From the lab to COVID front lines

first_img Facing a pandemic, Broad does a quick pivot Aldatu was established as a public benefit corporation — which puts public benefit on a par with profits in the corporate mission — with the aim of providing easy-to-use, low-cost diagnostics for resource-poor areas.They distributed tests for HIV in Botswana and developed a diagnostic for Lassa fever, another viral disease. In early March, as the lack of COVID-19 testing became acute, Rowley contacted MacLeod and asked whether PANDAA could be used for the disease. They developed the diagnostic in a matter of days and, by the time regulatory guidelines changed on March 16 to let private labs begin testing, they had already begun working with BIDMC to validate the test using blinded patient samples provided by the state.“We had already, over the last six years, developed experience with assay development and applying that test development to infectious disease and working with viruses in outbreak concern areas,” Raiser said. “We were well-positioned to move quickly on the COVID-19 pandemic.”A week later, Aldatu was not just providing kits to BIDMC, its officers were in conversation with other hospitals about doing the same and preparing to provide COVID-19 testing to partners in sub-Saharan Africa with whom they had been working.“We’re trying to cast a wide net and fill gaps in testing access and capacity quickly wherever we can do so,” Raiser said. Related How the institute converted a clinical processing lab into a large-scale COVID-19 testing facility in a matter of days This is part of our Coronavirus Update series in which Harvard specialists in epidemiology, infectious disease, economics, politics, and other disciplines offer insights into what the latest developments in the COVID-19 outbreak may bring.As Massachusetts rapidly ramps up COVID-19 testing, a technology born in the lab of Harvard AIDS pioneer Max Essex and nurtured by entrepreneurship resources on campus has played an important role in providing the needed reagents and kits that are driving a surge in testing.At Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, which by Tuesday had conducted more than 3,000 tests, the first kits that fed the hospital’s rapid increase in diagnostic results since it started doing them in mid-March came from Watertown-based Aldatu Biosciences. [The Broad Institute also has made rapid, large advances in testing.] The nine-employee company was formed to commercialize this diagnostic technology developed at Harvard and was based at the Pagliuca Harvard Life Lab in Allston until January 2019.Jeffrey Saffitz, chief of pathology at BIDMC and Mallinckrodt Professor of Pathology at Harvard Medical School, said the hospital’s lab has four high-volume testing machines, but had a shortage — as did other labs in the state — of the customized reagents needed to detect SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.While BIDMC awaited additional supplies from its regular commercial vendors, Aldatu worked with the hospital’s pathology staff to develop diagnostic kits and get them to the hospital. Saffitz said the rapid increase in COVID testing — as of Tuesday, they’d found 487 positives — was in part thanks to Aldatu’s nimbleness and to the efforts of hospital staff, including clinical microbiologists, laboratory technicians, lab managers, and others. By late last week, Saffitz said the hospital was ready to perform as many as 1,500 tests per day — an amount equal to an entire season’s worth of flu tests.Test kits from Aldatu Biosciences in Watertown went to Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, which by Sunday afternoon had conducted almost 2,500 tests, the most by a hospital-based lab in the state.“Our machines were able to accommodate the Aldatu test kits. When this happened there was an incredibly effective partnership between our clinical microbiology teams and the Aldatu folks,” Saffitz said. “We worked together to advise them in terms of what they needed to do to make the test kits usable on our machinery. … We did all the validation studies of the test kit to prove that it actually worked, and it worked beautifully. And we were able to run the Aldatu test kits initially at a time before we had received test kits from the major supplier.”Aldatu’s roots lie in Essex’s long-running Botswana-Harvard Partnership, established in 1996 to fight AIDS. In 2008, infectious diseases physician Christopher Rowley, then a research associate at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, was joined there by a postdoctoral fellow, Iain MacLeod. Rowley was working on HIV drug resistance, a continual problem in treating patients with antiretroviral drugs. Frustrated by the cumbersome existing process to determine whether a patient harbored resistant HIV strains, the two developed the PANDAA genotyping platform (Pan Degenerate Amplification and Adaptation), which provided rapid, low-cost HIV genotyping.“Iain and Chris developed the PANDAA platform for PCR testing of drug resistance for HIV,” Essex said. “The goal was to develop a test that would be cheap enough for widespread use in low- and middle-income countries, where drug resistance testing was often not available.”Rowley went on to a clinical post at BIDMC, where today he is an assistant professor of medicine and an infectious diseases physician, while MacLeod, interested in developing the technology further, went to Harvard’s Innovation Lab (i-lab).Founded in 2011 as a way to support student entrepreneurs, the i-lab offers students working space, an entrepreneurial-minded community, and expert advice. At an i-lab workshop, MacLeod met David Raiser, a doctoral student in genetics and a technology assessment fellow at Harvard’s Office of Technology Development (OTD), where he was learning commercialization and marketing strategies for emerging innovations. The two first talked about PANDAA’s potential while waiting outside the i-lab for the shuttle to Harvard’s Longwood campus.David Raiser (pictured) and Iain MacLeod met at a Harvard i-lab workshop. They later set up Aldatu, which went into full-time operation in 2015. “We were well-positioned to move quickly on the COVID-19 pandemic,” says Raiser.“David had an intuitive sense that this was a valuable technology with great potential to benefit the public,” said Grant Zimmermann, OTD’s managing director of business development, who worked with Raiser and MacLeod to set up Aldatu. “This was never just a money-making goal for David. He has a genuine desire to help people.”The two created a business development strategy for Aldatu in 2014 and worked with Zimmermann to develop a license structure to support the company — a step that became official two years later.“I’m immensely proud of the Aldatu team for being among the first to step up to make testing broadly available,” said Isaac Kohlberg, Harvard’s chief technology development officer and senior associate provost. “The ultimate impact of a new discovery may be difficult to fathom at the outset, but the Aldatu example shows why it’s so important to get promising technologies into the hands of passionate entrepreneurs who can advance and scale up an innovation for the public’s broadest benefit.”In 2014, Aldatu received additional financial support in the form of the $40,000 Bertarelli Foundation Grand Prize in the Harvard Deans’ Health and Life Sciences Challenge. The team also won a $1.5 million small-business grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, which let them begin full-time operation in 2015. The two moved to Kendall Square’s LabCentral in 2016, then returned to Allston to become an early tenant in Harvard’s Life Lab. In January 2019, the company moved into its own facility in Watertown.“I’ve said for a few years now, Aldatu is a true i-lab story,” Raiser said. “We built very strong and meaningful and valuable relationships out of our time at the i-lab and the Life Lab.” A multipronged attack against a shared enemy Designing a coronavirus vaccine New tool will help leaders make informed decisions as hospitals prepare for COVID-19 patients Harvard scientists take various approaches in the race for a treatment for the deadly coronavirus Researchers prepare for next year and beyond App predicts hospital capacitylast_img read more

