Face Masks That You Can Wear to Show Off Your Personality

first_imgWith that in mind, we found so many face masks that are bound to be solid additions to your collection. While it may be uncomfortable at times, wearing a mask is a crucial action in order to help our communities stay safe during this trying time. Face masks may not fully protect you or others from contracting every type of viral infection, but wearing an appropriate covering can significantly reduce the rate of which illness can spread. Do your part and pick out one of the personality-filled masks below, or grab one as a stocking stuffer for the holiday season! Us Weekly has affiliate partnerships so we may receive compensation for some links to products and services.Please note: Information below is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease or health condition.- Advertisement – See tips and information from the CDC.It’s no secret that face masks have become a daily accessory. When the COVID-19 pandemic began, we had a small selection to choose from. In fact, we were all clamoring for any type of face covering that we could get — while making sure medical-grade options were reserved for frontline workers who needed them most. Since then, the offering has evolved. Brands have developed reusable cloth masks that are seriously stylish, and can show off our personalities in the process. Honestly, some of them are actually quite funny — and can potentially put a (hidden) smile on someone’s face!Popular face masks today range from fun graphic prints, to political or personal statements, to funky designs. If we have to wear a mask — as we all should, per the current CDC guidelines — then why not at least try to have a little fun with the situation?- Advertisement –center_img – Advertisement –last_img read more

California Bars Insurers From Dropping Policies in Wildfire Areas

first_imgAs California reels from this year’s record wildfires, the state announced on Thursday that it would prevent insurance companies from dropping homeowners for one year in many parts of the state, a sign of the growing financial turmoil caused by climate change.The measure, which applies to almost one-fifth of the state’s residential insurance market, prohibits companies from canceling or refusing to renew insurance policies for 2.1 million households in or near areas hit by this year’s wildfires.- Advertisement – The announcement reflects the increasing strain that climate change has placed on California, which had imposed a similar moratorium once before, at a smaller scale. As rising temperatures and longer droughts make wildfires more devastating, some insurers have responded to enormous financial losses by leaving fire-prone communities. That threatens the economies of those areas, because homes that can’t easily be insured are harder to sell, and nearly impossible to rebuild after a fire.California’s struggles are a preview of the threat that climate change poses to the long-term economic health of communities around the country. Insurers have begun pulling back from fire-prone areas in other states across the West. And in communities near oceans or rivers, the increasing cost of flood insurance poses a similar risk, driving down home values and make them harder to sell. Insurers have said that if the state wants them to keep doing business in those areas, officials must make it easier to allow insurance companies to charge higher premiums, reflecting what they say is the true risk from wildfires. Carolyn Kousky, executive director of the Wharton Risk Center at the University of Pennsylvania, described the new moratorium as a temporary measure that would not solve the underlying problem of growing climate risk.“This problem’s not going to go away. That raises a lot of questions about how we’re building and where we’re building,” Dr. Kousky said. “Clearly the market needs something much beyond this.” A bill that would have allowed insurers to take those steps, including justifying rate increases using computer models that predict future risk, failed to pass the state legislature this year after consumer groups said it would impose an unfair burden on homeowners.The Personal Insurance Federation of California, which represents insurers, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.People who lose access to private insurance can still buy coverage from a high-risk state program called the Fair Access to Insurance Requirements plan. But that coverage is typically more expensive and covers fewer types of damage.The state’s longer-term strategy involves encouraging local officials to reduce exposure and vulnerability to wildfire, through tougher building codes or rules about managing the vegetation around homes.“If we don’t want to be in this position every year, we have to reduce the risk to lives and homes,” Mr. Lara said.But the most promising changes tend to be restrictions on home construction in vulnerable areas. And those restrictions provoke strong pushback in California, where high housing prices have left many people struggling to find homes they can afford, creating pressure to keep building in high-risk areas. Mr. Lara’s office declined an interview request. In a statement, he said the new policy “gives millions of Californians breathing room and hits the pause button on insurance non-renewals while we take additional steps to expand our competitive market.”Still, the state’s ability to shield homeowners from the consequences of climate change is limited. The moratorium cannot be extended, which means that insurers who want to stop offering coverage in high-risk areas will eventually be able to do so. In response to growing climate risks, state officials have intervened to stop insurers from leaving high-risk areas. In December, California’s insurance commissioner, Ricardo Lara, for the first time imposed a similar one-year moratorium on insurers dropping coverage for more than 1 million policyholders in or near areas affected by wildfires.- Advertisement – – Advertisement – – Advertisement –last_img read more

