More people looking to vitamins and supplements to help boost immune system

More people looking to vitamins and supplements to help boost immune system

  • August 7, 2020

BOZEMAN — Every day there seems to be more information and new things to learn regarding the coronavirus and how to keep yourself safe.

Following local and national guidelines like a wearing a mask is one thing, and now many people are considering supplements and vitamins in addition to the safety policies already in place.

People are looking for ways to boost their immune system and do all they can to prepare in the unfortunate event they do get the virus.

MTN News spoke with a few supplement suppliers, who say it should be considered as an addition versus an alternative.

“Obviously, we don’t make any claims. but nutrition’s a really big part of your health and your immune and some of the keys to your immune system that you’re going to get are through foods or through vitamins. mostly, the foods that we’re eating, they don’t have the nutrients that we need,” explained Ben Ziccarelli, the CEO of Complete Nutrition.

Supplements and vitamins have not been discussed as a safety recommendation by the Gallatin County Health Department.

Trump Orders Government to Buy ‘Essential’ Drugs From US Firms | Voice of America

Trump Orders Government to Buy ‘Essential’ Drugs From US Firms | Voice of America

  • August 7, 2020

With coronavirus cases in the United States rising and states struggling to combat the outbreak, President Donald Trump signed an executive order Thursday mandating that the government buy what he called “essential drugs” from U.S. manufacturers instead of foreign companies.

“The United States must protect our citizens, critical infrastructure, military forces and economy against outbreaks of emerging infectious diseases and chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear threats,” the president’s order said. “It is critical that we reduce our dependence on foreign manufacturers for essential medicines, medical countermeasures and critical inputs … to minimize potential shortages, and to mobilize our nation’s public health industrial base to respond to these threats.”

White House trade adviser Peter Navarro said the order would require the U.S. government to develop a list of essential medicines and buy them from U.S. companies instead of from countries such as China.

‘Dangerously overdependent’

“If we’ve learned anything from the China virus pandemic, it is that we are dangerously overdependent on foreign nations for our essential medicines, for medical supplies like masks, gloves, goggles, and medical equipment like ventilators,” Navarro said, referring to the coronavirus pandemic.

Navarro said the order “establishes ‘buy American’ rules for our government agencies, strips away regulatory barriers to domestic pharmaceutical manufacturing,” and it also could boost manufacturing technologies needed to keep drug prices low.

But not all drug companies will be happy with the president’s “buy American” order.

The head of the trade group Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, Stephen Ubl, said Trump had created “even more barriers” to innovation and efforts to develop a vaccine for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.

“Increasing U.S. manufacturing of medicines is a laudable goal, but it cannot happen overnight and should not come at the expense of medical innovation or Americans’ access to the medicines they need,” Ubl said.

He said a better alternative to government mandates would be a policy that enables more U.S. manufacturing without creating instability in pharmaceutical supply chains.

Nancy Pelosi's ill-advised boost for Big Pot

Nancy Pelosi’s ill-advised boost for Big Pot

  • August 7, 2020

When asked recently how a legislative measure allowing the marijuana ­industry access to banking was germane to our nation’s ­response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Nancy Pelosi said that weed is “a therapy that has been proven successful.”

Come again? The House speaker’s claims were dangerous and flat-out incorrect.

As a former Obama administration drug-policy appointee, I was stung by her words. A host of reputable organizations, including the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the American Lung Association, have concluded that marijuana users are among the groups of people more likely to develop a severe case of COVID-19.

Dr. Nora Volkow, director of NIDA, stated in a blog post that “because it attacks the lungs, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 could be an especially serious threat to those who smoke tobacco or marijuana or who vape.”

Early on in the pandemic, viral memes made the rounds claiming that marijuana was a cure for COVID-19. Former NFL player-turned-pot-profiteer Kyle Turley has repeated this claim all over Twitter as he promotes his new line of cannabinoid and pot shop in Las Vegas.

In response, the Food and Drug Administration has been working overtime sending warning letters to Turley and other pot peddlers making false claims about marijuana’s efficacy as a coronavirus cure. A quick glance at the data shows why.

