Nov 11, 2004 (CIDRAP News) – The outbreak of H5N1 avian influenza in Asia gives the world its first opportunity to prepare a vaccine in advance for a potential pandemic strain of flu, the World Health Organization (WHO) said today as it convened a meeting of vaccine companies and health officials to consider the challenge.Representatives of vaccine manufacturers and government officials from the manufacturers’ countries are meeting at WHO headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, to discuss how to develop vaccines for pandemic flu.”The current outbreak of H5N1 is a stark warning that conditions are highly favourable for the emergence of a pandemic virus,” the WHO said in a statement on its Web site. “For the first time in history, there is a window of opportunity to consider using a pandemic vaccine in humans at a time when a virus with significant pandemic potential is circulating in large parts of Asia.”The H5N1 strain of avian flu has infected at least 44 people in Asia this year and has killed 32. The virus has not been known to spread from person to person, but experts fear that it could acquire this ability through mutation, potentially leading to a pandemic.The WHO noted that vaccines have never been available during past pandemics, including the last two, in 1957 and 1968, when annual vaccination programs for ordinary flu were fully established. Past pandemic strains were not discovered until they began spreading internationally, the agency said. The viruses spread worldwide in 6 to 8 months, far too short a time to develop and distribute a vaccine.A few companies have begun to develop vaccines for potential pandemic viruses, the WHO said. “However, production capacity for a pandemic vaccine will be vastly inadequate unless other companies engage in vaccine seed development and preparation of batches for clinical testing,” the agency said.The statement said vaccine makers face two major challenges: finding the optimal formulation for a pandemic vaccine through clinical trials, and registering their vaccine with their national drug licensing agency.”Such registration, done with a ‘template’ influenza subtype which will eventually be replaced by the strain actually causing the epidemic, is a condition which every manufacturer must fulfill to produce pandemic vaccine, regardless of when the next pandemic occurs and which strain causes it,” the WHO said.In the United States, Aventis Pasteur Inc. and Chiron Corp. each won a government contract last May to produce 8,000 to 10,000 doses of an H5N1 vaccine based on virus isolated from a Vietnamese patient. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said it would use the vaccines in clinical trials.In September, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) awarded a contract to Aventis Pasteur to make 2 million doses of its H5N1 vaccine for about $13 million. HHS officials then said clinical trials would start late this year or early next year.See also:WHO statement about Geneva meetinghttp://www.who.int/csr/disease/influenza/meeting2004_11_08/en/Sep 21, 2004, CIDRAP News story “HHS awards contract for H5N1 avian flu vaccine”May 28, 2004, CIDRAP News story, “NIAID seeks vaccines for H5N1 avian flu”
According to state news agency Tass, Chernyshenko says “we absolutely could expand the tournament program.”He adds that “Russia is ready for however the situation develops, we have plans.”___2:50 p.m.The Giro d’Italia cycling race has been postponed because of the coronavirus outbreak. March 13, 2020 12:50 p.m.National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman says players and staff have been told to stay away from the rink and self-isolate while the league is on a hiatus of uncertain length.Bettman said in a phone interview Friday with the Associated Press and the league’s website that, to his knowledge, no players or league employees have tested positive for the new coronavirus. But he added that he isn’t certain there isn’t someone who might not be feeling well and is awaiting test results.He told owners the first positive test result by any player would be a game-changer and that the decision to pause the season came after that happened in the NBA.Unlike NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, who said his league’s season would be suspended at least 30 days, Bettman would not put a timeframe on the NHL’s break. Bettman said several contingencies are being worked on about resuming the season and still awarding the Stanley Cup, but he would not give a definitive date on when that would have to happen or how long into the summer things could go. Arsenal and Chelsea announced similar measures on Thursday.Everton says the club is in regular contact with the player in question and is monitoring the wellbeing of all players and staff. Its training complex has been closed down along with its stadium, Goodison Park.Everton is scheduled to play Liverpool in the Merseyside derby on Monday.However, it is increasingly likely all Premier League matches will be suspended. League officials are holding an emergency meeting to discuss future steps.