This typewriter keyboard will actually make you work faster » Gadget Flow

first_imgLauren has been writing and editing since 2008. She loves working with text and helping writers find their voice. When she’s not typing away at her computer, she cooks and travels with her husband and two daughters. Fineday Retro Bluetooth typewriter keyboard with a tablet in its holderA number pad helps with spreadsheetsIt’s easier to type in numbers on a number pad. And if your work also involves spreadsheets, you’ll appreciate the Fineday Retro Bluetooth Keyboard‘s number pad. It’s a new addition to this retro keyboard’s 2.0 version, one users of the 1.0 version had requested. You’ll speed through your calculations with this useful feature as you’ll never have to take your eyes off your screen. Your accuracy will also improve because you won’t have to stretch your fingers to reach the numbers above the letter portion of the keyboard.Fineday Retro Bluetooth Typewriter KeyboardFineday Retro Bluetooth typewriter keyboard with desk accessoriesA typing experience that’s truly comfortableAnother cool design element of this keyboard is its mounting stand. It holds smaller devices like a tablet or phone while you type at a 9.22-degree angle. This allows you to work from these devices for a long time without neck strain. It also makes it easier to work from both your desktop and smartphone or tablet at once.LED backlighting brightens your typing experienceFinally, this keyboard has a soft white LED backlight. This feature helps to illuminate your desk and as you work, allowing you to see everything clearly as you type. What’s more, you can easily adjust the brightness of the backlighting with the left roller knob, a design feature that makes this keyboard look just like a real typewriter.This typewriter keyboard is a great gadget for writers, creatives, and anyone who appreciates past product designs. The design is beautiful and adds character to any desk. Plus, this antique-inspired design will actually help you get work done with its ergonomic keys and its ability to let you work between your devices simultaneousl. Placing your device on the stand only improves your productivity. This Bluetooth keyboard makes a great gift for not only for writers but any professional who spends hours at their keyboard.Fineday Retro Bluetooth Typewriter Keyboard costs $158 and is available for preorder on Indiegogo.Do you like products that make use of past designs? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.Fineday Retro Bluetooth Typewriter KeyboardFineday Retro Bluetooth typewriter keyboard on a white desk The Fineday Retro Bluetooth Typewriter Keyboard envisions a kind of workspace where beloved designs of past machines have the capabilities that people today need to get work done. This typewriter keyboard boasts shiny black metal and saddle-shaped keycaps reminiscent of typewriters from the 1920s. It also lets writers revel in their work’ tactile and audible feedback, with the satisfying sound the keys make. And it’s wired or wireless connection, hotkeys, and other tech features boosts typing speed and accuracy, according to the company’s Indiegogo page. It sounds like a great keyboard for anyone who enjoys writing.This retro keyboard gives you a satisfying typing experienceAt its core, writing is a tactile act. There’s something gratifying about feeling your fingers fly across a keyboard as you compose your thoughts. And the sound of keys clicking as you type is oh so necessary. It’s these elements you’ll get with this Bluetooth typewriter keyboard. It features ergonomic saddle-shaped keys with OUTEMU blue axis mechanical switches. They give off that noteworthy sound and pushback you need as you type.Fineday Retro Bluetooth Typewriter KeyboardFineday Retro Bluetooth typewriter keyboard with a person typingThis keyboard is a classic tool for the modern writer- Advertisement – – Advertisement – Fineday Retro Bluetooth Typewriter Keyboard This typewriter keyboard will actually make you work fastercenter_img Fineday Retro Bluetooth Typewriter KeyboardFineday Retro Bluetooth typewriter keyboard on a desk If you love the look and sound of an antique typewriter, you’ll want to check out this gadget. This typewriter keyboard looks just like a retro typewriter and its keys make that satisfying click-clackety sound. But its tech is completely modern. Keep reading to see how this gorgeous yet practical keyboard can boost your productivity.If you spend a lot of time writing for work, you know how important it is to have a good keyboard.  And if you’re into writing, it’s likely you also have a soft spot for typewriters. Who can resist the click-clackety sound of their thoughts pouring onto paper? Unfortunately, the work typewriters produce no longer suits the needs of the modern professional. Or does it? The company behind the Fineday Retro Bluetooth Typewriter Keyboard has created a keyboard that looks and sounds like a typewriter from the 1920s and it’s equipped will all of today’s tech. – Advertisement – While this writing gadget’s design calls to mind the great works of past literary geniuses, you won’t keep this keyboard on your desk just for inspiration’s sake. No, this keyboard is also a powerful tool that will help you get work done. That’s because it allows you to work on three devices at onces. So you can connect this keyboard to your desktop, phone, laptop, and tablet and work seamlessly between them thanks to a strong Bluetooth 5.0 connection. It also works in both wired modes for when you need to be a speed demon and is compatible with Windows/iOS/Android.Fineday Retro Bluetooth typewriter keyboardFineday Retro Bluetooth typewriter keyboard next to a brick wallMulti-function hotkeys make typing effortlessDo you know what your grandparents probably wished their typewriters had? Hotkeys. And this typewriter keyboard has them. They let you automate some of your repeated typing actions so that you can work faster. The Fineday Retro Keyboard has a Windows’s logo key, and Mac users can use it as a Command key.Fineday Retro Bluetooth Typewriter Keyboard– Advertisement –last_img read more

