Women Reporting Stronger Side Effects to COVID Vaccines

Women Reporting Stronger Side Effects to COVID Vaccines

  • March 31, 2021


Loundy isn’t the only one noticing a gender difference. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that many more women than men are experiencing side effects after getting the COVID-19 vaccine.

In the first month of COVID-19 vaccinations, more than 79 percent of vaccine side effects were reported by women, even though women received just about 61.2 percent of the doses, the data shows.

In addition, severe allergic reactions to the vaccines have mostly occurred among women. Although the reactions are extremely rare, all 19 reported anaphylactic reactions to the Moderna vaccine occurred in women, and women accounted for 44 of 47 anaphylactic reactions to the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, CDC data shows.

Men may not report side effects

Doctors and gender experts say they aren’t surprised that women have had stronger reactions.

“We have seen this before,” says Megan Donnelly, a doctor of osteopathic medicine and head of women’s neurology and the headache center at Novant Health in Charlotte, North Carolina. “If you look at flu vaccine data, it was more women seeing more side effects and severe reactions.”

Experts say it’s possible men are less likely than women to report post-vaccine reactions because masculine stereotypes call for men to be stoic.

“Is there a culture of men not wanting to speak up when they have symptoms? That may be part of it,” says Anne Liu, an allergist, immunologist and infectious disease specialist at Stanford University School of Medicine.

But Liu, Donnelly and other experts say biological differences also play a role.

Women have stronger immune responses

Historically, women have a stronger immune response to vaccines than men, and experts say that’s the most likely reason for their more intense side effects.

“It means that women’s immune systems are responding to the vaccine, and that is a positive thing, so you know it’s working,” says Rosemary Morgan, a scientist who studies gender differences at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

In studies and research, women and girls produce more infection-fighting antibodies than men when they get vaccinations for influenza, yellow fever, rabies, hepatitis A and B, and MMR (measles, mumps and rubella), Morgan says.

The more robust female immune response is also why women are generally better at fighting off infections such as sepsis, pneumonia and, now, COVID-19. Studies show that men who get COVID-19 are almost three times as likely to require intensive care as women who are infected, and they’re also more likely to die.

On the other hand, women are twice as likely as men to have autoimmune diseases such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis — another consequence of their strong immune response. In those disorders, the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks the body and causes inflammation.

Donnelly says the same phenomenon could also explain why women are more likely to identify as “long-haulers” — COVID-19 survivors who have symptoms that last for months after they are no longer infected with the coronavirus. Many doctors believe the condition isn’t caused by the virus itself, Donnelly says, but “from the immune system going into overdrive and fighting even after the virus has been cleared.”

Hormones, genes may play a role

Experts aren’t sure exactly why men and women have such different immune responses, but hormones probably play a role. Studies have linked high amounts of testosterone to a weaker immune response, while estrogen and progesterone seem to boost the body’s defenses.

A small study published in March 2021 in the journal Chest found that giving hospitalized male COVID-19 patients the female hormone progesterone improved clinical outcomes.

Scientists have also identified several genes related to immunity that reside on the X chromosome, points out Panagis Galiatsatos, M.D., a physician in the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at Johns Hopkins Medicine. Men have just one X chromosome, while women have two.

If one of your immunity genes is defective, you’ll have a weakened response when a virus invades, Galiatsatos says. “But women have a reserve, an extra X that allows them to compensate,” he says.

Are doses sized for men?

Gender bias in drug development and the size of vaccine doses could also play a role. Women have historically been excluded from many clinical trials and research studies, Morgan says. Even now, sex-segregated data is rarely reported when vaccines and medications are tested.

“Could women be receiving more dose than they need?” Morgan asks. “They are smaller, they have less muscle, they metabolize things differently.”

It’s also possible a lower dose would be just as effective in women and cause fewer side effects, she says.


Fungus Clear Reviews (Vitality Health): How Effective Is It?

Fungus Clear Reviews (Vitality Health): How Effective Is It?

  • March 31, 2021

Fungus Clear is a supplement made by Vitality Health, a company made of health enthusiasts and experts. They strive towards helping individuals lead healthy lives.

Unlike over-the-counter gels and creams, Fungus Clear tends to take care of the problem from the root. It does not provide temporary results. Instead, it makes sure that the toenail fungus does not return. When you use Fungus Clear, users will have rid of fungus for good and enjoy having healthy and attractive toenails.

Among all the infections the human body can get, a toenail fungus infection is one in which takes a considerable time to heal. Furthermore, toenail fungus tends to return, which implies that they are a recurring kind of infection.

There are quite a lot of ways through which you can get rid of toenail infections, and there are several brands out there that have sell gels, creams, and ointments, which are meant to be applied on the outer layer of the toenail. These creams and gels claim to eliminate toenail fungus infections, but the truth is far from that.

Although they will temporarily help you get rid of the toenail fungus, they cannot stop it from coming back.

But with that being said, there is a supplement that can help you get rid of toenail fungus and prevent it from returning, and this supplement is Fungus Clear.

According to the official website, the best part is, unlike most supplements, Fungus Clear is made of natural ingredients and is a Non-Gmo, vegetarian-friendly product.

This supplement may naturally eliminate fungal spores and helps in getting rid of this problem permanently. But the big question is, how does it accomplish this?

