Photo of two staff members in protective lab gear standing next to a large centrifuge.

Waisman Biomanufacturing partners with Heat Biologics to manufacture COVID-19 vaccine

  • August 3, 2020
Photo of two staff members in protective lab gear standing next to a large centrifuge.

Waisman Biomanufacturing staff operate a centrifuge that allows for cell separation. The UW–Madison biopharmaceutical contract manufacturer is partnering with Heat Biologics to produce a COVID-19 vaccine for phase 1 and phase 2 clinical trials. Todd Brown, Media Solutions, UW School of Medicine and Public Health


Waisman Biomanufacturing at the University of Wisconsin–Madison is partnering with Heat Biologics to produce a COVID-19 vaccine for phase 1 and phase 2 clinical trials. Phase 1 trials could begin in early 2021 and UW–Madison may be a trial site.

The vaccine will target those most vulnerable to COVID-19 — namely, the elderly and those with health conditions that weaken their immune system. This includes people with heart conditions, severe obesity, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, and liver disease.

“In addition to its potential as a standalone COVID-19 vaccine, we believe this platform holds enormous promise in combination with other vaccines under development and in clinical trials by boosting the patient’s T-cell immunity,” says Jeff Wolf, CEO of Heat.

Heat’s vaccine will use a genetically engineered combination of a common protein already found in human cells called gp96, along with viral proteins, to stimulate a response from the body’s T-cells, a type of immune cell.

Photo of two employees in protective lab gear using a microscope

Waisman Biomanufacturing staff use a microscope to evaluate cell growth. Todd Brown, Media Solutions, UW School of Medicine and Public Health 

The vaccine enables long-term cellular immunity by teaching the T-cells to recognize and fight off the pathogen in the future and stave off infection. Because Heat’s vaccine is designed to be combined with traditional vaccines to provide an extra immune boost it could help individuals with weakened immune systems mount a more robust response.

Recent data suggest that the type of T-cell immune response generated by this approach is important for preventing COVID-19 infection.

“Waisman Biomanufacturing’s mission is to advance novel vaccines and therapeutics into early human clinical trials,” says Carl Ross, managing director of Waisman Biomanufacturing, part of the Waisman Center. “We are very excited to be able to offer what we have to this cause.”

According to Brian Dattilo, Waisman Biomanufacturing manager of business development, the UW–Madison biopharmaceutical contract manufacturer will provide Heat with comprehensive development and engineering services. Waisman Boimanufacturing will also produce clinical batches of vaccines using current good manufacturing practices, or GMP by industry lingo.

“We operate collaboratively for novel phase 1 products while maintaining a high level of GMP compliance,” Dattilo says. “As a smaller contract manufacturer, Waisman Biomanufacturing is able to be flexible to the needs of smaller companies.”

Established in 2001, Waisman Biomanufacturing has a nearly two decade history of working with researchers and private companies to develop and produce vaccines. The facility’s portfolio includes production of plasmid DNA and recombinant proteins and it also specializes in the sterile filling of liquid products—a process that uses a robotic system to finalize production.

Waisman Biomanufacturing has worked on other vaccine projects for infectious diseases such as HIV; Ebola; influenza; dengue fever; malaria and hand, foot and mouth disease.

Vaccines traditionally work by promoting the immune system’s production of antibodies, which then target the pathogen.

Large format cell culture units are loaded into an incubator at Waisman Biomanufacturing. Since 2001, the UW–Madison biopharmaceutical contract manufacturer has worked with researchers and private companies to develop and produce vaccines. Waisman Biomanufacturing 

Heat’s technique has been adapted and tested in collaboration with researchers at the University of Miami in a number of studies funded by the National Institutes of Health and the Department of Defense, including as a vaccine in animal models of Zika virus, malaria, and SIV/HIV.

Producing the COVID-19 vaccine for phase 1 and phase 2 trials is just one step in a series of milestones leading to the establishment of a vaccine for general use. Phase 1 trials are designed to demonstrate that a vaccine is safe for use. Once it passes that phase, trials move onto phase 2, which is where researchers test the effectiveness of the vaccine and continue to monitor safety. Phase 3 trials are designed to show that the vaccine works in a larger sampling of patients.

Ross says that any project related to COVID-19 will be expedited and given high priority.

“Waisman Biomanufacturing staff are continually motivated by the impact that we have in bringing novel biologics to the clinic. COVID-19 takes that impact to the next level, as it has had far-reaching effects on our people and our society.”

Waisman Biomanufacturing previously partnered with Heat on two cancer vaccines, one of which is in a phase 2 clinical trial; the other completed enrollment in a phase 2 trial.

“Our previous experience in the production of gp96 vaccines with Heat will enable greater speed to the clinic, which is extremely important,” says Ross. “For the COVID-19 vaccine, we have an existing set of manufacturing batch records and analytical methods to enable rapid production of the COVID-19 vaccine.”

“Waisman is a great partner that has proven themselves to be very fast and efficient at manufacturing our cell-based therapeutics. They understand our process and unique needs well. We look forward to working with them yet again on this very important project,” says Wolf.


Rise in fruit and vegetable ingredients spurred by immunity and health-boosting demands

Rise in fruit and vegetable ingredients spurred by immunity and health-boosting demands

  • August 3, 2020

03 Aug 2020 — As consumers become more aware of the environmental and health implications of their eating habits, consumption of plant-based foods is moving to new heights. This onward trend allows the creative juices of food manufacturers to flow, in a bustling sector ripe for further growth and innovation. New taste sensations are also fuelling interest in the fruit and vegetable sector. Meanwhile, natural ingredients with antioxidant and immunity-boosting credentials are gaining further traction amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

For Maren Döbl, Product Manager at Austria Juice, active nutrition, taste experiences, mindful consumption and premium by nature, are the top driving forces behind fruit and vegetable applications. 

Health and well-being are high on the global value hierarchy of consumers. People are looking for holistic solutions that support them in changing their lifestyle,” she explains. Health is one of the most important topics for consumers. Berries with antioxidant properties and immune system supporting ingredients will play a key role over the coming months, Döbl stresses, noting prevalence in elderberry, blueberry and also haskap berries. 

