Daily Archives: January 16, 2018

Aptima® HIV-1 Quant Dx Assay Awarded World Health Organization Prequalification

MARLBOROUGH, Massachusetts, Jan. 16, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Hologic, Inc. (Nasdaq: HOLX) announced today that its CE-marked Aptima® HIV-1 Quant Dx assay has been awarded World Health Organization (WHO) prequalification for in vitro diagnostics.

The Aptima HIV-1 Quant Dx assay, employing Hologic’s proprietary real-time transcription-mediated amplification (TMA) technology, is the first HIV-1 viral load assay with a dual claim for both diagnosis and treatment monitoring. The assay runs on Hologic’s Panther® system, a market-leading, integrated platform that fully automates testing, from sample to result. The system substantially reduces hands-on time for laboratories by providing random and continuous access with rapid turnaround time.

The WHO prequalification means that the Aptima HIV-1 Quant Dx assay meets WHO standards of quality, safety, performance and reliability, and allows global health organizations to consider the Aptima HIV-1 Quant Dx assay for public sector procurement in resource-limited countries.

“This milestone highlights Hologic’s commitment to, and progress toward, advancing the fight against HIV in highly affected regions of the world,” said Tom West, President, Diagnostic Solutions Division at Hologic. “Access to advanced HIV testing platforms is crucial to managing care and mitigating the spread of the disease in low- and middle- income countries.”

There are 36.7 million people living with HIV globally, with East and Southern Africa bearing the largest number of infected individuals – 19.4 million. Sub-Saharan Africa accounts for 64% of all new HIV infections.1,2

“Hologic has an impressive legacy in the virology space that started two decades ago with the development of nucleic acid tests to screen the blood supply, and qualitative assays for HIV and HCV in the early 2000’s,” said West. “We leveraged this expertise to develop an innovative and fully automated HIV viral load assay on our Panther instrument that is well suited for laboratories in resource-limited settings. Hologic looks forward to joining the battle to reduce the burden of this global epidemic.”

About the Aptima HIV-1 Quant Dx Assay

The Hologic Aptima HIV-1 Quant Dx assay is designed to meet today’s demands for HIV diagnosis and treatment monitoring. The new assay uses a dual target approach against highly conserved regions in the HIV-1 genome, a sophisticated primer design, and redundancy of oligonucleotides for protection against mutations, thereby helping ensure accurate detection and quantitation of HIV-1. The assay is designed to deliver both sensitivity and precision across a broad set of HIV-1 groups and subtypes. Laboratories can now have greater confidence in assay performance, despite drug selection pressures and growing genetic diversity.

About Hologic

Hologic, Inc. is an innovative medical technology company primarily focused on improving women’s health and well-being through early detection and treatment. For more information on Hologic, visit www.hologic.com.

Forward-Looking Statements

This press release may contain forward-looking information that involves risks and uncertainties, including statements about the use of Hologic’s diagnostic products. There can be no assurance these products will achieve the benefits described herein or that such benefits will be replicated in any particular manner with respect to an individual patient. The actual effect of the use of the products can only be determined on a case-by-case basis depending on the particular circumstances and patient in question. In addition, there can be no assurance that these products will be commercially successful or achieve any expected level of sales. Hologic expressly disclaims any obligation or undertaking to release publicly any updates or revisions to any such statements presented herein to reflect any change in expectations or any change in events, conditions or circumstances on which any such statements are based.

Hologic, The Science of Sure, Aptima and Panther are trademarks and/or registered trademarks of Hologic, Inc. in the United States and/or other countries.

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Michael Watts
+1 858.410.8588

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1 https://www.cdc.gov/hiv/basics/statistics.html
2 https://www.avert.org/professionals/hiv-around-world/sub-saharan-africa/overview

CSA Global and Whittle Consulting announce partnership agreement

LONDON and CAPE TOWN, South Africa, Jan. 16, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — CSA Global and Whittle Consulting are pleased to announce a partnership agreement to collaborate efforts to offer Integrated Strategic Planning services in and around the United Kingdom, Europe, and West Africa.

This builds on the existing strong relationship the companies have developed over many years working alongside each other on development projects and mining operations.

Managing Director, Jeff Elliott stated, “Our aim with formalising a partnership agreement is to provide greater integration and better analysis of the data inputs and assumptions that go into the optimisation of a mining project or operation, and use our combined capabilities and experience, along with that of our clients, to achieve superior technical and economic outcomes.”

Gerald Whittle, CEO of Whittle Consulting welcomed the partnership agreement: “With a shared vision for creating value for our clients, we are delighted to further our cooperation with CSA Global. Whittle Consulting’s structure and capability will enable us to operate efficiently in these regions and their technical skills will add to the accuracy, depth and relevance of the optimisation analysis.”

CSA Global Director for Europe and Africa, Galen White, added, “Our teams are excited to collaborate with Whittle Consulting and apply our extensive experience across geology, geometallurgy, mining and strategic planning to assist our clients to realise their growth potential.”

