News Scan for May 01, 2018

Global health funding
Serratia marcescens outbreak
Marmoset model for Zika
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Analysis shows US states strongly benefit from global health funding

A state-by-state analysis of global health spending published today estimates that US government investments bring jobs, health security, and an economic boost to state economies while saving millions of lives worldwide, according to a report by the Global Health Technologies Coalition (GHTC).

The Trump Administration has proposed slashing funding to fight global health threats such as malaria, Ebola, and HIV/AIDS, which could cost states thousands of jobs and millions of dollars and put the health of residents at risk, according to the GHTC report. The analysis quantifies how federal funding to create vaccines and treatments to combat deadly global diseases also benefits American states, to the tune of $2.5 billion in one state, and almost $1 billion in several others.

"While the Administration claims cuts to global health research are putting America first, the data suggest otherwise," said GHTC Director Jamie Bay Nishi, MD, in a GHTC news release. "US funding for global health research is not only saving lives worldwide, it's also paying significant economic and health dividends across American states."

The new analysis builds on a report released last year by GHTC and the public health think tank Policy Cures Research. Last year's report found that, from 2007 to 2015 alone, $14 billion in US government investments in global health innovations created 200,000 new US jobs and generated $33 billion in US economic growth. It also showed that, while this spending may be directed at solving global health challenges, 89 cents of every dollar stays in the United States.

GHTC notes that, outside the emergency allocation for the Ebola response in 2014-16, US public health investment has declined since 2012, with a modest uptick in 2016, and the Trump administration has called for a 36% cut to global health programs.

The top five states benefitting from global health investments, according to the new research, are Maryland ($2.5 billion, 30,700+ jobs), New York ($916 million, 9,600+ jobs), California ($876.4 million, 11,800+ jobs), Virginia ($874.5 million, 9,700+ jobs), and Washington ($783.9 million, 9,700+ jobs).
May 1 GHTC news release
GHTC state-by-state data


Multistate outbreak of Serratia marcescens identified in 3 children

The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (NDHHS) said yesterday an investigation is under way into a multistate outbreak of Serratia marcescens bloodstream infections in three pediatric patients. The patients are from Colorado, Tennessee, and Ohio.

Officials said isolates collected from the patients are closely related or indistinguishable, suggesting a shared exposure to S marcescens. The pediatric patients had central venous access, and likely exposures include heparin and saline flushes, specifically, PosiFlush Pre-Filled Heparin Lock Flush Syringes (10 USP units/mL and 100 USP units/mL) and PosiFlush Sterile Field Saline Flush Syringes, all manufactured by the medical supply company, BD (Becton, Dickinson and Company), of Franklin Lakes, N.J.

"Out of an abundance of caution, BD is voluntarily recalling certain lots of BD PosiFlush™ Heparin Lock Flush and BD™ Pre-Filled Normal Saline Flush syringes due to this potential contamination with S. marcescens," the NDHHS said in an advisory.

Clinicians should consider using alternatives to BD products at this time, the NDHHS said.
Apr 30 NDHHS alert


Study details benefits of studying Zika in marmosets

Marmosets may be a useful animal model for studying Zika and other viruses that might harm developing fetuses, researchers from the Texas Biomedical Research Institute (TBRI) reported today in Scientific Reports.

Animals such as macaques and baboons have been used as animal models to investigate Zika virus infection and for the development of drugs and vaccines, but they have drawbacks such as large body size and longer gestational periods. In contrast, marmosets appear to be especially sensitive to Zika virus and are about as big as rats. Scientists who have captured marmosets in the wild have found that they had antibodies to Zika virus.

In today's study, the team reported that pregnant marmosets experimentally infected with Zika at specific points during the first half of their pregnancy spontaneously aborted the fetuses at almost exactly the same time, about 2 weeks postinfection. Also, examination of fetal tissue found neurologic abnormalities.

Suzanna Tardif, PhD, scientist at TBRI and associate director of research at the Southwest National Primate Research center, said in a press release from the institute, "It's early days, but the results are encouraging."

A 2017 study from TBRI and University of California at San Francisco researchers found that male marmosets mimic human Zika infection, with the virus lingering in saliva and semen. The research group hopes to extend their work to explore the impact of West Nile and cytomegalovirus infections in pregnant marmosets.
May 1 Sci Rep abstract
May 1 TBRI press release

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