___ ___1:45 p.m.The Bahrain and Vietnam Grand Prix races have been postponed because of the coronavirus outbreak.The Bahrain GP was scheduled to be held next week — at an empty track — and the inaugural Vietnamese GP was set to be held in Hanoi on April 5.The first four races of the Formula One season have all been called off. The season-opening Australian GP and the China GP were previously postponed. The league made the decision after canceling the season because of the coronavirus outbreak. It will be the first time since 1940 that no team will be declared champion.Games were suspended two weeks ago when the Swiss federal government prohibited large public events.___10:45 a.m.India and South Africa have called off the two remaining one-day cricket internationals and decided to reschedule the series. The league asked fans “not to gather in front of the stadiums and to do their part to protect the population.”Second-division club Hannover has put its players into self-isolation after two tested positive for the coronavirus. Hannover’s game against Dynamo Dresden on Sunday has been called off.___More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports,Tampa Bay Lightning advance to face Dallas Stars in Stanley Cup finals, beating New York Islanders 2-1 in OT in Game 6 Bettman also said it is not the NHL’s independent call when to return to games and did not rule out the possibility of playing in empty arenas. He said games would only resume when the situation is safe.___12:30 p.m.The last remaining Six Nations rugby match was postponed because of the coronavirus outbreak.The Welsh Rugby Union had earlier insisted its match against Scotland on Saturday in Cardiff would go ahead, but changed its mind by mid-afternoon. Share This StoryFacebookTwitteremailPrintLinkedinRedditThe Latest on the coronavirus outbreak’s effect on sports around the world (all times local):6:20 p.m.Sampdoria has announced that four more of its players have tested positive for COVID-19 as well as a club doctor. ___10:30 a.m.The England cricket team’s test series in Sri Lanka has been postponed because of the coronavirus outbreak.The England and Wales Cricket board says it made the decision for the players to return home after discussions with Sri Lanka Cricket.England was set to play the first test of its two-test series on Thursday, with the second test set for March 27. The London Marathon scheduled for April 26 has been postponed to Oct. 4.“We know how disappointing this news will be for so many — the runners who have trained for many months, the thousands of charities for which they are raising funds, and the millions who watch the race every year,” event director Hugh Brasher said.Previously, coronavirus fears have forced the Barcelona Marathon originally scheduled this Sunday, to be postponed to Oct. 25, and the Paris Marathon on April 5 to be shifted to Oct. 18.The Rome Marathon set for March 29 was canceled earlier.___ Baylor University says it has told its entire baseball team and staff to self-quarantine after learning that three TSA agents in San Jose, California who tested positive for COVID-19 had “indirect contact” with the school’s travel party earlier this week. Baylor said the team will self-quarantine in Waco, Texas, or at their permanent residence. The school said no players, coaches or staff are showing any symptoms of the coronavirus. ___4:55 p.m.Russia is offering to host more European Championship games as UEFA considers whether the tournament can go ahead.Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Chernyshenko says Russia, which hosted the 2018 World Cup, could hold more than its scheduled three group games and one quarterfinal match in St. Petersburg. The Latest: Italy’s Sampdoria says 4 more players positive The first three stages of the Italian race were scheduled to take place in Hungary in May but the country has banned large outdoor sporting events. Race organizer RCS Sport says the entire race was postponed after they were informed by the organizing committee of the Hungarian stages that those three legs could not be held on the scheduled dates.RCS Sport says “all parties have agreed that they are determined to work together to enable the Giro d’Italia to depart from Hungary at a later time.”___2:10 p.m.The first Bundesliga game has been called off because of the coronavirus outbreak. The league board says there is an increasing number of suspected coronavirus cases affecting German clubs.Three second-division players have tested positive for the virus. Bundesliga club Paderborn said its coach tested negative, hours before his team was due to play Fortuna Düsseldorf, and that it was waiting for test results from an unspecified number of players.