WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama announced a new initiative at the National Institutes of Health in pursuit of a cure for HIV, saying his administration is redirecting $100 million into the project to find a new generation of therapies.
Obama made the announcement Monday at a White House event marking World AIDS Day, which was Sunday.
Obama pledged that the U.S. would contribute up to $5 billion over the next three years to The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria – as long as other countries do their part and contribute $10 billion. The U.S. matches contributions to the Geneva-based Global Fund on a 1-to-2 funding ratio set by Congress.
Also Monday, billionaire Bill Gates said he planned to nearly double his foundation’s contribution to this next round of the Global Fund, to $500 million.
Shark kills man in kayak off Maui
HONOLULU – A kayak fisherman died Monday after a shark attack off Maui, local officials said.
Maui County Ocean Safety officials received a report that a shark attacked a man fishing in a kayak between Maui and Molokini, a small island less than 3 miles off the southwest coast of Maui that’s popular for diving and snorkeling.
Maui County police identified the man as Patrick Briney, 57, of Stevenson, Wash.
The shark bit his dangling foot while he fished with artificial lures to attract baitfish, a news release from the state Department of Land and Natural Resources said.
His fishing partner in another kayak tied a tourniquet on the man and sought help from a nearby charter tour boat. The boat took them to shore, and the man was then taken to a hospital, the state said. The kind of shark involved was not immediately available.
Though the attack happened far from shore, the state advised the public to stay out of the water a mile north and a mile south of Makena State Recreation Area in southwest Maui.
9th Circuit to stream proceedings
SAN FRANCISCO – The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals announced Monday that this month it will become the first federal appeals court in the country to provide live video coverage of hearings on major cases.
“The 9th Circuit has a long history of using advances in technology to make the court more accessible and transparent,” Chief Judge Alex Kozinski said.
The video streaming will begin Dec. 9.
Med tech gets 39 years in hepatitis case
CONCORD, N.H. – A traveling medical technician who stole painkillers and infected dozens of patients in multiple states with hepatitis C through tainted syringes was sentenced Monday to 39 years in prison.
David Kwiatkowski, 34, was a cardiac technologist in 18 hospitals in seven states before being hired at New Hampshire’s Exeter Hospital in 2011. He had moved from job to job despite being fired at least four times over allegations of drug use and theft. Since his arrest last year, 46 people have been diagnosed with the same strain of hepatitis C he carries.
Kwiatkowski admitted stealing painkillers and replacing them with saline-filled syringes tainted with his blood. He pleaded guilty in August to 16 federal drug charges.
Tuberculosis scare causes flight delay
PHOENIX – Authorities are trying to determine whether a man who flew into Phoenix has tuberculosis, but any risk to passengers on his flight is extremely low even if it turns out he does have the infectious respiratory illness, public health officials said Monday.
About 70 passengers on the US Airways Express flight on Saturday from Austin, Texas, were briefly kept on the plane until after responders boarded and removed the man, who was asked to put on a medical mask.
Dr. Rebecca Sunenshine, medical director of the disease control division of the Maricopa County Department of Public Health, said the man is being tested to determine whether he has TB or any another illness.
Sunenshine declined to provide details about the man but said he was put on no-fly status by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention after the federal agency was contacted by health authorities in Texas.
Unfortunately the airline wasn’t notified until the flight was in the air, Sunenshine said.