Jan 29, 2008 (CIDRAP News) – An early report on the seasonal influenza strains circulating in Europe reveals that some H1N1 viruses show signs of resistance to the antiviral drug oseltamivir, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) reported this week.Of 148 influenza influenza A H1N1 samples collected in November and December in 10 European countries, 19 tested positive for resistance to oseltamivir, the ECDC said in a Jan 27 press release. Twelve of the resistant virus isolates were from Norway; the rest included one from Denmark, four from France, and two from the United Kingdom.According to ECDC’s full interim report, the oseltamivir-resistant variant, H1N1 (H274Y), is a new development this winter. (H274Y is the term for a mutation associated with resistance to the drug.) The strain is sensitive to other antivirals, which include zanamivir, amantadine, and rimantadine.The overall proportion of the oseltamivir-resistant strain among European isolates is 13%, but if the Norwegian samples are excluded from the total, the proportion for Europe falls to 5%, the report said.Though the ECDC cautioned that the findings are preliminary, it said Norway is still seeing the oseltamivir-resistant H1N1 this month and that the same mutation is being seen in other countries, including those in North America.”There are some indications that some of the same oseltamivir-resistant A H1N1 viruses are being observed at low levels in the United States,” the report said.Experts from the ECDC, the European Commission, and the World Health Organization (WHO) are assessing the significance of the findings and will release an interim joint assessment soon, based on the initial surveillance findings, the ECDC said.The WHO today held a virtual meeting of experts to discuss the findings. WHO spokesman Gregory Hartl told CIDRAP News the group agreed that more studies are needed to answer the many questions raised by the ECDC’s initial report. For example, he said experts would like to determine why antiviral resistance rates in the study vary so widely between countries and why the resistant H1N1 strain surfaced so early in the flu season.The findings need to be fleshed out, and experts are just now looking at isolates collected in January, Hartl said. “Theses are small numbers, so this is a work in progress,” he commented.Joe Bresee, MD, chief of epidemiology and prevention for the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) immunization services division, told CIDRAP News today that of 204 influenza samples tested by the CDC so far this season, six (2.9%) were resistant to oseltamivir. The resistant samples accounted for 5.5% of the 109 H1N1 viruses the CDC isolated, he said.”It’s interesting. Last year we wouldn’t have expected this level of resistance,” Bresee said. The CDC is continuing to monitor patterns with the oseltamivir-resistant H1N1 variant, but he said the numbers were low enough that the agency is not changing its recommendations for the treatment of seasonal influenza.The CDC has urged clinicians to stop using amantadine or rimantadine to treat influenza because circulating influenza A strains have high rates of resistance to the two drugs.Martina Rupp, a spokeswoman for Roche, the maker of Tamiflu, said the preliminary results are a contrast to previous years, when experts found little or no oseltamivir resistance, according to a Bloomberg News report. She said more surveillance is needed to establish the prevalence and geographic distribution of the resistant H1N1 variants and to gauge the impact on the drug’s efficacy.Frederick Hayden, MD, an antiviral expert with the WHO, said the change in the virus’s resistance pattern warrants concern, the Canadian Press (CP) reported yesterday. “This is not only interesting, it’s unusual and would not have necessarily been predicted by the necessary information. So it’s certainly something we’re taking seriously and trying to gather additional information [on],” he said.Though the source of the H1N1 variant is not known, ECDC experts reported that they don’t believe its emergence is related to antiviral use in Europe, because the drugs are rarely used there. They wrote that the Norwegian patients who had the resistant strain had not taken antiviral medications.The ECDC report said it’s not clear if the variant virus will be overwhelmed by more fit and oseltamivir-susceptible viruses as the influenza season progresses. “Equally, however, the resistant virus could come to spread and predominate. We simply do not know at present,” the authors reported.Evidence on the effect of the resistance mutation on viral fitness is contradictory, they noted. Some studies have shown the mutation reduces the virus’s capacity to replicate and spread, while others have shown the variant’s fitness is similar to that of viruses lacking the mutation.”People who become ill with the oseltamivir-resistant strain of A(H1N1) do not appear to become any more sick than people infected with ‘normal’ seasonal influenza,” the ECDC said in its press release.In addition, the ECDC report stated, “It also needs to be remembered that antiviral resistant is a relative not absolute term. Patients ill with viruses that are deemed resistant in the laboratory often still seem to benefit when they take antivirals.”See also:Jan 24 CIDRAP News story “Older flu drugs still used, against CDC advice”
This photo provided by Grinnell College shows Jack Taylor driving for a layup. (AP Photo/Grinnell College, Justin Hayworth)GRINNELL, Iowa (AP) — Jack Taylor renewed his membership in the Century Club.Taylor scored 109 points for Division III Grinnell College on Sunday, shooting 24-for-48 on 3-pointers in a 173-123 win over Crossroads. He poured in 53 during the first nine minutes of the second half.The 5-foot-10 guard from Black River Falls, Wis., set an NCAA record for any level by scoring 138 points last Nov. 20 in a 179-104 win over Faith Baptist Bible College.The only other player to score more than 109 in an NCAA game was Rio Grande’s Clarence “Bevo” Francis, who had 113 against Hillsdale in 1954.Against Crossroads College, in Rochester, Minn., Taylor was 35 of 70 overall from the field while playing only 29 minutes. He made 15 of 17 foul shots.“Just like last year, I couldn’t have done this without my teammates,” Taylor said. “I give so much credit to them. This truly was a team effort. I’m thankful for the program and the people I have playing with me.”Taylor scored 71 points in the Pioneers’ 144-99 victory Friday in the season opener against Finlandia.
