A Diagnostics & Imaging Week

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID; Washington) reported a $5 million award to support the development of a global network to track avian influenza, with the aim of monitoring the role of migratory birds. The Global Avian Influenza Network for Surveillance, or GAINS, is expected to enhance international efforts to collect and analyze laboratory samples from wild birds and identify genetic changes in the virus. The entire award package totals $6 million, including a $1 million contribution from the Centers for Disease Control and Preven-tion (CDC; Atlanta).

Spearheaded by the Wildlife Conservation Society (Bronx, New York), GAINS will work in countries situated along key migratory routes to improve the collection, coordination, and laboratory evaluation of samples from wild birds. The goal of this work is to enhance understanding of the role wild birds play in the movement of the avian flu virus around the world. In addition, GAINS will create, update, and make available to researchers data related to avian influenza surveillance and migratory bird activity.

"The United States is already supporting efforts to develop animal surveillance and build diagnostic and laboratory capacity in at least 25 countries," said Dr. Dennis Carroll, Director of USAID's Avian and Pandemic Influenza Response Unit. "The GAINS program is an extension of our important work. The information GAINS produces will feed into systems to warn people about the movement of avian influenza. This network will significantly bolster our ability to support the international community in response to the virus."

In other grants/contracts news, AMI Semiconductor (AMIS; Pocatello, Idaho), a designer and manufacturer of integrated mixed-signal and structured digital products for the automotive, medical and industrial sectors, and Sphere Medical (Cambridge, UK), a developer of critical care patient monitoring systems, reported that Sphere Medical has selected AMIS to design and fabricate a sensor interface ASIC for Sphere's continuous arterial blood gas monitor, currently in development.

The Sphere real-time blood gas monitoring solution includes a disposable sensor and AMIS sensor interface ASIC enclosed in a standard IV tubing set.

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