Boutique hotel – A unique experience of tourism

first_imgBoutique, design or lifestyle hotels, although the name itself sounds very modernist, are the types of hotels that provide tourism services in a unique and personalized way. Just imagine how in just a few days, in the hotel itself, you felt all the charms of the area.In my opinion, tourism can be described as an unlimited process that we live from day to day, so we are the actors who transfer tourism as a process to the guest, approach him with their customs, culture and habits and that remains in it as the experience itself. For this reason, I believe that the emotions of experiencing new cultures and customs are difficult to see in large tourism corporations which, despite their very good business and numerous investments, place emphasis on quantity. In most cases, the relationship with the guest is not built, but his current needs are met. I often call it industrial tourism where the emphasis is on speed, quantity and profit while the very core of tourism as an experience is lost.Boutique hotels are a young type of hotel that began to appear in the 80s of last century. Mostly in big world cities – They are smaller in capacity, most often designed in a luxurious but indigenous style behind which in most cases hides a story, a story that will shape the guest’s vacation and bring it closer to the values ​​that describe the culture and customs of the area. The casual and everyday way the staff behaves is exactly what makes this story even more interesting.Hotel San Rocco, Bortinigla / Photo: FB Hotel San RocoThe San Rocco boutique hotel is an example of such a hotel. Located in the northwest of Istria in the small town of Brtonigla with its 14 rooms offers guests a traditional story of Istrian gastronomy. The experience of Istria, which is primarily a region known for its meat and fish specialties, top wines such as Teran and Malvasia and olive oil, is transformed into the story of this hotel. Ride a bike on the wine roads and see the rows of vines that give the best Istrian wines, eat tagliata or carpaccio from Boškarin or relax in the outdoor pool surrounded by olive trees ?? I would have a hard time deciding ..A few kilometers away, in Novigrad, there is a boutique hotel Nautica.The hotel has a very interesting story that combines a top restaurant that serves traditional Istrian specialties, a marina with a total of 365 berths and a wellness center, designed and decorated in the shape of a sailboat. The experience of rustic objects and the design of the rooms create the feeling of being on a ship, thus opening the story of another form of tourism that is slowly but successfully developing in our country, nautical tourism.Hotel & Marina Nautica, Novigrad / Photo: Photo: Ziga IntiharThe hotel ratings on the booking pages are outstanding, the emphasis shows a personalized approach, quality gastronomy and praise for the design. Those three most important things that are listed at the beginning and that leave the emotion and the story alone. I liked the comment of a guest from Germany the most, who says: “This is the experience of Istria, I came to the sea with the aim to see as many cities in the area, but great food and a tour of the vineyards and the stories of farmers who cultivate it regardless of the weather is what left the biggest impression on me. That is the beauty of this area, come see this.”The experience of such a hotel will leave a deep impression on the guest, in a short time bring him closer to nature, people and customs. In industrial tourism it is impossible to reach such a level, so this is the main reason why in hotels like this, more rooms are always sought throughout the year.Boutique hotels are a real holiday for the soul, which, by combining tradition and leisure in approach, constantly creates a story that brings the guest back to be a part of it.Author: Alan Ivezić, quality management managerlast_img read more

International conference “Cultural route – destination Napoleon” for the first time in Croatia

