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World experts and funders set priorities for COVID-19 research

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From WHO/Getty Images

#WorldHealthOrganization, February 19, 2020 — Leading health experts from around the world have been meeting at the World Health Organization’s Geneva headquarters to assess the current level of knowledge about the new COVID-19 disease, identify gaps and work together to accelerate and fund priority research needed to help stop this outbreak and prepare for any future outbreaks.

The 2-day forum was convened in line with the WHO R&D Blueprint – a strategy for developing drugs and vaccines before epidemics, and accelerating research and development while they are occurring.

WHO photo

“This outbreak is a test of solidarity — political, financial and scientific. We need to come together to fight a common enemy that does not respect borders, ensure that we have the resources necessary to bring this outbreak to an end and bring our best science to the forefront to find shared answers to shared problems. Research is an integral part of the outbreak response,” said WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. “I appreciate the positive response of the research community to join us at short notice and come up with concrete plans and commitment to work together.”

The meeting, hosted in collaboration with GloPID-R (the Global Research Collaboration for Infectious Disease Preparedness) brought together major research funders and over 300 scientists and researchers from a large variety of disciplines. They discussed all aspects of the outbreak and ways to control it including:

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  • the natural history of the virus, its transmission and diagnosis;
  • animal and environmental research on the origin of the virus, including management measures at the human-animal interface;
  • epidemiological studies;
  • clinical characterization and management of disease caused by the virus;
  • infection prevention and control, including best ways to protect health care workers;
  • research and development for candidate therapeutics and vaccines;
  • ethical considerations for research;
  • and integration of social sciences into the outbreak response.

“This meeting allowed us to identify the urgent priorities for research. As a group of funders we will continue to mobilize, coordinate and align our funding to enable the research needed to tackle this crisis and stop the outbreak, in partnership with WHO,” said Professor Yazdan Yazdanpanah, chair of GloPID-R. “Equitable access – making sure we share data and reach those most in need,  in particular those in lower and middle-income countries, is fundamental to this work which must be guided by ethical considerations at all times.”  

File Photo, WHO Novel Coronavirus meeting

During the meeting, the more than 300 scientists and researchers participating both in person and virtually agreed on a set of global research priorities. They also outlined mechanisms for continuing scientific interactions and collaborations beyond the meeting which will be coordinated and facilitated by WHO. They worked with research funders to determine how necessary resources can be mobilized so that critical research can start immediately.

The deliberations will form the basis of a research and innovation roadmap charting all the research needed and this will be used by researchers and funders to accelerate the research response.

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Why Jonquel & WNBA Ladies get LESS PAY than Klay & NBA Guys; its forcing ladies into risks abroad

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#USA, June 25, 2022 – Being a player in the NBA is probably one of the most lucrative jobs that one can imagine.  Though better players get better salaries those salaries range between 900 thousand dollars for the lowest-paid players to up to 45 million for the highest-paid players but it is the NBA that ultimately decides how high salaries can go.

The total amount of money any team can spend on their players’ combined salaries is set by the NBA.  The teams then decide what to pay their lowest and highest-ranked players.  For the 22-23 season the cap is $122 million.

For example in the 2021-2022 Champions the Golden State Warrior’s lowest salary will go to Shaun Livingston, a guaranteed $1,333,332.  Their highest salary will go to Stephen Curry, a guaranteed $45,780,966.  This is in addition to sponsorship deals that can rake in millions of dollars for in-demand players.

In the WNBA 2021-2022 season, Brittney Griner earned a base maximum salary (without sponsorships) of $221,450.  That is the highest salary in the WNBA.  One of the best players in the league, Griner is paid four times lower than an NBA rookie.

This is true for women across the board, including the Bahamas’ Jonquel Jones.  Jones is one of the highest-paid players in the WNBA and is regarded as one of the most prolific.  Her salary is 208,000 per year.

Recently Griner was arrested in Russia for a small quantity of marijuana; she was there because she outsourced herself to the Russian team UMMC Ekaterinburg to have a chance at earning more money.

Grand Bahama’s Jonquel plays for the same team and says she can’t turn her back on the international leagues because the salary is just not comparable.  Two months ago she expressed the stress of traveling through Russia on Twitter.

“Just landed in Turkey and all I want to do is cry.  That situation was way more stressful than I realized.  Thank you God for always watching over and protecting me.”

