Hotel Park Plaza Arena the first hotel in Croatia with a digital key

first_imgUntil last year’s design and launch of the free application “PPHE Croatia”For guests of Park Plaza Histria, Park Plaza Arena, and the tourist resort Park Plaza Verudela came due to requests and expectations of guests to access all necessary information related to the stay via tablets and smartphones on the one hand, and the need for direct communication between hotels and guests on the other side.This year, with the expansion of the application to the Park Plaza Belvedere hotel, there was a need to expand its functionality to the possibility of using mobile phones to enter hotel rooms, thus avoiding additional cards and eliminating waiting for check-in at the reception. Such an expansion has just been realized in the Park Plaza Arena hotel, which became the first hotel in Croatia with a digital key. The intention is to extend this function to other hotels under the Park Plaza brand in Pula and Medulin.How to use the application and the new service is very easy for guests and in five basic steps a guest can enter their room without a classic key or magnetic card:download free application “PPHE Croatia”one-time registration through the applicationconfirmation of registration at the hotel reception with the creation of a mobile digital keygoing to the room with the option on bluetooth on a smartphoneleaning the smartphone against the room’s electronic lock and unlocking the room With the mentioned application “PPHE Croatia”, And the active free applicationArena Turist”For guests of unbranded Arenaturist facilities and the application“Facility”For communication between hotel management and individual hotel departments, Arenaturist has positioned itself as a leader and leading Croatian hotelier in the application of new and mobile technologies. The “Park Plaza Croatia” application with the digital key service was nominated in the competition of the Croatian National Tourist Board in the categoryInnovation 2016”.Mobile application “PPHE Croatia”Is available in both Apple’s App Store and Google’s Google Play app stores, and you can also download it from the Direct linklast_img read more

Solar trees – new tourist infrastructure in NP Krka

first_imgToday, the public institution “Krka National Park” presented a new project that contributes to the protection of nature and the environment: solar trees – SunInside.In cooperation with the Šibenik company Upgrade energy jdoo, three solar trees were installed at three locations: in the branch office of the Public Institution “NP Krka” in Skradin, on the meadow at Skradinski buk and at the entrance to Lozovac. “Our visitors, like all modern tourists, use mobile devices to take photos, inform, navigate the space and share content. It often happens that the batteries of the mobile phone are discharged, which is an obstacle to the complete ‘capture’ of the experience from the Park. By installing solar trees, we provide an additional service to visitors to the Park – we educate them about the possibilities of practical and efficient use of energy obtained from renewable sources. We are glad that the product is fully designed and manufactured in the Šibenik area, thus contributing to the development of domestic innovative technology, “Said the director of JU” NP Krka “mr. sc. Krešimir Šakić.Solar tree SunInside it is an innovative, attractive and functional ecological product of urban equipment that converts solar energy into electricity. Furthermore, it allows charging of mobile devices, a place to rest and a reception for bicycles.The product is completely energy independent, and was developed, designed and manufactured in Šibenik. Designer Antonio Šunjerga, one of the members of the Energy Upgrade team, described his product with the words: “SunInside is a solar tree of innovative design, it is modular and adaptable, easy to install in nature and urban environments. PThe product consists of a central tree (console) with a canopy of solar panels and mobile device chargers (IOS, Android and USB ports), and also contains a rest bench and bicycle stands. It can also contain WiFi Hotspot, information and advertising areas, additional lighting, waste bin, website or a security camera, weather station and other elements. This innovative product turns urban equipment into a gathering point – a place of information, communication, entertainment and content sharing. It is ideal for use in tourism because modern tourists are constantly using mobile devices, and are constantly looking for a place where they can charge the device and connect to the Internet. ”By installing solar trees, the Krka National Park promotes renewable energy sources, encourages sustainable development and contributes to strengthening the local economy.last_img read more

Is it a case of ‘the younger, the better’ for children learning a new language?