Watch Chita Rivera Discuss Her Latest Broadway Bow & the Pope in The Visit

first_imgThe Visit headliner Chita Rivera, after receiving a Tony nomination this very morning, stopped by The View to discuss her return to Broadway and getting to work with John Doyle in the Kander and Ebb tuner. She describes the experience as “what the theater is all about: Excitement and passion.” When not starring as an ice-cold millionairess at the Lyceum Theatre, Rivera hangs out with a swanky crew, including the Pope and President Obama. Take a look at the video below to learn more! Related Shows View Comments Show Closed This production ended its run on June 14, 2015 The Visitlast_img

Vermont Tech Employee Named Vermont’s Outstanding Older Worker

first_imgVermont Tech Employee Named Vermont’s Outstanding Older WorkerRANDOLPH CENTER, Vt – A Vermont Technical College employee has been honored as Vermont’s Outstanding Older Worker for 2008. Awarded to a single older employee in each of the 50 states, the Outstanding Older Worker program recognizes the important contributions of America’s working seniors while providing numerous positive examples of productive aging.This year’s Vermont recipient, James J. McNichol of Essex Junction, is a Learning Partner at Vermont Technical College who works with IBM, helping the company capture and transfer knowledge to a global internal audience.The Outstanding Older Worker program is part of Experience Works, a national, charitable, community-based organization that helps seniors get the training they need to find good jobs in their local communities. McNichol, who was associated with IBM for more than 35 years before joining Vermont Tech, has made significant contributions to the company in the areas of e-learning, engineering, and computer technologies.”I am both delighted and humbled to win this year’s Vermont OOW award,” McNichol said. “I have always been interested in education and I have been fortunate to be able to blend this interest in education with my industrial experience – in the midst of rapidly evolving technologies I might add – while working for Vermont Technical College.”Started in 1965, Experience Works is a leader in providing training, job placement and community service for America’s older workers. It offers programs designed to help mature individuals enter the workforce, secure more challenging positions, move into new career areas, and supplement their incomes.The Technology Extension Division (TED) at Vermont Technical College was established in 1991 to meet the education and training needs of Vermont employers. Drawing on the resources of the Vermont State Colleges and nationally recognized training vendors, TED provides educational and training programscredit, non-credit and onlinein supervision and management, health care, computer technology, and other content areas.last_img read more