first_imgThe General Annual Assembly of the European Federation of Napoleonic Cities, which has 55 member cities, will be held for the 13th time, but for the first time in Croatia. From October 20 to 23, Orebic will host the International Conference “Cultural Route – Napoleon Destination”, and Croatia was chosen as the host for the first time, and the arrival of more than a hundred participants has been announced, of which 80 from 15 European countries.Tako se na Pelješcu između ostalih očekuju gradonačelnici Lubina, Boleslaweca, Pontivyja, Monteraua i Jene, zamjenik gradonačelnika Pariza, predstavnik iz ureda gradonačelnika Moskve, kao i znanstvenici Sorbone te drugih poznatih europskih sveučilišta i muzeja. Iz Hrvatske će sudjelovati predstavnici jedinica područne i lokalne samouprave, turističkih zajednica, razvojnih agencija te znanstvenih i stručnih institucija vezanih uz baštinu i istraživanja napoleonskog razdoblja.  „The European cultural route “Destination Napoleon” was certified last year by the European Institute for Cultural Routes, which operates within the Council of Europe. As Croatia is on the map of the route in question, our goal is to expand and implement the project in its area. The first step is to hold a conference and an annual meeting of Napoleonic cities, ie European areas where this cultural route has already been introduced.”, Points out Dubravka Davidović, president of the Croatian Association for Tourist and Cultural Routes” Tur Kultur “.European cultural route “Destination Napoleon” last year it was certified by the European Institute for Cultural Routes operating within the Council of Europe. As Croatia is on the map of the route, the goal is to expand and implement the project in its area, and the first step is to hold a conference and annual meeting of Napoleonic cities and European areas where the cultural route has already been introduced. The main goal of these events is to activate cultural and tourist route in the Republic of Croatia and to initiate and implement as many tourist entities and projects of cultural (tangible and intangible) heritage from areas rich in Napoleonic history.Uz Europsku federaciju napoleonskih gradova, organizator  konferencije je Hrvatska udruga za turističke i kulturne rute „Tur Kultur“, a suorganizatori su Hrvatska udruga za turizam i ruralni razvoj „Klub članova Selo“ te tvrtke HF Eko Etno Grupa i Kontekst savjetovanje.  „The main goal of these events is to activate the cultural and tourist route in the Republic of Croatia and to launch and implement as many tourist entities and projects of cultural, tangible and intangible heritage from areas rich in Napoleonic history.”, Concluded Dijana Katica, President of the Croatian Association for Tourism and Rural Development” Village Members Club “.last_img read more

Research debunks common narcissism myth: Overuse of ‘I’ and ‘me’ not linked to the disorder

first_imgShare Email Share on Twitter Early testing of this hypothesis was conducted at the University of California, Berkeley, in 1988 and confirmed the association, but consisted of merely 48 participants. Since then, scientific studies have been unable to consistently replicate the finding. Because it appears to be such a pervasive belief in modern society, the researchers felt it was important to give the hypothesis a rigorous scientific vetting.Carey and Mehl teamed with researchers from four other universities in the United States and two in Germany to recruit over 4,800 people for the study (67 percent female, mostly undergraduate students). Participants were asked to engage in one of six communications tasks in which they wrote or talked about themselves or an unrelated topic. Researchers also scored the participants for narcissism using five different narcissism measures, including the common 40-item Narcissistic Personality Inventory. Their narcissism scores were then compared with their use of first-person singular pronouns in the communication tasks.The researchers could find no association between pronoun use and narcissism. When they analyzed data by gender, they found men had a slightly higher correlation than women but neither was statistically significant nor practically meaningful.“The most interesting finding is that the results did not vary much across two different countries, multiple labs, five different narcissism measures and 12 different samples,” said Mehl. “We were surprised by how consistent of a near-null finding it was.”Identifying narcissists is important because over time their grandiosity, self-focus and self-importance can become socially toxic and can have negative consequences on relationships, said Carey.“The next question, of course, is how else, if not through I-talk, narcissism is revealed through language,” she added. “We are working on this question in a follow-up study using the same data.” Contrary to popular belief, excessive use of first-person singular pronouns such as “I” and “me” does not necessarily indicate a narcissistic tendency, according to research published by the American Psychological Association.“There is a widely assumed association between use of first-person singular pronouns, what we call I-talk, and narcissism, among laypeople and scientists despite the fact that the empirical support for this relation is surprisingly sparse and generally inconsistent,” said Angela Carey, MA, a third-year doctoral candidate in psychology at the University of Arizona and lead author of the study. It was published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.Narcissists have an unrealistic sense of superiority and self-importance and an overabundance of self-focus, said Matthias Mehl, PhD, a psychology professor at the University of Arizona and a co-author of the study. It would therefore be reasonable to assume that narcissists would be more prone to I-talk, he said.center_img LinkedIn Pinterest Share on Facebooklast_img read more

