FDA clears single test for 12 respiratory viruses

first_imgEditor’s note: This story was revised Jan 8 to correct information about the location of the test’s manufacturer. Jan 7, 2008 (CIDRAP News) – A single test that can identify up to 12 different respiratory viruses, including three kinds of influenza, from one sample has won the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) approval.The test, called the xTAG Respiratory Viral Panel (RVP), is the first that can detect and distinguish influenza A subtypes H1 and H3 and also detect influenza B, the FDA said in announcing the approval on Jan 3. Influenza A is the most severe type of flu in humans and has been the cause of pandemics, the agency noted.The new test panel is also the first test for human metapneumovirus (hMPV), which was first identified in 2001, the FDA said.The test is made by Toronto-based Luminex Molecular Diagnostics, part of Luminex Corp, headquartered in Austin, Tex. In a news release, the company called the xTAG RVP “a ground breaking test that, with a single patient sample, can assess the presence or absence of 12 viral targets and provide qualitative results in a few hours.”Conventional testing for the same viruses requires a number of separate tests and can take several days, the company said. The new product will help physicians provide appropriate treatment and prevent inappropriate antibiotic use that has helped spawn resistant microbes, the statement said.The FDA said, “The xTAG panel is the first FDA-cleared test for infectious respiratory disease viruses that uses a multiplex platform, allowing several tests to be processed using the same sample.”The test uses polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to amplify viral genetic material in samples from patients, according to Jeremy Bridge-Cook, vice president of Luminex Molecular Diagnostics. The FDA said the test uses secretions from the back of the throat.The test uses tiny color-coded beads, or microspheres, that are coated with reagents specific to material from particular viruses, according to information on the Luminex Web site.”There’s a different color-coded bead for each virus in the test,” Bridge-Cook told CIDRAP News. “The Luminex instrument can identify the different color-coded beads and whether the viral target was amplified. If any of the beads is positive, that indicates whether the viral target was present in the sample.”The use of PCR to reproduce viral material “speeds up the usual process of detecting and identifying respiratory viruses, which can take up to a week,” Daniel D. Schultz, MD, director of the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health, said in the news release.The FDA said viruses identified by the xTAG RVP, in addition to the three forms of influenza and human metapneumovirus, include:Respiratory syncytial virus subtypes A and B, both of which are leading causes of infant pneumonia and bronchiolitis and often contribute to the development of long-term lung diseaseParainfluenza 1, 2, and 3—all leading factors in croup and the common coldRhinovirus, the most common viral infective agent in humans and another cause of the common coldAdenovirus, a cause of respiratory tract infections often similar to strep throat or tonsillitisThe 12 viruses covered by the test account for more than 85% of respiratory viral infections, the Luminex statement said.The company said the test’s ability to identify influenza subtypes H1 and H3 will be important in efforts to detect quickly any emerging pandemic flu virus. The test will make it possible to sort H1 and H3 viruses, which make up the vast majority of influenza A subtypes, from rare forms of influenza A. “This way, the few samples that do test positive for influenza A but cannot be identified as H1 or H3 subtypes can be flagged for further investigation by the CDC or local public health labs,” the company said.Bridge-Cook said the time needed to run the test will vary, but “I’d say maybe 6 hours might be a typical time.”As for the cost, he said he couldn’t give a specific figure, but added, “From a ballpark standpoint, basically the number is in the low hundreds [of dollars], as opposed to thousands of dollars, with respect to what it costs the healthcare system as a whole when the test is run.”Bridge-Cook said the test requires specially trained personnel, so it’s likely to be used mainly in hospital laboratories. But he said many hospital labs take samples from outpatient clinics, so the test would not be limited to use on inpatients.The FDA said that because the test is specific to the 12 viruses listed, it should be used with other diagnostic information, such as patient data, bacterial or viral cultures, and x-rays.See also: Jan 3 FDA news releasehttp://www.fda.gov/bbs/topics/NEWS/2008/NEW01770.htmlJan 3 Luminex news releasehttp://phx.corporate-ir.net/phoenix.zhtml?c=79403&p=irol-newsArticle&ID=1091216&highlight=last_img read more