Fungus Clear consists of just seven natural ingredients, the blend of ingredients helps address the most common types of toenail fungus. Fungus Clear supports giving your body’s immune system a good boost. This helps in fortifying the body against all future infections.

It provides your body with all the nutrition that it needs, which, in turn, strengthens the immune system.

Fungus Clear is filled with several minerals and vitamins with a good amount of antioxidants.

image3

There are several benefits of using Fungus Clear; of course, the most prominent one is that it helps you eliminate toenail fungus infections.

Here are some more benefits of using this supplement

  • Fungus Clear helps you maintain healthy and strong nails
  • It will help shield your toenail against all future infections
  • Fungus Clear supports a strong, healthy immune system
  • Apart from all this, Fungus Clear will also help you maintain a healthy digestive system.

Several thousands of consumers have used this product, with no reported side effects. According to the official website, This supplement is manufactured in a top-grade facility that follows GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices). They also conduct random on-site inspections to make sure every protocol has been followed. This is one factor that distinguishes it from other toenail fungus treatments.

The best part is that you do not have to wait for years to get rid of toenail fungus. Using a product like Fungus Clear, you may notice your toenails are clearer by the day and see visible signs of pinker healthy toenails.

image1

As mentioned above, Fungus Clear is made up of 7 all-natural ingredients to rid sufferers of fungus using a specific set of 7 probiotics to balance fungal naturally and candida levels that lead to infections.

Bacillus Subtilis – this is said to be one of the most important ingredients in this formula; this bacteria is naturally occurring in the human body as well; the Bacillus Subtilis helps in strengthening your immune system, shields your body from various kinds of pathogens, and works to improve the health of your gut, which helps in maintaining a healthy digestive system.

Lactobacillus Plantarum – this bacteria contains many antioxidants and helps improve the health of your digestive system. Moreover, it helps give your immune system a boost and helps speed up the skin’s healing process.

Lactobacillus Rhamnosus – this bacteria is also naturally found in the body. The Lactobacillus Rhamnosus helps fight fungus’s growth in the body and has four hundred conducted studies to back it up.

These are a few of the other included ingredients:

Bifidobacterium Longum is classified as a probiotic strain reported to have various health benefits effects, such as anti-allergy effects, reductions in harmful bacteria, and improvements in the intestinal environments.

Lactobacillus Casei prevents harmful bacteria from colonizing the intestines by producing lactic acid. These are also possibly helpful in regulating the digestive system.

Bifidobacterium Breve helps to provide a healthy immune system, respiratory health, skin health, and it works to slow the overproduction of some of the primary causes of yeast infections.

Lactobacillus Acidophilus balances possible harmful bacteria that can live in the gut due to illness or antibiotics. It may also help balance flora which works to prevent yeast infections.

The recommended dosage is one pill with water, 20 mins before breakfast.

image4

You can only buy this product from their official website that offers several package deals to help sufferers of toenail fungus for good.

Here are the pricing options:

Apart from this, the manufacturers are also offering a 180-day cash back guarantee, which means that if you are not happy with the product or the results, you can contact them 8 am to 5:30 pm PST MON through FRI 8 am to 1:00 pm PST SAT-SUN and get your money back, no questions asked by phone or email at:

  • Customer Support: 855-633-7168
  • Email: support@getfungusclear.com
  • Address: 122 Broadway N Ste 100 Fargo, North Dakota 58102
image2

This Vitality Health toenail fungus product may be worth the money, the ingredients used in the product can help get rid of toenail fungus once and for all. Furthermore, it may help users boost their immune system, which helps the body with its overall health as well, and Fungus Clear also helps you maintain a healthy gut. To learn more, visit the official Fungus Clear website.

Affiliate Disclosure:

The links contained in this product review may result in a small commission if you opt to purchase the product recommended at no additional cost to you. This goes towards supporting our research and editorial team and please know we only recommend high quality products.

Disclaimer:

Please understand that any advice or guidelines revealed here are not even remotely a substitute for sound medical advice from a licensed healthcare provider. Make sure to consult with a professional physician before making any purchasing decision if you use medications or have concerns following the review details shared above. Individual results may vary as the statements made regarding these products have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The efficacy of these products has not been confirmed by FDA-approved research. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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U.S. News & World Report Homepage

Man’s Ebola relapse spawned dozens of new cases in Africa

  • March 31, 2021

A man in Africa who developed Ebola despite receiving a vaccine recovered but suffered a relapse nearly six months later that led to 91 new cases before he died. The report adds to evidence that the deadly virus can lurk in the body long after symptoms end, and that survivors need monitoring for their own welfare and to prevent spread.

Relapses like this one from the 2018-2020 outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo are thought to be rare. This is the first one clearly shown to have spawned a large cluster of new cases. The New England Journal of Medicine published details on Wednesday.

Earlier this month, scientists said a separate outbreak that’s going on now in Guinea seems related to one in West Africa that ended five years ago. A survivor may have silently harbored the virus for years before spreading it.

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“The most important message is, someone can get the disease, Ebola, twice and the second illness can sometimes be worse than the first one,” said Dr. Placide Mbala-Kingebeni of the University of Kinshasha, who helped research the Congo cases.

As more Ebola outbreaks occur, “we are getting more and more survivors” and the risk posed by relapses is growing, he said.