Big Brother’s Nicole Franzel, Victor Arroyo Postpone Wedding

first_imgAll in due time. Big Brother alums Nicole Franzel and Victor Arroyo have postponed their wedding amid the coronavirus pandemic, the couple exclusively confirm to Us Weekly.Franzel, 28, and Arroyo, 29, initially planned to tie the knot in December in Turks and Caicos, but they pushed the date to May 2021.- Advertisement – “We were very much looking forward to celebrating our wedding with a small group of close friends and family this December, but due to COVID-19, we had to make the difficult but necessary decision to postpone until May 2021,” they tell Us.Big Brother Nicole Franzel Victor Arroyo Postpone Their WeddingNicole Franzel and Victor Arroyo. CBSFranzel teased their wedding date earlier this week on Instagram. “Only ONE month til I MARRY this hunk,” she wrote on Monday, November 9. “#arroyalwedding.”Arroyo then replied in the comments section, “So excited and damn we look good …except my no shave November mustache.”- Advertisement – – Advertisement – The reality stars competed together on season 18 of Big Brother in 2016, at which time Franzel was involved in a showmance with Corey Brooks. The twosome split soon after the finale, and she later began dating Arroyo.The Coco Caliente podcast hosts confirmed their relationship in September 2017, noting that they had been an item for three months. “Nicole is my girlfriend,” Arroyo told fans in a Twitter video at the time, kissing Franzel more than once.“[After] Big Brother, me and Nicole stayed friends,” he told Entertainment Tonight in September 2017. “We talked a lot as friends and, you know, through her life and my life, we were just an open book. … She’s friggin’ awesome. A lot of people don’t know her beyond Big Brother, but she’s a sweetheart in real life and I love her to death.”- Advertisement – Arroyo then detailed how their relationship blossomed into something more. “Everything came together for the premiere of Big Brother 19, where we were in New York and we just clicked,” he recalled. “From then on, it was, I guess it was a love story, and now she’s my girlfriend.”Arroyo proposed to Franzel in September 2018 during a visit to the Big Brother house with fellow alums. Live-feed viewers shared the news on Twitter, pointing out that season 20 houseguests wished them well with a “Congrats Victor & Nicole” message on the pin-art wall in one of the rooms.The pair celebrated their anniversary in June, with Franzel quipping via Instagram, “Exactly 3 years ago we kinda sorta hit it off.”Listen to Us Weekly’s Hot Hollywood as each week the editors of Us break down the hottest entertainment news stories!last_img read more