first_imgShare Share on Facebook In the case of immigrant children, research has shown that adolescents and young adults are faster learners than young children. However, young children, do eventually catch up with older learners and typically become indistinguishable from native speakers, which is not generally the case for adults. For immigrant children, earlier does seem better, but only if children are given plenty of time and opportunity to make the most being immersed in a new language.In the classroom, older kids learn fasterWhen it comes to learning a foreign language in a classroom context, only limited research has looked at whether starting earlier is better. Researchers have found that young children are very enthusiastic, love learning foreign languages and enjoy discovering new worlds and ways of saying things. But primary school age children are slower at learning languages.One study that looked at the language abilities of Japanese college students who had started learning English between ages three and twelve, found a small advantage for an early start. But the children had six to eight hours of instruction per week for 44 weeks a year over six years (primary school children in England normally only have one hour per week).In the Barcelona Age Factor research project, Carmen Muñoz and her team capitalised on the fact that the government changed the age at which English was introduced in the classroom in rapid succession. This created a natural experiment whereby they were able to compare second language learners having started at ages eight, 11, 14 and over 18.Muñoz was able to follow a large number of learners over a long period of time (learners were tested after 200, 416 and 726 hours of instruction) and compare their learning on a wide range of measures. They found that with the same amount of instruction, late starters were consistently faster and more efficient learners.Most of the research to date has focused on English being learned as a foreign language in countries where there is a lot of pressure for children to learn it in order to become successful global citizens. But in the UK, children already grow up speaking the world’s “global” language, and the cultural context and lack of commitment from successive governments has made the learning of foreign languages anything but central to the educational agenda.My recent study compared how children aged five, seven and 11 learn French in the classroom. All children were complete beginners at the beginning of the project and exposed to two hours a week of similar instruction by the same teacher over 19 weeks.We found that the older children learnt faster because they were better able to use a range of cognitive strategies to aid their learning, and they also used their more advanced literacy skills to support their foreign language learning. The younger children, however, were the most enthusiastic.Number of hours per week matterSo, is younger better? If “better” means developing an enthusiasm for learning languages, then much of the evidence suggests that younger is better. We know that children become less enthusiastic as they get older. There are many reasons for this, but they include the transition from primary to secondary, when children who have been learning a language in primary school join a language class with children who haven’t and get bored.If “better” means faster linguistic progress, the research evidence is that older children outperform younger children: their greater cognitive maturity helps them make the best of the shorter lessons and of explicit instruction. The few studies which have found a small advantage for an early start were in instructed contexts with a large number of teaching hours per week. It seems that young children, as they learn more implicitly than older children, need abundant input and rich interaction to allow their implicit language learning mechanisms to work.The one hour per week in the national primary curriculum falls well short of the many hours children spend learning their native language, and expectations must therefore be realistic in terms of linguistic development. If this hour per week awakens a lifelong interest in foreign languages, this is very welcome; but it must be nurtured.By Florence Myles, University of EssexFlorence Myles is Professor of Second Language Acquisition at University of Essex.This article was originally published on The Conversation.Read the original article. As primary school children bound through the first weeks of their summer holidays, perhaps those lucky enough to go abroad will get the chance to practice some of the new vocabulary they’ve learnt in a foreign language class. It’s the end of the first academic year in which languages were introduced formally within the primary school curriculum in England: in September 2014, it became compulsory for all children aged seven and older to learn a foreign language.There is a widespread belief that if only we could teach foreign languages very early, Britain could stop lagging behind its European counterparts in terms of language capability. But is the earlier the better when it comes to learning a new language?There is a difference between children immersed in the new language they are learning, for example as immigrants in a new country, and children exposed to a foreign language in the classroom for a few hours a week at best. Share on Twittercenter_img Pinterest Email LinkedInlast_img read more