Pre-college science programs lead to more science majors

first_imgShare on Facebook Share on Twitter High school students who take part in pre-college programs that focus on science are much more likely to pursue higher education and, eventually, careers in science, technology, engineering and medicine – the STEM disciplines.In a paper published in the Journal of Higher Education Outreach and Engagement, Michigan State University researchers from the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory, the Joint Institute for Nuclear Astrophysics and the College of Education used an MSU program as a case study for why these programs are key to training tomorrow’s generation of scientists.The joint NSCL/JINA program, the Physics of Atomic Nuclei, is for both high school students and science teachers and designed to get them excited about science and, in particular, nuclear astrophysics. LinkedIn In assessment questionnaires given to participants, a vast majority said the PAN program strongly affected how they view science and convinced the students they may want to pursue a career in that field.“PAN is just one example of how outreach programs can specifically respond to the call to strengthen the pipeline of talent into STEM by helping students visualize, take realistic actions and create strategic plans to pursue a career in physics and STEM,” said Zachary Constan, outreach coordinator for the NSCL and co-author of the paper.In fact, in a survey sent to students who participated in the program, 100 percent of the respondents said they planned to attend or were attending a four-year college, with nearly 90 percent of them majoring in STEM.Constan said that while it’s true most of the PAN students were already predisposed to science, the study showed that their participation helped them to further develop their science interests and take the next steps toward a career path.Constan said one of the benefits of majoring in physics or one of the STEM disciplines is that the student learns many other skills – problem solving, communication, working as part of a team – that are applicable in areas such as medicine, law and business.“With a physics background, for example, you can have more choices, which can lead to greater satisfaction,” he said. “A person can find their niche, the thing that really inspires them.”The other benefit of this paper is it gives other similar programs a blueprint to assess themselves. Constan said most programs are run by scientists, people who are good at the science but need some help evaluating what they do.“This is a good primer for other similar projects to assess how they are doing by initiating interdisciplinary university collaborations,” he said.center_img Email Pinterest Sharelast_img read more

Victimized adolescents more at risk of thinking about suicide or attempting suicide at 15

first_imgA study to be published in the February 2016 issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (JAACAP) reports that adolescents chronically victimized during at least two school years, are about five times more at risk of thinking about suicide and 6 times more at risk of attempting suicide at 15 years compared to those who were never victimized.This is the first study to show a predictive association between victimization, suicidal ideation and suicide attempt in mid-adolescence. It also takes into account a variety of factors, including previous suicidality, mental health problems (by the age of 12 years) such as depression, opposition/defiance and inattention/hyperactivity problems, as well as family adversity.Using data from the Quebec Longitudinal Study of Child Development, which followed a general population sample of 1168 children born in 1997-98 in Quebec (Canada) until they were 15 years old, a group of researchers led by Dr. Marie-Claude Geoffroy of the CIUSSS de l’Ouest-de-l’Île-de-Montréal (Douglas Mental Health University Institute, McGill Group for Suicide Studies) and the Sainte-Justine Hospital Research Centre examined the relationship between victimization by peers, suicidal ideation and suicide attempt. The authors hypothesized that children victimized by their peers would be at higher risks of suicidal ideation and suicide attempt compared to non-victims. Overall, approximately 20% of the study participants report being exposed to victimization by their peers. Peer victimization includes actions such as being called names, spreading rumours, excluding someone from a group on purpose, attacking someone physically or cyberbullying. According to the authors, victims reported higher rates of suicidal ideation at age 13 and 15 (respectively 11.6% and 14.7%) compared to those who had not been victimized (2.7% at 13 and 4.1% at 15). The authors also observed higher rates of suicide attempt for the victimized adolescents at age 13 and 15 (5.4 % and 6.8%) compared to non-victims (1.6% at 13 and 1.9% at 15). In particular, the data showed that 13 years old adolescents who had been victimized by their peers have two times more risk of having suicidal ideation two years later and three times more at risks of suicide attempt.The authors point out that although victimization predicts suicidality it does not necessarily cause it, and this prediction does not apply to all individuals. Only a minority of victims will later develop suicidal ideation or make a suicide attempt. Why these adverse experiences affect individuals remains to be investigated.Adolescence is a crucial period for suicide prevention. As a result, the authors suggest that effective interventions may require a multidisciplinary effort involving parents, schoolteachers, principals, and mental health professionals. All adolescents, victimized or not, who think often and/or seriously about suicide should see a mental health professional such as a psychiatrist, a psychologist, or an accredited psychotherapist. Share on Facebook Share Emailcenter_img Share on Twitter Pinterest LinkedInlast_img read more

