Tag: 上海夜网EQ

WHO drawing closer to declaring a pandemic

first_imgJun 2, 2009 (CIDRAP News) – The global novel H1N1 influenza situation is drawing closer to the status of a true pandemic but is not there yet, the World Health Organization’s (WHO’s) lead spokesman on the issue said today.”Globally we believe we’re in phase 5 but are getting closer to phase 6,” said Dr. Keiji Fukuda, the WHO assistant director-general for health security and the environment, referring to the WHO’s pandemic alert phases.By the WHO definition, phase 5 means a novel virus is causing sustained community outbreaks in more than one country within one WHO region, in this case the Americas. Phase 6 signals a full pandemic, defined as a novel virus spreading widely in more than one global region. The phases as currently defined do not say anything about the severity of the disease, only its geographic extent.Speaking at a news briefing, Fukuda also said the WHO will come up with ways to describe the severity of the epidemic and provide related guidance so that governments will have more information on how to respond to the situation.Last week, after a number of countries voiced concern that a pandemic declaration would cause undue alarm and disruption in the context of a generally mild disease, Fukuda said the WHO would consider modifying its phase definitions. Today, in the wake of a teleconference with experts yesterday, he signaled that the WHO will stick with the current definitions, but promised the agency would supplement them by finding a way to describe the severity of the disease threat.Transitional countriesFukuda said several countries outside North America, including the United Kingdom, Spain, Japan, Chile, and Australia, seem to be moving from having limited H1N1 outbreaks related to travelers and institutions to having widespread community transmission.”However, we still are waiting for evidence of really widespread community activity in these countries, so I think it’s fair to say that they are in transition and are not quite there yet,” he said.He contrasted those countries with the United States, Mexico, and Canada, where the virus is widespread, and most other countries, where cases are limited and mostly linked to travel or to institutional outbreaks.As of today, the WHO has confirmations of 18,365 novel H1N1 cases in 64 countries, with 117 deaths, Fukuda reported. He said the WHO now plans to update its online H1N1 case count on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, instead of 5 days a week.Offering a kind of one-word descriptor that the WHO has generally avoided, he said, “It’s probably fair to call the situation moderate right now. We have some hesitation in calling it mild, for a couple of reasons.”One reason is that while the number of serious and fatal cases appears relatively low, the WHO doesn’t know the true proportion of severe cases, he said. Another reason is that the infection can be fatal in some people, including those with underlying medical problems, pregnant women, and even some who were previously healthy.Creating a severity scaleThe WHO’s decision to assess severity but not change the pandemic phase definitions comes out of a series of telephone consultations yesterday with about 30 experts from 23 countries, Fukuda reported.He said the discussions were fruitful and produced consensus in a number of areas: “The experts urged WHO to continue to use geographic spread as the basis for moving to phase 6, but also said WHO should modify this movement with an assessment of severity, and WHO should provide more tailored guidance to countries, responding to the severity.”Much of the discussion focused on how to assess severity, which has to do not only with the virulence of the virus but also with the vulnerability and resilience of populations, which are likely to vary from country to country, he said.The WHO may come up with something like a 3-point severity scale, Fukuda said. The agency hopes to develop a general severity assessment that will be useful to all countries but link it with detailed guidance to help local authorities assess their own situation and respond appropriately.”One of the things we hope to do is reduce some of the more drastic actions that may be uncalled for, but also provide guidance to countries regarding what steps they can take,” he added. He cited embargoes on pork and the slaughter of pigs, measures used by some countries in the early stages of the epidemic, as examples of uncalled-for actions.In other comments, Fukuda said the novel virus seems to be behaving pretty much the same in the southern hemisphere as it has in the northern hemisphere. In Chile and Australia, for example, most cases have been mild, but some severe cases with respiratory failure have occurred, just as in North America.”Overall, what we’re seeing in the first few countries in the southern hemisphere is similar to what we’re seeing in the northern hemisphere,” he said.He also reported that most of the flu viruses identified recently in Chile have been the novel H1N1 rather than the seasonal flu viruses that normally show up at this time of year.See also: May 26 CIDRAP News story “WHO may redefine pandemic alert phases”last_img read more