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Keeping ‘Em Flying At Saint Martin’s University: Preparing For World War…

first_imgFacebook54Tweet0Pin0 Submitted by Jennifer Crooks, Saint Martin’s University intern to ThurstonTalkFlight classes met at the Olympia Airport. Notice the Buroker/Hicks Flying Service sign on the building. Photo courtesy Olympic Flight Museum.Saint Martin’s University was founded in 1895 in what is now  Lacey, Washington. Originally known as Saint Martin’s College, it became a University in 2005. The only private Benedictine institution of higher education west of the Rockies, this school has been host to a wide variety of programs over the years. One of the more unusual of these was an aviation program.As the United States prepared for World War II, the need for more American pilots became apparent. With the Civil Pilot Training Act of 1939, the federal Civilian Aviation Agency funded flight training at various schools around the nation, including Saint Martin’s College.At first, both female and male applicants were equally accepted into the program, and when classes started at Saint Martin’s College that summer several women were in attendance. At this time, Saint Martin’s was an all-boy’s school run by an all-male faculty, mostly clergy members. These women flight students were the first “co-eds” at Saint Martin’s.The Buroker-Hicks Flying Service provided teachers for the flight program. This Service was a business partnership between Gwin Hicks (1910-2000), Herbert “Herb” Buroker (1895-1973), and Herb’s wife Gladys  Dawson Buroker (1914-2002). Gwin Hicks, the manager of the municipal Olympia Airport, was coordinator and promoter of the program. Herb Buroker, a World War I pilot, served as repairman at the Airport and was also a licensed flight instructor. Gladys Buroker, by teaching in the flight program, became the first female instructor at Saint Martin’s College. She was not the first woman to work at the school. For example, nuns from St. Gertrude’s Priory of Cottonwood, Idaho served in the kitchen from 1904 to 1959.Several Saint Martin’s College students are among the flight students in this image taken at Weeks Field, Idaho. They are standing in front of the College’s “Rangers” bus. Photo courtesy Saint Martin’s University, Ted Yearian photo.Originally from Ferndale, Washington, Gladys was trained to be a pilot by Herb Buroker, her future husband. She quickly fell in love with flying. A unique individual, Gladys excelled in a field dominated by men. She could fly many types of planes, and would later learn how to fly  gliders and even hot air balloons. Barnstorming across Washington in the 1930s, she was also a parachutist. Despite only having received flight instructor certification the year before she came to Saint Martin’s, she eagerly took to the job and proved herself an excellent instructor. She would later recall that her male students accepted her fairly easily.As the program expanded into the fall, Congress passed rules banning women from applying to the civilian fight training program, because graduates were expected to be commissioned into the military. In the fall, the now all male class numbered twenty students. Both Burokers and Hicks served as flight instructors at the school. The Buroker/Hicks Flying Service offered ground school classes at the College on topics like flight theory and navigation with flight instruction at the Olympia Airport.With the declaration of war against Japan in December 1941, civilian aviation was limited on the West Coast as a matter of security. So during the Christmas holidays, the aviation school moved from Olympia inland to Pasco, Washington. They had to move again in January 1942  to Weeks Field near Coeur d’Alene, Idaho when the Navy took over the Pasco airport. Several Saint Martin’s students went along to Idaho to continue their training, accompanied by Father Desmond, (the dean of students) and Father Robert Wippel.In spring 1942, the military took over the Civilian Pilot Training Program nationwide and notified Buroker/Hicks that their contract would terminate when their current students finished the program. After this, another contract was made and War Training aviation students were sent to Weeks Field for Buroker/Hicks for instruction. With the direct connection severed with Saint Martin’s College, Father Desmond returned to Lacey. The Buroker/Hicks partnership amicably dissolved in 1944 after their license with the military expired.Gladys Buroker (pointing at plane model) teaching several students at Saint Martin’s College. Photo courtesy Saint Martin’s University, Ted Yearian photo.The Burokers remained in Idaho and active in aviation. They owned Idaho’s first municipal airport and worked together until Herb’s death in 1973. Gladys became a nurse and remained a flight instructor. She received much recognition for her pioneering work in female aviation before her death in 2002. Gwin Hicks also remained active in aviation. He helped form Zimmerly Airlines in Lewiston, Idaho (later merged with West Coast Airlines), served on various government aviation boards and was a proponent of Lacey history until his death in 2000.Saint Martin’s College offered flight classes into the 1950s. The Buroker/Hicks Flying Service left an impressive record. From 1939 to mid-1942 they taught over 400 students. Many of these pilots served in World War II, participating in combat and support services. Moreover, Gladys Buroker was the first female instructor at the College and some of her students were the first female students at the school.Further ReadingGladys Buroker with Fran Bahr, Wind in My Face: Autobiography of Gladys Dawson Buroker, Pioneer Pilot. (Coeur d’Alene, ID: Action Printers, 1997).Scott, John C.. This Place Called Saint. Martin’s, 1895-1995: A Centennial History of Saint Martin’s College and Abbey, Lacey, Washington. (Virginia Beach, VA: Donning Co.Publishers, 1996).last_img read more

