July 23, 2014

Michael Farrell, the director of the CDC's Bioterror Rapid Response and Advanced Technology Laboratory (BRRAT) in Atlanta, has resigned from his post, the CDC confirmed Wednesday.

Farrell's departure comes after reports that government employees may have been exposed to live anthrax when samples that weren't properly inactivated left the BRRAT lab last month. He is the first CDC employee to resign over the incident.

The CDC reported in June that proper deactivation procedures were not observed, and the live bacteria was passed on to other labs. No workers, however, contracted the disease. As the CDC conducted its investigation, Dr. Farrell was reassigned last month, Time reports. Meghan DeMaria

2:32 p.m. ET
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The NCAA men's basketball tournament resumes Thursday with the regional semifinal games of the Sweet 16. Kicking the round off are the semifinal games for the Midwest and West regions.

In the Midwest, No. 3 Oregon and No. 7 Michigan face off at 7:09 p.m. ET in a clash of high-octane offenses. Later, the 9:39 p.m. ET matchup between No. 1 Kansas and No. 4 Purdue will feature two of the top big-men in college basketball in Kansas' Josh Jackson and Purdue's Caleb Swanigan.

In the West, No. 1 Gonzaga and No. 4 West Virginia battle at 7:39 p.m. ET, followed by No. 11 Xavier taking on No. 2 Arizona at 10:09 p.m. ET. Xavier is this year's Cinderella story, and given that the Musketeers are coached by Chris Mack — a former top assistant to current Arizona head coach Sean Miller — the matchup promises to provide plenty of intrigue.

The games for the West will be televised on TBS, while the Midwest contests will be broadcast on CBS. Regional semifinal games for the East and South take place Friday. Kimberly Alters

2:05 p.m. ET
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Sepsis is the number one disease that kills people in hospitals, and there is no known effective cure. But thanks to the quick thinking of Dr. Paul Marik of Sentara Norfolk General Hospital, there soon could be, NPR reports.

When a 48-year-old woman suffering from severe sepsis came into his intensive care unit in January 2015, Marik decided to respond by administering intravenous vitamin C, mixed with a low dose of corticosteroids and thiamine, another vitamin. "I was expecting the next morning when I came to work she would be dead," Marik told NPR. "But when I walked in the next morning, I got the shock of my life." The woman was alive, Marik found — and recovering.

Marik has adopted the approach with all of his sepsis patients. He said that of 150 sepsis patients he has treated since the woman in January 2015, only one has died of the disease. The results are especially stunning given of the million Americans who get sepsis every year, 300,000 are expected to die. "That's the equivalent of three jumbo jets crashing every single day," Marik told NPR.

But as NPR notes: "This is not the standard way to evaluate a potential new treatment. Ordinarily, the potential treatment would be tested head to head with a placebo or standard treatment, and neither the doctors nor the patients would know who in the study was getting the new therapy." Other doctors have urged expectations to remain tempered: "[A result] can look really exciting when you do it on a group in one hospital with one set of clinicians, and then when you try to validate with a larger group in multiple centers — thus far we've been unsuccessful with anything," said top sepsis researcher Craig Coopersmith.

Marik's treatment is being explored through the traditional trial methods now, and could yield conclusions by the end of the year. Jeva Lange

1:30 p.m. ET
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The Senate voted 50-48 along party lines Thursday to repeal an Obama-era law that requires internet service providers to obtain permission before tracking what customers look at online and selling that information to other companies. The repeal is supported by major internet companies like Facebook and Google as well as internet providers like Verizon and AT&T, Vanity Fair reports, adding that there would likely be an option for consumers to opt-out.

"There are two sides to this," said Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), who is opposed to repealing consumers' privacy protections. "You want the entrepreneurial spirit to thrive, but you have to be able to say no, I don't want you in my living room. Yes, we're capitalists, but we're capitalists with a conscience."

Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) spearheaded the effort to repeal the FCC's rules. "[The FCC's privacy order] is unnecessary, confusing, and adds yet another innovation-stifling regulation to the internet,” Flake told Wired. "My legislation is the first step toward restoring the [Federal Trade Commission's] light-touch, consumer-friendly approach."

The resolution now goes to the House of Representatives, where it is expected to pass. The legislation would then need Trump's signature to take effect. Jeva Lange

12:54 p.m. ET

Today in tweets that have not aged particularly well:

The Congressional Budget Office expects 24 million more Americans will be uninsured by 2026 under the Republican health-care bill, the American Health Care Act. The House is expected to vote on the bill tonight. Jeva Lange

12:03 p.m. ET
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Israeli police arrested a 19-year-old Israeli-American dual citizen Thursday on the belief that he is responsible for a wave of threats made to Jewish community centers and institutions in the U.S. over the past several months, The Washington Post reports. Earlier, the FBI arrested journalist Juan Thompson for at least eight threats against Jewish centers, but the threats continued even after Thompson was discovered.

Israeli cyberattack police worked with the FBI to track down the suspect. The 19-year-old is allegedly responsible for a bulk of the threats, including possibly the evacuations of dozens of Jewish daycares, schools, and workplaces. The suspect is also believed to be responsible for threatening a Delta Airlines flight, resulting in the plane executing an emergency landing.

"The investigation began in several countries simultaneously after dozens of threatening calls were received at public places, events, synagogues, and community buildings that caused panic and disrupted events and activities in various organizations," Israeli police said. Jeva Lange

11:37 a.m. ET
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House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) apologized to the top Democrat on the committee, Rep. Adam Schiff (Calif.), on Thursday after sharing with the White House claims that members of President Trump's transition team were monitored legally and apparently incidentally before the inauguration. On Wednesday, Schiff called it "deeply troubling" that Nunes shared his information with Trump, a subject of the investigation, rather than the committee doing the investigation.

A committee aide told Politico that Nunes apologized "for not sharing information about the documents he saw with the minority before going public." Nunes additionally "pledged to work with them on this issue."

On Monday, FBI Director James Comey said publicly for the first time that the FBI is investigating possible Trump campaign participation in Russian attempts to sway the election away from Hillary Clinton and toward Trump. Jeva Lange

11:08 a.m. ET

The Trump administration has gone to the dogs in the best possible way. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke announced Thursday that his department will be the first to allow employees to bring their pups to the office. The policy, called "Doggy Days at Interior," will "launch with test runs at the agency's Washington headquarters on two Fridays in May and September," The Washington Post writes.

In a letter to the Interior Department's staff, Zinke wrote about how much his own 18-month-old Havanese, Ragnar, means to him. "Opening the door each evening and seeing him running at me is one of the highlights of my day," Zinke said. "I can't even count how many miles I've driven across Montana with [him] riding shotgun, or how many hikes and river floats [my wife] Lola and I went on with the little guy. But I can tell you it was always better to have him."

The Interior Department has 70,000 employees across the country, resulting in an unknown number of eligible dogs. Employees who might be uncomfortable with a dog-filled office, though, will have "other flexibilities" on the days when dogs are allowed, including the possibility of telework, Zinke said.

Zinke notably rode a horse to work on his first day as interior secretary, although there are no plans for "Horsey Days at Interior" just yet. Jeva Lange

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