Neuronal feedback system could explain mechanism behind optical illusions

first_imgCarnegie Mellon neuroscientists believe that neuronal feedback could explain why we see optical illusions, like the Kanizsa triangle.“We see with both our brain and our eyes. Your brain is making inferences that allow you to see the triangle. It’s connecting the dots between the corners of the wedges,” said Kuhlman, who is a member of Carnegie Mellon’s BrainHub neuroscience initiative and the joint Carnegie Mellon/University of Pittsburgh Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition (CNBC). “Optical illusions illustrate some of the amazing things our visual system can do.”When we look at an object, information about what we see travels through circuits of neurons beginning in the retina, through the thalamus and into the brain’s visual cortex. In the visual cortex, the information gets processed in multiple stages and is ultimately sent to the prefrontal cortex — the area of the brain that makes decisions, including how to respond to a given stimulus.However, not all information stays on this forward moving path. At the secondary stage of processing in the visual cortex some neurons reverse course and send information back to the first stage of processing. Researchers at Carnegie Mellon wondered if this feedback could change how the neurons in the visual cortex respond to a stimulus and alter the messages being sent to the prefrontal cortex.While there has been a good deal of research studying how information moves forward through the visual system, less has been done to study the impact of the information that moves backward. To find out if the information traveling from the secondary stage of processing back to the first stage impacted how information is encoded in the visual system, the researchers needed to quantify the magnitude of information that was being sent from the second stage back to the first stage. Using a mouse model, they recorded normal neuronal firing in the first stage of the visual cortex as the mouse looked at moving patterns that represented edges. They then silenced the neurons in the second stage using modified optogenetic technology. This halted the feedback of information from the second stage back to the first stage, and allowed the researchers to determine how much of the neuronal activity in the first stage of visual processing was the result of feedback.Twenty percent of the neuronal activity in the visual cortex was the result of feedback, a concept Kuhlman calls reciprocal connectivity. This indicates that some of the information coming from the visual cortex is not a direct response to a visual stimuli, but is a response to how the stimuli was perceived by higher cortical areas.The feedback, she says, might be what causes our brain to complete the undrawn lines in the Kanizsa triangle. But more importantly, it signifies that studying neuronal feedback is important to our understanding of how the brain works to process stimuli.“This represents a new way to study visual perception and neural computation. If we want to truly understand the visual pathway, and cortical function in general, we have to understand these reciprocal connection,” Kuhlman said. LinkedIn Ever see something that isn’t really there? Could your mind be playing tricks on you? The “tricks” might be your brain reacting to feedback between neurons in different parts of the visual system, according to a study published in the Journal of Neuroscience by Carnegie Mellon University Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences Sandra J. Kuhlman and colleagues.Understanding this feedback system could provide new insight into the visual system’s neuronal circuitry and could have further implications for understanding how the brain interprets and understands sensory stimuli.Many optical illusions make you see something that’s not there. Take the Kanizsa triangle: when you place three Pac-Man-like wedges in the right spot, you see a triangle, even though the edges of the triangle aren’t drawn. Share on Facebook Emailcenter_img Share on Twitter Share Pinterestlast_img read more

Scientists shed light on an evolutionary mystery: The origins of the female orgasm