People worldwide — even nomads in Tanzania — think of colors the same way

first_imgEmail Share Share on Twitter Pinterest This study population – the Hadza people of Tanzania – has relatively few commonly shared color words in its language. During the study, the most common response by Hadza participants to a request to name a color was “Don’t know.”However, the way the participants grouped the colors they did name – regardless of what name they used – tended to match color-naming conventions of Somali-speaking immigrants and native English speakers, and of many other cultures around the world.“Looking at the Hadza data, we see a relatively modern color vocabulary emerging, but the color terms are distributed across the entire population,” said Delwin Lindsey, professor of psychology at The Ohio State University Mansfield Campus and lead author of the study. “We captured a point in time culturally where the stuff for creating a complex color naming exists, but it’s not in the head of any one individual. It’s distributed in bits and pieces across the culture.”Scientists know a lot about how the human brain responds to seeing color – and that universality of perception makes color naming a good model for studying patterns in language change.“This study provides a very useful framework for thinking about how the terms that are used to describe things in our environment actually emerge and evolve,” Lindsey said. “You can think of the words as species that are evolving – they are competing for space in our heads. So this is an example of cultural evolution that closely mirrors biological evolution.”The research is published in the journal Current Biology.Lindsey said the finding suggests that color naming is not a matter of nature versus nurture, but a combination of the two. The result also suggests that both prevailing theories about color naming apply around the world: Cultures create color names, but individuals from vastly different societies (Hadza, Somali and American) share the same perceptions of colors in their mind.“Clearly, there are certain constraints within the mind that guide how colors are going to be grouped together,” said Lindsey, also a professor of optometry on Ohio State’s Columbus campus. “But this illustrates an interesting trade-off between culture and biology as determinants of human thought. There are cultural universals, but within each culture there is dramatic diversity. If the culture were playing the preeminent role, members of a society would establish conventions that they all agree on. But they’re clearly not all agreeing on anything.”How does it play out in English? One person’s lilac shirt is called lavender by her neighbor.Lindsey and collaborator Angela Brown, professor of optometry at Ohio State, reported in 2006 on their analysis of data of the World Color Survey, a collection of color names obtained by University of California, Berkeley researcher Paul Kay and associates from 2,616 people of 110 languages spoken by mostly preindustrial societies.That analysis confirmed that, across cultures, people tend to classify hundreds of different chromatic colors into only eight distinct categories: red, green, yellow-or-orange, blue, purple, brown, pink and grue (green or blue).In 2009, Lindsey and Brown published a second paper describing further analysis of the World Color Survey, in which they showed that four common, distinct groupings of color categories, which they called “motifs,” occur worldwide: black, white and red; black, white, red and gray; black, white, red and a single cool green or blue category; and black, white, red, green, blue and yellow. A surprising result was that the motifs observed within a society are nearly as diverse as those observed across cultures.“We found that these motifs occurred with minor variations across 110 languages,” Brown said. “A person from Cameroon, Africa, can name colors more similarly to somebody from Northwestern Australia than to his Cameroon neighbor. And that Cameroon neighbor might be more similar to a different person in Northwestern Australia.”Larger color vocabularies are generally associated in more technologically advanced societies.“To try to get at how these motifs might emerge, we wanted to go as far back technologically as we could. That’s where the hunter-gatherers fit in,” Lindsey said.He and Brown collaborated with co-corresponding author Coren Apicella and her colleague David Brainard, both on the psychology faculty at the University of Pennsylvania, to survey the Hadza people. Apicella has been working with the Hadza people for more than a decade.center_img LinkedIn Share on Facebook Would a color by any other name be thought of in the same way, regardless of the language used to describe it?According to new research, the answer is yes.A new study examines how a culture of nomadic hunter-gatherers names colors, and shows that they group colors into categories that align with patterns of color grouping evident in 110 other world languages.last_img read more