Meanwhile, Bastian Hörmann, Director Product Management Food at ADM Nutrition, says that fruit and vegetables associated with comfort are expected to take the lead as consumers justify indulgent treats as part of their self-care. Click to EnlargeThe trend for more mindful consumption is growing and consumers are paying closer attention to how food contributes to their health and mood.

“Today’s wellness ideals are characterized by thoughtful, measured pleasure, not by self-restraint. Ashwagandha is an example of an ingredient that is currently meeting consumer demand for relaxation and will arguably drive innovation in the F&B sector,” he explains. “Maca and moringa are also trending as consumers look for more variety in energy-boosting snacks and beverages.”

With the trend for more mindful consumption growing, consumers are paying closer attention to how food and beverages contribute to their health, well-being and mood. Because of this, snacking has seen a real shift, says Hörmann. “The concept of elevated snacking has emerged thanks to the availability of premium options and the prevalence of these products in consumers’ lives.”

Healthy snacking is seen as an essential part of our lives, which can meet the need for nourishment and pleasure. Fruit and vegetable ingredients will play a crucial role in fulfilling this demand, according to Hörmann. 

“When it comes to flavors, colors, proteins and other specialty ingredients derived from nature, it is important to keep food science and supply chains in mind, along with an understanding of formulation challenges and consumer needs,” he asserts. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has recently increased demand for both vitamin-fortified juice products and for products targeted at strengthening the immune system, says Julian Bopp, Product Manager Fruit and Vegetables at Doehler. “Society as a whole is moving towards greater awareness for sustainability in day-to-day life. Consumers demand that raw materials are grown, processed and packaged sustainably, and that social standards are adhered to.”

Click to EnlargeTreatt has seen lots of demand for classic summer flavors – such as watermelon.Fun with flavor
Innovation and trends in fruit and vegetable applications are driven by consumers’ desire for their beverages to come with associated health benefits. “For example, watermelon is very refreshing and hydrating, so when people see a watermelon-flavored beverage on the shelf, they immediately make that association. Similarly, blueberries are full of antioxidants, so anything which contains a blueberry flavor also has those ‘healthier’ connotations,” Julie Barnes, Product Development Specialist at global ingredients manufacturer, Treatt, tells FoodIngredientsFirst

“We’ve seen lots of demand for the classic summer flavors – think watermelon and pineapple. Blueberry is also becoming more popular as a standalone flavor, such as in sparkling water,” she adds. 

“No matter what types of innovation we’re looking at, or the types of beverages that we’re applying them to – whether it’s a juice, hard seltzer, flavored water or smoothie – our focus is always on making sure we preserve the natural flavor profile.” 

Treatt has also noted more requests for tropical flavors such as passionfruit and guava; “Flavors that used to hide in the background are now a standalone or forefront flavor,” Barnes highlights. In the COVID-19 era, the company is also seeing more of a return to flavors like pineapple, cucumber and watermelon, which offer familiarity, comfort and a true-to-fruit profile, she maintains.   

The company’s fruit and vegetable products are made using only water and extracts from the named fruit. “This ensures that our ingredients can be described on labels as being 100 percent natural or containing real fruit extract or essence, rather than describing it as an artificial flavor. This is key with beverage products at the moment, as the demand for clean label products from health-conscious consumers continues to soar,” Barnes notes. 

In previous years, consumers have often consumed a diet of synthetic flavors and ingredients, and Barnes says that sometimes “the real flavor can come as a surprise.” Take cherry, for example. “Many people associate cherry with the artificial taste of benzaldehyde. In reality, although cherries do have some of that flavor profile in them, it’s not as potent when it comes directly from the fruit,”

“Furthermore, consumers want adventure triggered by sensory, visual and haptic experiences. Fancy, spicy or exotic flavor combinations, special ingredients and textures provide taste sensations,” Döbl states.

Meanwhile, Doehler offers a broad range of natural and plant-based ingredients such as botanical extracts, fruit and vegetable ingredients, vitamins and fibers that enable healthy product positionings. 

“As part of the trend towards a healthier diet, fruits that are naturally rich in vitamins and nutrients such as acerola, white guava, dark berries or root juices such as ginger are particularly in demand,” Bopp explains. 

He also notes that the company’s portfolio of natural and plant-based ingredients brings this added value to products in a targeted way and “unlocks healthy growth potential.”

Modern consumption evolvesClick to EnlargeMany consumers are looking for products that are consumable at any time and are as natural as possible and contribute to a healthy diet such as smoothies, for example. 
Today’s consumers are used to on-demand services in their daily lives more than ever before, and this trend is set to continue, Bopp further details. “Consequently, consumers are looking for products that are consumable at any time. These should be as natural as possible and contribute to a healthy diet such as functional smoothies or juice ranges in all colors that appeal to all senses. This is often appreciated as quick energy for the whole day and as a timely boost of nutrients. The connection of easy and intuitive nutrition in to-go formats make especially the chilled shelves bigger and bigger in some European countries,” he outlines.  

Doehler offers natural vegetable ingredients with functional added value that can be used in snacks such as smoothies, cereals or bars for on-the-go and let snacking become much healthier.

Finally, the need for clean label has become increasingly important for manufacturers aiming to gain the trust of the consumers and to create transparency. “These products have a very reduced list of ingredients, which are processed as little as possible, while the natural origin of the products is clearly evident. This means moving away from ingredient lists with ten to 15 fruits to a simple two, three or five fruit mixes. 

To meet consumer demands for transparency, Germany recently introduced the Nutri-Score – a voluntary assessment system for food and beverages, which has already been established in countries like France, Belgium and Spain. Doehler says it is “working closely with its customers in the development and reformulation of recipes to achieve an improved Nutri-Score value,” Bopp concludes. 

By Elizabeth Green

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Aug 6 | Yoga Nidra Guided Meditation & Sound Bath for Deep Relaxation

  • August 3, 2020

Bring yourself in a state of deep sacred rest and relaxation to guide you into a peaceful night’s sleep.

