs) 312Fall of wickets: 1-8, 2-44, 3-69, 4-98, 5-156, 6-246, 7-276, 8-297.Bowling: M. Starc 17-4-58-2, N. Lyon 37-7-123-4, J. Holland 20-4-72-2, J. Hazlewood 12-2-16-0, S. Smith 2-0-13-0, M. Marsh 3-1-3-0, M. Henriques 2-0-9-0, A. Voges 2-0-11-0.
The Ghana Football Association has ruled out appointing Stephen Keshi as national team coach after he expressed his desire to take the job.Keshi was sacked as coach of Nigeria earlier this month, having stayed on in the role on a non-contract basis since the World Cup.The 52-year-old went on record to say he would relish the prospect of replacing Kwesi Appiah, whose Ghana tenure ended by mutual consent last month.GFA vice-president Fred Crentsil has reacted by stating that three candidates have already been interviewed for the vacancy and Keshi is not in the running.”Unfortunately, we are not considering any other names and so Stephen Keshi – who we respect a lot – will not be able to make it,” Crentsil told supersport.com.”We opened a window for applications and it’s been closed for some time now. We’ve even shortlisted and interviewed three coaches and we are in the last stages of sending a report to the FA Executive Committee.” Swiss coach Michel Pont, Spaniard Juan Ignacio Martinez and former Chelsea manager Avram Grant are reportedly the three men in contention for the Ghana roleKeshi had told Happy FM in Ghana: “I would love to coach Ghana. Having the opportunity will be great.”I have not spoken officially to anyone but I will love to lead this team.”Of course if I get the chance to coach the team, the target will be the Africa Cup of Nations. The country has not won the title in a long time and I know Ghanaians are desirous of winning the cup.”But like I said, we have to look at getting the job first. I want to coach the team if the opportunity is there.”