Ebola outbreaks usually start when someone gets the virus from wildlife and it then spreads person to person through contact with bodily fluids or contaminated materials. Symptoms can include sudden fever, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, vomiting, diarrhea, rash and bleeding. Fatality rates range from 25% to 90%.

The case in the medical journal involved a 25-year-old motorcycle taxi driver vaccinated in December 2018 because he’d been in contact with someone with Ebola. In June 2019, he developed symptoms and was diagnosed with the disease.

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For some reason, the man never developed immunity or lost it within six months, said Michael Wiley, a virus expert at Nebraska Medical Center who helped investigate the case.

The man was treated and discharged after twice testing negative for Ebola in his blood. However, semen can harbor the virus for more than a year, so men are advised to be tested periodically after recovery. The man had a negative semen test in August but did not return after that.

In late November, he again developed symptoms and sought care at a health center and from a traditional healer. After worsening, he was sent to a specialized Ebola treatment unit but died the next day.

Gene tests showed the virus from his new illness was nearly identical to his original one, meaning this was a relapse, not a new infection from another person or an animal, Wiley said. Tests showed the man had spread the virus to 29 others and they spread it to 62 more.

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Previously, two health workers who got Ebola while treating patients in Africa were found to have the virus long after they recovered — a Scottish nurse in her spinal fluid and American physician Ian Crozier in his eyes. But those relapses were discovered quickly and did not spawn new outbreaks.

They and the man in Africa all were treated with antibodies during their initial infections. Antibodies are substances the body makes to fight the virus but it can take weeks for the most effective ones to form. Giving them to Ebola patients is thought to boost the immune system, and studies suggest they improve survival. But the relapses have doctors concerned that such patients might not develop a strong enough immune response on their own and might be vulnerable to recurrences once antibodies fade. It’s just a theory at this point, the researchers stressed.

A few other viruses can lurk for long periods and cause problems later, such as the one responsible for chickenpox, which can reactivate and cause shingles decades after initial infection.

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The news about latent Ebola tells us “absolutely nothing” about the chance of something similar happening with the bug that causes COVID-19 because “they’re totally different viruses,” Wiley said.

Dr. Ibrahima Soce Fall, a World Health Organization scientist, agreed.

“We haven’t seen yet this kind of latency from people who survived coronavirus,” he said. Even with Ebola, “after six months, most of the patients completely clear the virus.”

The biggest concern is better monitoring for survivors — there are more than 1,100 in the Congo alone, and the WHO recommends monitoring for at least two years.

“We need to make sure that survivors are not stigmatized” and get the help they need so any relapses are treated quickly, Fall said.

___

The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

U.S. News & World Report Homepage

Man’s Ebola Relapse Spawned Dozens of New Cases in Africa | Health News

  • March 31, 2021

By MARILYNN MARCHIONE, AP Chief Medical Writer

A man in Africa who developed Ebola despite receiving a vaccine recovered but suffered a relapse nearly six months later that led to 91 new cases before he died. The report adds to evidence that the deadly virus can lurk in the body long after symptoms end, and that survivors need monitoring for their own welfare and to prevent spread.

Relapses like this one from the 2018-2020 outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo are thought to be rare. This is the first one clearly shown to have spawned a large cluster of new cases. The New England Journal of Medicine published details on Wednesday.

Earlier this month, scientists said a separate outbreak that’s going on now in Guinea seems related to one in West Africa that ended five years ago. A survivor may have silently harbored the virus for years before spreading it.

“The most important message is, someone can get the disease, Ebola, twice and the second illness can sometimes be worse than the first one,” said Dr. Placide Mbala-Kingebeni of the University of Kinshasha, who helped research the Congo cases.

As more Ebola outbreaks occur, “we are getting more and more survivors” and the risk posed by relapses is growing, he said.

Ebola outbreaks usually start when someone gets the virus from wildlife and it then spreads person to person through contact with bodily fluids or contaminated materials. Symptoms can include sudden fever, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, vomiting, diarrhea, rash and bleeding. Fatality rates range from 25% to 90%.

The case in the medical journal involved a 25-year-old motorcycle taxi driver vaccinated in December 2018 because he’d been in contact with someone with Ebola. In June 2019, he developed symptoms and was diagnosed with the disease.

For some reason, the man never developed immunity or lost it within six months, said Michael Wiley, a virus expert at Nebraska Medical Center who helped investigate the case.

The man was treated and discharged after twice testing negative for Ebola in his blood. However, semen can harbor the virus for more than a year, so men are advised to be tested periodically after recovery. The man had a negative semen test in August but did not return after that.

In late November, he again developed symptoms and sought care at a health center and from a traditional healer. After worsening, he was sent to a specialized Ebola treatment unit but died the next day.

Gene tests showed the virus from his new illness was nearly identical to his original one, meaning this was a relapse, not a new infection from another person or an animal, Wiley said. Tests showed the man had spread the virus to 29 others and they spread it to 62 more.

Previously, two health workers who got Ebola while treating patients in Africa were found to have the virus long after they recovered — a Scottish nurse in her spinal fluid and American physician Ian Crozier in his eyes. But those relapses were discovered quickly and did not spawn new outbreaks.

They and the man in Africa all were treated with antibodies during their initial infections. Antibodies are substances the body makes to fight the virus but it can take weeks for the most effective ones to form. Giving them to Ebola patients is thought to boost the immune system, and studies suggest they improve survival. But the relapses have doctors concerned that such patients might not develop a strong enough immune response on their own and might be vulnerable to recurrences once antibodies fade. It’s just a theory at this point, the researchers stressed.