About this Event

Yoga Nidra, or yogic sleep, is a powerful and accessible, easy and relaxing meditation technique. It’s practiced while in comfortable savanna. Students are led through the five layers of the self into a state of consciousness between sleeping and waking, after which they will feel restored, renewed and with a sense of wholeness.

In a Sound Bath the Sound Healing instruments create vibrations that promote deep relaxation, calm and peace. Each instrument is tuned to specific frequencies and tones which open up the body’s entire energetic system at a cellular level.

This beautiful combination of yoga nidra and sound healing can be deeply supportive for individuals struggling with stress and anxiety, grief, trauma, ptsd, insomnia and other sleep issues, pain, depression. In addition it can help to release blocked emotions, heighten focus and clarity, boost the immune system, connect you to your intuition, open up your creativity and create an overall sense of inner calm and peace.


It’s beginner friendly so no experience is necessary to participate but can take you deep into a meditative state for the most advanced practitioner. You will simply rest comfortably, and allow yourself to be guided through the yoga nidra and soothing sounds.

Comfortable attire is recommended.

Set up your space with pillows/blankets to get comfy and cozy so that you can create a sacred space for deep rest and relaxation.

***Headphones are suggested for the best experience in the meditation and sound healing. ***

**VERY IMPORTANT RE: ZOOM LINK – Your zoom link, meeting ID and password are included on the order confirmation email you receive after you register. Please look closely and scroll down the entire email and make a note of it. It will also be emailed to you a few days before in a reminder email from Eventbrite and a couple hours before the start of the class again look for an email from Eventbrite **

Register Here – Donation Tiered Pricing

7 Surprisingly Valuable Assets for a Happy Retirement

7 Surprisingly Valuable Assets for a Happy Retirement

  • August 3, 2020

Retirement planning is all about numbers. It centers around one question: Do my financial assets — pension, 401(k)s/IRAs, Social Security, property, sale of a business, etc. — provide enough income to fund my desired retirement lifestyle?

At least, that is what most people think. But ask any retiree, and they will likely tell you that it is only half the story. You’ll need enough money to get by, of course, but you don’t have to be super wealthy to be happy. In fact, life satisfaction tops out at an annual salary of $95,000, on average, according to a study by psychologists from Purdue University. Enough money to never have to worry about going broke or paying for medical care is important. But money is not the only or most important piece of a fulfilling retirement.

So, once you have a retirement plan in place, it is essential to focus on all those things money cannot buy. Here are seven non-financial assets that studies show can improve life satisfaction in retirement.

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1. Good health

What good is money if you cannot enjoy it? The majority of retirees say that good health is the most important ingredient for a happy retirement, according to a Merrill Lynch/Age Wave report. Studies show that exercise and a healthy diet can reduce the risk of developing certain health conditions, increase energy levels, boost your immune system, and improve your mood.

Tips to take away: It’s never too late to get moving and eat right. Research shows even those who become physically active and adopt a healthy diet late in life dramatically lower the risk of cardiovascular illnesses and have a lower death rate than their peers. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends about 150 to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity a week. Need some ideas? The National Institute on Aging has all sorts of great information on how to get started with an exercise program and to stick with it.

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2. Strong social connections

Hobbies and activities with people we like can boost life satisfaction, especially when our social networks shrink after leaving the workforce. Happier retirees were found to be those with more social interactions, according to one Gallup poll.

Further, social isolation has been linked to higher rates of heart disease and stroke, increased risk of dementia, and greater incidence of depression and anxiety. A low level of social interaction is just as unhealthy as smoking, obesity, alcohol abuse and physical inactivity.

Tips to take away: Staying connected — especially during this challenging time that the COVID-19 pandemic presents — can be as simple as regularly scheduled phone calls, texts and emails. Beyond that, there are many easy-to-use tech tools to help ward off the feelings of social isolation. Zoom and Google Hangouts are great for video chats, and you can even watch TV “together” by using Netflix Party. Check out other ideas and more details on the site of the Houston Methodist Hospital system.

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3. Purpose

The notion of retirement as time spent golfing, strolling along the beach or reading classic novels is outdated. While fun, the stereotypical leisure activities associated with retirement don’t provide a sense of purpose or meaning, which is what many retirees say is important.

One place retirees find a sense of purpose is work. In a Gallup poll, nearly 3 in 4 Americans said they plan to work beyond traditional retirement age, with the majority planning to do so because they “want to,” not because they “have to.”

Retirees also gain meaningfulness and other benefits from volunteering. The same Age Wave/Merrill Lynch study referenced above found that retirees were three times more likely to say “helping people in need” brings them happiness in retirement than “spending money on themselves.” Further, those who donated money or volunteered felt a stronger sense of purpose and self-esteem and were happier and healthier.

Tips to take away: Now that you know volunteering is one of the most fulfilling retirement activities, how do you get started? There is likely a wide array of charities and non-profit groups right in your community that can be found with a simple search online. For example, lists volunteer opportunities that are searchable by city and category, such as animals, arts and culture, health, literacy and seniors.

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4. Education

Experts believe that ongoing education and learning new things may help keep you mentally sharp simply by getting you in the habit of staying mentally active. Exercising your brain may help prevent cognitive decline and reduce the risk of dementia.

“Challenging your brain with mental exercise is believed to activate processes that help maintain individual brain cells and stimulate communication among them,” according to Harvard Medical School’s Healthbeat newsletter.

Tips to take away: Exercising your brain isn’t all that different from exercising your body. It requires consistent stimulation. That doesn’t mean working on crossword puzzles every day. Choose something that is new and that you enjoy. Consider taking a class from a senior center or community college, learning to play an instrument or making it a habit to regularly visit the library and pick up a new book. The National Institute on Aging also provides a list of activities that can help improve the health of older adults, ranging from visiting local museums to joining a book or film club.

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5. Optimistic outlook

A glass-half-full attitude may pay huge dividends, including lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease and other chronic ailments and a longer life. In an article published in JAMA Network, researchers found that study participants who rated highly in optimism were much less likely to suffer from heart attacks or other cardiovascular events and had a lower mortality rate than pessimistic participants.