first_imgLinkedIn Email Share on Twitter Share Share on Facebookcenter_img Pinterest Female orgasm seems to be a happy afterthought of our evolutionary past when it helped stimulate ovulation, a new study of mammals shows.The role of female orgasm, which plays no obvious role in human reproduction, has intrigued scholars as far back as Aristotle. Numerous theories have tried to explain the origins of the trait, but most have concentrated on its role in human and primate biology.Now scientists at Yale and the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital have provided fresh insights on the subject by examining the evolving trait across different species. Their study appears Aug. 1 in the journal JEZ-Molecular and Developmental Evolution. “Prior studies have tended to focus on evidence from human biology and the modification of a trait rather than its evolutionary origin,” said Gunter Wagner, the Alison Richard Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary biology, and a member of Yale’s Systems Biology Institute.Instead, Wagner and Mihaela Pavličev of the Center for Prevention of Preterm Birth at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital propose that the trait that evolved into human female orgasm had an ancestral function in inducing ovulation.Since there is no apparent association between orgasm and number of offspring or successful reproduction in humans, the scientists focused on a specific physiological trait that accompanies human female orgasm — the neuro-endocrine discharge of prolactin and oxytocin — and looked for this activity in other placental mammals. They found that in many mammals this reflex plays a role in ovulation.In spite of the enormous diversity of mammalian reproductive biology, some core characteristics can be traced throughout mammalian evolution, note the researchers. The female ovarian cycle in humans, for instance, is not dependent upon sexual activity. However, in other mammalian species ovulation is induced by males. The scientists’ analysis shows male-induced ovulation evolved first and that cyclical or spontaneous ovulation is a derived trait that evolved later.The scientists suggest that female orgasm may have evolved as an adaptation for a direct reproductive role — the reflex that, ancestrally, induced ovulation. This reflex became superfluous for reproduction later in evolution, freeing female orgasm for secondary roles.A comparative study of female genitalia also revealed that, coincidental with the evolution of spontaneous ovulation, the clitoris was relocated from its ancestral position inside the copulatory canal. This anatomical change made it less likely that the clitoris receives adequate stimulation during intercourse to lead to the neuro-endocrine reflex known in humans as orgasm.“Homologous traits in different species are often difficult to identify, as they can change substantially in the course of evolution,” said Pavlicev. “We think the hormonal surge characterizes a trait that we know as female orgasm in humans. This insight enabled us to trace the evolution of the trait across species.”Such evolutionary changes are known to produce new functions, as is well established for feathers, hair, or swim bladders, etc., which originated for one purpose and were coopted into secondary functions later.last_img read more

Antidepressant SNRI medications reduce connectivity in the brain’s pain network

first_img“The better we can understand how our treatments work, the more closely we can match our patients to the treatment best suited for their condition. We can also use this information to develop new, more targeted treatments that may be more effective with fewer side effects than our existing treatments.”In two double-blind, placebo-controlled trials of 66 adults with persistent depressive disorder, the researchers found that SNRI antidepressant medications reduced connectivity within the thalamo-cortico-periaqueductal network — a connection of brain regions associated with the processing of pain. The changes in this network were associated with improvements in depressive symptoms.The researchers used MRI scans to compare brain structure before and after a 10-week trial of duloxetine and 12-week trial of desvenlafaxine.“Our findings suggest that, at least for some patients with depression, a brain system related to pain (the ‘pain network’) may be an important player in their disorder and interventions that target this brain system might be of particular benefit,” Posner told PsyPost.“Depression is a heterogeneous disorder, meaning the biological process responsible for depression can differ from one individual to the next. For some depressed individuals, the pain network may play an important role in their depression symptoms, even if they are not describing symptoms of physical pain. For these patients, SNRI antidepressants may be of particular benefit. (SNRI antidepressants are distinct from the more commonly prescribed SSRI antidepressants, such as Prozac and Zoloft.)”The use of double-blind, placebo-controlled trials allows the researchers to impute causality. But like all research, the study includes some limitations.“One important caveat is that the change we detected in the pain network was only responsible for part of the treatment effects. In other words, the medications likely cause other brain changes — and these may also be important in helping depressed patients,” Posner explained.“Another caveat is that although the ‘pain network’ is associated with physical pain, and is named accordingly, this brain system may also underlie painful emotions for some individuals. Pain is a complex psychological state that can be experienced in different ways from one individual to the next.”Previous research has found that patients with chronic prescription opioid use and depression who adhered to antidepressant medications — including SNRIs — were more likely to stop using opioids.“Given the opioid crisis in the USA, it is important that we better understand the relationship between pain and depression and how treatments can affect their underlying biology,” Posner said.“Our findings suggest that SNRI antidepressants offer a treatment that engages the brain’s pain system without being habit forming. This brings up important hypotheses — for instance, might SNRI antidepressants reduce risk for opioid dependence in individuals with chronic pain or depression?”The study, “The association between antidepressant treatment and brain connectivity in two double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trials: a treatment mechanism study“, was authored by Yun Wang, Joel Bernanke, Bradley S Peterson, Patrick McGrath, Jonathan Stewart, Ying Chen, Seonjoo Lee , Melanie Wall, Vanessa Bastidas, Susie Hong, Bret R Rutherford, David J Hellerstein, and Jonathan Posner. Email New research suggests that a brain network associated with the experience of pain could be an important target for antidepressant medications.The study, published in The Lancet Psychiatry, found that the use of serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) led to changes in the functional architecture of the brain’s pain network.“We have many treatments in psychiatry that are effective — meaning they are able to reduce symptoms — but we know very little about how they work, or how they change brain function to lead to symptom improvement,” said study author Jonathan Posner, the Suzanne Crosby Murphy Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center. Share on Facebook LinkedIncenter_img Share Share on Twitter Pinterestlast_img read more