A few other viruses can lurk for long periods and cause problems later, such as the one responsible for chickenpox, which can reactivate and cause shingles decades after initial infection.

The news about latent Ebola tells us “absolutely nothing” about the chance of something similar happening with the bug that causes COVID-19 because “they’re totally different viruses,” Wiley said.

Dr. Ibrahima Soce Fall, a World Health Organization scientist, agreed.

“We haven’t seen yet this kind of latency from people who survived coronavirus,” he said. Even with Ebola, “after six months, most of the patients completely clear the virus.”

The biggest concern is better monitoring for survivors — there are more than 1,100 in the Congo alone, and the WHO recommends monitoring for at least two years.

“We need to make sure that survivors are not stigmatized” and get the help they need so any relapses are treated quickly, Fall said.

The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Future Covid-19 vaccines could be inhaled — Quartz

Future Covid-19 vaccines could be inhaled — Quartz

  • March 31, 2021

There are 13 Covid-19 vaccines in use across the globe just a year after the World Health Organization declared the Covid-19 crisis a pandemic. All of them are shots to the upper arm.

These shots, while a critical tool in ending the pandemic, may not reach everyone. Scientists and drug companies are hustling to find more accessible ways to inoculate people—which includes changing vaccines’ delivery methods. Globally, there are now several Covid-19 vaccine candidates that could be inhaled, instead of injected.

CanSino Biologics, a Chinese drug company announced earlier this month that it received permission from the National Medical Products Administration (the Chinese drug regulatory authority) to start early clinical trials of an inhaled Covid-19 vaccine. In the UK, scientists at the University of Oxford are starting early clinical trials to see if an inhaled version of the AstraZeneca vaccine can produce similar immunity as the injected one, while Codagenix, a biotech startup, is beginning its first round of trials on a novel inhaled Covid-19 vaccine candidate. And in the US, the startups Phage Novo Bio and Precision Virologics—which were spun off from researchers at Rutgers University in New Jersey and Washington University at St. Louis, respectively—have shown through animal trials that their inhaled candidates for Covid-19 vaccines were safe and effective. (Precision Virologics is also sharing the rights of its vaccine with Bharat Biologics in India.)

Inhaled vaccines aren’t new—they exist for other viruses, like flu. But they’re a relatively novel technology arriving on the market in the early 2000s. The Covid-19 pandemic, however, requires the largest mass-vaccination event in history—which means all options need to be on the table for first-round vaccines and any boosters we may need. Inhaled vaccines should be easier to administer, more accessible—and there’s reason to believe they could work better, too.

Inhaled vaccines may be the future

Intramuscular injections aren’t necessarily the best mode of delivery for vaccines—they’re just the most common. Pharmaceutical companies likely chose them for the first vaccine candidates because they’re a tried-and-true method of delivering antigens, tiny molecules that jump start the immune system’s antibody production, and speed was paramount.

But injections aren’t the most accessible form of vaccination for everyone. They often have to be refrigerated or frozen, which can limit the reach of distributions. They require syringes, which are a limited resource, and require a medical professional to extract from vials and deliver into arms.

Right now, even inhaled flu vaccines need to be administered at a healthcare providers’ office. But theoretically, inhaled vaccines can be administered by the recipient themselves, which would alleviate the supply chain bottleneck of syringes. “You could use it like an inhaler, or like Flonase,” an inhaled allergy medicine people can quickly sniff, says Renata Pasqualini, an oncologist at Rutgers University and chief science officer at Phage Novo Bio. “That’s the future.”

Inhaled vaccines could be delivered to people negating the need for a trip to the doctor. “Think about a vaccine you could mail out to people,”  says Pasqualini. “People who are homebound or otherwise unable to access clinics could easily gain immunity. It could also be a faster way to distribute booster shots, should we need them.”

Inhaled vaccines may even work better, too. Pasqualini’s animal research for the Phage Novo vaccine suggests an inhaled vaccine generates a stronger immune response than an injected one. It’s unclear why, but it could be with the route of exposure: By going directly into the lungs, the antigens have a chance to trigger elements of the immune system that line the airways. This part of the immune system produces slightly different antibodies than the bloodstream. For a primarily respiratory virus, targeting the mucosal immune system could improve overall immunity—although more research needs to be done to confirm if that’s the case.

So far, all of the inhaled Covid-19 vaccine candidates are either in the animal testing phase, or the first stage of clinical trials testing the safety of these sprays in a very small group of healthy people. Ordinarily, it can take years for vaccines to go from early clinical trials to the market. At the moment, drug regulators have accelerated the authorization process by laying out the exact kinds of data companies need to generate to prove their products are safe and effective. The urgency of vaccinating the globe may keep these high-speed processes in place to get these inoculations into the noses of people everywhere.

Essential Nutritional Tips for Patients with COVID-19

Essential Nutritional Tips for Patients with COVID-19

  • March 31, 2021

As with many illnesses, good nutrition plays an important role to speed recovery from COVID-19. Smart food choices help to provide the proper anti-inflammatory nutrients needed to support essential bodily processes, improve immunity, and protect against loss of energy and diminished muscular strength.

Both macro- and micronutrients are key drivers for a healthy immune response, particularly for higher-risk populations.