___11:10 a.m.The Swiss hockey league will not have a champion this season. Matches were scheduled to be held in empty stadiums but the French league made its decision in an emergency meeting a day after President Emmanuel Macron addressed the nation on television.No indication has yet been given as to when the league could resume. The league says it will next meet on Tuesday following a UEFA meeting.___9:55 a.m.Everton has become the third Premier League soccer club to put its entire playing squad in quarantine after a player reported symptoms consistent with coronavirus. No new dates have been set for the races but governing body FIA says it expects to begin the F1 season in May when it reaches Europe with the Dutch GP.___1:25 p.m.The first three stages of this year’s Giro d’Italia cycling race in May will no longer be held in Hungary.Writing in a Facebook post, government commissioner Mariusz Revesz says the decision came because of the coronavirus crisis in Italy and Hungary’s declaration this week to ban large outdoor sporting events. Bremen senator for the interior Ulrich Mäurer says Werder Bremen’s home game against Bayer Leverkusen on Monday won’t be played as scheduled.The game was supposed to be played without any fans in the stadium, but Bremen mayor Andreas Bovenschulte says the decision was taken to call it off because of fears that several thousand fans would have gathered outside the stadium.Thousands of Paris Saint-Germain fans gathered outside the stadium on Wednesday during a Champions League game against Borussia Dortmund.Events with more than 1,000 participants were already banned in a bid to contain the virus outbreak.The rest of the Bundesliga’s 26th round was due to be played without fans present. Associated Press The ECB says “we look forward to returning to Sri Lanka in the very near future to fulfil this important Test series.”The decision was announced with England playing in a test warm-up match against the Sri Lanka Board President’s XI.England also has tests scheduled at home against West Indies in June and Pakistan in late July and August.___11:15 a.m. The Hellenic Olympic Committee says a large crowd had gathered to watch the flame for the Tokyo Olympics pass through the southern Greek town of Sparta. The flame was lit Thursday at the birthplace of the games in Ancient Olympia in a pared-down ceremony.The committee says it took “the difficult but essential decision to cancel the rest of the program of the flame relay on Greek territory.”It says the decision was taken in coordination with the health ministry and the International Olympic Committee.The handover of the Olympic Flame to the Tokyo organizing committee will go ahead as scheduled on March 19 at the stadium in Athens where the first modern Olympics were held in 1896.___ It’s the fourth match in the championship to be postponed and means the entire final round, scheduled for Saturday, is off.The Six Nations says “we have decided that it is in the best interests of supporters, players and staff to fall in line with recent measures taken across the U.K. and global sports industries.”It’s the first time the championship hasn’t been completed on schedule since 2001, when Ireland was hit by an outbreak of foot and mouth disease.___12:25 p.m. 11:50 a.m.NASCAR and IndyCar have each called off their races this weekend. NASCAR was scheduled to run Sunday at Atlanta Motor Speedway without spectators but said Friday it is calling off this weekend and next week’s race at Homestead-Miami Speedway.IndyCar was scheduled to open its season Sunday on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida, but suspended it’s season through the end of April. Four races are affected. 11:20 a.m.The German soccer league has suspended its season, dropping a plan to play this weekend in empty stadiums. The club says after forward Manolo Gabbiadini tested positive on Thursday, it carried out tests on defender Omar Colley, midfielder Albin Ekdal, forward Antonino La Gumina, and midfielder Morten Thorsby, who all had light symptoms, and they also tested positive.Sampdoria says they are all in good condition in their own homes in Genoa. The same applies for club doctor Amedeo Baldari.The rest of the team, as well as the staff and directors, are also in self-isolation at home. The club’s offices and training facilities have been closed and all sporting activity has been suspended. ___5:10 p.m. The Real Madrid basketball player who tested positive for the coronavirus was American forward Trey Thompkins.The positive result prompted Madrid’s basketball and soccer teams to enter quarantine because they share some facilities at the club’s training center.Thompkins wrote on Twitter he was “feeling great and just waiting for the virus to pass.”Spain has declared a state of emergency for two weeks to try to contain the virus.