Another research article, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), indicates that people with higher levels of optimism lived longer. Optimistic women had a 50% greater chance of surviving to age 85, and optimistic men had a 70% greater chance.

Tips to take away: Believe it or not, optimism is a trait that anyone can develop. Studies have shown people are able to adopt a more optimistic mindset with very simple, low-cost exercises, starting with consciously reframing every situation in a positive light. Over time, your brain is essentially rewired to think positively. Since negativity is contagious, it is also important to surround yourself with optimistic people and consider a break from the news. For more on how to cultivate optimism in your life, check out the six specific tips in this report.

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6. Gratitude

Studies by psychologists Robert Emmons and Michael McCullough show that people who counted their blessings had a more positive outlook on life, exercised more, reported fewer symptoms of illness and were more likely to help others.  This is further supported in work by psychologist Nathaniel Lambert that finds stronger feelings of gratitude are associated with lower materialism. Gratitude enhances people’s satisfaction with life while reducing their desire to buy stuff.

Tips to take away: As with optimism, gratitude also can be mastered with practice. One of the most effective ways to cultivate gratitude is by writing in a journal. Take a few minutes each day to write down a few things that you are grateful for; they can be as big as a professional accomplishment or as small as your morning cup of coffee. Psychological research suggests that putting feelings of gratitude to paper can provide both mental and physical benefits, such as greater self-esteem, better sleep and improved heart health.

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7. Human’s best friend

It turns out that Fido can provide more benefits to you than grabbing the newspaper. Older dog owners who walked their dogs at least once a day got 20% more physical activity than people without dogs and spent 30 fewer minutes a day being sedentary, on average, according to a study published in The Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health. Research has also indicated that dogs help soothe those suffering from cognitive decline, and the physical and mental health benefits of owning a dog can boost the longevity of the owner.

Tips to take away: The companionship of a furry friend can be as beneficial as that of another human being. Finding your next best friend is as easy as visiting your local animal shelter. But if you don’t want or are unable to take on the responsibility of owning a dog full time, becoming a foster parent is a good option. You can usually foster a dog from an animal rescue center from a few days or weeks to a month or more, and ultimately help a dog in need find a caring family.

Retirement is major transition made up of many financial as well as life decisions. This is why it is important to work with a financial adviser to create a retirement plan as early as possible. That way you can spend more time focusing on everything else that equally matters.

Manager of Investor Education, Advance Capital Management

Jacob Schroeder is the Manager of Investor Education at Advance Capital Management (
) in the Greater Detroit area. His goal is to help people make more informed financial decisions and live happier lives.

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The Surprising Benefits Of Journaling

The Surprising Benefits Of Journaling

  • August 3, 2020

Once the domain of high-school sweethearts and awkward introverts in every Netflix coming-of-age film ever, journaling has quickly become a hallmark of the self-care movement – right up there with doing yoga and listening to Beyoncé on repeat (yes, really). And for good reason: science prizes the practice as a modern-day panacea. For those who remain unconvinced, here are four benefits of journaling you need to know.

Increases emotional intelligence

Creating a habit of exploring your emotions through writing will not only deepen your awareness of them, but also enhance your ability to quickly dissect them – because practice makes perfect, right? As you write about your experiences, namely interactions with the people around you, you begin to better understand how your emotions and feelings impact others. 

With journals being safe, self-directed spaces to express and unravel your feelings in, they allow you to healthily detemine when and how to express yourself in the world beyond. The result? Happier and healthier relationships with not just those around you, but also yourself. So yes, we’d chalk all our succcesful relationships up to those winding diary monologues we all wrote about being in love with Brad Pitt (don’t pretend you didn’t).

Boosts your immune system

Forget sipping questionable wellness drinks your found on Instagram – research suggests that just writing can boost immune functioning in patients with a number of illnesses such as asthma and arthritis. Much like the effects of exercising, writing about negative experiences reduces the chemicals that stress incites our bodies to release and frees our brains from the enormously taxing job of processing them. This leads to improved sleep, better body functioning, and a strengthened immune system. Who knew waxing lyrical about a bad day was the secret all along?

Improves mental health

You can’t deny the therapeutic quality of those explosive adolescent meltdowns we’d all document in our diaries. Now that we’re (a little) grown up, we can actually embrace that quality a little more deliberately.

Keeping a journal that details your mental wellbeing from day to day can help you not only recognise the interactions and experiences that aren’t doing you good, but also determine ways to mitigate their effects. In moments you need a little pick-me-up, journals provide an excellent opportunity for positive self-talk and you can also crack lame (read: elite) dad jokes to your heart’s desire without any judgemental stares. 

Keeps your memory sharp

Journaling can boost your memory in several ways. The very act of writing something down solidifies that experience in your mind and improves your ability to remember it later on. Those journal entries can then also act as prompts that trigger memories you’d long forgotten – kind of like time capsules, except with less visual reminders of bad haircuts and questionable fashion choices.

Alongside boosting memory and comprehension, expressive journaling also squashes intrusive and avoidant thoughts, thereby increasing working memory capacity, which may reflect improved cognitive processing.

Now what?

So, you probably get it now: Journaling is seriously good for you. But if you still find yourself frozen, glaring fruitlessly at a blank page, fret not. You can start by casting aside any unrealistic expectations of yourself as well as any internalised guilt of not instantly being an ultra-zen journaling guru.

Start where you are. It can help to jot down a simple sentence – possibly about your breakfast, or how hot the weather is, or how many times your cat has pleaded for another meal that day (you know, just your standard elevator small talk). Continue onto whatever your mind takes you to. Once you find your flow, the whole process will become much less daunting. Pro-tip: you don’t have to express yourself in prose comparable to Shakespeare. Dr Suess is great too.

Photos: Instagram and Unsplash

To boost immunity, try Ritucharya diet; why ayurvedic food can keep you healthy year round

To boost immunity, try Ritucharya diet; why ayurvedic food can keep you healthy year round

  • August 3, 2020

Acclimatising to these seasonal changes, particularly by adopting a season-appropriate diet, is considered to be the best way to avoid seasonal illnesses.