Even for those who have not been diagnosed with COVID-19, poor nutrition can compromise immune function and increase the risk of becoming infected. Here is a look at how important it is to educate home-based care providers on nutritional support principles, along with the top tips needed to make sure patients with COVID-19 stay as healthy and strong as possible, as outlined by Certified Nutrition Support Clinician, Lisa Logan of McKesson Medical-Surgical.

Fluids: 2-3 liters per day

It is critical that patients stay hydrated, Logan says. Fluid requirements must be individualized based on a range of factors, including body weight, age, gender, medical conditions and body temperature. According to American Society of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition, patients should drink water or clear liquids every hour. Ideally, they should consume at least two to four ounces of fluid every 15 minutes. If the patient has gastrointestinal issues, such as vomiting or diarrhea, then he or she must consume oral hydration solutions along with water.

“The important thing is to monitor seniors for signs of dehydration,” Logan says. Signs of dehydration can include increased thirst, fever, dizziness, lightheadedness, decreased urine output, dark colored urine color and an increased heart rate.

Logan has four sample recommendations for caregivers:

– Keep liquids visibly available for patients, including at the bedside

– Offer a variety of liquids to avoid taste fatigue

– Remember to include foods with a high fluid content, such as melons, soups and stews

– Select the appropriate liquid supplement as recommended by a registered dietitian who understands the patient’s medical conditions

“The type of liquid you drink will depend on the situation,” Logan says. “Water or clear liquid drinks with electrolytes are fine. But there are many patients who are malnourished and would benefit from a high-calorie, high-protein supplement if they have a diagnosis of malnutrition. The drink selected should be based upon a clinical evaluation and assessment.”

Calories: 1,500 to 2,000 calories daily — normal maintenance

Due to increased stress from COVID-19, an individual often needs an additional 400 to 500 calories each day, over their normal dietary requirements. In some cases, home-based care providers should aim for patients to consume between 2,000 and 2,500 calories per day. Utilizing the expertise of a dietitian can help formulate a diet plan with high calorie and high protein supplements, so that patients can achieve their nutritional goals.

Along with the calorie count, seniors must focus on an anti-inflammatory diet.

“COVID is an inflammatory process and improper dietary choices can adversely impact the immune system,” Logan says. “Therefore, consuming an anti-inflammatory diet is essential. You want more of a plant-based diet, eliminating refined foods, sugar, saturated fats and processed meat. The food that you give your loved one, or a patient, should be healthy.”

Protein: 75 to 100 grams per day

One major focus for caregivers helping patients with COVID-19 is addressing malnutrition.

“Malnutrition is a risk factor causing many issues relating to functional and physiologic decline, along with organ dysfunction that leads to increased rates of morbidity and mortality,” Logan says. “There is emerging evidence that one’s nutritional status clearly impacts immunity. If your immune system is not up to par, you can’t fight off infection. It is important to identify malnutrition early on so that nutrition support can be implemented immediately to improve health and quality of life.”

To avoid malnutrition, caregivers should use a reliable malnutrition screening tool, one that provides a score to address the severity of malnutrition. The MNA (Mini Nutrition Assessment) by Nestlé Nutrition Institute is an example of a tool that clinicians can use. It addresses key factors such as recent weight loss, appetite and body mass index to help determine the degree of nutritional impairments.

The caregiver must also encourage a diet that is adequate in protein, which is required to maintain muscle mass. Most patients require at least one gram of protein per kilogram of ideal body weight, which can total 75 to 100 grams of protein per day.

While requirements will vary with conditions such as kidney and liver disease, some standard protein sources include: 

– Peanut or nut butters

– Dairy (milk, eggs, yogurt, cheese)

– Meat (fish, poultry)

– Protein shakes

However, one should consider getting dietary protein from plant- based alternatives like soy products (tofu, tempeh, and edamame), lentils, chickpeas, almonds and Quinoa.

Supplements for immunity boost

Along with promoting protein and high calorie diets, liquid supplements taken between meals can provide an extra immunity boost and maintain the flow of nutrients into the body. Logan cites the work of Dr. Gina Serraiocco, who recommends a variety of supplements that can help the immune function, so it is more equipped to fight inflammation.

“Patients who are vitamin D-deficient have a higher chance of getting COVID,” Logan says.

She adds that zinc, vitamin C, melatonin, turmeric and Omega-3 fatty acids can all serve as anti-inflammatory and immune-supportive agents. For many of these recommendations, Logan credits Dr. Serraiocco, an integrative and functional medicine physician at Sutter’s Palo Alto Medical Center, whose research is industry-leading in this area. Dr. Serraiocco has made it her focus to educate patients and health care workers on the best life-style approaches and supplements needed to help during this horrible pandemic.

This article is sponsored by McKesson Medical-Surgical, which works with health systems, physician offices, extended care providers, in-home patients, labs, payers and others across the spectrum of care to build healthier organizations that deliver better care to patients in every setting. For more information, visit mms.mckesson.com.

Getting the COVID-19 Vaccine

  • March 31, 2021

This article is part of a series of explainers on vaccine development and distribution. Learn more about vaccines – from how they work and how they’re made to ensuring safety and equitable access – in WHO’s Vaccines Explained series.

 

Vaccines are a critical tool in the battle against COVID-19, and getting vaccinated is one of the best ways to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.