Study: Cell-based flu vaccine protection matches egg-based

first_imgFeb 17, 2011 (CIDRAP News) – A cell-culture-derived influenza vaccine made by Baxter Bioscience provided about 71% protection against confirmed flu cases in young adults who participated in a large US clinical trial, a level similar to what has been seen with traditional egg-based vaccines, according to a report in The Lancet.The authors, from Baxter and Dynport Vaccine Co., say the trial is the first to demonstrate the clinical efficacy of a flu vaccine derived from Vero cells, which come from African green monkeys. They say Vero cells are the only cell line that has “universal regulatory acceptance.”Production of flu vaccines in mammalian cell cultures is said to have several advantages, including speed and flexibility, over the traditional process of growing them in eggs. Cell-based flu vaccines have been licensed in Europe, but none have yet been approved in the United States.In the Baxter trial, which was financed by the US government’s Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), Baxter’s trivalent Vero-cell-based vaccine was tested against a placebo vaccine for preventing confirmed flu infection in adults aged 18 to 49 years. The researchers also assessed the correlation between vaccine efficacy and flu antibody levels.The team recruited and included in their analysis 7,236 volunteers at 36 centers around the country, who were randomly assigned to receive the vaccine or a placebo during the 2008-09 flu season.Twenty-three flu cases (0.6%) were confirmed among the 3,619 participants who received the flu vaccine, versus 80 cases (2.2%) among the 3,617 placebo recipients. That translated into an efficacy of 71.5% (95% confidence interval, 54.7 to 82.1%). The numbers included all flu cases, regardless of whether they matched the flu strains used in the vaccine.When the researchers counted only the flu infections matching the strains used in the vaccine, there were 13 cases (0.4%) among the vaccine recipients and 60 cases (1.7%) among the placebo group. That signaled 78.5% efficacy (95% CI, 60.8 to 88.2%) against the specific flu strains in the vaccine.Fourteen of the 23 flu cases in the vaccine recipients and 56 of 80 in the placebo group involved the A/H1N1 subtype, which was predominant that year. Because there were so few cases of A/H3N2 or type B flu, and because the B strain in the vaccine did not match the circulating strain, the study did not demonstrate significant vaccine efficacy against those subtypes, the report says.In addition, the vaccine was well-tolerated, with no serious adverse events reported.The team used hemagglutination inhibition at baseline and 21 days after vaccination to assess the participants’ antibody response to the H1N1 component of the vaccine. They say their results show that an antibody titer of 1:15 is a reliable indicator of protection by the Baxter vaccine and that there is no added protection at titers greater than 1:30.The authors note that comparing different flu vaccine efficacy studies is difficult because of confounding factors, but say their results compare favorably with findings from other studies. They cite a meta-analysis of trials done in healthy adults from 1977 to 2009, which showed that trivalent inactivated vaccines were 73% efficacious when vaccine strains matched the circulating strains. Live attenuated vaccines were found to be 62% efficacious.”These data suggest that the Vero-cell-derived influenza vaccine is at least as effective in preventing culture-confirmed influenza infection as inactivated and live attenuated egg-derived vaccines,” the report says.The results were similar to those reported last October in a large, three-country clinical trial of a cell-based flu vaccine made by Novartis. Tested during the 2007-08 flu season, that vaccine showed an efficacy of 69.5% against all circulating flu strains and 83.8% against the strains in the vaccine. The Novartis vaccine is grown in canine kidney cells.In an accompanying commentary, W. Paul Glezen of Baylor College of Medicine in Houston writes that the greatest advantage of culture-grown flu antigens may lie in that this technology preserves the structure of the antibody-combining sites on the flu virus’s hemagglutinin protein. Manipulation of human flu viruses to make them grow in eggs changes the hemagglutinin, and animal studies “suggest that the use of vaccine virus grown in mammalian cells could enhance protection after challenge with the human virus,” Glezen says.Despite the reported advantages of cell-based flu vaccines, not all vaccine companies are pursuing them. Sanofi Pasteur, a major supplier for the United States, abandoned development of cell-based flu vaccines in 2009. Company officials at the time said that a pilot vaccine that Sanofi developed offered no real clinical advantage and only a modest time savings and was expensive.Barrett PN, Berezuk G, Fritsch F. Efficacy, safety, and immunogenicity of a Vero-cell-culture-derived trivalent influenza vaccine: a multicentre, double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial. Lancet 2011; early online publication Feb 16 [Abstract]See also:Extract of accompanying Lancet commentaryOct 6, 2010, CIDRAP News story “Trial answers some, not all, questions, on cell-based flu vaccines”last_img read more