Despite playing in China and Korea she said she never felt unsafe until the war describing it as “unprecedented.”

Despite the stress and danger, she told ESPN she was just going to have to deal with it.

“While the [WNBA] is making the right and necessary strides to pay us more and ensure that if we don’t want to go overseas, we don’t have to, I just feel like in my situation, the money is not comparable. I have to think about the financial status of my family and everybody else, and also the opportunities that I’m leaving if I don’t go.”

Remembering Griner Jones said “I’ve been looking at these pictures that I have on my phone, the last set of pictures I took with her we were going to Valencia or wherever. We were all just joking and laughing around and stuff, and it’s just crazy how fast things can change.” While she has hope things will change she says it probably won’t be in her playing years. For context, Jones and Curry are both power forwards.

In 63 appearances in 2020-21. Stephen Curry averaged 32.0 points, 5.8 assists, and 5.5 rebounds.  In 17 appearances in the same year, Jones has averaged 15.1 points, 9.4 rebounds, and 1.9 assists.  The men’s league plays over 1000 matches per year.  The women play under 300 WNBA and NBA players are comparable in talent so why is the pay so low?

Viewership plays a major role. More people watch the men’s games than women’s games, millions more which means a lot more money for the NBA. But this is not the only reason.

“The president of the WNBA thinks that one of the reasons men are paid more than women is that 50 percent of the NBA’s revenue is shared between the league and the players; however, there is about an 80-20 split for the WNBA. This means that the players only receive about 20% of the WNBA’s total revenue” says one academic paper done on the wage disparities in 2020. The study also referenced the 1,230 games men play each season compared to the women’s 204.

The WNBA has quality players with star value just like the NBA. The issue of lower revenues can be solved in great part, by better publicity, more games on the roster and lower age ranges for players.

Drumming up excitement, seeking out sponsorship deals, greater publicity, and all-star face-offs between the NBA and WNBA are all genuine possibilities that could prove instrumental indrawing tv viewership and courtside attention.

Until then stars like Griner and Jones will continue to relentlessly outsource themselves and play all year round for a piece of the pie their male counterparts take home in a single season.

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Health

Moderna & Pfizer approved for toddlers in US

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#USA, June 25, 2022 – Toddlers can now be vaccinated with either Moderna or Pfizer in the United States following the US Food and Drug Administration’s Advisory Committee vote to authorize the jabs for the youngest humans.

Some 2.5 million vaccines were ordered for these youngsters from Pfizer and 1.3 million are on order from Moderna.

The authorization committee voted unanimously on both vaccines and it comes as a relief to millions of parents who opted to keep their children away from family gatherings, even school

The lowest age a US resident can now get vaccinated is 6 months, Pfizer says their shot is ready for children six months to four years old and Moderna goes one year higher at 6 months to 5 years.  Both Pfizer and Moderna say the toddlers will need boosters in the future.

As of June 2, there have been 442 children between the ages of 0-4 years old who have died as a result of Covid-19 in the United States.

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Caribbean News

International joint forces seize $99 Million in Cocaine in Caribbean Sea

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

The US Coast Guard, and ships from the Netherlands made drug busts in the Caribbean Sea over the last few weeks resulting in a cumulative seizure of 5,237 pounds of cocaine.  The Coast Guard says the illegal narcotics which were offloaded at Base Miami Beach last Friday value $99 million.

The drugs were seized in the international waters of the Caribbean Sea by crews from: Coast Guard Cutter Donald Horsley, His Netherlands Majesty’s Ship Friesland, His Netherlands Majesty’s Ship Groningen.

Coast Guard Commanding officer of the Thetis, which transferred the drugs to the base in Miami, Justin Nadolny praised the partnership between themselves and the Netherlands which led to the massive seizure.

“Interdicting drug traffickers on the open ocean is challenging work and every interdiction is complex and unique,” he said. “This offload is a testament to the teamwork and devotion of every crew assigned to carry out this mission, and it showcases the strength of the valuable international partnerships united to combat transnational organized crime.  The fight against drug cartels in the Caribbean Sea requires unity of effort in all phases from detection, monitoring, and interdictions, to criminal prosecutions by international partners and U.S. Attorneys’ Offices in districts across the nation.”
The Turks and Caicos also have an agreement with the US Coast Guard signed in recent months which allows for tighter partnerships between the two countries (and the Bahamas) in the fight against illegal migration and drug trafficking in the county’s waters.

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