Assume the Position
Saturday, September 28, 2002
Press Group Blasts Turkish Government. Following on the heels of its accusations that violence against journalists in Venezuela"is instigated by President Chavez," the International Press Institute lashed out at the Turkish government for the arrest of two freelance journalists.
Jorge Fascetto, IPI president, complaining that the arrests were racist and corporatist said, "Look, the Turks let Brian Ross cart radioactive material all over the place, but he's white and he works for ABC. These two guys with 33 pounds of weapons-grade uranium were just trying to get a story on how easy it is to smuggle the stuff. Besides, 15 kilograms of enriched uranium is not quite enough to make a 'proper' nuclear bomb, 25 kilograms is considered the standard threshold and they were well short of that."
Reporters who are not affiliated with major news organizations say the arrests will have a "chilling effect" on their ability to carry out their proper role of "heaping derision on government agencies and generally keeping the public in a state of constant fear," according to the IPI president.
(Yahoo-Reuters link via InstaPundit)
John Hawkins presents "The Quick And Dirty Leftist's Guide To Arguing Against The War On Terrorism." It could be subtitled You Might Be An Idiotarian If...
An election to watch, if only to see if Jesse Jackson's campaigning for the Brazilian front-runner, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, can do for him on October 6th what it did for Cynthia McKinney last month. Also of interest is the difference between Reuters' slant and the AP's angle.
Reuters has "civil rights leader" Jackson praising the "left wing" "champion of workers' rights" Lula, and the "inclusiveness" in the Workers' Party.
"The beauty of Lula has been to watch his evolution as a labor leader learning through successive election campaigns how to construct a coalition," Jackson told a news conference beside sundrenched Guanabara bay.Meanwhile, the AP says Jackson is down there to entice the "evangelicals."
"It is a joy to have known Lula and Benedita," Jackson said. "Both are activists and Christians who applied their faith."Other than that, the US interest is mostly concerned with the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA), to which all four candidates are skeptical or opposed.
The front-runner in the race, four-time candidate Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva of the left-wing Workers' Party, has said he supports free trade in theory.
Sunday, September 22, 2002
Antivirals for Smallpox. Discussing the Israeli decision to begin smallpox vaccinations for emergency workers over on Daily Pundit, I began thinking about the two modes of dealing with anthrax: prophylactic vaccination to provide full or limited immunity prior to exposure and post-exposure antibiotic treatment. The availability of effective post-exposure treatments changes the equation for deciding who should be vaccinated under various circumstances by significantly reducing the mortality rate among the unvaccinated. You don't need to vaccinate everybody against a disease if you can effectively treat those who contract it.
While most everybody knows about the smallpox vaccines, I wondered about post-exposure treatment; why hasn't there been much talk about using antiviral drugs against smallpox? I guessed that it could be because smallpox was eradicated before significant progress was made in developing antiviral drugs. That seems to be the case, since the last naturally occurring case of smallpox was in 1977 and, although there were a few early antivirals in the 1960s, development of antiviral drugs didn't really take off until the 1980s. With smallpox eliminated, the remaining samples supposedly placed under tight controls, and a world still full of other deadly and debilitating viruses, there wasn't much call for R&D into antiviral treatments for it until the growth of fears about bioterrorism.
But, just like there are broad-spectrum antibiotics that treat numerous bacterial infections, some antivirals may provide effective treatment for several related or similar viruses. It turns out the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) discovered that cidofovir, used to treat cytomegalovirus eye infections, was effective against monkeypox, which is similar to smallpox.
Atlanta, GA, March 10, 1998 - Researchers from the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) have disclosed that Gilead Sciences' antiviral drug cidofovir prevented death and disease associated with poxvirus infection in animals. In primates infected with monkeypox, cidofovir treatment reduced respiratory symptoms, fever and pox-like skin lesions and decreased mortality associated with the viral infection. These data were presented this week in Atlanta, Georgia by Dr. John W. Huggins, Chief, Department of Viral Therapeutics, Virology Division of USAMRIID, at The International Conference on Emerging Infectious Diseases. The conference is organized by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists, the American Society for Microbiology (ASM) and the CDC Foundation. The conference is designed to encourage the exchange of scientific and public health information on global emerging infectious disease issues and highlight scientific activities that address these threats.Additional progress has been made since 1998, including a more effective and less toxic oral version.
By cloaking an antiviral drug in a fat molecule, scientists have developed a new compound that people might someday swallow to ward off smallpox.However, some scientists downplay antivirals' importance.
The possibility of an effective drug for smallpox is likely to fuel the debate among smallpox experts about the best way to control a future outbreak. Many prominent scientists argue that antiviral drugs such as cidofivir shouldn't play a prominent role.