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
“We have negotiated with the potential gas buyer, and we expect first gas in 2023,” said Medco chief operating officer Ronald Gunawan at a press conference on Tuesday.Read also: Medco drills new gas well offshore in South Natuna SeaSKK Migas noted in a statement that Medco’s contract for the block would expire in 2027. The publicly-listed company took over the block from Ophir Energy after acquiring the latter in 2019.The operation of Paus Biru – meaning “blue whale” in Indonesian – will raise Indonesia’s gas output, which stood at 6,830 mmscfd in June, as the country aims to become a major gas producer in the Asia Pacific region by 2030. On Thursday, the publicly listed company reported that it had booked $20 million in losses in the first quarter, a reversal from $28.05 million of net profit recorded in the same period last year. The loss occurred as profits from the oil and gas and power segments were offset by losses at mining firm PT Amman Mineral Nusa Tenggara (AMNT) as development on phase 7 progresses, the company wrote in a statement.Its capital expenditure (capex) stood at $67 million in this year’s first three months, down from $130 million spent in the last quarter of 2019 following the early completion of the development phase 4B of Bualuang in Thailand in December and deferrals and reductions in the 2020 capital program. Of the first quarter’s capex, $51 million was for the oil and gas segment, while $16 million was for the power segment.”While commodity prices and capital markets have begun to recover, Medco has responded quickly with protocols to ensure the well-being of our staff and over $200 million of expenditure deferrals and reductions to preserve cash and support our balance sheet,” Medco CEO Robert Lorato said in the statement. “Despite reducing our capital program, I am pleased to see successful exploration discoveries in both Natuna and Ijen.”Medco reported a successful exploration drilling program in South Natuna Sea Block B PSC following commercial discoveries in both the Bronang-2 and Kaci-2 wells. The wells tested with high-quality dry gas and have opened up a new play with several future opportunities, it said, while two further exploration wells will be drilled in Block B this year.The recent geothermal exploration in Blawan Ijen, East Java, also led to the discovery of a steam reservoir at the Ijen 6-1 well.Read also: Indonesia aims to double gas production by 2030 with major projects in pipelineMedco reported oil and gas production of 101 million barrels of oil equivalent per day (mboepd) in the first quarter, up 10 percent from the corresponding period last year, but down 5 percent from the fourth quarter of 2019 due to the extended shutdown at Block A Aceh in the first three months of 2020.It expects to produce 100-105 mboepd oil and gas throughout this year and book power sales of 2,600 GWh with total capex of $240 million.”The world and our industry continue to adapt to these extraordinarily challenging times caused by the coronavirus pandemic and low oil price environment,” said president director Hilmi Panigoro. “Medco will continue to focus on safeguarding the well-being of our people and minimizing the impact on our business as we continue to deliver on our commitment to stakeholders.”Stocks of Medco, traded at Indonesia Stock Exchange (IDX) with the code MEDC, rose 1.79 percent on Thursday morning trading as the main gauge, the Jakarta Composite Index (JCI), slipped 0.1 percent.Topics : Oil and gas producer PT Medco Energi Internasional has secured government approval for the development of the gassy Paus Biru Field in the Madura Strait off the coast of East Java as it reports a loss in the first quarter.Medco’s $80 million development plan for the field, located within the Sampang Block, was approved by the Upstream Oil and Gas Special Regulatory Taskforce (SKK Migas) on July 30.The plan includes drilling a new gas well, erecting a new drilling rig and installing underwater pipes to channel 31 million standard cubic feet per day (mmscfd) of gas, which is slated for the Grati gas-fired power plant (PLTGU) of state-owned company PT Indonesia Power.