Getting vaccinated is safer than getting infected 

Vaccines train our immune system to recognize the targeted virus and create antibodies to fight off the disease without getting the disease itself. After vaccination, the body is ready to fight the virus if it is later exposed to it, thereby preventing
illness.

Most people who are infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, develop an immune response within the first few weeks, but we are still learning how strong and lasting that immune response is, and how it varies between different people.

People who have already been infected with SARS-CoV-2 should still get vaccinated unless told otherwise by their health care provider. Even if you’ve had a previous infection, the vaccine acts as a booster that strengthens the immune response. There have also been some instances of people infected with SARS-CoV-2 a second
time, which makes getting vaccinated even more important.

What to expect during vaccination

Medical professionals can best advise individuals on whether or not, and when, they should receive a vaccine. A health worker will administer the vaccine, and the person receiving it will be asked to wait for 15–30 minutes before leaving the vaccination
site. This is so that health workers can observe individuals for any unexpected reactions following vaccination.

Like any vaccine, COVID-19 vaccines can cause mild-to-moderate side effects, such as a low-grade fever or pain or redness at the injection site. These should go away on their own within a few days. See WHO’s
Safety of COVID-19 Vaccines explainer and Vaccines Safety Q&A to learn more about common side effects and find out who should consult with a doctor before vaccination.

Vaccine doses

For some COVID-19 vaccines, two doses are required.
It’s important to get the second dose if the vaccine requires two doses.

For vaccines that require two doses, the first dose presents antigens – proteins that stimulate the production of antibodies – to the immune system for the first time. Scientists call this priming the immune response. The second dose acts
as a booster, ensuring the immune system develops a memory response to fight off the virus if it encounters it again.

Because of the urgent need for a COVID-19 vaccine, initial clinical trials of vaccine candidates were performed with the shortest possible duration between doses. Therefore an interval of 21–28 days (3–4 weeks) between doses is recommended
by WHO. Depending on the vaccine, the interval may be extended for up to 42 days – or even up to 12 weeks for some vaccines – on the basis of current evidence.

There are many COVID-19 vaccines being developed and produced by different manufacturers around the world. WHO recommends that a vaccine from the same manufacturer be used for both doses if you require two doses. This recommendation may be updated as
further information becomes available.

Safety against infection and transmission after vaccination

Available clinical trials have shown COVID-19 vaccines to be safe and highly effective at preventing severe disease. Given how new COVID-19 is, researchers are still looking into how long a vaccinated person is likely to be protected from infection, and
whether vaccinated people can still transmit the virus to others. As the vaccine rollout expands, WHO will continue to monitor the data alongside regulatory authorities.

Safe and effective vaccines are making a significant contribution to preventing severe disease and death from COVID-19. As vaccines are rolling out and immunity is building, it is important to continue to follow all of the recommended measures that reduce
the spread of SARS-CoV-2. This includes physically distancing yourself from others; wearing a mask, especially in crowded and poorly ventilated settings; cleaning your hands frequently; covering any cough or sneeze in your bent elbow; and opening
windows when indoors.

 

 

T cells and CTLA-4

Glycolytic-pathway inhibition and CTLA-4 blockade

  • March 31, 2021

In this Q&A, Dr Taha Merghoub discusses how a combination of glycolytic-pathway inhibition and immune checkpoint blockade using anti-CTLA-4 in patients with highly glycolytic tumours could present a personalised approach for immuno-oncology.

T cells and CTLA-4


Why is it important to focus research efforts on immuno-oncology?

The immune system is designed to recognise foreign pathogens and is also able to eliminate aberrant individual cancer cells as they arise. However, cancer cells are able to escape the control of the immune system by activating mechanisms of immune suppression and inactivating existing antitumour immunity. The ability to revert these mechanisms, mainly through immune checkpoint blockade (targeting CTLA-4, PD-1/PD-L1), constitutes a breakthrough in the immuno-oncology field.

Using the immune system to recognise cancer makes it a generalisable approach. The list of cancers that are being treated with immune-based therapies has expanded to multiple cancer types and continues to increase. In addition, the inherent ability of immune cells to recognise multiple tumour targets reduces the likelihood of relapse and leads to long lasting tumour control. However, the biggest challenge in immuno-oncology is the resistance to immune treatment developed during early phases of treatment or after therapy. As a result, only a subset of patients benefit from immunotherapy.

The next step for this project is to define pharmacological means to block glycolysis in tumour cells without affecting immune cells”

Current research in the field aims at widening the patient populations that respond to these therapies by overcoming primary resistance and acquired resistance to immune therapy. Understanding how diverse tumour immune landscapes respond to immune therapies and devising personalised immuno-oncology approaches will be key to expanding the therapeutic benefit to more patients. A key aspect of this research is finding the determinants of response, understanding the barriers to productive antitumour immune responses and grasping the effects of conventional and new therapies on such responses with the goal of designing more effective combination therapies with immune checkpoint blockade.

Can you briefly explain how CTLA-4 blockade works and why you chose to study it?  

Cytotoxic T-lymphocyte-associated protein 4 (CTLA-4) is a protein expressed on immune cells that helps keep the immune system in check (immune checkpoint) and prevents the immune system from attacking the body’s own cells; it prevents autoimmunity. CTLA-4 is expressed on a subset of T cells, called effector T cells, when they are activated. Effector T cells kill tumour cells directly. One of the requirements for T cells to be activated is an interaction between two molecules, CD28 and B7. Once activated, CTLA-4 expression on T cells is induced and prevents the interaction of B7 with CD28, thus limiting the activation of T cells and their ability to kill cancer cells.