Marijuana smoke is known to damage lungs and has been found to contain many of the same harmful components as tobacco smoke. Evidence also suggests that it leads to the development of chronic bronchitis. Plus, marijuana use can potentially increase the risk of infections such as pneumonia, a common illness found in severe, often-fatal COVID-19 infections.

“OK, just eat edibles,” Big Pot’s cheerleaders retort. Not so fast.

Research has shown that THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, is an immunosuppressant. When it comes to fighting ­viral infections like the novel coronavirus, your immune system creates proteins that work to ­destroy the virus. THC inhibits the body’s ability to create these proteins, rendering it more susceptible to infection. This can ­result in more severe symptoms or a rougher recovery.

Marijuana is associated with a wide array of other harms. Before they encourage pot use and boost the industry that profits from it, lawmakers might consider the ­increased risk of severe mental ­issues such as schizophrenia, psychosis, anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts. Those 1980s ­anti-drug ads may have been a tad overwrought, but a large and growing body of scientific evidence suggests they weren’t wide of the mark.

Let’s be honest: Pelosi’s weed provision had little to do with Americans’ health — and everything to do with pot shops getting access to the federal financial system. Big Pot has suggested that the lack of banking capabilities makes the industry a “cash-only” operation vulnerable to crime.

Nonsense. In reality, law enforcers have testified that most robberies of marijuana storefronts were aimed at procuring large amounts of the marijuana products for resale on the thriving black markets — not cash stowed away in heavy-duty safes.

Furthermore, undercover video from top pot shops in Denver shows many of these establishments accept card payment through workarounds.

Instead of working to grant the marijuana industry access to the banking system and blindly parroting industry rhetoric that has warranted repeated warnings from the FDA, our leaders on Capitol Hill must focus on mitigating the fallout of this pandemic.

The push for pot normalization is nothing more than an attempt to open up the marijuana industry to major investment firms, hedge funds, pension funds and established corporations, such as Big Tobacco. As former House Speaker and pot champion John Boehner says, such firms are keen to dive “headfirst into cannabis.”

Who would have thought boosting Big Pot would unite Boehner with his Democratic successor, Pelosi? They’re both wrong.

Kevin Sabet is a former three-time White House senior drug-policy adviser, serving the Clinton, Bush and Obama administrations. He serves as president of Smart Approaches to Marijuana.

Boosting The Immune System Could Be A Treatment Strategy For COVID-19

Boosting The Immune System Could Be A Treatment Strategy For COVID-19

  • August 6, 2020

Since the beginning of this outbreak holistic practitioners and the health conscious around the globe have been encouraging people to make better lifestyle choices and boost their immune system , and to be honest they have been for decades. Now Washington University appears to be joining that cause and is suggesting that boosting the immune system could be a treatment strategy for COVID-19. 

“We think if we can make our immune systems stronger, we’ll be better able to fight off this coronavirus, as well as other viral and bacterial pathogens”

A large portion of research into this virus is focused on the immune system’s role in those who became seriously ill. One of the emerging theories suggests that the immune system works so hard at fighting off this virus that it can result in fatal organ damage, particularly in the lungs. 

Researchers from Washington University St.Louis are pointing to another theory that is getting overlooked which suggests that patients become ill because their immune system is not able to do enough to protect them from the virus, and as such the team is suggesting that boosting the immune system could be a potential treatment strategy. The team has also been investigating a similar approach with sepsis, according to a release. 

“People around the world have been treating patients seriously ill with COVID-19 using drugs that do very different things,” said Richard S. Hotchkiss, professor of anesthesiology, of medicine and of surgery. “Some drugs tamp down the immune response, while others enhance it. Everybody seems to be throwing the kitchen sink at the illness. It may be true that some people die from a hyperinflammatory response, but it appears more likely to us that if you block the immune system too much, you’re not going to be able to control the virus.”

Autopsy studies were used to show large amounts of the virus present in the organs of those who had lost their battle with the virus, which suggests that their immune system was not working well enough to fight the virus off leading to death. 

“But when we actually looked closely at these patients, we found that their tires, so to speak, were underinflated or immune-suppressed,” said Kenneth Remy, assistant professor of pediatrics, of medicine and of anesthesiology at WashU. “To go and poke holes in them with anti-inflammatory drugs because you think they are hyperinflated or hyperinflamed will only make the suppression and the disease worse.