Donald Edward Roessler July 12, 1934 – February 23, 2019

first_imgDonald Edward Roessler, age 84 of Crosby Township, Ohio passed away at his home Saturday, February 23, 2019. Born July 12, 1934 in West Harrison, Indiana the son of Edward and Carrie (Dorst) Roessler.Donald married Teresa Woolums March 22, 1990 at St John United Church of Christ in Harrison, Ohio. Served his country in the US Navy. Donald worked as an electrician in the navy, boilermaker for Gulf Refinery and in maintenance for Southwest local schools for many years. Graduated from Harrison High school in 1953. Member of St John United Church of Christ, American Legion Post #199 and the National Rifle Association.Donald is survived by his loving wife Teresa Roessler. Father of Rick Roessler, Mark (Kim) Roessler, David (Marjorie) Roessler, Diana (Dave) Mosher, Steven (Vicki) Roessler and John (Ginny) Roessler. Grandfather of nine and great grandfather of two. Brother of Janet (Bill) Hankins.Preceded in death by his parents Edward and Carrie Roessler, brother Alvin Roessler.Visitation will be held Thursday, February 28, 2019 from 5:00 P.M. until time of funeral services at 6:00 P.M. with Rev. Harold Shackelford officiating all at Jackman Hensley Funeral Home. Military honors will be provided by the United States Navy and Harrison Honor Guard.last_img read more

WC DRAW: Spain vs Portugal and Nigeria vs Argentina

first_imgEngland must negotiate Kevin de Bruyne’s Belgium, surprise packages Panama and Tunisia after they were placed together in the draw in the Kremlin.Spain’s other opponents in a tough-looking Group B are Morocco and Iran.France will play Australia, Peru and Denmark in Group C.Host nation Russia will face Saudi Arabia in the tournament-opening match on June 14 in Moscow.Tweets about @FIFAWorldCup Share on: WhatsApp Spain and Portugal drawn in same World Cup groupMoscow, Russia | AFP |  The 2010 World Cup winners Spain were placed in the same group as Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal in an exciting draw for the 2018 tournament in Russia on Friday.Neymar’s Brazil meanwhile will have to negotiate a group including Switzerland, Costa Rica and Serbia.Holders Germany will face Mexico, Sweden and South Korea as they try to retain the title for the first time since Brazil in 1962.Lionel Messi and his Argentina team which struggled to qualify will play European debutants Iceland, Croatia and Nigeria.last_img read more

Defiant Conte won’t talk about potential Chelsea exit

first_imgLondon, United Kingdom | AFP | With Chelsea’s reign as Premier League champions all but over, it’s fitting Antonio Conte approaches that dispiriting conclusion in the same tetchy mood he began their doomed title defence.Blues boss Conte has cut a frustrated figure from the moment he sagely warned of a difficult season in store during Chelsea’s pre-season tour.Irritated by the failure of Chelsea’s hierarchy to land his top transfer targets and driven to distraction by his public feud with Diego Costa — the striker he cast into exile before selling him to Atletico Madrid — Conte wasted no opportunity to make it clear there was trouble ahead.The former Juventus coach was proved correct as Chelsea have laboured so badly that they go into Sunday’s London derby against West Ham on the brink of missing out on a top four finish.Last weekend’s defeat against fourth placed Tottenham left fifth placed Chelsea eight points adrift of the positions that bring qualification for next season’s Champions League.With only seven games remaining, Conte’s two-year reign at Stamford Bridge looks set to finish with his departure at the end of the season, with widespread reports Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich is considering moves for ex-Barcelona boss Luis Enrique and Juventus chief Max Allegri.Gianluca Vialli, a former Chelsea manager and Juventus team-mate of Conte’s, claims his old friend can’t wait to leave the west London club after growing tired of his lack of influence on the squad’s make-up.But Conte has repeatedly refused to be drawn on talk of his future and, asked about Vialli’s comments on Friday, he said: “It is not true. Gianluca is a friend but I’m not talking with him for one year, maybe.“It’s very difficult for me but since this season I’m listening to a lot of speculation about my future, but the only truth is I am committed for this club.“I have a contract for this club, I’m working very hard for this club.“This is the only truth. The other speculation is not true.” Chelsea have managed just five wins out of 19 in all competitions since the turn of the year, sparking fresh rumours that Conte’s intense personality and demanding training style have lost him the support of several key players.Their lacklustre performance in Chelsea’s first home defeat to Tottenham for 28 years hardly erased that impression.“For sure we must be realistic. This defeat was a bad defeat for us. We had the opportunity to reduce the gap to Tottenham,” said Conte.“We have to try to do everything to try to continue, to fight for a top-four place. It won’t be easy. We have to try to give all ourselves.“We must show pride, desire, a will to fight until the end this season. This must be our target now.”West Ham are five points above the relegation zone following last weekend’s crucial win over Southampton.David Moyes’ side beat Chelsea earlier this season and the Hammers boss is eyeing a repeat.“We haven’t got enough points to be safe yet,” he said.“It was a really big win for us (against Chelsea), for the team, for the club, it gave us all a boost.“I hope lightning can strike twice and we can do it again.”Share on: WhatsApplast_img read more