In addition, tumours protect themselves by attracting immunosuppressive cells, such as T regulatory cells (Tregs). These are recruited to the tumour and blunt the effector T-cell immune responses that eradicate tumours. Tregs express high levels of CTLA-4 and CTLA-4 immune checkpoint blockade prevents suppression of effector T-cell function by Tregs.

We chose to study CTLA-4 blockade because it controls the function of both effector T cells and Tregs. In addition, although treatment with CTLA-4 blockade affords long lasting immunity, only a subset of patients respond. Increasing the number of responsive patients would greatly advance the use of this therapy.

How did you discover that CTLA-4 blockade has more effects than just stimulating T cells?

Our initial interest was the study of the metabolism within the tumour microenvironment. The hypothesis was that tumour cells compete with antitumour immune cells for resources within the tumour bed and limiting this effect could improve T-cell response and thus improve immune-based therapies.

T cells

Glucose metabolism is essential to T-cell activation and the costimulatory molecule CD28 is essential for T cells to increase their glycolytic rate in response to activation. As such, CD28 acts as a metabolic biosensor for T cells. However, CTLA-4 has been shown to downregulate T-cell glycolysis. We therefore studied the effect of anti-CTLA-4 on the metabolic fitness of intratumoural T cells, comparing high glycolytic tumours and low glycolytic tumours. We found that low glycolytic tumours are more infiltrated by T cells, presumably due to the fact that T cells are more fit because there is glucose available. This is correlated with better therapeutic outcomes after anti-CTLA-4 treatment in a pre-clinical model of breast cancer.

What were your findings and what did your analysis of the Tregs reveal?

Our analysis of Tregs revealed that CD8 effector function was associated with changes in Treg phenotype. The Tregs infiltrating the tumours lost their suppressive function and acquired an inflammatory phenotype with Tregs producing IFNgamma and TNF alpha. The change in Treg phenotype was due to anti-CTLA-4 therapy and was pronounced in the presence of glucose. In other words, reducing glucose consumption by tumour cells decreases competition for glucose and improves the effects of CTLA-4 blockade on Tregs, leading to improved effector T-cell function.

How could your findings impact immuno-oncology treatment modalities and personalised medicine? 

Our findings suggest that inhibiting glycolytic pathways in highly glycolytic tumours will reduce the competition between antitumour immune cells and tumour cells for resources. In this context, the combination of glycolytic-pathway inhibition with immune checkpoint blockade using anti-CTLA-4 in patients with highly glycolytic tumours constitutes a rational therapeutic design for a more efficacious treatment regimen. It represents a personalised approach in which immune-based therapy is combined with metabolism-based therapies.

What are the next steps for this research?

…the biggest challenge in immuno-oncology is the resistance to immune treatment developed during early phases of treatment”

The next step for this project is to define pharmacological means to block glycolysis in tumour cells without affecting immune cells. We are investigating therapeutic regimens that minimise the impact of pan-glycolysis inhibition on T cells while having a major effect on tumour cells. We are also working on identifying and developing means to modulate differentially expressed metabolism molecules, such as monocarboxylate transporters, in order to target tumour cells without affecting immune cell function negatively.

Conclusion 

When treatment for a given cancer is designed, the tumour type and its genomic characteristics are taken into consideration. However, the effect of conventional therapies such as chemotherapy and radiation therapies on the immune landscape and metabolism are often not taken into consideration.  One area that we have not covered in our previous studies is how conventional therapies will affect tumour metabolism. The characterisation of these changes will enable us to target metabolism more efficiently by adapting it to each treatment modality. In addition, the measurement of potential blood biomarkers that correlate with metabolism in the tumour microenvironment will enable us to profile tumour metabolic changes over time. The measurement of temporal metabolic changes could then inform the design of treatment regimens.

Dr Taha Merghoub is an Attending Biologist in the Immuno-Oncology Service, Human Oncology and Pathogenesis Program at Memorial Sloan Kettering (MSK). He co-directs the Ludwig Collaborative Laboratory and the Swim Across America Laboratory (MSK) with Dr Jedd Wolchok. He is a member researcher of the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy at MSK and also leads the biorepository for the Melanoma Service at MSK. He is a professor of immunology research in medicine, Weill Cornell. His work focuses on developing means to improve responses to immune-based therapies, studying the pathogenesis and treatment of melanoma. Taha focuses on melanoma as a model system and applies his findings to multiple malignancies, such as non-small lung cancer, pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma, ovarian and breast cancer.

4 Vitamins to Boost Your Immune System

4 Vitamins to Boost Your Immune System

  • March 31, 2021

At Townsquare Media, we believe wellness is important for our community to thrive. Every Wednesday, we’ll feature a wellness leader in our community. Wellness Wednesday is made possible thanks to our partners Benchmark Medical Group.

The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us all the importance of protecting our immune systems. But with thousands of vitamin options out there, it can be hard to know where to start.

That’s why Benchmark Medical Group offers IV Nutrition and Detoxification Therapy through their IV bar, which provides patients with specific nutrients that can improve their cellular function and boost their immune systems.