Whittle Consulting’s approach to Integrated Strategic Planning involves applying Activity Based Costing and Theory of Constraints to build a complete Enterprise Optimisation model of a mining business, from ore body, through mining and processing, to the market and financial model.

About CSA Global
CSA Global is a mining, geological, technology, and management consulting company providing strategic services and advice to companies to the international mining industry. CSA Global services mining clients worldwide from its offices in Australia, Indonesia, Singapore, South Africa, United Arab Emirates, Russia, the United Kingdom, and Canada. For more information: http://www.csaglobal.com/

Media Enquiries:
Magda Fimmano |  Marketing and Communications Manager |  CSA Global Pty Ltd
E: magda.fimmano@csaglobal.com
M: +61 (0) 406 383 203


JOHANNESBURG, Cyril Ramaphosa, the newly elected president of South Africa’s governing African National Congress (ANC), made his position clear when he delivered a much anticipated speech to mark the ANC’s 106th birthday over the weekend.

The statement has historically set the tone for government and informed the annual State of the Nation Address delivered by the president of the country at the opening of Parliament in February. It also outlines the five-year mandate of the ANC’s decision-making body, the National Executive Committee.

Ramaphosa’s speech had particular significance because even though he has been elected as the new president of the ANC last month, he won’t take over the reins of State until 2019 when President Jacob Zuma is due to step down after the next round of national elections. That is, if the normal pattern of succession unfolds. Rumours are rife that Zuma will be forced to step down before then.

Given the controversies swirling around Zuma and the legacy of his presidency, South Africans wanted to gauge, among other things, what the ANC considers to be the main challenges facing the country. And how it plans to face them.

Ramaphosa didn’t disappoint. It was clear -� as well as remarkable -� that the ANC’s members and its leaders have begun to unite behind a man they now affectionately call Silili, a derivative of the name Cyril.

This was clear from the welcome he was given by ordinary people as he did a walkabout in the Eastern Cape Province town of East London as well as the reception he got from the tens of thousands of ANC supporters who came to hear him in the stadium. The hostility Zuma elicited from the crowd stood out in sharp contrast.

In addition, Ramaphosa is looking comfortable in his new role. It was evident from the speech he delivered that he feels confident enough to speak his mind on some of the big issues facing the country. Take this comment on State-owned enterprises and corruption.

“We need to act with urgency and purpose to restore State-owned enterprises (SOEs) as drivers of economic growth and development. Several key SOEs are in financial distress, threatening not only their own operations, but the national fiscus,” Ramaphosa said.

“Many of these enterprises have experienced serious governance lapses and poor delivery of their mandate. These challenges have been exacerbated by state capture, through which billions of rands have been illegally diverted to individuals.”

But there’s no gainsaying that Ramaphosa faces a tough year ahead as he navigates what is essentially a transitional period for the ANC, and for the country.

Ramaphosa clearly meant to get off to a strong start. As he began his speech, he sounded like a disciplinarian busy extolling the virtues of starting on time. He pointed out that both the gala dinner the evening before and his speech ran to schedule. This was no mean feat as it is not uncommon for ANC events to start hours later than scheduled.

There was another sign of the kind of leadership he intends to impose on the ANC: he regularly went off script to emphasise a rules-based approach to transforming the economy. So the dismantling of monopolies and oligopolies in the private sector will be done through the expanded mandate of the Competition Commission to create a more competitive economy.

Ramaphosa also appeared to be able to straddle difficult discussions with ease. He addressed hot topics, staying true to the policy decisions taken by the ANC conference, such as the issue of the Reserve Bank and a decision by the ANC conference that its ownership structure should be changed from private to public ownership.

Ramaphosa affirmed the independence of the bank but also called on government to ensure its full public ownership.

However, it isn’t going to be an easy five years. These policy decisions, as well as others, will be difficult to implement. It will be interesting to see how Ramaphosa and his national executive committee navigate these waters.

The difficult work begins now. Ramaphosa’s rules-based logic is likely to provide him with political mileage. In particular, it’s likely to earn him the confidence of a divided ANC National Executive Committee (NEC).

The other thing that’s likely to give him room for manoeuvre is his emphasis on unity and party cohesion. This should help him counter perceptions that he’s cut from money rather than from the ANC’s culture and traditions given his cosy relationship with South Africa’s captains of industry as a result of his long stint in the private sector.

The time between now and the 2019 national elections is, in effect, a transitional period that needs to be characterised by strong backroom negotiations on a range of difficult issues. These include the removal of Zuma, as well as some of his problematic Cabinet members, and the recapitalisation of State-owned institutions.

There is a lot of confidence-building that the ANC leadership has to do. Zuma has weakened the ANC as well as the government. And the South African economy has been haemorrhaging for the past 10 years.

