PREVAIL Admits Neglect in Promoting Vaccine Trials

first_imgPREVAIL, the Ebola trial vaccine team in Monrovia, has admitted that it failed to provide adequate public awareness before beginning to dispense the two trial vaccines early this week.Called Partnership for Research on Ebola Vaccine in Liberia, PREVAIL is a Liberia-U.S. Joint Clinical Research Partnership aimed at studying common infectious diseases in Liberia and developing Liberian clinical research capacity. The vaccine study began in October last year when Liberia and the United States formed the partnership with the objective of learning more about Ebola, finding the vaccines to prevent it and accelerate their development as well as discovery of treatments to heal people who become infected with the deadly virus.The trial vaccines were first administered on Monday to only twelve of the initial 600 expected volunteers at the newly renovated clinical research unit of the Redemption Hospital in New Kru Town.The two Ebola trial vaccines, ChAd-3 and Vesicular Stomatitis Virus (rVSV), being administered in the country received limited public awareness, many people have observed.  The lack of widespread, effective promotion of the vaccine trials has triggered rumors, fears and suspicions about them.The vaccines ChAd3-ZEBOV, manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline, a British pharmaceutical company, and the rVSV-ZEBOV by Merck/NewLink in Canada, have both been recognized by a panel of the World Health Organization (WHO). Despite the much desired objective of the vaccines to prevent future outbreaks of the Ebola virus and its devastation, the Liberian public has raised serious concerns about the trials.  In reaction, the Liberian co-principal Investigator for PREVAIL, Dr. Stephen B. Kennedy, admitted at a press conference in Monrovia Wednesday that several actions were missed along the way before the trials commenced.“We missed many steps along the way,” Dr. Kennedy said. “We failed to carry out (comprehensive) consultations. For example, we left out the media, the Legislature, women and other important groups in our consultation process during the planning stage.”“We are not politicians; we are medical people and so we were not sensitive enough to these procedures. We only took into consideration the medical community during the initial process. However, we will do all we can to meet those concerns that are being raised.” Dr. Kennedy, who is also the coordinator for the Ministry of Health’s Ebola Research, Incident Management System (NIMS) for the National Ebola Response, said despite the mistakes in promoting public awareness and dispelling doubts, the protocol being followed in trying the vaccines is internationally and scientifically acceptable. He meanwhile appealed to the general public to volunteer for the vaccine trials “because it will protect them from any future outbreak of the virus.” He also called on Liberians to remain calm because, said Dr. Kennedy, the international community’s eyes are on the country to learn the outcome of the trials.  Dr. Kennedy pointed out that a successful implementation of the trials will be Liberia’s major contribution to global public health. He refuted what he claimed to be widespread news that the trials have been halted. What has been halted is a clinical therapeutic drug called Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR), an experimental drug for the management of Ebola-positive patients, he said.  He said the drug was halted because the US Food and Drug Agency (FDA) withdrew PCR’s license as an Ebola trial drug. He did not say why PCR’s license was retracted.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Use plot data to make sound decisions

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest By Matt Hutcheson, CCA, Product Manager, Seed Consultants, Inc. As harvest is completed across the Eastern Corn Belt, seed companies, universities, and growers will have the chance to compile and analyze data from yield testing. One of the most important decisions a farmer will face all year is deciding what variety to plant and in which field to plant it. To ensure that the best possible decision is made next spring, it is important to spend some time looking at yield data. While reviewing data is critical, knowing how to determine whether it is accurate and useful is equally important. Below are some tips for using data to make sound planting decisions next spring.Look for replicated dataDon’t rely on yield results from one strip plot on a farm or from a single plot location. Look for data from randomized tests that are repeated multiple times and across multiple locations. Replications in testing increase the reliability of the data and helps to remove variables that can skew results.For strip plot data, was a “tester” used?Strip plots planted on farms can cover large areas of a field. In many fields in the Eastern Corn Belt there are several soil types. If a plot crosses several soil types how can you be sure it is accurate? By planting a “tester” variety at regular intervals within the plot, you can calculate adjusted yields based on the variability of the tester yield across the plot. The use of a tester minimizes the effect soil type variability has on the plot results to ensure more accurate data.Look for consistencyAccording to Bob Nielsen, Purdue Extension Agronomist, “Documented consistency in yield performance is still the key to success in selecting hybrids that will perform well in your farming operation.” When choosing a variety based on plot data, it is important to look for consistent performance—across several plot locations and between multiple years. Choose varieties that consistently performed well in 2014 and 2015, in multiple locations, and different growing conditions.Statistical significanceOn published data look for foot notes that indicate the least statistically significant yield difference, or LSD. In many plots, the performance of the top 5 or 10 varieties may not be statistically different. Although there are small differences in yield, statistical analysis of the data indicates that all varieties within the LSD have an equal chance of winning the plot.While plot data can be very useful in making decisions, some plot data is significantly more accurate and reliable. The key to getting the most out of yield data is having the ability to sort through the large amounts of information to identify the data that most accurately and reliably represents varietal performance.last_img read more