The ayurvedic system of medicine is not about curing diseases but preventing them from ever taking root in your mind and body. If you know this basic fact about Ayurveda then you should also be familiar with the two pillars on which the preventive aspect of ayurvedic medicine stands on: dincharya (daily regimen) and ritucharya (seasonal regimen). Let’s take a closer look at what ritucharya means.

Ritucharya: Beating season change at its game

According to a study published in AYU: An International Quarterly Journal of Research in Ayurveda in 2011, ritucharya literally refers to regimens or rules according to the seasons. Every season changes the environment we live in and these external changes can have a deep impact on our body’s internal system.

Acclimatising to these seasonal changes through appropriate behaviours, particularly by adopting a season-appropriate diet, is considered to be the best way to avoid seasonal illnesses. Following ritucharya basically provides the body with all the tools it needs to defeat season change and the diseases that come with it.

“Eating according to the seasons can give you a lot of health benefits, like feeling more energetic, boosting your immune system, and preventing multiple complications such as unwanted weight gain, indigestion, stomach infection, breathing difficulty and other health-related issues,” says Akanksha Mishra, a nutrition and wellness expert associated with myUpchar.

An article published in the Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine in 2019 claims that the major lifestyle disorders that currently plague the world — including high blood pressure, high blood sugar, physical inactivity, weight gain, obesity and even some cancers — basically occur because of our deviation from this natural and seasonal lifestyle.

Consequently, the Indian Ayurveda experts who authored this article recommend the re-adoption of ritucharya to prevent weight gain and other diseases while boosting the immune and metabolic functions of the body all year round.

How to adopt ritucharya to be your healthy best

A 2011 study in AYU mentions that the ancient ayurvedic text, Atreya Virachita Sara, describes six seasons according to which you’re supposed to tailor your pathya-apathya or dietary intake. The following, as per the recommendations of the Central Council for Research in Ayurvedic Sciences, are the dietary do’s and don’ts you must follow during each of these six seasons.

1. Hemant or early winter (mid-November to mid-January)

A nutrient-dense diet which includes satiating foods which taste sweet, sour and salty should be consumed in this season. Include seasonal whole grains and lentils, milk and dairy products, animal products and meats, honey, sugarcane, sesame and fermented products in your diet. Avoid overly spiced or aggravating foods, cold foods and drinks, and fasting or starvation during this season.

2. Shishir or late winter (mid-January to mid-March)

Sour-tasting foods should be predominantly consumed during this season. Cereals, grains, pulses like new rice, wheat flour, corn, peanut, sesame and jaggery as well as raw ginger, dry ginger, garlic, fruits, sugarcane, milk and dairy products should be eaten. Pungent, bitter, astringent tasting and warm foods which are light or cold should be avoided.

3. Vasant or spring (mid-March to mid-May)

Easily digestible foods and foods that improve digestion like barley, wheat, rice, lentils, bitters, honey, light meats, etc should be made a part of your diet during this season. Heavy foods which are sweet, sour or lead to daytime naps should be avoided.

4. Grishma or summer (mid-May to mid-July)

Easily digestible foods which are sweet, cold and liquid should be preferred during summer. Rice, lentils, plenty of water, buttermilk, fruits juices, meat soups, mango juice, curd, milk, etc should be taken. Salty, spicy, pungent, unctuous and sour foods should be avoided.

5. Varsha or monsoon (mid-July to mid-September)

Foods that taste sour, salty and unctuous should be taken, while heavy and hard to digest foods should be avoided. Include honey, barley, wheat, rice, meat of arid animals, light meat and vegetable soups, herbal tea and cold fluids in your diet.

6. Sharad or autumn (mid-September to mid-November)

Easily digestible foods which taste sweet, sour or bitter should be included in the diet. Wheat, rice, barley, amla, sugarcane, honey, green gram, light meats, etc are to be included in the diet, but fats, oils, curds and the meat of aquatic animals should be avoided.

For more information, read our article on Ayurveda.

Health articles in Firstpost are written by, India’s first and biggest resource for verified medical information. At myUpchar, researchers and journalists work with doctors to bring you information on all things health.

Health experts unsure COVID-19 antibodies protect against reinfection

Health experts unsure COVID-19 antibodies protect against reinfection

  • August 3, 2020

As an increasing number of people across the country get tested for COVID-19 antibodies, health experts are cautioning that much is still unknown about what the results mean — including if antibodies provide protection from catching the virus again, how strong that protection might be and how long it may last.

A COVID-19 antibody test, also known as a serology test, aims to detect the presence of antibodies in the blood specific to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

A positive test result is presumed to mean that a person was exposed to the virus at some point in the past and their immune system produced proteins called antibodies to fight it off. The tests are different from nasal swab tests and do not indicate whether a person is currently infected with the virus.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in a June 30 update, said it does not know if people who recover from COVID-19 can get infected again. It also said even with a positive test for antibodies, people “still should take preventive measures to protect yourself and others.”

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Dr. Raymond Kiser, medical director of hospital care physicians at Columbus Regional Health, said antibody testing is “probably not that helpful” for most people because it won’t tell them if a particular bout of illness in the past was COVID-19 or if they are currently immune to the virus.

Additionally, Kiser said he is “nervous” that people who test positive for COVID-19 antibodies may be lulled into a false sense of security and “think they’re protected and they may not be.”

“We have no idea if you develop (COVID-19) antibodies, does that confer immunity, and if it does, for how long,” he said. “…When people ask me, ‘Should I get antibody tested,’ in all honesty, I usually tell them no. It’s not going to answer the question you really want to know and that is ‘Are you protected from this virus?’ And the answer is, ‘I don’t know’ — even if you have antibodies I won’t know the answer to that.”

Studies underway

Currently, numerous studies are underway to better understand the protective role of antibodies against the novel coronavirus, but just months into the pandemic much still remains unknown.

Health experts say antibodies usually confer at least partial immunity against some viruses, but the length and level of protection varies.

The antibodies produced in response to an infection of certain viruses, like the one that causes measles, are believed to provide lifetime immunity, while antibodies generated against other viruses, like the ones that cause the common cold, tend to offer shorter-lived protection. For some viruses, however, antibodies provide nearly no protection at all.

