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News Briefs

Russia Displays Art Treasures Seized from Nazi Germany

Los Angeles Times

With a declared aim to "fill in blank spots in the history of culture," Russian officials on Monday opened the first of a series of exhibitions of art treasure seized by Soviet troops from Nazi Germany at the end of World War II and hidden for 50 years.

Sixty-three paintings by European masters from the Italian Renaissance to French Impressionism - many never before viewed in public, others feared destroyed in the war - went on display at the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts. The show was billed as a "festival of culture" for "all people."

But the sub-theme of the exhibition and others to follow, the first such showings of war trophy art in post-Communist Russia, is how responsibly the Russians claim to have preserved and restored some of the world's greatest art - and how they should be entrusted to keep it.

"For the past two years, in the spirit of our shared future in a new Europe, Russian and German experts have been striving to overcome this unhappy consequence of war by preparing for the return of cultural objects," Otto von der Bablentz, the German ambassador to Moscow, said pointedly in remarks at an official reception marking the Pushkin show's opening. "I trust that this exhibit of art works, overwhelmingly from German private collections, will contribute to this goal."

Animal TB Vaccine Has Promise For use in Humans

Los Angeles Times

Researchers have developed a prototype vaccine that prevents tuberculosis in animals and that they say has great promise for use in humans.

The development comes at a time when the United States and other countries are increasingly facing the emergence of TB strains that are resistant to the drugs now used to control its spread. There have already been 12 outbreaks of multiple-drug-resistant TB in the United States, according to John D. Foulds, tuberculosis and leprosy program officer at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

"The bottom line is that we need a vaccine to help us in the fight against emerging drug resistance," Foulds said. The University of California, Los Angeles, team - which developed the new vaccine - "is doing really sentinel work on this."

The new vaccine contains no live bacteria and thus has many advantages over the existing vaccine, called BCG. BCG is not routinely used in the United States because it represents a major health risk for AIDS patients and others with a compromised immune system and interferes with public health programs for tracking tuberculosis infections.

Dr. Marcus A. Horowitz and his colleagues at the UCLA School of Medicine report Tuesday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that they have developed a vaccine based on purified proteins from BCG that is at least as effective as the existing vaccine in preventing tuberculosis in guinea pigs, but that should have none of those risks.