WHO should have more power to investigate outbreaks

LONDON (AP) — European countries are calling for the World Health Organization to be given greater powers to independently investigate outbreaks and compel countries to provide more data, after the devastating coronavirus pandemic highlighted the agency’s numerous shortcomings.

After a meeting between European Union ministers to discuss how the U.N. health agency should be strengthened, German health minister Jens Spahn said Friday the WHO should receive more political support and financial backing for its international efforts to manage acute health crises.

“The WHO can’t be on its own and carry the weight of this pandemic alone,” he said at a press briefing.


Stella Kyriakides, the EU Health Commissioner, noted that EU institutions provided $100 million to WHO last year.

The agency was repeatedly criticized by U.S. President Donald Trump for “colluding” with China to cover up the initial extent of the pandemic. Trump later withdrew U.S. funding for WHO — the U.S. was the agency’s single-biggest donor — and later pulled the U.S. out of the organization altogether.

In a draft document provided by the German Health Ministry and the European Commission on Friday, EU member states said the extraordinary demands of COVID-19 “outweigh the current WHO capacities and its ability to support member states.”

The countries underlined their support for the WHO, but suggested several proposals to revamp the agency.

Most notably, the EU raised “the possibility of an independent epidemiological assessment on-site in high risk zones,” although this would still be done in collaboration with the country involved.

WHO currently has no powers to independently investigate epidemics and must instead rely on countries to approve its list of proposed experts for any visit and is largely subject to an agenda set by the countries.

The EU also called for “increased transparency … in addition to a more effective reporting system for countries to provide WHO with data in health emergencies.” In the early stages of the COVID-19 outbreak, WHO publicly complained that countries were not sharing enough information, but declined to name any countries in particular.

The EU proposals for WHO reform are expected to be discussed at a meeting of the agency’s member states next month.

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Samuel Petrequin in Brussels and David Rising in Berlin contributed to this report.

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Follow AP pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak

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Power out due to Hurricane Zeta? Here’s how long the food in your fridge, freezer will last | Hurricane Center

If you’re living in the New Orleans metro area, you likely don’t have power right now. 

Aside from wondering when the lights will come back on, your next thought might be figuring out what to do the food in your refrigerator or freezer. 



About 470,000 people without power in Louisiana after Hurricane Zeta

Most of the outages are in the New Orleans metro area.

If the power is still out at your home, do not open your freezer or refrigerator if possible.

Fridges will typically keep food cold for about four hours if not opened, according to the Food and Drug Administration. A full freezer should maintain a safe temperature for about 48 hours if the door stays closed as well. If your freezer is half-full, it should maintain its temp for about 24 hours. 

In the meantime, it’s a good idea to fill up an ice chest with ice and add perishable foods to enjoy until power is restored. 

Once the power is back, though, it’s time to start clearing out what might be spoiled. If your refrigerator reads 40 degrees or lower and the freezer reads 0 when you re-open it, your food should be safe, and frozen food that still retains ice crystals should be safe.

Hurricane Zeta may have sped its way across metro New Orleans, but what it left in its wake were downed trees, streets littered with debris an…

A general rule of thumb: Perishable food that is held at temperatures higher than 40 degrees for more than two hours may be unsafe to eat. That is because bacteria multiply quickly between 40 and 140 degrees.

Even foods that are deemed safe to eat should be thoroughly heated and cooked to minimum safe temperatures.

And, as always, when in doubt throw it out.

For more tips on preparing for a hurricane or power outage, head here.



Preparing for a hurricane: What to buy, what to eat, what to throw out in your kitchen

Now is the time to check your hurricane prep supplies. Along with generators, battery-powered radios or TVs, flashlights, electric candles (so…

Ann Maloney contributed to this report. 


MORE COVERAGE:



When will power come back on in New Orleans? Entergy hopes to get it fixed 'through the weekend'

About 400,000 Entergy customers were without power as of 7 a.m. 

90% to have electricity restored within 10 days, Entergy says



Jefferson Parish asks residents to stay home, limit warm water usage after Hurricane Zeta: report

Traffic lights are out throughout the parish.



Why did Hurricane Zeta intensify so quickly? Lack of wind shear, forecaster says

Forecasters underestimated storm’s strength but nailed its track

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How Fetal Cells From The 1970s Power Medical Innovation Today

It is no secret that thousands of laboratories around the world use cells derived from a fetus that was aborted decades ago to develop vital medicines.

But it is a contentious topic in the US, where conservatives and anti-abortion activists have long deemed the practice unethical.

The matter is once more under the spotlight after President Donald Trump was treated for Covid-19 using Regeneron’s antibody treatment. The company used aborted fetal cells as part of its testing process.

“It’s becoming annoying,” Andrea Gambotto, a professor at the University of Pittsburgh, said of the controversy.

Gambotto has used a cell line called HEK 293, the same used by Regeneron, as part of his research for 25 years.

“It’d be a crime to ban the use of these cells,” he added. “It never harmed anybody — it was a dead embryo so the cells back then (were used), instead of being discarded, they were used for research.”

The big advantage of these cells, which were developed in the early 1970s, is that they now represent a “gold standard” in the pharmaceutical industry.

If Gambotto — who is leading a Covid-19 vaccine research project himself — one day succeeds, his vaccine can be produced anywhere in the world, thanks to HEK293.

“You can go to India and make a vaccine for all the world,” he said. To those who call for the development of alternatives, he says, “You don’t need to go back 30 years and reinvent the wheel.”

The original cells were transformed and immortalized in January 1973 by a young Canadian postdoc by the name of Frank Graham, who was working at the time in Leiden, the Netherlands in the laboratory of Professor Alex van der Eb.

Vials of the Oxford University Covid-19 vaccine, which was developed using aborted fetal tissue Vials of the Oxford University Covid-19 vaccine, which was developed using aborted fetal tissue Photo: AFP / Vincenzo PINTO

Normally, a cell has a finite number of divisions, but Graham managed to modify these cells so that they divide ad infinitum.

This was his 293rd experiment, hence the name of the line (HEK stands for “human embryonic kidney cells”).

“Use of fetal tissue was not uncommon in that period,” Graham, a professor emeritus at Canada’s McMaster University who now lives in Italy, told AFP.

“Abortion was illegal in the Netherlands until 1984 except to save the life of the mother. Consequently I have always assumed that the HEK cells used by the Leiden lab must have derived from a therapeutic abortion.”

Vaccine developers like HEK293 because the cells are malleable and transformable into virus mini-factories. To grow viruses, you always need a host cell. It can be a chicken egg, but human cells are preferable in human medicine.

In the case of Covid-19 vaccines, several makers have used HEK293 to generate what are called “viral vectors.”

These are weakened versions of common cold-causing adenoviruses that are loaded with the genetic instructions for human cells to manufacture a surface protein of the coronavirus. This elicits an immune response that the body remembers when it encounters

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The Individuals Power” Health Superbook

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Every single day I knowledge life in the globe of healthcare IT, supporting 3000 medical doctors, 18000 faculty, and three million sufferers. Differential weight obtain was not observed amongst individuals in unhealthy food environments. E-Nome has ambitions of being the app of selection for individuals to access, handle and even anonymously sell their personal My Health Record information.

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