We interviewed Benchmark Medical Group’s Dr. Sandy Valdes Haas about the Windsor wellness center’s IV bar and the vitamins that she recommends to her patients.

Wellness Wednesday: Q&A With Dr. Sandy Valdes Haas

5 benefits of cherries for gout, sleep, nutrition, and more

5 benefits of cherries for gout, sleep, nutrition, and more

  • March 31, 2021

Cherries contain a number of beneficial nutrients, such as vitamin C and antioxidants. Some evidence suggests that they may also help lower inflammation, protect heart health, and improve sleep as part of a healthy diet.

The health benefits of cherries can depend on a number of factors, such as the cherry variety, how many a person consumes, and how often they consume them.

This article will look at the scientific evidence for the health benefits of cherries, their nutritional profile, and how people can get more cherries in their diet.

Inflammation is part of the body’s natural response to illness or injury. In the short term, it can be helpful. However, long-term inflammation is involved in many chronic conditions.

Although a diet that is generally high in fruits, vegetables, and fiber can help lower inflammation, cherries may be particularly beneficial as part of an anti-inflammatory diet.

According to a 2018 review, 11 out of 16 human studies into cherries and inflammation showed that they decreased inflammation. This applied to both tart and sweet varieties of cherry, and it included cherry fruits, juices, and concentrates.

The anti-inflammatory properties of cherries may also help with gout.

Gout causes sudden and severe joint pain. This is triggered by high levels of uric acid in the blood. One 2018 review stated that the consumption of cherries could help a person maintain moderate levels of uric acid in the body.

The review discussed a 2012 study that found that taking cherry concentrate or eating cherries led to a 35% reduction in gout episodes over a 2-day period. This effect remained the same regardless of sex, body weight, purine and alcohol intake, diuretic use, and anti-gout medication use.

The authors of the 2018 review stated that although more long-term studies are necessary, these findings are promising.

Learn more about the foods to eat and avoid for gout here.

In general, a diet rich in fruits and vegetables and low in saturated fat is best for heart health. However, cherries may be especially valuable in a heart-healthy diet, as they show potential for lowering blood pressure.

The 2018 review mentioned several studies in which various cherry products lowered blood pressure. One such older study in females with diabetes found that taking 40 grams (g) of tart cherry concentrate per day for 6 weeks significantly lowered blood pressure.

High blood pressure is a significant risk factor for cardiovascular disease. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death worldwide.

Cherries contain several nutrients that may help with blood pressure, including polyphenols and potassium.

Polyphenols are a type of antioxidant that can prevent oxidative damage. A large 2018 observational study suggested that increased polyphenol consumption could lower blood pressure.

One hundred grams of raw sweet cherries contains around 5% of a person’s Daily Value of potassium, which is 4,700 milligrams (mg). An adequate intake of potassium is important for maintaining healthy blood pressure.

According to a 2013 study, cherries are a rich, natural source of melatonin, which is a neurotransmitter that influences sleep and mood. Melatonin can be useful for those who have insomnia, as it is the chemical that induces sleepiness.

Another 2013 study involved participants aged between 20 and 85 years. Among other outcomes, the researchers studied the effects on sleep of those who ate a cherry-based product and those who had a placebo.

Among the participants who consumed the cherry-based product, sleep and nocturnal rest significantly improved. Older participants experienced an even more marked improvement.

Regular exercise is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. However, it can result in sore muscles or, if a person exercises in a way that causes strain, injury.

A 2020 meta-analysis involved participants who consumed tart cherry concentrate as a powder or juice for 7 days until 1.5 hours before exercising.

The results revealed that tart cherry consumption improved a person’s endurance during exercise. This was possibly due to its low glycemic index and anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidative, and blood flow-enhancing properties.

Scientists need to carry out more research to determine whether or not cherries can reduce recovery times and soreness after exercise.

In addition to having specific health benefits, cherries are also a source of many important nutrients.

The following table shows the quantities of some of the nutrients in sweet cherries, according to the United States Department of Agriculture:

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020–2025 recommend that most healthy adults eat 1.5–2.5 cups of fruit per day, depending on their calorie intake needs.

There are many ways to get more cherries into the diet. Cherries are available in many forms, including:

  • raw fruit
  • dried fruit
  • fruit compote or puree
  • fruit juice
  • concentrate, which a person dilutes with water
  • powder

To incorporate more cherries into a healthy diet, people can:

  • Add fresh cherries to fruit salads, smoothies, oatmeal, and yogurt.
  • Add dried cherries to fruit and nut mixes, cereals, muesli, and granolas.
  • Pair cherries with savory foods, such as salads, cheeses, seafood, or pork.
  • Use cherry puree or compote in dressings, sauces, and condiments.
  • Add cherry powder or cherry concentrate to smoothies.

When purchasing cherry products or using cherries in recipes, people should try to avoid added sugars. Some cherry products contain high amounts of added sugars.

There is some evidence to suggest that regularly eating cherries or drinking cherry juice may benefit a person’s heart health, boost sleep quality, and lower inflammation. People with specific conditions, such as high blood pressure or gout, may find them especially helpful.

However, as with all aspects of nutrition, there are no specific foods that can cure a condition. This is because many factors influence a person’s health, including their overall diet, fitness level, mental health, and genes.

People will get the most benefits from cherries by eating them as part of a healthy diet and lifestyle.

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