Online therapy can help those affected by body dysmorphic disorder

first_imgShare Share on Twitter Pinterest Internet based cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) can help people affected by body dysmorphic disorder, finds a study published by The BMJ today.This is the largest clinical trial of body dysmorphic disorder ever conducted, and the first to evaluate the effect of an internet based programme for the condition.Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) is a common anxiety disorder that causes a person to have a distorted view of how they look and to spend a lot of time worrying about their appearance. If left untreated, it can lead to hospitalisation, substance dependence and suicide. Emailcenter_img Share on Facebook LinkedIn CBT is an effective treatment, but most affected people do not have access to it. The UK government’s mental health strategy recommends the increased use of information and communication technology to improve care and access to services.So a team of researchers based in Sweden and the UK set out to evaluate the effectiveness of a therapist guided internet based CBT programme for body dysmorphic disorder (BDD-NET) compared with online supportive therapy.The study involved 94 adult patients with a diagnosis of body dysmorphic disorder who randomly received either BDD-NET or supportive therapy for 12 weeks.None of the participants had any face-to-face contact with a therapist during treatment and both groups were followed for 3 months after the end of treatment.BDD-NET resulted in significant improvements in symptom severity, depression, and quality of life compared with supportive therapy. These gains were maintained for at least three months after the end of treatment.At that point, 56% of those receiving BDD-NET were classed as responders (defined as a 30% or more reduction in symptoms on a recognised scoring scale) compared with 13% receiving supportive therapy. And 39% of those receiving BDD-NET no longer met diagnostic criteria for body dysmorphic disorder.Participants in the supportive therapy group who crossed over to BDD-NET after six months also improved their symptom scores.No serious adverse events were reported, and most participants were satisfied with BDD-NET, despite no face to face contact with a therapist, and deemed the treatment as highly acceptable.Despite some study limitations, the authors say BDD-NET “has the potential to increase access to evidence based psychiatric care for this mental disorder, in line with NICE priority recommendations.”BDD-NET could be particularly useful in a stepped care approach, they add, “where mild to moderately affected patients can be offered BDD-NET by their general practitioner, or other health professionals, thus freeing resources for more severe and complex patients to be treated in specialised settings.”last_img read more

New neuroimaging research helps explain why psychopaths lie effortlessly

first_imgEmail Pinterest Share Share on Twitter LinkedIncenter_img The study of 67 incarcerated men a used a coin-flip prediction task and functional magnetic resonance imaging to examine the relationship between psychopathy, dishonesty, and brain activity.The researchers found that psychopathy was characterized by reduced activity in a particular brain region during dishonest decision-making.“The most important finding here is that higher psychopathy scores predicted decreased activity in the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) during dishonest decision-making. And this ACC activity was a significant mediator of the relationship between psychopathic traits and reduced reaction time for dishonest behavior,” Abe told PsyPost.The researchers also found that psychopathic individuals tended to make dishonest decisions quicker.“The ACC is reliably recruited in tasks producing high levels of cognitive conflict such as the Stroop task and responding to moral dilemmas. We therefore interpret that psychopathic individuals behave dishonestly with relatively low levels of response conflict,” Abe said.The study adds to previous research that has found psychopathy is related to deficits in decision-making. But like all research, it includes some limitations.“One of the major limitations relates to the cognitive task used in the present study. The participants were asked to engage in the incentivized coin-flip prediction task wherein they were given real and repeated opportunities for dishonest gain,” Abe explained.“We believe that the present experimental paradigm did involve morally questionable behavior in response to real opportunities for financial gain, our paradigm nevertheless employs a highly reduced interpersonal context.”“It would be informative to examine how psychopathic individuals behave (dis)honestly in an interpersonal context using another task.”The study, “Reduced engagement of the anterior cingulate cortex in the dishonest decision-making of incarcerated psychopaths“, was authored by Nobuhito Abe, Joshua D. Greene, and Kent A. Kiehl. A new study sheds light on the neural basis of dishonest behavior in psychopathic individuals. The new research has been published in Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience.“For many years, I have studied the neural basis of deception using a cognitive neuroscience approach,” said study author Nobuhito Abe of the Kokoro Research Center at Kyoto University.“More recently, I’ve focused on the neural mechanisms of decision-making on how people behave honestly or dishonestly. It is well known that psychopathic individuals lie chronically, so as a researcher of dishonesty, I was really excited to examine what brain mechanisms are associated with dishonest decision-making of psychopaths.” Share on Facebooklast_img read more