___ The second ODI was scheduled to be played in Lucknow on Sunday and the third game in Kolkata on Wednesday. The first game was washed out by rain in Dharmsala earlier this week.___10:30 a.m.The Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Georgia, has been postponed until a later date. Augusta National did not indicate when the Masters would be played. That means there will be no golf at least for the next month. The Masters began in 1934 and only World War II has kept it from being played. This was the biggest shoe to drop for golf. The PGA Tour already canceled the next three events leading up to the Masters. Tiger Woods was to be going after his sixth green jacket.___ 10:25 a.m. 12:40 p.m.The Paris-Nice cycling race won’t finish in Nice because of the coronavirus outbreak, and will instead be stopped one day early at the end of Stage 7 on Saturday.The final stage would have taken the race on a 113.5-kilometer (70.5-mile) loop north of Nice. Instead, the race will stop in Valdeblore la Colmiane.___11:10 a.m. 11:50 a.m.Soccer in Scotland has been suspended following a similar move in England.The Scottish Football Association and Scottish Professional Football League say games are off until “further notice.”Six first-division games were scheduled for Friday, Saturday and Sunday, including the Old Firm game between Glasgow rivals Rangers and Celtic.___ UEFA has postponed all Champions League and Europa League games because of the coronavirus outbreak.The quarterfinal draws in both competitions, scheduled for next Friday, have also been postponed.The decision comes four days ahead of a meeting to decide the European soccer calendar, including the possible one-year postponement of the 2020 European Championship.___3:35 p.m. Nuremberg was due to play St. Pauli on Sunday but the club has asked the German soccer league to postpone the game.Hannover’s game against Dynamo Dresden on Sunday was called off after Hannover decided on Thursday to quarantine its players for 14 days.___1:55 p.m.The Greek Olympic committee says it is suspending the rest of its torch relay because of the “unexpectedly large crowd” that gathered to watch despite repeated requests for the public to stay away to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. 10:40 a.m.The German soccer league says it will play this weekend’s games as planned without spectators but may suspend the league as of Tuesday.The league board says it will propose a suspension through April 2, to be voted on by member clubs on Monday.All of this weekend’s games are due to be played in empty stadiums.Borussia Mönchengladbach played Cologne on Wednesday and although there were no fans in the stadium, hundreds assembled outside. The English Premier League has been suspended after three clubs put their entire playing squads in self-isolation because of coronavirus.The league had expected to continue with a full schedule this weekend with fans, but later decided to suspend all matches until April 3 “at the earliest.”The same suspension applies for the three lower divisions overseen by the English Football League and to England’s top two women’s divisions.Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday, leading to the cancellation of the match against Brighton on Saturday. Chelsea winger Callum Hudson-Odoi also had a positive test on Thursday, while Everton said Friday that a player had reported symptoms consistent with coronavirus and said its squad was self-isolating.Two more clubs said some players or staff would isolate. Bournemouth said Friday that reserve goalkeeper Artur Boruc and four members of staff had symptoms consistent with the virus. Leicester said Thursday that three players had “extremely mild illness” and would self-isolate as a precaution. Revesz says Hungarian and Italian race organizers would seek contract modifications so the Giro can start in Hungary some other time.___1:20 p.m.German club Nuremberg says its whole team and coaching staff are going into quarantine for 14 days after defender Fabian Nürnberger tested positive for the coronavirus.The second-division club decided to conduct tests after two players from previous opponent Hannover tested positive for the virus. The Board of Control for Cricket in India has decided to delay the start of the Indian Premier League T20 tournament by two weeks because of the coronavirus outbreak.The tournament will now start on April 15 instead of March 29.___11 a.m.The French soccer league has suspended all matches indefinitely because of the coronavirus outbreak.