Local News: 2021 Nov 15

Kids Corner: Friends and Family Gifts and Crafts https://www.pbs.org/parents/video/collection/friends-and-family-gifts-and-crafts?video=friendship-cuff-bracelets


Kroger Houston workers again consider strike in battle over contract https://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/article/Kroger-Houston-workers-again-weigh-strike-in-16620131.php?utm_campaign=CMS%20Sharing%20Tools%20(Premium)&utm_source=t.co&utm_medium=referral via @houstonchron

Houston Firefighters to Demonstrate How to Safely Fry a Turkey https://mailchi.mp/houstontx/houston-firefighters-to-demonstrate-how-to-safely-fry-a-turkey?e=d072972760

The Science & Entertainment Exchange Presents
The Mysteries of Havana Syndrome
[my weigh-in on this mystery] The Cuban Mystery Noise https://patch.com/texas/houston/cuban-mystery-noise?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=web&utm_campaign=share

New debris in outer space forced ISS astronauts to take shelter https://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/space/article/New-debris-in-outer-space-force-ISS-astornauts-to-16622006.php?utm_campaign=CMS%20Sharing%20Tools%20(Premium)&utm_source=t.co&utm_medium=referral via @houstonchron

Community Colleges in Texas Find Creative Ways Around Decreased Funding in Response …
Diverse: Issues In Higher Education
Lone Star College, which serves the mostly urban area around Houston, was one of the few institutions that did not see a sizable drop in its fall

‘Enough is enough’: Carroll ISD superintendent wants to shift focus away from community divisions https://communityimpact.com/dallas-fort-worth/grapevine-colleyville-southlake/education/2021/11/10/enough-is-enough-carroll-isd-superintendent-wants-to-shift-focus-away-from-community-divisions/

Chronic Wasting Disease [aka “mad cow”] IHC Reagent Shortage Update
Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory (TVMDL) made the formal announcement on Friday, November 5 regarding notification by the National Animal Health Laboratory Network (NAHLN) of a national shortage of prion testing reagents utilized to complete immunohistochemistry (IHC) testing for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD). Since that time, questions have arisen regarding when the agencies were first aware of the gravity of this problem, and subsequently, what is being done to resolve it. TVMDL first notified TPWD staff on Tuesday evening, November 2 that the lab was running low on Roche IHC staining reagent and that efforts would be made to secure testing kits and/or staining services from partner labs in other states. These solutions were presumed to be viable, as TVMDL had worked with Roche and/or other labs in the past to expeditiously secure replacement test kits and/or stain services when testing supplies had previously run low.

To be abundantly clear, neither TVMDL, nor TPWD staff, were aware at that time of the gravity of the problem or the fact that a decision was forthcoming at the end of the week that the lab’s IHC CWD testing would have to be temporarily suspended until supplies could be replenished by Roche. The TPW Commission had no knowledge of this issue when the proposed CWD rules were considered, discussed, and voted upon.
After reaching out to labs in other states on Thursday, November 4 and Friday, November 5, and being told that those labs could not provide substitute CWD reagent or staining services, TVMDL continued efforts to obtain assistance and/or guidance from USDA-National Veterinary Services Laboratory (NVSL). With no viable solution identified and CWD staining reagent expected to be exhausted by the end of the following week, TVMDL made the decision to inform its customers and others, including TPWD, through the announcement issued on Friday, November 5 that it would be compelled to suspend testing until further notice.

“The lack of CWD IHC testing reagent is a national supply chain problem, the extent and gravity of which were not fully understood and communicated until after the TPW Commission meeting transpired,” said Dr. Amy Swinford, Director of the Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory. “There is no way TPWD staff could have known the severity of the situation prior to its Commission meeting because TVMDL staff was still exploring alternative sources for reagents or testing services, efforts which ultimately proved unsuccessful. Immediately upon that recognition, TVMDL issued the statement on Friday afternoon informing its customers and partners about the temporary suspension of the CWD IHC testing. As we work diligently to secure replacement testing supplies, TVMDL is continuing to cut all ante-mortem samples onto slides so that they can be stained and read by a pathologist as expeditiously as possible, once staining reagents become available.”                 

“I can’t say this any more clearly, TPW staff did not deliberately withhold material information from the TPW Commission.” said Carter Smith, TPWD Executive Director. “That said, we do have new important information now, and that information must be considered as we carry out our regulatory responsibilities as a Department.  To that end, the TPW Commission simply cannot expect deer breeders to wait indefinitely for testing reagent to be replenished so that they can comply with the Commission rules regarding ante-mortem testing prior to release. As such, if the testing reagent is not replenished by December 1, the Department will consider submission of a valid antemortem test sample to TVMDL to suffice for a “Not Detected” test result for the purpose of liberation. That accommodation will be allowed until such time as the reagent supplies are provided by Roche and TVMDL can fully resume its testing process. In the meantime, TPWD will work actively with its partner, TVMDL, to try and accelerate the delivery of new testing supplies.” 
Following last Friday’s announcement, TVMDL has been in daily communications with the NAHLN, USDA/NVSL, other CWD testing labs in the U.S. and Canada, and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) to explore expedient solutions. The following is an update as of November 12, 2021:

TVMDL is now out of prion kits and currently unable to perform the IHC test. As all CWD testing labs have been affected by the shortage, none are able to assist TVMDL with testing. The estimated timeframe for getting more IHC testing kits is mid-December. NVSL is working with the kit manufacturer to find an alternative to the key component in the testing kits that is causing the shortage. USDA Cervid staff have determined that deer in the CWD Herd Certification Program (HCP) administered by Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC) are not eligible to be tested by ELISA, and antemortem samples are also not eligible for testing by ELISA. However, post-mortem samples from penned deer not in the HCP can be tested by ELISA. The ELISA test requires fresh (not formalin-fixed) samples submitted within seven days of collection. TAHC advises that deer breeders enrolled in the HCP should continue to collect the required postmortem samples in formalin and submit them to TVMDL within seven days of collection. The samples will be tested by IHC when test kits are available again. TVMDL staff continue to prepare all CWD ante-mortem test samples, a process which takes two days, so that they may be stained as soon as the reagent is made available by Roche.

TVMDL will continue communications with the reagent supplier and NVSL/USDA to maintain an up-to-date timeline of when reagents will be available. TVMDL and TPWD will continue to update permitted deer breeders as to the status of this situation on a regular basis.

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