Lamar Jackson: Baltimore Ravens quarterback says defences are calling out the team’s plays | NFL News

first_imgThe Baltimore Ravens have scored 20-plus points for 31-straight games entering their Week 10 matchup versus the New England Patriots – live on Sky Sports NFL, 1.20am, Monday morning – and are still averaging an NFL-best 170.1 rushing yards per game Last Updated: 12/11/20 12:53pm – Advertisement – Reigning MVP Lamar Jackson saw his pass intercepted as the Steelers ran in to take the lead against the Ravens “I knew when that play started they were coming back to that because they ran the same play on the first half, and I didn’t drop deep enough,” Highsmith said at the time, via ESPN. “So I learned from that play and just dropped deeper; the ball just fell into my hands.”At 6-2, Baltimore remain primed for a postseason bid despite the offense perhaps not being as potent as it was a year ago.Watch the Baltimore Ravens at the New England Patriots, live on Sky Sports NFL from 1.20am on Monday morning. Lamar Jackson and the Ravens are 6-2 on the season despite defences seemingly catching up to their offence
Lamar Jackson and the Ravens are 6-2 on the season despite defences seemingly catching up to their offence

Canada reports suspected BSE case

first_img The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) said multiple screening tests of a 10-year-old dairy cow have indicated possible BSE, or mad cow disease. Confirmatory test results were expected in 3 to 5 days. The carcass was kept out of the human food and animal feed systems, the agency said. The agency said American officials had been informed of the suspected BSE case. “This finding should not have a significant or lasting impact on efforts to normalize trade,” the statement said. “In negotiations with trading partners, including the U.S., Canada has been very open about the prospect of finding more BSE.” See also: The announcement comes on the heels of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) announcement yesterday of plans to partially lift the current ban on importing of live Canadian cattle on Mar 7. Live Canadian cattle have been barred since Canada’s first BSE case was discovered in May 2003. Because Canada is now considered a “minimal risk” region for BSE, the border will be reopened to live Canadian cattle less than 30 months of age and certain other animals and products, the USDA said. Canada’s BSE-related measures have been based on the assumption that more cases may be found in North America, the CFIA said. “As a result, the confirmation of a new case of BSE would not indicate increased risk to food safety as Canada requires the removal of specified risk material (SRM) from all animals entering the human food supply,” the agency said. SRM are tissues such as the brain, spinal cord, and certain nerve bundles, which are likely to contain the BSE agent if the animal has the disease. The CFIA, in announcing the suspected BSE case, said, “The Government of Canada’s normal policy is to report only confirmed results. However, given the unique situation created by the United States border announcement on December 29 it was decided that the most prudent action would be to publicly announce the available information and provide stakeholders with a full understanding of the current situation.”center_img Dec 30, 2004 (CIDRAP News) – Canada today reported what could be its second case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), only hours after the US government announced plans to ease restrictions on the importation of Canadian cattle. The dairy cow was tested because it couldn’t walk, putting it in a high-risk category in Canada’s BSE surveillance program, officials said. The cow was born before Canada (and the United States) banned the feeding of protein from ruminant animals to other ruminants in 1997. “If BSE is confirmed in this case, consumption of contaminated feed before 1997 remains the most likely route of [BSE] transmission” to the cow, the CFIA said. The CFIA did not say where the suspect cow came from or give any other identifying information about it. Officials said the Canadian Science Centre for Human and Animal Health in Winnipeg, Man., is handling the confirmatory testing. USDA announcement of plan to loosen import restrictionslast_img read more