Most health experts, including Kiser, suspect that COVID-19 antibodies may offer some level of protection against the virus in the short-term, but nobody knows for sure where those antibodies fall on the spectrum.

The strongest evidence so far for short-term immunity comes from a study done on monkeys infected with the novel coronavirus, and it’s not yet clear the extent to which those results will hold true for humans, Kiser said.

“The only data that we really have for that is a study done on primates where they actually exposed them to the SARS-CoV-2 virus and those who had antibodies didn’t get re-infected at 30 days. But we don’t really know if that applies to humans,” Kiser said.

CRH, for its part, does have COVID-19 antibody tests in-house, hospital officials said.

As of mid-July, CRH had administered 106 antibody tests, but only one of them had come back positive, Kiser said.

In June, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration released performance results of 21 antibody tests, including the Siemens Healthineers total antibody test, which is the antibody test that CRH uses, according to hospital officials.

The FDA started requiring companies to submit testing data and apply for emergency authorization to remain on the market in May after reports of faulty results and fraud emerged, The Associated Press reported.

The accuracy of antibody tests is measured by their “sensitivity,” or their ability to identify if someone has COVID-19 antibodies in their blood, and their “specificity,” which is their ability to determine who does not have the antibodies, according to the FDA.

The tests are also described by their positive predictive value, which measures how likely it is that a person who receives a positive result from a test truly has COVID-19 antibodies based on the test’s sensitivity, specificity and assumptions about the prevalence of the virus in a community, according to the FDA.

“Every test returns some false positive and false negative results” and some people may need more than one antibody test to ensure accurate results, according to the FDA’s website.

The test CRH uses was shown to be 100% sensitive and 99.8% specific and has a positive predictive value of at least 96.5% depending on how prevalent the virus is in a given community, according to the FDA’s performance data.

That means that the test is expected to correctly identify the presence of COVID-19 antibodies at least 96.5% of the time, according Siemens Healthengineers.

“We have not seen a lot of positive (antibody) testing here so far,” Kiser said. “With regards to the tests, especially the ones that we are using, we do believe that they are very specific, which means that if you have this antibody positive it means that you’ve definitely been exposed to the SARS-CoV-2 virus.”

Public health efforts

Though the protective role of antibodies against COVID-19 isn’t clear, antibody testing could provide valuable information for public health efforts, including studies seeking to determine how many people in a community have been exposed to the virus.

Researchers across the United States, including in Indiana, have embarked on such studies, aiming to use a representative sample of the overall population to shed light on the prevalence of COVID-19 in different areas of the country.

The hope, health experts say, is that these studies may help scientists and doctors measure the infection fatality rate of COVID-19, or the proportion of deaths from the virus compared to the total number of people diagnosed with the disease.

So far, initial results from several studies have found varying degrees of COVID-19 prevalence across the United States.

A study by the University of Southern California and the Los Angeles County Health Department found in May that an estimated 2.5% to 7% of adults in Los Angeles County had contracted the new coronavirus in May.

A similar study conducted by Massachusetts General Hospital and the Boston Public Health Commission found that roughly 10% of Boston residents tested positive for COVID-19 antibodies in May.

The prevalence of COVID-19 in Indiana, however, is believed to be much lower.

Last month, researchers at the Indiana University Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health at IUPUI and the Indiana State Department of Health released preliminary data from the second phase of their prevalence study, finding that a total of 1.5% of participants tested positive for COVID-19 antibodies, up from 1.1% in the first phase, according to preliminary findings.

“One of the big things we want to know about this virus is how many people have been infected,” Kiser said. “…If I know how many people in a general population have been exposed and I know how many people have died, then I can really tell you the information that you’re going to want to know, which is if everybody gets exposed, how many deaths can we expect?”

Scientists are getting closer to an answer, according to leading science journal Nature. Research so far suggests that COVID-19 is five to eight times deadlier than the seasonal flu, which kills hundreds of thousands of people around the world each year.

The seasonal flu has an infection fatality rate of around 0.1%, meaning that one out of every 1,000 people infected would be expected to die, Kiser said. By comparison, five to eight out of every 1,000 people infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus would be expected to die.

In other words, if all of Indiana’s estimated 6.7 million residents were to be infected with COVID-19, an estimated 33,500 to 53,600 people would be expected to die, compared an estimated 6,700 estimated deaths from influenza.

“Influenza is probably one of our No. 1 infectious killers in the U.S., and this thing is five to eight times worse,” Kiser said.

In addition, antibody testing could help identify potential blood plasma donors for convalescent plasma therapy, which is an experimental treatment for COVID-19 currently in trials at numerous hospitals across the country, including Columbus Regional Hospital, where at least 54 patients have received the treatment, Kiser said.

Convalescent plasma therapy involves giving COVID-19 patients an infusion of blood plasma from people who have already recovered from the illness, CRH officials said.

Though it currently is not known precisely how COVID-19 antibodies work, researchers and doctors believe that plasma from COVID-19 survivors could boost the immune system’s response in a patient whose body is struggling to fight off the infection.

At this point, however, antibody testing is most useful for public health efforts and identifying potential plasma donors, Kiser said.

“Right now, the best use of antibody testing is public health,” Kiser said. “…I think on an individual basis, it’s probably not that helpful.”

Where to learn more

Anyone with concerns about COVID-19 is urged to call the health system’s Triage Resource Call Center, a phone resource line launched by CRH to handle calls from residents with questions and concerns about exposure or symptoms associated with COVID-19. The phone line is open daily from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. and is staffed by registered nurses who will offer screening questions and potentially recommend a course of action for patients.

The phone resource line can be contacted at 812-379-4449.

Visit for more information.

Visit the Community COVID-19 Task Force’s website at

4 Effective Ways To Boost Your Immunity Naturally At Home

4 Effective Ways To Boost Your Immunity Naturally At Home

  • August 3, 2020

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The rise in the number of novel Coronavirus cases has made people shift to a healthier lifestyle. These days, when the chances of someone getting infected are still pretty high, having a strong immune system is a necessity.