Those who embrace religious uncertainty report lower self-esteem following reminders of death

first_imgQuest religiosity describes a orientation of continually questioning one’s own belief system and accepting that it is unlikely there will ever be a definite answer. “Whereas Christian participants increase their belief in supernatural agents (e.g., God, Jesus) and an afterlife when death concerns are salient, quest persons internalize a state of openness and uncertainty in their worldviews,” Arrowood explained. “In other words, these individuals become more certain in their uncertainty. It is this inconsistency that leads me to want to understand how mortality awareness affects quest persons’ well-being (e.g., spiritual, emotional, psychological, physical, and so on).”In the study, 95 undergraduate students were randomly assigned to write about either their own death or dental pain. The researchers found that participants who scored higher on a measure of quest religiosity tended to have lower self-esteem than those low in quest religiosity after being reminded of their mortality. Among those who wrote about dental pain, on the other hand, participants high and low in quest religiosity did not differ in self-esteem scores.“Individual differences in religion can shape how people respond to extrinsic stimuli, including mortality salience. Given the many death-related themes of spirituality (e.g., afterlife, supernatural), persons are affected differently, which may have consequences for their well-being,” Arrowood told PsyPost.“For example, my colleagues and I have found that high quest persons are less effective in managing existential concerns, leading to poorer mental health outcomes. It seems important to be aware of these potential pitfalls.”A little over half of the participants identified as Christian, and nearly a quarter considered themselves to be atheist, agnostic, or non-religious. The results of the study were still statistically significant after controlling for individuals’ religious orientation.“Understanding the mechanisms (e.g., presence & search for meaning; openness to experience) that lead quest persons to experience lower well-being, both in general and following death awareness, is only beginning to be understood by researchers. Additionally, in my lab, we are currently trying to understand compensatory defenses (e.g., religious doubts) that quest persons engage in to stave off the threat of mortality,” Arrowood said.“Death is a powerful motivator of everyday life. Although we often do not recognize its influence, much of our behaviors, beliefs, and cognitions stem from an implicit need to deny the inevitability of mortality. In following up this study, we are beginning to understand the role of doubts to achieve a degree of symbolic immortality.”The study, “Death, quest, and self-esteem: re-examining the role of self-esteem and religion following mortality salience“, was authored by Robert B. Arrowood, Thomas J. Coleman III, Sally B. Swanson, Ralph W. Hood Jr, and Cathy R. Cox. Share on Facebook Pinterest Email Share on Twittercenter_img LinkedIn Share People who are prone to questioning their belief system tend to have reduced levels of self-esteem after being reminded of death, according to research published in Religion, Brain & Behavior.The study was based on terror management theory, which holds that humans’ awareness of their own mortality is a strong motivator for many behaviors. “Although terror management theory (TMT) has long been interested in the role of religiosity in managing existential anxieties, quest-oriented persons have been largely ignored,” said study author Robert B. Arrowood of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.last_img read more

