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Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Friday, September 20, 2013
REGIONAL DISASTER VULNERABILITY
TERMS OF REFERENCE
Consultant to Upgrade the Emergency Communications Network
(ECN) of the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO)
The Regional Disaster Vulnerability Reduction Project (RDVRP) aims to upgrade the
existing emergency communications network (ECN) managed by the National Emergency
Management Organization (NEMO), the central agency for coordinating disaster
management in the State. While NEMO currently possess various communication
equipment including components of a radio frequency trunking system; VHF repeaters;
base, portable and mobile VHF radios with trunking capability as well as VHF and UHF
antennas that were procured under a previous project over a decade ago; there is still no
functioning ENC as certain key components of the system are outstanding. As such, the
system remains incomplete.
The RDVRP is therefore seeking to contract a consultant to review of the existing
communications systems/equipment at NEMO, make recommendations for improving the
existing communication system/equipment and supervise the installation and
commissioning of the upgraded system and new equipment.
The detailed Terms of Reference may be viewed at the Expressions of Interest Link on the
Web Classified page at www.gov.vc or at the following link:
Expressions of Interest by prospective consultants must be accompanied by detailed
curriculum vitae and should be addressed to:
The Director of Planning
Central Planning Division
Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning
1st Floor Administrative Building
St. Vincent and the Grenadines
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org , email@example.com , firstname.lastname@example.org
Expressions of Interest must reach the Director of Planning no later than Friday,
September 27, 2013.
It happens too often: A doctor isn t sure what s
causing someone s feverish illness but prescribes
antibiotics just in case, drugs that don t work
if a virus is the real culprit.
Now Duke University researchers are developing
a blood test to more easily tell when a respiratory
illness is due to a virus and not a bacterial infec-
tion, hoping to cut the dangerous overuse of
antibiotics and speed the right diagnosis.
It works by taking a fingerprint of your immune
system---how its genes are revving up to fight the
bug. That s very different from how infections
are diagnosed today. And if the experimental test
pans out, it also promises to help doctors track
brand-new threats, like the next flu pandemic or
that mysterious MERS virus that has erupted in
the Middle East.
That viral "signature could be quite powerful,
and may be a game-changer," said Dr Geoffrey
Ginsburg, Duke s genomic medicine chief. He
leads the team that on Wednesday reported that
a study involving 102 people provided early evi-
dence that the test can work.
Today, when symptoms alone aren t enough
for diagnosis, a doctor s suspicion guides what
tests are performed---tests that work by hunting
for evidence of a specific pathogen. Fever and
cough? If it s flu season, you might be tested for
the flu virus. An awful sore throat? Chances are
you ll get checked for strep bacteria. A negative
test can leave the doctor wondering what germ
to check for next, or whether to make a best
Moreover, rapid in-the-office tests aren t always
accurate and can miss infections. So patients may
have blood or other samples sent to labs to try
to grow any lurking bacteria and tell if it s to
blame, additional testing that can take days.
"This is something we struggle with every day,"
said Dr Octavio Ramilo, infectious disease chief
at Nationwide Children s Hospital in Columbus,
Ohio, who wasn t involved in the new study. Par-
ticularly with children, a respiratory virus and a
bacterial infection "in the beginning look com-
pletely alike," he added.
Hence researchers at a number of universities
are trying to harness a fairly recent discovery: As
your immune system detects an invading bug,
different genes are activated to fend off a viral
infection than to fight a bacterial or fungal one.
Those subtle molecular changes appear to be
occurring even before you feel any symptoms.
And they form distinct patterns of RNA and pro-
teins, what s called a genomic fingerprint.
The Duke team discovered 30 genes that are
switched on in different ways during a viral attack.
The test essentially is a freeze-frame to show
"what those genes are doing at the moment in
time that it s captured," explained Duke lead
researcher Dr Aimee Zaas, an infectious disease
Small studies spotted that viral signature in
people who volunteered to be infected with dif-
ferent influenza strains for science.
For a more real-world simulation, the
researchers then analysed blood samples stored
from feverish people who had come to the emer-
gency room---and who were eventually diagnosed,
the old-fashioned way, with either some type of
virus or a bacterial infection.
The genomic test proved 89 per cent accurate
in sorting out who had a virus, and did even better
at ruling out those who didn t, Zaas reported
Wednesday in the journal Science Translational Medicine.
It took 12 hours to get results. The researchers hope
to speed that up so that it might work as quickly as some
Still, "it s a promising tool," said Ramilo, an Ohio State
University professor who is doing similar research. He
called the Duke study an important step toward creating
a commercial test, and predicts one might reach the
market within five years. (AP)
In this image provided by Duke University, lab research analyst Marshall
Nichols does research related to a new blood test last Tuesday, in
Durham, North Carolina. AP PHOTO
New test aims to better
detect viral infections
YOUR DAILY HEALTH
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