Actress Lori Loughlin Accuses Prosecutors of Withholding Exculpatory Evidence

first_imgWhile other defendants have fallen on their swords actress Lori Loughlin continues to fight and is urging courts to release evidence that she claims could help prove her innocence in the ongoing college admissions scandal.In court documents filed Friday, attorney Sean Berkowitz, who represents Loughlin and her husband Mossimo Giannulli, claims evidence that could be used to strengthen their case is being withheld by prosecution because it was deemed irrelevant and immaterial.By sharing FBI interview statements from William “Rick” Singer, the man at the center of the college admission scandal, the celebrity couple’s defense team hopes to show that Loughlin, 55, and Giannulli, 56, didn’t know their donations would be used as bribes. The motion asserts that not sharing the evidence prevents a fair trial.“But the Government appears to be concealing exculpatory evidence that helps show that both Defendants believed all of the payments they made would go to USC itself — for legitimate, university-approved purposes — or to other legitimate charitable causes,” read the motion, which was filed at Massachusetts’ U.S. District Court.The document continued: “The Government’s failure to disclose this information is unacceptable, and this Court should put a stop to it.”The United States Attorney’s Office in Massachusetts declined to comment.last_img read more

House panel approves debate for impeachment vote

first_imgThe House Rules committee has approved six hours of debate ahead of Wednesday’s impeachment hearing.The measure was approved late Tuesday night by a party-line vote of nine to four who approved the legislation.President Trump is accused of abusing his powers as president and obstruction of Congress after withholding funds from Ukraine in order to get information regarding relations of political rival, Joe Biden’s son.The move will clear the way for the panel to debate and then vote on whether President Trump committed a crime and whether or not he should be impeached.If the House decides to impeach President Trump, they then will decide if he should also be removed from office.last_img

WATCH LIVE: President Trump to Speak at Turning Point USA Summit in West Palm

first_imgFormer Vice President Joe Biden says he is the most qualified to beat President Trump.But, Rudy Giuliani who was in West Palm Beach yesterday for a speech at the Student Action Summit for Turning Point USA disagrees. He told the audience at the Palm Beach County Convention Center that Joe Biden is so guilty, it’s ridiculous.Giuliani says there are witnesses, tapes and documents that offer proof that Biden pressured Ukraine to drop an investigation into his son.The president will arrive at PBIA tonight and will speak at the Turning Point USA Summit tomorrow in West Palm.last_img

Trump Retweets Post Naming Alleged Whistleblower

first_imgPresident Trump retweeted a post on Friday night that included the alleged name of the anonymous whistleblower whose complaint led to the president’s recent impeachment by the House over his communications with Ukranian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.The tweet later disappeared, but Twitter says that a glitch was hiding those retweets and many others.The social media outlet explained the software bug in a statement Saturday night, stating: “Due to an outage with one of our systems, tweets on account profiles were visible to some, but not others. We’re still working on fixing this and apologize for any confusion.”Trump has shared more than 100 posts about the whistleblower over the past three months but had not mentioned or inferred any names until this weekend.However, Trump retweeted a message just before midnight Friday from Twitter user @surfermom77. That account claims to be a California resident named Sophia. She describes herself as a “100%Trump Supporter.” The account had nearly 79,000 followers as of Saturday afternoon.Some of the previous posts from that account have denounced Islam and criticized former President Barack Obama and other Democrats.U.S. whistleblower laws exist in order to protect the identities and careers of people who bring forth accusations of wrongdoing by government officials.In a statement issued to the Associated Press, Twitter explains the @surfermom77 tweet was “not a violation of the Twitter Rules.”Mr. Trump insists he did nothing wrong in his dealings with Ukraine and asserts that the whistleblower made up the complaint, although other officials have corroborated it. In addition, the president argues that he has a right to face his accuser and is calling on the whistleblower to step forward.last_img read more