Sociopathic traits linked to non-compliance with mask guidelines and other COVID-19 containment measures

first_imgShare on Facebook Share New research from Brazil has found that people who are unconcerned with adhering to measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 tend to display higher levels of traits associated with antisocial personality disorder, also known as sociopathy. The findings have been published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences.On March 11th, 2020, the World Health Organization declared the outbreak of the novel coronavirus SARS‐CoV‐2 to be a global pandemic. Governments around the world urged people to follow preventive health measures such as frequent hand washing and physical distancing.“It is noticeable that compliance with containment measures varies greatly between people,” said the authors of the new study. “This is at least partially connected with psychological factors such as personality traits.” “To our knowledge, this is the first study focused on COVID-19 compliance with the containment measures and antisocial traits to be conducted in a large Latin American sample using a repeated cross-sectional design.”In the online study, 1,578 Brazilian adults completed a measure of maladaptive personality traits between May 21 and June 29, 2020. They also completed assessments of empathy and compliance with COVID-19 containment measures.The researchers found that those who scored higher on measures of callousness, deceitfulness, hostility, impulsivity, manipulativeness, and risk-taking tended to be less compliant with COVID-19 containment measures, such as socially distancing, washing hands frequently, and wearing a facemask in public. Participants with greater empathy, on the other hand, tended to be more compliant with COVID-19 containment measures.“Our findings indicated that antisocial traits, especially lower levels of empathy and higher levels of Callousness and Risk-taking, are directly associated with compliance with containment measures. These traits explain, at least partially, the reason why people continue not adhering to the containment measures even with the increasing numbers of cases and deaths,” the researchers said.“Exposing oneself and others to risk, even when it can be avoided, is a typical trait for people with antisocial tendencies, and with low levels of empathy.”The new findings are in line with previous research conducted in the United States and Poland, which also found that antisocial personality traits were associated with ignoring preventative measures meant to halt the spread of COVID-19.“Our findings can be useful for public health policies, e.g., through screenings that demonstrate an elevation in these traits, interventions can be carried out aiming at greater awareness and consequent compliance with containment measures. We suggest that further studies be carried out investigating the interaction of these traits with other variables,” said the authors of the new research.The study, “Compliance with containment measures to the COVID-19 pandemic over time: Do antisocial traits matter?“, was authored by Fabiano Koich Miguel, Gisele Magarotto Machado, Giselle Pianowski, and Lucasde Francisco Carvalho.(Image by Engin Akyurt from Pixabay) LinkedIncenter_img Email Share on Twitter Pinterestlast_img read more

New Hampshire probes GI anthrax case

first_imgDec 29, 2009 (CIDRAP News) – Health officials in New Hampshire are investigating whether a woman who is ill with gastrointestinal (GI) anthrax contracted the potentially deadly infection at a drum circle gathering in Durham, N.H.The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) reported the anthrax case in a woman from Strafford County, N.H., on Dec 26 and said she was in critical condition. Officials think the woman may have been infected at a drumming circle at the United Campus Ministry building in Durham on Dec 4.Yesterday the DHHS said samples from two drums collected at the building tested positive for anthrax. Today officials said an environmental sample from the building also tested positive, according to a DHHS press release. State officials have closed the building until further notice.Samples from the drums and the patient have been sent to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to determine if the organisms match, the DHHS said today.”This new information indicates there is a low level of contamination in the drum room at the Ministry building,” Dr. Elizabeth Talbot, medical advisor to the DHHS Division of Public Health Services, said in the press release. “This has prompted us to offer antibiotics and the anthrax vaccine to anyone who was at the drumming circle on December 4, 2009.” She said their risk of infection is considered low.DHHS officials believe the New Hampshire case is the first confirmed GI anthrax case reported in the United States, according to an Associated Press report today. The other two types of anthrax infection are inhalational and cutaneous.Contaminated animal hides from Africa were blamed for two cases of cutaneous anthrax in Connecticut in 2007. Also, African hides used in drum-making were linked to an inhalational anthrax case in a drummer from New York City in 2006. He was hospitalized for a month before recovering.The New Hampshire woman remained in critical condition yesterday, according to a report by the Union Leader newspaper.The DHHS statement said there have been only 11 naturally occurring anthrax cases in the United States since 1957. Anthrax spores sent through the mail were blamed for 22 cases, 5 of them fatal, in 2001.See also: CIDRAP overview of anthrax read more