Botulism cases lead to physician suspensions, company shutdown

first_img Dec 20 FDH news releasehttp://www.doh.state.fl.us/communications/office/pressreleases/2004/12.20.04esos.doc The Jan 11 AP story said authorities alleged that TRI bought a batch of botulinum toxin from List Biological Laboratories, a Campbell, Calif., firm that makes the toxin for research use. McComb first obtained botulinum toxin from TRI, and he later bought a much stronger preparation from List Biological, the story said. It said he allegedly used the List preparation when he injected himself and the three other people in November. Florida Health Secretary John O. Agwunobi, MD, stated in a Jan 18 news release, “This company skirted Florida’s regulations, placing our citizens at risk, simply to make a fast buck; even worse are these abhorrent licensed practitioners who knowingly placed their patients in harm’s way. This is egregious and can not be tolerated.” The Florida Department of Health (FDH) on Dec 17 suspended McComb’s medical license and those of three other people associated with the clinic where he worked, Advanced Integrated Medical Center in Oakland Park, Fla. The others were chiropractor Thomas P. Toia, owner of the clinic; Shelly Wolland, DO, who worked at the clinic; and Alfred Boyce, DO, medical director of the clinic, according to the FDH and reports in the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel. The botulism investigation has led to allegations that Toxin Research International (TRI), a Tucson, Ariz., firm, sold raw botulinum toxin to healthcare practitioners as a Botox substitute. The FDH said the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) obtained TRI records that showed sales to Cohen and Daube. Jan 18 FDH news releasehttp://www.doh.state.fl.us/communications/office/pressreleases/2005/01.18.05esos.doc Florida osteopathic physician Bach McComb and three other people suffered paralysis in November after he allegedly injected himself and them with a botulinum toxin preparation far stronger than Botox, the legal drug used to smooth facial wrinkles. Jan 21, 2005 (CIDRAP News) – Several healthcare professionals have been suspended and an Arizona company has been shut down in the investigation launched last November when four Floridians were paralyzed by injections with a botulinum toxin not approved for use in humans. McComb and the three people he injected in November all remained hospitalized as of Jan 19, according to a report by the Palm Beach (Fla.) Post on that date. The others are Eric and Bonnie Kaplan of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., and Alma Hall, a staff member at McComb’s clinic. See also:center_img Chad Livdahl, owner of TRI, testified that the company sold botulinum toxin for research only, not as a Botox substitute, the story said. His lawyer said Livdahl was not aware that some buyers were using the product on people. But the judge granted the government’s request to shut the company down. A Jan 18 AP report quoted health officials as saying they were not aware of any injuries to patients of Cohen and Daube. According to the report, US District Judge James Cohn said TRI used misleading and deceptive practices that were likely to result in “tragic consequences.” He ordered TRI to recall any of about 3,000 vials of the toxin remaining in circulation. McComb’s license had already been suspended for other reasons before he gave the injections, the FDH said. The Sun-Sentinel said Wolland had given Botox injections several times while under state orders not to dispense prescription drugs. This week, the FDH suspended the licenses of two other Florida physicians, Norman Cohen and Daniel Campbell Daube Jr., for allegedly buying and using an unapproved botulinum toxin. Cohen is from Jacksonville and Daube from Panama City, according to an Associated Press (AP) report. A federal judge on Jan 10 ordered TRI to stop selling botulinum toxin, according to a Jan 11 AP report. Government investigators allege that the company advertised botulinum toxin to 15,000 dermatologists, plastic surgeons, and other physicians in 2003, the story said. Federal investigators said TRI shipped 51 vials of botulinum toxin worth $53,000 to 13 customers in South Florida in 2004, according to a Jan 9 AP story. Earlier reports based on statements from another employee at McComb’s clinic indicated that the doses he injected were hundreds of times stronger than a dose of Botox. Botulinum toxin is among the most potent poisons.last_img read more