On this note, we bring you 4 effective ways to boost your immunity naturally at home thus helping you maintain your mental and physical health. Even if you get infected, having a healthy immune system is important to fight back the disease.

A healthy and fit body reduces the impact of the infection. The ways listed below may boost your immunity but they won’t completely protect you from the risk of COVID-19. However, any solution that aids in the fight against COVID-19 is a great solution.

A healthy and fit body reduces the impact of the infection. We bring you 5 effective ways to boost your immunity naturally at home to stay healthy.
Sleep atleast 8 hours a day

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The food we intake and the number of hours we sleep form the basis of a healthy immune system. Food and sleep are closely related to our health. Inadequate eating or sleeping makes us more susceptible to catching diseases.

Adults should get at least 7 hours of sleep each night, while teens need 8–10 hours daily to boost their immunity. If you have trouble sleeping, try limiting your screen time and using your devices in blue light mode. It helps in protecting your eyesight from harmful UV rays emitted by the devices and you will be able to sleep better.

Whole plant foods like fruits and vegetables helps you to boost your immunity naturally at home. These food particles are rich in nutrients and antioxidants that help you stay healthy. Intake of good healthy food makes you less susceptible to illness.

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It is always advisable to eat green leafy vegetables and one to two fruits a day, along with lentils and other food items such as rice and whole wheat. Following a balanced diet is a must to staying healthy and boosting your immunity naturally.

Keeping yourself hydrated is also extremely important. One should drink at least 3 to 4 litres of water every day. You can even add lemon drops and mint leaves to get flavoured water which aids good health as well.

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Suggested For You: Simple But Effective Dietary Choices You Can Make

2. Engage Yourself in Physical Activities to Boost Your Immunity

4 Effective Ways To Boost Your Immunity Naturally At Home

While we all are at home and the gyms are closed, it is important to involve ourselves in some kind of physical activity to stay fit. We have ample options for the same. Starting out, one can aim to exercise 15 to 30 minutes daily. This will not only help you boost your immunity naturally at home but will also help you keep shape. 

You can use a staircase for cardio and filled water bottles to replace dumbbells. Doing household chores is also a great way to exercise and boost your immunity. You can even opt to dance to your favourite song. Dancing not only keeps you fit but is also therapeutic, like listening to music. Even yoga is perfect to get a flexible and healthy body. Apart from just visual results, exercise boosts heart health and brings about an inner glow as a result of improved body functions.

3. Homemade Tonics: Back to Basics To Boost Your Immunity 

homemade tonic

Healthy homemade tonics are one of the best solutions to boosting your immunity naturally. There’s a tonic for almost every ail. Tonics are called “kaadha” in Hindi and have been recommended by our grandparents and ancestors.

Kadha is an Ayurvedic home remedy used to fight a variety of flu symptoms and infections. It’s a decoction of edible herbs and spices. Back in the day when medicine was not readily at our disposal, homemade tonics were used to cure every disease and health issue. 

There are many ways and recipes to make different Kaadha(s) that suit your needs. Some of the most used ingredients are the ones that we use daily in cooking Indian food, such as turmeric and ginger.

4. Meditation: The Power of the Mind

4 Effective Ways To Boost Your Immunity Naturally At Home
Western medicine has questioned the medical benefits of meditation.

Physical activities keep the body fit while meditation keeps the mind healthy. The importance of good mental health has increased manifold this quarantine. A lot is happening around us that we can’t control. Being healthy is one thing that you can do to reduce the risk of infection. Meditation will not directly boost your immunization but plays a key role in your overall health and wellness. 

The nature of the mind can make or break a healthy body. Meditating 15-20 minutes daily is enough to strengthen your brain. Meditation also helps you to keep yourself calm and make better decisions. You will be able to focus more on productive things and your thoughts will be aligned.

Apart from these ways, one should also maintain physical/social distancing while practising proper hygiene which, in turn, can help you protect yourself from COVID-19.

Further Read:

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US coronavirus cases 'extraordinarily widespread': Live updates | News

US coronavirus cases ‘extraordinarily widespread’: Live updates | News

  • August 3, 2020

  • The United States is in a new phase of the novel coronavirus outbreak with infections “extraordinarily widespread” in rural areas as well as cities, a White House coronavirus experts said, as cases hit 4.6 million with more than 154,000 deaths reported.

  • Millions of COVID-19 tests able to detect the virus within 90 minutes will be rolled out in the UK to boost capacity in the coming months, the country’s health minister has announced, while cases nationwide surpassed 306,000, with more than 46,000 deaths.

  • Brazil has recorded 25,800 additional confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus and 541 deaths, bringing the total to more than 2.73 million and more than 94,000 deaths as of the end of Sunday, according to the country’s health ministry.

  • More than 17.96 million people around the world have been diagnosed with the new coronavirus. Almost 10.62 million patients have recovered and more than 687,000 have died, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

Here are the latest updates:

Monday, August 3

01:15 GMT – Pope appeals to political leaders create jobs

Pope Francis has called on politicians to create jobs so that economies can relaunch from the lockdowns imposed to combat the coronavirus pandemic, according to the Associated Press news agency.

The pope, speaking after the traditional Sunday blessing, said that ’”without work, families and society cannot go forward. Let us pray for this, because this will be a problem in the post-pandemic period, the poverty and the lack of jobs. It requires lots of solidarity and lots of creativity to resolve this problem.”

The pontiff also wished the faithful “some days of rest, and contact with nature, to recharge also in the spiritual dimension.”

The pope’s remarks follow a week in which officials released statistics showing a record plunge in both the US and eurozone economies.

00:55 GMT – Italy’s tally of new virus cases down to 239

The number of new confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Italy nudged lower to 239 in the last 24 hours, while all eight deaths were recorded in Lombardy, the epicentre of the country’s epidemic.

That brings the total number of cases in Italy to 248,070 and deaths to 35,154, AP news agency reported early on Monday quoting the country’s health ministry.

The number of daily cases in Italy has hovered between 200-300 for weeks, mostly related to people arriving from outside of Italy, either foreign workers or migrants.