Joseph Mariathasan: How to make European venture capital grow

first_imgFor European VC to truly flourish, private sector funding must increase, argues Joseph MariathasanWhether European venture capital is falling behind the US or Asia is of importance for more than just venture capital investors. New companies at the forefront of innovation can act as catalysts for stimulating economies way beyond the immediate returns for the investors – the rise of the internet economy is testament to that.There is an opinion that Europe is falling behind in one key area – investing in big ideas, the breakthrough innovations and highly disruptive companies most talked about in the media. I wrote about this a few months ago. Joe Schorge, founder and managing partner of Isomer Capital, has come back to me rebutting this view, and his arguments certainly deserve a hearing.Schorge says much of the analysis and negative perceptions of European venture are based on outdated data. He argues that the way innovative companies are built and financed has changed since the financial crisis, driven largely by the rise of smart phones, app stores and cloud-based computing, yet it takes years for such results to be reflected in backward-looking performance indices. Meanwhile, he sees a great investment opportunity in funding the future, today. More recent analysis by the likes of the Boston Consulting Group in a 2015 report suggests VC performance is trending upwards, driven by high US investments in Europe. What is a worry, though, is that the average fund size of the more than 800 VCs is small, and small, nationally focused funds have often underperformed. What is very positive is the development of venture hubs in Europe, with Schorge seeing London, Paris, Berlin and Stockholm leading, and a range of other cities following closely.Where Schorge differs from others is in the view that Europe is falling behind in ground-breaking innovation. As he rightly points out, in recent years, European companies have led the way in areas such as gaming, music streaming, blockchain and smart cities, among others. A good example is the British artificial intelligence company Google Deepmind, which is at the forefront of artificial intelligence. It made global headlines earlier this year when its programme beat a human professional at the game Go, which has never been done before.But perhaps the flip-side of that is that the company was acquired by Google in 2014, its biggest acquisition in Europe to date. How effective can European innovation be at the creation of unicorns (private companies valued at more than $1bn) if any potential contenders are rapidly acquired by the US mega companies? There may be some hope in that BCG does estimate that, as of August last year, 13 of the 129 global unicorns were based in Europe, including global names such as Shazam and Spotify.Other reports claim even larger numbers, with GP Bullhound identifying 40 in Europe. The UK is by far the leading creator, with Germany some distance behind. What is interesting, they find that the vast majority of new additions are consumer-focused, with all new unicorns in Germany being consumer-orientated. The mix in the UK, they find, is more diversified, with software companies dominating the new additions. The strongest sectors are e-commerce, software and marketplace, with each representing 20% of the total number of European unicorns. The fintech share is growing the fastest, with seven companies, and more than half of the fintech companies are UK-based. As GP Bullhound points out, London’s unique position in global finance is driving this growth. Schorge sees London as being on track to earn the title Fintech Capital of the World, given its strong growth as a start-up hub, wide talent pool of finance industry executives and the presence of all the large global financial intuitions. A key issue, of course, will be the potential impact of a Brexit. Proponents of Brexit will argue there will be no detrimental impact, but, the truth is, no one knows.So, should we be complacent about the strength of European venture? GP Bullhound reports that the new generation of European unicorns has raised significantly more capital than in the past but adds that now it is more important than ever to keep momentum in “winner takes all” sectors. Yet, despite the glowing reports that they, Schorge and others are reporting on European venture, the fact remains that it is difficult to get private sector funding from large institutions such as European pension funds. There are many reasons for that, including the fact small fund sizes preclude many large institutional investors from taking stakes, given the amount of due diligence required for relatively small investments. Not surprisingly, as BCG reports, the absence of private investors has led to governments becoming the largest LPs in Europe, with 35% of the market. For European venture to truly flourish, that figure has to be reduced through increased private sector funding, rather than reduced government investment. And in the UK, a possible Brexit may very well become the more important issue.Joseph Mariathasan is a contributing editor at IPElast_img read more

Phil Simmons appointed Head Coach of St. Kitts & Nevis Patriots

first_imgThe St. Kitts & Nevis (SKN) Patriots announced yesterday that former West Indies Coach, Phil Simmons, will become the new head coach of the franchise for the 2017 Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) season.“We are happy to announce that Phil Simmons is the new head coach of the SKN Patriots”, said Co-Owner & Principal, Uday Nayak. “We expect that Phil’s experience and local knowledge will help the Patriots achieve improved performances in our 2017 Hero CPL campaign, and will bring the ultimate success that our fans and sponsors deserve”.The Patriots owner described Simmons as “the right coaching choice at this very crucial time in the development of our Franchise.”Commenting on his new role, Coach Simmons said, “I am delighted to take up the role as Head Coach of the SKN Patriots. I would like to thank the owners and management for offering me this exciting opportunity to lead the squad.I am aware of the immediate challenges we are facing and I will do all possible to ensure that we achieve improved results”.The new Patriots coach expressed his delight that the franchise had just last week signed star batsman Chris Gayle, “I am very pleased with the recent signing of Gayle.This is a major boost for me coming in as the new coach and I look forward to working closely with Chris to bring the desired success to the St. Kitts & Nevis franchise”.Phil Simmons is himself a former explosive West Indies batting all-rounder. He retired from being a professional player in 2002, before embarking on a successful coaching career.Simmons is former coach of the Ireland national cricket team from 2007 to 2015, a period of significant improvement for Ireland’s ranking in world cricket. Simmons is best known for coaching the West Indies team to victory in the ICC World T20 in India earlier this year. (CPL Media Release)last_img read more