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Malaria: Down but not out

first_imgMalaria is like a metal spring compressed by the massive effort to suppress it, one analyst said. Authorities have to finish the fight against the disease or it will rapidly uncoil and roar back, as it did after the failure of 1950s-era eradication efforts.“If we relax our efforts, even for a moment, this thing will come back and be worse than before,” said Sonia Shah, a science journalist and author of the 2010 history of malaria, “The Fever.”Shah acknowledged that malaria is a difficult opponent, partly because it is so widespread — with 207,000,000 cases in 2012 and 627,000 deaths — partly because its biggest impact is in parts of the world with few resources, partly because traditional healers are often the first to treat sufferers, and partly because many people in malaria-endemic countries have already gotten the disease so often they can be blasé about it.Shah compared it to driving a car in this country: Many people die in car accidents, but people drive so much that most don’t worry about the dangers when they hop behind the wheel. That perception that malaria is low-risk is partly due to familiarity, but also because many adults who have had repeated cases have developed some immunity to it, so their cases are relatively mild.Shah was part of a panel that discussed malaria on Monday at the Barker Center’s Fong Auditorium. The event, “In Our Blood: Challenging Millennials to End Malaria,” was sponsored by the Harvard Undergraduate Global Health Forum, along with the Harvard Defeating Malaria Initiative. It featured Shah, Kate Otto, a global health consultant with the World Bank, and John Brownstein, associate professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and Harvard-affiliated Boston Children’s Hospital. It was moderated by Maggie Koerth-Baker, a science journalist and Nieman Fellow at Harvard this year.Panelists questioned whether today’s strategies are most effective at the community level, or whether the success of certain strategies in attracting funding may make them more popular than others that might be just as effective. Shah said that the final eradication of malaria in the United States is often attributed to the discovery of the pesticide DDT, but malaria here was actually on the decline before DDT came on the scene. It was put on the run by practices such as draining wetlands, upgrading housing, and paving dirt roads, where standing water provided potential breeding sites for mosquitoes.Panelists said institutional failures have hampered efforts to fight malaria and resulted in rising drug resistance in the parasite, widespread counterfeiting of malaria drugs, and insecticide resistance in the mosquito that delivers the parasite. They also said solutions must reflect local concerns and values to be effective.But there have been positive developments. Recent renewed efforts have pumped billions of dollars into the fight against the disease at a time when technology has provided what Otto called “one of the greatest discoveries of the 21st century” — the cell phone. The communications revolution in the developing world has led to drastic changes in just the past five years, Otto said, providing new ways to communicate, to reach patients and providers, to order supplies, and to perform other functions that previously weren’t easily possible. Today, Otto said, she can reach someone in a rural Ethiopian village as quickly as she can a colleague down the hall, a change that provides immense opportunity.Otto urged students eager to join the fight against disease to consider whether their efforts are directed in areas that are truly useful, or instead are in areas that are appealing because they offer a quick result.“When we aim to do good in the world, we look at what it is that we can do and achieve rather than what is really needed,” Otto said. “We’re encouraged to move quickly and think quickly, to move at the speed of technology.”Brownstein added, however, that technological innovations are still needed in public health and that there are many areas where a small improvement can make a difference, even through “a little chunk at a time.”Bianca Mulaney, co-president of Harvard Undergraduate Global Health Forum, said she hoped the event would provide insights beyond just malaria.“We’re hoping this discussion is not relevant only to malaria but to all global health issues,” Mulaney said.last_img read more

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England appoint Gough as fast bowling consultant ahead of NZ Tests

first_img(REUTERS) – Former seamer Darren Gough has been appointed as England’s fast bowling consultant for the warm-up period leading into November’s two-test tour of New Zealand, the country’s cricket board (ECB) said on Wednesday.Gough claimed 229 wickets in 58 Tests for England between 1994 and 2003.“I’m delighted to have Darren on board,” England head coach Chris Silverwood said in a statement.“I have known him a long time and his vast knowledge and experience at international level will drive our bowling unit forward leading into the two-match test series. He will be excellent around the group and will settle in quickly.”England are without a bowling coach after Silverwood was promoted to head coach’s role earlier this month.Gough, a former Yorkshire team mate of Silverwood, will join the test squad in Auckland on Nov. 5 and will work with the pace attack for two weeks before the first test in Mount Maunganui which begins on Nov. 21.“It is a tremendous honour to be asked by Chris Silverwood and Ashley Giles to be involved in this elite environment,” Gough said.“I will gain a lot from the experience and to work at this level will benefit me as a coach for the long-term.”last_img read more

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Backups get practice time as injured rest

first_imgThe bye week couldn’t have come at a better time for the Trojans.Like father, like son · USC coach Lane Kiffin and his father, defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin, have used the bye week to prepare for Oregon. – Mannat Saini | Daily Trojan Without the pressure of an impending game and the necessity to work out all the kinks by Saturday, the coaching staff can let players rest and recover from nagging injuries.The entire starting offensive line, beside redshirt sophomore Matt Kalil, sat out or was limited during practice. Senior center Kristofer O’Dowd rested what he called a “strained shoulder.”He was seen at the beginning of practice wearing a wrap around his shoulder, which was removed by the end of the practice session. He expressed no doubt he’d be ready for the game against Oregon on Oct. 30 and said he was expecting a Tuesday return. He called sitting out a preventative measure to ensure full health.Junior tackle Tyron Smith sat out with an ankle injury, and senior guard Butch Lewis sat out with an undisclosed injury. Redshirt sophomore guard Khaled Holmes was limited and sat on a training table during the second half of practice.“As we’ve said all along, hopefully we get these guys back by Monday, and be ready to go with a full week of practice,” said USC coach Lane Kiffin.—With all the injuries and the lack of depth on the team, the bye week functions as a training ground for the younger players to earn playing time and demonstrate to the coaching staff whether their talents can translate to the collegiate level.The Trojans spent significant time in a four wide receiver set from the shotgun to simulate the style of play of the highly touted, high-scoring Oregon offense.Sophomore quarterback Matt Barkley was hurrying the team to the line and coaches were emphasizing quickness and speed on both sides of the ball.During a receivers and defensive backs drill, Kiffin told his players to ask themselves, “How am I going to tackle the fastest team in the country?”It was a common line from the coaching staff during the moments when the team was working on full-speed drills, especially during the scrimmage at the end of practice.—Freshman running back D.J. Morgan got a number of carries during Thursday’s practice, even with the first-team offense.He broke one of his carries for a touchdown and was picking up a number of yards on each attempt.Kiffin praised Morgan on his ability and said that it was promising that the freshman was able to show off his skill set in practice.“This is the first week that we’ve been able to see a lot with him,” Kiffin said. “He looks very explosive, even though he’s not 100 percent yet.”last_img read more

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