00:25 GMT – Britain to roll out millions of 90-minute coronavirus tests

UK - coronavirus

Britain’s healthcare system has come under severe strain during peaks in the country’s COVID-19 outbreak, which has killed more than 46,000 people, the fourth highest toll in the world [Andy Rain/EPA]

Millions of COVID-19 tests able to detect the virus within 90 minutes will be rolled out to British hospitals, care homes and laboratories to boost capacity in the coming months, Reuters news agency reported on Monday quoting the country’s health minister.

The tests will comprise 5.8 million tests using DNA and 450,000 swab tests. Neither will need to be administered by a health professional, said Matt Hancock.

Separately, the publicly-funded National Health Service said it would be offering “COVID-friendly” treatments to cancer patients, including drugs that do not have a big impact on the immune system.

Britain’s healthcare system has come under severe strain during peaks in the country’s COVID-19 outbreak, which has killed more than 46,000 people, the fourth highest toll in the world, according to a Reuters tally collated on Sunday.

00:15 GMT – Mexico reports 4,853 new coronavirus cases, 274 more deaths

Mexico’s health ministry has reported 4,853 new confirmed coronavirus cases and 274 additional fatalities, bringing the total in the country to 439,046 cases and 47,746 deaths, according to Reuters news agency.

The government has said the real number of infected people is likely significantly higher than the confirmed cases.


Crematory workers are pictured next to a body bag containing the body of victim of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at a crematory in Mexico City on Sunday [Edgard Garrido/Reuters]

00:01 GMT – Brazil registers 25,800 new coronavirus cases, death toll tops 94,000

Brazil has recorded 25,800 additional confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus and 541 deaths from the disease caused by the virus in the past 24 hours, according to Reuters news agency quoting the country’s health ministry.

Brazil has registered more than 2.73 million cases of the virus since the pandemic began, while the official death toll has risen to 94,104 as of the end of Sunday, according to the ministry data.


Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. I’m Ted Regencia in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. 

For all the key coronavirus-related developments from yesterday, August 2, click here.

Al Jazeera and news agencies

Nestlé and Nespresso report growth despite COVID-19 in half-year results

Nestlé and Nespresso report growth despite COVID-19 in half-year results

  • August 3, 2020

Nestlé has reported organic growth of 2.8 per cent in the quarter ending 30 June 2020, with real internal growth (RIG) of 2.6 per cent and pricing of 0.2 per cent.

Despite this, total reported sales decreased by 9.5 per cent from CHF45.5 billion the year prior to CHF41.2 billion.

“Nestlé has remained resilient in a rapidly changing environment, delivering solid organic growth and improved margins in the first half. These results demonstrate the agility of our business and the strength of our diversified portfolio across geographies, product categories and channels,” Nestlé CEO Mark Schneider says.

“With consumer behaviour evolving faster than ever, we are adapting to this new reality by strengthening our innovation, leveraging our digital capabilities and executing with speed. Our engaged teams and their commitment to deliver business results while driving progress against our societal and environmental commitments make us a stronger company every day.”

Nespresso grew at a mid-single-digit rate, supported by significant sales acceleration for e-commerce and the Vertuo system.

North America saw strong double-digit growth, with continued market share gains. Africa, Oceania, and Asia grew at a double-digit rate, with positive contributions from most markets. Sales in Europe decreased, reflecting significantly reduced demand in the out-of-home channel and boutique closures.

Globally, at the end of June, 86 per cent of boutiques had reopened. In July, Nespresso announced a CHF160 million investment in the expansion of its Romont production center in Switzerland to meet growing consumer demand worldwide.

Nestlé says the COVID-19 crisis has led to profound changes in operating environments across markets. The global economy has entered a recession, supply chains have been tested, and consumer behaviour has changed at a rapid pace. Nestlé quickly deployed effective measures to address this new reality, and its supply chain has proven resilient, as manufacturing and distribution facilities continued to operate without significant disruptions.

With shifting consumer habits, Nestlé has been developing solutions to meet increased demand for at-home consumption, products that support health and boost the immune system, as well as affordable offerings. The company has also accelerated the development of its digital capabilities and expanded e-commerce and online communication.

In the first half of 2020, the effects of COVID-19 on organic growth varied materially by geography, product category and sales channel, depending on the timing of outbreaks, scope of restrictions and consumer behaviour.

The majority of markets saw slower growth in the second quarter. This trend reflected the full effect of out-of-home channel closures and consumer destocking after pantry building in March. North America remained resilient. China posted a double-digit sales decline, with growth improving to almost flat in the second quarter as movement restrictions eased.

Product categories
Demand for at-home consumption, trusted brands and personal health products increased. Coffee at-home products were among those that reported strong growth.

Sales channels
All markets saw a significant shift from out-of-home and on-the-go products to at-home consumption. Retail sales significantly accelerated. Out-of-home channels posted negative growth, with significant sales declines for Nestlé Professional and Nespresso boutiques. E-commerce sales grew by 48.9 per cent, reaching 12.4 per cent of total Group sales.

In the first half, COVID-19 related costs were CHF290 million, including expenses for bonuses paid to frontline workers, employee safety protocols, donations, and other staff and customer allowances.

In addition, the Group absorbed costs of CHF120 million related to staff and facilities made idle due to lockdown measures.

Consumer-facing marketing expenses decreased. In many markets, in-store activation could not be implemented during COVID-19 related lockdowns. Nestlé increased media spend, particularly in digital channels, to support brand building and consumer engagement. Lower media rates allowed for increased consumer reach.

Nestlé says the exact financial impact of COVID-19 for the full year remains difficult to quantify and will depend on the duration and economic consequences of this crisis as well as the speed of recovery in the out-of-home channel.

“COVID-19 continues to impact people around the world. We stand with all those affected and are committed to helping where we can. I would like to thank every member of the Nestlé team for their dedication and hard work in the face of incredible challenges,” Schneider says.

“Our priorities remain the same; keeping our people safe, assuring continued supply of essential food and beverages to consumers and caring for our communities and business partners through financial and in-kind support.”

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