Avian flu confirmed in three Indonesian deaths

first_imgJul 20, 2005 (CIDRAP News) – Indonesian officials confirmed today that a man and his two young daughters who died earlier this month had H5N1 avian influenza, though they had had no known contact with infected poultry.The 38-year-old man and his daughters, aged 1 and 9, were the first Indonesians to die of the illness. Indonesia has had a number of poultry outbreaks but only one previous human case, an asymptomatic one reported last month.Indonesian Health Minister Siti Fadillah Supari said laboratory tests in Hong Kong on samples from the man and one daughter confirmed that they had the virus, according to news services.Supari said it could be concluded that all three died of the illness. “We don’t distinguish between the three,” an Agence France-Presse (AFP) report quoted her as saying.Though there was no evidence that the three victims had been exposed to infected poultry, Supari said person-to-person transmission of the virus seemed unlikely, according to an Associated Press (AP) report. She said the virus strain that killed them had not mutated.”It’s the conventional H5N1 virus and not a new strain,” Bloomberg News quoted Supari as saying.Health agencies fear that the H5N1 virus will evolve so as to allow easy person-to-person transmission, leading to a pandemic. Only one probable instance of person-to-person transmission has been documented so far, that of an 11-year-old Thai girl who apparently passed the virus to her mother and an aunt last September. Person-to-person transmission was also suspected in some family case clusters in Vietnam this year.The Indonesian cases bring CIDRAP’s unofficial count of H5N1 deaths since late 2003 to 59, including 40 in Vietnam, 12 in Thailand, and 4 in Cambodia. Adding the three deaths to the World Health Organization’s current numbers yields a total of 111 cases with 57 deaths. The WHO has not yet recognized two fatal cases that the media reported recently in Vietnam.Dr. Georg Petersen, a WHO representative in Indonesia, said he was not too worried that the three victims had no known contact with sick birds, because the source of infection is often very hard to find, according to the AP.Petersen said that in view of Indonesia’s history of avian flu outbreaks, the deaths were not a big surprise, according to the AFP report. He added that the three victims “may have had contact with chicken droppings.”Bloomberg News said the three people lived in Tangerang, about 15 miles west of Jarkarta. The report said 1-year-old Thalita Nurul Azizah died Jul 9, followed by her father, Iwan Siswara Rifei, on Jul 12 and her 9-year-old sister, Sabrina Nurul Aisyah, on Jul 14.Supari and Petersen said none of the 315 people who may have had contact with the family have fallen ill, according to the Bloomberg report. The health ministry has taken samples from the contacts and is monitoring them.A veterinary official said all farms within 20 kilometers of the victims’ home were being tested for avian flu, and results were expected back next week, the AP reported.The only previous human case of H5N1 avian flu in Indonesia involved a poultry worker who was tested last March, though he had not been sick. He was found to have a low level of antibodies to the virus, according to results reported in June.Indonesia has had a number of H5N1 outbreaks in poultry, going as far back as August 2003. In May of this year, some pigs in the Tangerang district—the same district where Rifei and his daughters lived—were found to have H5N1 infections without signs of illness. The pigs lived near poultry farms that had been hit by the virus.See also:Indonesia’s report to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) on H5N1 infections in pigsftp://ftp.oie.int/AVIAN%20INFLUENZA/infos_san_archives/eng/2005/en_050527v18n21.pdflast_img read more