Confidence has been hit by the weakening of state owned enterprises such as South African Airways and the country’s energy utility Eskom, downgrades by international rating agencies, corruption in the private and public sectors, investigations into state capture and widespread incidences of racism.

If Ramaphosa fails to hold the party together while simultaneously digging the country out of the hole that it’s in, a big question mark will continue to loom over the ANC’s elective fortunes in 2019.



ADDIS ABABA, The Ethiopian government is committed to realising the establishment of the Adwa Pan African University, says Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalgen.

Speaking at the opening of a conference on the proposed university here Monday, he added that the government would continue supporting such kinds of projects which create national consensus.

He stressed that co-ordinated efforts should be made for the completion of Adwa Pan African University within a short period. The government has made an initial contribution of two million birr (about 73,000 US dollars) towards its establishment, it was learned.

According to Hailemariam, the establishment of a university in commemoration of the victory at the Battle of Adwa was not enough as the values of the victory achieved by the Ethiopian forces over Italy should be preserved. The victory secured Ethiopia’s sovereignty.

“We should work hard to protect and maintain the mountain ranges of Adwa and the roads leading to the battlefield so that tourists can pay visits to the area,” he added.

The Adwa Pan African University Steering Committee Chairperson, Bitew Belay, said construction of the university would begin this Ethiopian fiscal year. He urged all concerned bodies to contribute to the construction of the university with a sense of ownership.

Bitew also called on all Africans to participate in this lofty project. Scholars, religious leaders and key stakeholders are participating in the conference.


Trump Continues to Criticize Democrats Over DACA Demands

WASHINGTON U.S. President Donald Trump criticized Democrat lawmakers Tuesday, saying their demands to include protections for young undocumented immigrants in a bill that would prevent a government shut-down this week would cost the military.

The White House-congressional talks about the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program are linked to urgent meetings this week about funding to keep the government operating beyond Friday midnight, when current spending authorization expires.

Democratic leaders have said they most likely will oppose a measure that does not protect young immigrants known as Dreamers, including the nearly 800,000 who entered the United States unauthorized and received protection from deportation through DACA since its creation five years ago.

This has raised the ire of Trump, who again insisted the spending bill must satisfy his demands for tighter border security.

Deportation status

Even if legislators do not approve a program to protect the immigrants, deporting them will not be a top federal government priority, according to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen.

“It’s not going to be a priority of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement,” Nielsen told CBS News Tuesday. “If you are a DACA that’s compliant with your registration, meaning you haven’t committed a crime and you in fact are registered, you are not a priority of enforcement for ICE should the program end.”

Despite Nielsen’s remarks, Trump has greatly expanded the categories of people who can be prioritized for deportation, a move immigration advocates say puts DACA recipients who lose their status at risk.

Nielsen’s comments were made as the battle over an immigration agreement has been complicated by Trump’s controversial remarks at White House meeting last Thursday.

Race issue raised

During an Oval Office meeting Tuesday with Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev, Trump said he wants the U.S. to draw immigrants from nations around the world.

“I want them from everywhere,” he said in response to a reporter’s question at the end of the meeting about whether he wanted more immigrants from Norway.

Trump did not respond when asked if he wanted people to enter the country from “just Caucasian or white countries.”

At a White House meeting last week, Trump reportedly referred to immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador and Africa as coming from “s—hole countries” and said he wanted more immigrants from countries such as Norway.

During testimony Tuesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Nielsen said she “did not hear” Trump use a certain vulgarity to describe African countries but added she doesn’t “dispute the president was using tough language.”

Democratic Sen. Dick Durban has not wavered from his allegations of Trump’s profanity during last week’s meeting in the Oval Office. “I stand by every word,” he told reporters.

In an exclusive CNN interview that aired Tuesday, Durbin said, “We talked about the color of the skin of the people coming into the United States.”

At one point after news surfaced about his remark, Trump tweeted, “Never said anything derogatory about Haiti. Made up by Dems. I have a wonderful relationship with Haitians. Probably should record future meetings – unfortunately no trust.”

Trump’s reported remark has fueled Democrats’ charges he is a racist. On Sunday, Trump denied he is a racist, telling reporters at his Mar-a-Lago resort in the state of Florida, “I am the least racist person you will ever interview.”

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders continued the narrative Tuesday, saying claims Trump is racist are “outrageous.”

Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer said Monday on CBS’s Late Show that Trump could demonstrate he is not a racist by signing an immigration bill that would protect young undocumented immigrants from deportation.

Trump is tying an extension of DACA, a temporary program championed by his predecessor Barack Obama, to funding for a wall he wants built along the U.S.-Mexican border.

Building a wall to stop further illegal immigration was a campaign promise Trump made during his successful 2016 run to the White House.

Many Democrats want extending DACA to be a separate issue from building a wall � something they oppose.

Last September, Trump signed an executive order ending DACA, but gave Congress until March 5 to weigh in on the issue.

Source: Voice of America