Avian Flu Scan for Dec 23, 2014

first_imgChina reports world’s 2nd H5N6 caseChina today reported the world’s second known human case of H5N6 avian flu, in a 58-year-old man in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, Hong Kong’s Centre for Health Protection (CHP) said.The first case, in early May, was in Sichuan province and proved fatal.The current H5N6 patient is hospitalized in critical condition in Guangzhou, the CHP said in a press release. His close contacts have shown no sign of illness.The man tested positive for H5N6 in routine testing by provincial health officials for influenza and severe pneumonia, Xinhua, China’s state news agency, reported today. Further testing by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed the result yesterday.”All boundary control points have implemented disease prevention and control measures” a spokesman said in the CHP release. “Thermal imaging systems are in place for body temperature checks of inbound travellers. Suspected cases will be immediately referred to public hospitals for follow-up investigation.”Dec 23 CHP news release Dec 23 Xinhua story May 6 CIDRAP News scan on first H5N6 case Egypt reports its 21st H5N1 infectionEgypt’s Ministry of Health today reported the nation’s 21st case this year of H5N1 avian flu, in a 42-year-old from Sohag governorate in central Egypt, according to a translated statement posted on the infectious disease blog Avian Flu Diary.The man first had symptoms on Dec 19 and was hospitalized the next day with fever and a cough, the statement said. He has received oseltamivir (Tamiflu) and is in stable condition. He tested positive for H5N1 yesterday.He owns a farm where dead birds had been identified before he fell ill, the health ministry said. Of Egypt’s 21 cases this year, 9 have been fatal, the ministry reported. Four of the patients—including the latest—are still receiving treatment.Dec 23 Avian Flu Diary post Two reports note phylogeny of H10N7 in European seal die-offGenetic analysis of H10N7 avian flu viruses isolated from dead seals in Denmark and Germany shows they are closely related to H10N7 strains from the republic of Georgia and from Egypt, as well as those recently identified in other parts of northwestern Europe, according to separate reports yesterday in Emerging Infectious Diseases.In Denmark, researchers isolated H10N7 from two of four dead seals they examined after a die-off of at least 152 harbor seals on the island of Anholt. They found both the hemagglutinin (HA) and neuraminidase (NA) segments showed high-level nucleotide sequence identity to avian flu viruses from birds in Scandinavia and Georgia.The HA of the Danish viruses was 98.7% identical and the NA 97.0% identical to viruses isolated from seals in Sweden in April.In the German report, samples from 11 of 17 dead seals tested positive for influenza A, and H10N7 was identified on further testing. The German team found the HA and NA genes were most closely related to H10N7 viruses recently found in migratory ducks in Georgia, Egypt, and the Netherlands.The report said that, in the coastal waters of Schleswig-Holstein, Germany, alone, 1,400 of about 12,000 harbor seals have died of influenza-like illness. Officials last week estimated the death toll among seals in Sweden and Denmark to be about 3,000.Dec 22 Emerg Infect Dis Danish report Dec 22 Emerg Infect Dis German report Dec 16 CIDRAP News scan on death toll in sealslast_img read more