Firm says ‘universal’ flu vaccine passed early test

first_img “VaxInnate’s M2e universal flu vaccine candidate has passed a critical initial test,” David Taylor, MD, the company’s chief medical officer, said in the news release. “We’re encouraged by these data, which demonstrate that the vaccine is safe and elicits potent immune responses at doses below a microgram [mcg] of vaccine antigen, and does so without the use of conventional adjuvants.” The vaccine, made by VaxInnate Inc., Cranbury, N.J., targets the M2 protein of influenza A viruses, a surface protein that differs little among different strains of type A. Existing flu vaccines target hemagglutinin (HA), a flu surface protein that often mutates, making it necessary to change the vaccine each year to cover the predominant strains in circulation. A vaccine targeting a protein found in all or most flu strains could reduce or eliminate the need to change the vaccine each year. “Should M2e be shown to be protective for influenza A, it’s possible that other universal antigens could be developed for influenza B,” Taylor said in an e-mailed statement. “In the developing world, where influenza vaccine is not available, M2e could be a cost-effective way to provide influenza A coverage. He also commented that VaxInnate is developing seasonal flu vaccines in which its recombinant-bacteria technology is used to make both the A and B components. A vaccine targeting a Solomon Islands strain of H1N1 is currently in clinical testing, and a type B vaccine may become available next year, he said. The two lowest doses were safe and well-tolerated in all the volunteers; they yielded an immune response in 18 of 24 volunteers after the first dose and in 23 of 24 after two doses, VaxInnate said. However, the two highest doses “were associated with the presence of flu-like symptoms in some of the subjects.” Nov 11, 2008 (CIDRAP News) – A vaccine designed to offer protection against many strains of influenza viruses appeared safe in low doses and triggered a satisfactory immune response in a phase 1 clinical trial, the vaccine’s developer announced recently. Plans for targeting type BThe M2e vaccine targets influenza A but not influenza B, the other major type. Type A viruses generally cause more severe illness than type B. Seasonal flu vaccines normally target two type A subtypes—H1N1 and H3N2—and one type B strain, all of which typically circulate each season. “Given the strength of the antibody responses and the absence of significant adverse reactions at the two lowest doses (0.3 and 1.0 mcg), VaxInnate intends to continue development and clinical evaluation of the vaccine candidate at doses of 1.0 mcg and less,” the company said. Flagellin interacts with the immune system’s toll-like receptors, which serve in human immune cells as sentries to detect pathogens and mount a general defense, according to VaxInnate. This initial defense stimulates an adaptive immune response that includes production of pathogen-specific antibodies, the company said. In the trial, 60 healthy volunteers between the ages of 18 and 49 received one of the four doses or a placebo in two injections 28 days apart, the company reported. Safety was assessed 1 and 7 days after immunization, and immune response was examined 7, 14, and 28 days after each dose. Seroconversion was defined as a serum IgG and anti-M2e antibody value of at least 0.174 mcg per milliliter and a fourfold increase in antibody titer. Christine Turley, MD, primary investigator in the study, said in the release that the results for the two lowest doses “suggest that the M2e vaccine candidate could be a promising and much-needed new option for prevention or attenuation of influenza A disease.” She is director of clinical trials and clinical research in the Sealy Center for Vaccine Development, University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB), Galveston. Fewest events at lowest dosesThe phase 1 trial was a double-blind study designed to test the safety and immunogenicity of four different doses of the vaccine: 0.3, 1, 3, and 10 mcg. It was conducted in Galveston, Tex., and Lenexa, Kan. See also: “The notion of a universal influenza vaccine or any kind of influenza vaccine that reduces the need for annual vaccination or provides better or more reliable protection against influenza viruses—that will be very useful to us,” she said. “Until a vaccine goes all the way through phase 3 clinical trials and we have good evidence about actual protection, the verdict is out. But certainly there are a number of kinds of vaccines in development, such as this one, that are exciting with regard to the prospect of a more universal kind of vaccine.” “VaxInnate is working to develop a second-generation universal vaccine that has M2e and another conserved antigen that will address influenza B strains, as well as influenza A strains. Efficacious universal vaccines for influenza that cover both A and B strains could potentially replace the more standard HA vaccine in some markets and market segments, even in the developed world.” While acknowledging that the M2e vaccine would not cover type B viruses, VaxInnate’s Taylor told CIDRAP News that the company also hopes to develop a second-generation universal vaccine that would target both A and B. Meanwhile, he suggested possible uses for the M2e vaccine by itself, assuming it is successful. Nichol said the measures of immune response used by VaxInnate are reasonable and generally correlate with actual protection, but do not guarantee it. “It’s encouraging but not definitive until we see the clinical protection data,” she said. ‘Encouraging but not definitive’Dr. Kristin Nichol, an experienced flu immunization researcher who was not involved with the study, described VaxInnate’s results as promising but advised a wait-and-see attitude. She is associate chief of staff for research at the Minneapolis VA Medical Center. Taylor also said that in countries where conventional seasonal flu vaccines are available, the M2e vaccine could be used in combination with them to provide increased protection in case the strains in the seasonal vaccine don’t match well with circulating strains. The vaccine consists of the ectodomain of the M2 protein, fused to flagellin, a bacterial protein. The company uses recombinant bacteria to produce the vaccine, a technique that the company says is faster than conventional egg-based production or cell-culture production. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation supported the M2e vaccine trial with a $9.5 million grant to UTMB to improve control of flu in the developing world, the company said. The company reported the results in an Oct 26 press release and at the Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy/Infectious Diseases Society of America (ICAAC/IDSA) meeting, held Oct 24-28 in Washington, DC. Oct 26 VaxInnate press releasehttp://www.vaxinnate.com/pages/pressreleases/20081026_001.htmllast_img read more