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In the ‘Trek Study’, willing backpackers who develop travellers' diarrhoea will be paid to attend a clinic and also injected with a new agent to see how they react
Wanted: 1,800 volunteers for free holiday packages to Mexico and Guatemala. All inclusive. Also on the cards: Free vacation in India! Yes, a US company Intercell is offering free holidays in Mexico and Guatemala, including airfare and accommodation, to tempt some 1,800 young people to test its drugs for one of the most common holiday afflictions—travellers' diarrhoea, reports PTI.
In the ‘Trek Study’, willing backpackers who develop travellers' diarrhoea will be paid to attend a clinic and also injected with a new agent to see how they react, British daily ‘The Independent' has reported.
The $1,500 holiday package includes stay in three-star hotels but travellers can choose where they go and what they eat and drink, provided they do not stray for more than three hours from any one of the centres at Mexico or Guatemala. Travellers are required to visit these centres for blood tests and provide stool samples if they develop an upset stomach.
Intercell's clinical director, Nigel Thomas, said, "We are looking for people who've already planned to go to Mexico or Guatemala and think this would add another interesting aspect. It is almost like going on a package holiday.
"They will be met by a concierge who will take them to their hotel and arrange for them to give their first blood sample within 48 hours."
And, though not yet finalised, a second study is planned of travellers to India. Thomas Lingelbach, chief executive of Intercell, was quoted as saying, "We need to show the vaccine is effective in different geographical settings, as the bacteria that cause diarrhoea are different in different regions.
"If we can show broad coverage against travellers' diarrhoea, we estimate we could get peak sales of $500 million a year in five to 10 years."
However, the travellers' diarrhoea vaccine has already been tested on humans and an initial study with 170 American volunteers, who also travelled to Mexico and Guatemala, was encouraging.
Half were given the vaccine and the other half a placebo, and results published in 'The Lancet' medical journal last year showed that the vaccine reduced the incidence of diarrhoea by 75%.
The Internet search giant has called for an Android press gathering on 5th January. Will it exhibit 'Nexus One', Google's much talked about mobile handset on that day?
Internet search giant Google has sent out an invite for a press conference on 5th January. Google is not saying much about the press conference, except that it would be an Android (Google's open platform mobile operating system) press gathering.
However, there have been whispers around the rumour mills that the Internet search giant was planning to throw a press shindig just before the CES, the world's largest consumer technology tradeshow, that will take place between 7th-10th January at Las Vegas.
Google will sell its Nexus One smartphone for $529.99 for users who want to use their existing SIM card, or with a two-year T-Mobile contract for $179.99, according to documents leaked to gadget website Gizmodo.
Earlier this month, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) citing people familiar with the developments, had reported that Google has designed a cell phone it plans to sell directly to consumers as soon as next year. The phone will be called 'Nexus One' and is being manufactured for Google by HTC Corp, the WSJ said, quoting sources. Users will have to buy the cellular service for the device separately.
Officially, there is still no word from Google. However, in its blog, the search giant had said, “We recently came up with the concept of a mobile lab, which is a device that combines innovative hardware from a partner with software that runs on Android to experiment with new mobile features and capabilities, and we shared this device with Google employees across the globe. This means they get to test out a new technology and help improve it." (Google calls this testing by employees 'dogfooding', i.e., from 'eating your own dog food'!)
According to TmoNews, T-Mobile has made its expected support of the Google Phone aka Nexus One 'official', albeit in a vague sort of way. Citing sources, TmoNews said, "Through an internal system, T-Mobile is reporting that they are getting an Android device but won’t do any support for it other than 'billing, coverage, features and rate plans’, as we have previously stated. All troubleshooting and exchanges will be managed by Google and HTC. Launch is ‘early January.' That’s all we’re hearing right now but we’re reaching out to sources across the board looking to find out more."
Nexus One's launch, especially in the US, assumes significance as T-Mobile and AT&T's exclusivity deals with Apple for its iPhone are about to come to an end. Google's phone would prove to be a shot-in-the-arm for these carriers, who so far had to depend on iPhone for higher-end mobile handsets.
Google has designed virtually the entire software experience behind the phone, from the applications that run on it to the look and feel of each screen.
The phone runs on a Snapdragon chip, has a super high-resolution organic light emitting diode (OLED) touchscreen, is thinner than the iPhone, has no keyboard, and sports two microphones. The microphone on the back of the phone helps eliminate background noise, and it also has a 'weirdly' large camera for a phone. And if you don’t like the touchscreen keyboard, a voice-to-text feature is supposed to let you dictate emails and notes by speaking directly into the phone, said techcrunch.com, in a report.
The move also marks a rare foray into direct sales for Google. With the exception of an appliance it markets as a search tool to businesses, the company hasn't sold hardware in the past.
Google became a high-profile player in the mobile arena two years ago, when it launched its Android software. A number of leading handset manufacturers, including Motorola Inc., built phones running the software, some of which contain branding "powered by Google."
But the phones—many of which hit the market in recent months—haven't sold nearly as well as Apple's iPhone.
"The phone is a significant escalation of Google's assault on the mobile industry, challenging both wireless carriers that sell devices as well as companies that design them," WSJ said.
Google had given the handset to its employees for testing, 'Nexus One' is documented all over the world from every possible angle and with T-Mobile confirming the device, its launch next week may be just a formality.