"Over 8,000 travel associated and over 2,000 non-travel associated cases of Zika have been reported in the United States and U.S. territories," Peter Marks, director of the Food and Drug Administration(FDA)’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, told reporters. Given the frequency of US citizens' travels, there is a risk that people without symptoms of Zika could donate blood and transmit the virus.
The FDA recommended last Friday that all blood donated in the United States and its territories should be tested for Zika virus, as it moves to prevent transmission of the virus through the blood supply. The agency said its decision to expand blood screening in the United States was based on concerns about more cases of local transmission in Florida. "About 1 percent of donations in Puerto Rico have tested positive for Zika virus," Marks said.
The Food and Drug Administration plans to roll out its recommendations in stages. In states and territories with local, mosquito-borne transmission, the recommendations will go into effect immediately, effecting Florida and Puerto Rico. For the rest of country, the guidelines must be implemented within 12 weeks.
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Alberta Health Services (AHS) has reached an agreement with Dynalife that will see the company continue to deliver medical testing in Edmonton and northern Alberta for an additional five years. The deal comes just a few months after the Alberta government announced its intention to begin reforming the lab services to reduce the role of private providers.
Health Minister Sarah Hoffman said installing a more integrated, publicly delivered system remains the goal, but it is going to be a complicated, multi-year endeavour. The new deal with Dynalife will ensure stability for patients and Dynalife’s 1,200 staff, she said. The deal will take effect next spring and run until March 2022. AHS said a letter of intent with Dynalife was signed Aug. 17. The two sides are now negotiating terms.
The company’s current deal with AHS is worth about $130 million a year. Mauro Chies, vice-president of clinical support services for AHS, said the deal gives sufficient time to not only develop the new lab services model, but also to properly map out how it will be implemented. As well, construction of a new lab facility is still being considered.
There are changes coming to the X-ray department at the hospital in Bonavista, NL. In 2017, emergency X-ray services will once again be available between 4 and 8 p.m., but will not be performed by an X-ray technologist. Instead, all of the hospital's laboratory technologists will be cross-trained to perform X-rays. If the lab tech is called back to do blood work in an emergency situation, they will also be able to do an X-ray.
"This is the outcome that we were looking at doing, getting call-in service for the most serious cases," says Neil King, Liberal MHA for Bonavista. The X-ray services between 4 and 8 p.m. was a reduction announced in May, in response to the provincial government's cost-cutting budget. Those service cuts prompted a number of protests this year from community members and workers. By eliminating those services during those hours, Eastern Health expected to save approximately $90,000.
Alere Inc. escalated its fight with reluctant buyer Abbott Laboratories by filing a lawsuit against its potential acquirer to push the deal forward.
Abbott agreed to buy Alere in February for nearly $5 billion. Since then, Alere disclosed it has received a subpoena regarding a foreign corruption investigation over payments in Africa, Asia and Latin America and it said separately that federal investigators are seeking information about government-billing practices. The company was also late in filing its 2015 annual report.
Earlier this month Abbott said the deal might not be completed "on a timely basis, or at all." Alere rejected an offer of up to $50 million to terminate the deal. Alere said Friday that it would "take all actions necessary" to make Abbott complete the deal. Abbott said the lawsuit was without merit. "Abbott is compliant with its obligations under the merger agreement and continues to work toward regulatory approvals, despite Alere’s nearly six-month delay in filing its annual report", a spokeswoman for Abbott said.