By John Burton |FREEHOLD — There is always much to give thanks for this time of year, but for 17 Monmouth County families and their newest members, it’s going to be a very special holiday season.“These kids deserve a home, they deserve love,” said Seegal Moses, who, in recognition of National Adoption Day, welcomed 5-year-old Steven into her already large family last Friday.“They just want to be loved,” Moses observed of her children and all the others who continue to wish for a permanent home.Jeff and Kate Johnson, a Middletown couple, are the proud parents of 4-month-old Ellianna, as they finalize her adoption last week at the Monmouth County Courthouse, Freehold.“It really does feel like Christmas!” added a beaming Kate Johnson, holding her adopted infant daughter.Monmouth County Surrogate Rosemarie Peters and the seven judges assigned to Family Court in state Superior Court at the Monmouth County Courthouse on Nov. 17, were on hand to celebrate finalizing 17 adoptions, joining together loving families with those who need that love.The courts and the Surrogate’s Office aren’t always happy places, acknowledged Peters and Judge Kathleen A. Sheedy, noting they’re usually the places for people facing difficult and stressful circumstances.But on this day, “For our office, this is wonderful,” Peters said. “This is happiness.”Sheedy said for her and her colleagues, “I can tell you this is the happiest day of the year.”Sheedy added, “Today we get to create new families.”The Moses family is already a pretty big one by contemporary standards. Red Bank residents Richard and Seegal Moses have six biological children and with the finalized adoption of Steven last week, have three adopted children.Seegal was adopted as a young child and is more than willing to bring as many children into the fold as they can, Richard said. “She’s the instigator in this,” he said affectionately. “It still touches me in deep ways,” the commitment her adopted family made to make her a part of their lives, Seegal added.And with Steven they couldn’t say no, Seegal acknowledged. The boy was found when he was only about 1, living on the streets in Ecuador, being cared for as much as was possible by his two only slightly older sisters. “The parents were M.I.A.,” Richard explained. “We don’t know what happened.” And no one really knows exactly how old Steven is, Richard said, although they have settled on 5.The boy has been with the Moseses for the past five months and is loved by all his siblings, Seegal said. “It’s just awesome,” Seegal said. “It really is.”According to Moses, Steven’s sisters have also been adopted and are living with families in the U.S.For Kate and Jeff Johnson, 4-month-old Ellianna was part of their lives within about an hour of being born. “We were able to meet her at the hospital,” Jeff said.The Johnsons, who live in Middletown, had entered into a private adoption agreement with the birth mother. “So, she’s been part of us,” Kate said.But with the formal adoption now done, “We can kind of relax now,” Jeff said, acknowledging there was always the concern the birth mother may change her mind. “This is the day,” Jeff said, joking he now has to start saving for Ellianna’s college and wedding.“We’re just so excited,” Kate offered. And while it is a lengthy process, having taken the Johnsons about four years total, Jeff recommended to anyone thinking about adopting: “Don’t hesitate, just do it,” because it brings so much joy and happiness.Victoria Smith and her life partner, Karen Mitcham, are old hands at this, yet it still feels so joyful, they said. “It’s wonderful,” Smith said, as the couple’s adoption was completed for two children.Karen Mitcham, left, Victoria Smith and Mya, 7, are all smiles with the adoption of Samantha and Jaylen last Friday, part of the Monmouth County’s celebration of National Adoption Day.Jaylen, 2, and Samantha, 5, are joining the Mitcham and Smith family, alongside Mya, a 7-year-old who the couple adopted in June 2012. Smith and Mitcham have been foster parents for these children and for a total of 32 kids over the years. Most of the children returned to their original families or were placed in other homes. “I’m retired now and I love kids,” said Smith, which made the decision to adopt Jaylen and Samantha an easy one.Mitcham said it’s a lot of work dealing with three youngsters but, “We have a lot of help…we have our church family” to lend support.Smith believed she and Mitcham are the ones receiving all the benefits. “They keep us young,” she said of the children.“We learn so much every day,” from the children, Seegal Moses said, believing she and her husband are the lucky ones. “I look at their faces and see so much love.”National Adoption Day is sponsored annually by a coalition of national organizations, such as the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption and the Children’s Action Network, to raise awareness of the approximately 100,000 children nationally, and 300 in Monmouth County, currently in foster care hoping for permanent homes.Those adopted last Friday range in age from 4 months to 29 years old. There were 122 adoptions finalized in Monmouth County over the course of the year, according to Peters.This article was first published in the Nov. 23-30, 2017 print edition of The Two River Times.