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Two avalanches triggered in West Kootenay

first_imgThe Nelson Daily staffAlthough there have been no reports of human-triggered avalanches in the West Kootenay region, explosive control at 2,000 metres produced two avalanches on steep southwest to southeast slopes. The Canadian Avalanche Centre said the backcountry avalanche conditions in the West Kootenay region are fair with around 100 centimetres of snow existing at tree line elevations — with crown depths in the region of 20-25 cm. The top 20 cm. is new snow but it sits on variable old wind slab surfaces. Pockets of old and new wind slab exist where the wind has drifted the snow. “A rain crust exists at or very near the ground,” said a release from the CAC. “At present, the bond between the rain crust and the overlying snow appears good, although this could change in the future if the snowpack remains thin and the cold temperatures return.” Sunday will be dry with light winds in the backcountry with tree line temperatures around -8 degrees C. There are some flurries predicted for Monday night with light southerly winds, but there is still some uncertainty regarding the timing and intensity of the next pacific frontal system approaching the coast on Monday night. Terrain to watch Immediate lee of steep ridgelines where wind-drifting is evident. Flanks of steep gullies and unsupported sections of convex rolls. Travel advice Start the day on smaller slopes and build up from there if there are no signs of instability. Watch for early-season obstacles, such as stumps and rocks and open creeks.  To get bulletins by email, register in CAC’s new system at: http://www.avalanche.ca/cac/bulletins/subscribe.The Canadian Avalanche Centre needs data from the backcountry in the West Kootenay. Send to [email protected] or call 250-837-2141 ext 230.last_img read more

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Saints gain split against UVic, Wong, Wood power the Selkirk engine to victory

first_imgThe Sekirk Saints split a pair of home game to the University of Victoria Vikings in B.C. Intercollegiate Hockey League action during the weekend in Castlegar.The Saints, unveiling new jerseys during the opener of the two-game tilt, rode the outstanding netminder of Calgary native Andrew Wong to double the Vikes 4-2 during the opener Friday.Selkirk came close to completing the sweep before UVIC skated to a 6-3 victory Saturday.Andrew Green of Penticton snapped a 1-1 tie to power the Saints to the victory. Jordan Wood of Cloverdale scored three times in the win.Devon Nazaroff of Crescent Valley, Adam Makaroff of South Slocan, Green and Castlegar’s Scott Jago, with a pair, all registered assists.Wong was sensational in goal stopping 35 of 37 shots.Saturday, the Vikes, down 2-1, took advantage of Selkirk penalty troubles during the second period to score three quick goals.Facing a large deficit in the third the Saints had a power play chance of their own but failed to score during the man advantage.Jago did net a spectacular power play goal in the third to make the score respectable.Wood and Nick Cecconi of Powell River also scored for Selkirk.The weekend split leaves the Saints with a 1-2 record and tied for fourth in BCIHL standings with UVic and Okanagan College Coyotes.Simon Fraser tops the standings with a 3-0 mark. Eastern Washington near Spokane sits in a second-place tie with Thompson Rivers University of Kamloops.The Coyotes make a trek to Castlegar for the Saints next home game, Friday at 7:30 p.m. in the [email protected]last_img read more

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Kootenay sniper Shea Weighill earns provincial accolades

first_imgShea Weighill continues to be one of the bright lights on the Kootenay Wildcats Female Hockey team. Earlier this week the Nakusp star was recognized by B.C. Hockey as the Female Midget AAA League’s player of the month for December. Weighill, 17, has been a big part of the Cats success this season scoring three times during the recent month to pace the Kootenay offence. Weighill was also the winner of the shoot-out competition during this season’s All Star game at the Langley Events Centre. The 5’4”, 145-pound forward currently leads the Wildcats in scoring with seven goals and three assists. In three seasons of Female Midget hockey Weighill has accumulated 40 points on 22 goals and 18 assists. Kootenay is tied fourth in league standings, two points behind third-place Vancouver Fusion. The Wildcats resume action Saturday in Kelowna against the second place Thompson-OkanaganRockets at the Kelowna Memorial Arena. Other players in the running include Brianna Keats of the Fraser Valley Phantom, Kianna Karolyi of Thompson-Okanagan and Carley Bursey of Prince George Cougars. The Female Midget AAA League was created in 2007 to help provide elite female hockey players in the province the opportunity to play at a higher level. [email protected]last_img read more

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