NEWS SCAN: Pool-linked E coli outbreak, malaria R&D boom, smallpox drug contract changed, polio in Pakistan

first_imgJun 29, 2011E coli infections linked to pool exposureThe Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) is investigating an Escherichia coli O157:H7 outbreak in people who played and swam at an Opelika water park. In a news release the agency said it has received 15 illness reports, including 13 in children and 2 in adults. Lab tests confirmed E coli O157:H7 infections in five of the children. Four children were hospitalized, and two have been released. The ADPH said lab tests on the water were negative for E coli, but the finding doesn’t rule out the presence of the bacteria. Samples were sent to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for further testing. The city has treated the water park facility, which is open. Though E coli infections from recreational water aren’t unusual, cases linked to pool water are relatively rare, because the pathogen is usually readily controlled by chlorine and other disinfectants when the products are used at optimal levels, according to background information from the World Health Organization (WHO). In 2010 a CDC survey of pool inspection records from 15 health agencies in four states found that disinfectant and pH-level violations were reported in 10.7% and 8.9%, respectively.Jun 28 ADPH news releaseWHO background informationMay 21, 2010, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report surveyPipeline of potential malaria treatments at all-time highYearly research and development (R&D) funding for potential malaria treatments has quadrupled over the past 16 years, reaching US$612 million in 2009, the latest year for which figures are available, says a report issued yesterday. The report, commissioned by the group Roll Back Malaria (RBC) and several partners, notes that work is in progress on almost 50 drug-development projects, one vaccine in late-stage testing, and dozens of other candidate vaccines and that impressive advances have been made in mosquito control and diagnostic tests. In a press release RBC’s executive director, Awa Marie Coll-Seck, said, “This robust product pipeline gives us hope that eradication of malaria is possible.” To reach that goal, however, momentum must not be lost and funding levels need to be maintained with some increases for several more years, according to the report. Coll-Seck is quoted as saying that cutting funding now would be “a foolish waste of a historic opportunity.” The largest donors to malaria R&D are the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the US government.Jun 28 Reuters storyJun 28 Eureka Alert releaseHHS modifies smallpox drug contract in response to protestIn response to a protest from a competing firm, the US government has dropped a contract option to buy millions of extra doses of SIGA Technologies’ smallpox drug, ST-246, SIGA announced this week. In May the US Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) awarded SIGA a $433 million contract to provide 1.7 million treatment courses of the antiviral drug. The contract included an option for BARDA to buy up to 12 million additional courses, which could have increased the contract value to $2.8 billion. Chimerix Inc. of Durham, N.C., maker of another experimental smallpox drug, protested the contract award to SIGA, based in Corvallis, Ore. SIGA announced Jun 27 that BARDA deleted the option from the contract and that Chimerix then withdrew its protest, which had caused BARDA to suspend work under the contract. SIGA said the contract change does not bar BARDA from buying more courses of ST-246 in the future. Chimerix won a $24.8 million BARDA contract in February to develop its own drug, called CMX001.Jun 27 SIGA press releaseFeb 16 CIDRAP News item about Chimerix’s BARDA contractPolio surfaces in Pakistan area free of disease since 1998A confirmed case of polio in a 2-year-old in the Diamer District of Bilgit-Baltistan in northern Pakistan is the first case there since 1998 and raises fear that the disease may have spread to areas thought to be free of it, according to an IRIN report this week. Pakistan, one of the four remaining polio-endemic countries, reported 32 cases in 2007 but 144 cases in 2010, the highest number in the world. Pakistan launched a national polio-prevention campaign in January, and the World Health Organization (WHO) has instituted aggressive vaccination measures to help limit disease spread. The affected child missed her oral polio vaccine dose because of her family’s refusal. This is a frequently reported problem, partly due to “irresponsible” media reports, according to the IRIN article.Jun 27 IRIN storylast_img read more