Blood samples were gathered from 20 COVID-19 patients to test the activity of immune cells in the blood; the team compared those samples with blood of 26 hospitalized sepsis patients and 18 others who were very ill but did not have sepsis or COVID-19. Those with COVID-19 were found to have far fewer circulating immune cells than what is typical and the immune cells present did not secrete normal levels of cytokines. Cytokine molecules are suspected to be the cause of organ damage in death in COVID-19 patients. 

Similar trials and studies focused on boosting immunity are underway in Europe and America which includes Washington University. According to the team finding ways to boost immune responses should help COVID-19 patients, and should also be helpful in avoiding another similar pandemic. 

We should have been geared up and more ready when this pathogen appeared,” said Hotchkiss. “But what Ken [Remy] and I and our colleagues are working on now is finding ways to boost the immune system that may help people during future pandemics. We think if we can make our immune systems stronger, we’ll be better able to fight off this coronavirus, as well as other viral and bacterial pathogens that may be unleashed in the future.

For anyone interested in boosting your immune system, while it is not guaranteed to prevent you from becoming ill, it could help to give you a better chance of recovery. According to Harvard Health the first line of defense when it comes to the immune system is choosing a health lifestyle. Every part of the body functions better when it is protected from environmental assaults and is bolstered by healthy living strategies, such as what is promoted by here at WHN and the A4M.

Healthy lifestyle choices include:

  • Not smoking
  • Getting enough sleep
  • Keep levels of stress in check/minimized 
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Avoiding being sedentary
  • Going outside more
  • Eating a healthy balanced diet full of fruits and vegetables
  • Avoiding processed foods
  • Regular exercise
  • Avoiding alcohol, and if you drink only do it in moderation
  • Being socially active face to face in person when possible
  • Proper hygiene
  • Thoroughly cooking meats
  • Limiting added sugars
  • Staying hydrated
  • Supplementing wisely as needed 

Sandra Darling, DO who is a preventive medicine physician and wellness expert at the Cleveland Clinic says that while there is no magic pill, there are tried and true ways to take your immunity up a notch: 

“Let’s start with the basics: Wash your hands for 20 seconds, don’t touch your face and take distancing seriously,” says Dr. Darling. “If you only do these three things, you’ll be well on your way to staying healthy.”

Dr. Darling prescribes 4 stay healthy strategies. “I believe in the power of immune-boosting foods,” says Dr. Darling. “Choosing whole, unprocessed foods does wonders for overall health.” She recommends garlic, prebiotics, vitamin C rich foods, antioxidants and natural immunity aids as immunity boosters in the focus on food. 

She also recommends simple lifestyle improvements like managing stress, getting enough sleep, meditation, and exercise. “Exercise increases your resilience so you can fight off infection,” says Dr. Darling. “Our bodies function better when we’re physically active every day.”

Like many others Dr. Darling also suggests that a positive mindset is key to health and well being. Positive thoughts have been shown to reduce stress and inflammation while increasing resilience to infection. “The COVID-19 pandemic is scary, so it’s easy to spiral down in negative thoughts,” says Dr. Darling. “The story we tell ourselves is crucial. Change it from ‘It’s not going to be OK’ to ‘I am safe at home with the people I love.’ Start your day with a positive thought or even a mantra such as, ‘I am well.’

“A lot of people are deficient (or low) in vitamin D, and a deficiency may increase your susceptibility to infection,” says Dr. Darling. “Get outside for fresh air and sunshine, but I also recommend taking a daily supplement of 1,000 to 2,000 IUs of vitamin D.

According to healthline some studies indicate the following supplements may help to strengthen the body’s general immune response: vitamin C, vitamin D, zinc, elderberry, echinacea, and garlic. 

  • According to a review in over 11,000 people, taking 1,000–2,000 mg of vitamin C per day reduced the duration of colds by 8% in adults and 14% in children. Yet, supplementing did not prevent the cold to begin with.
  • Vitamin D deficiency may increase your chances of getting sick, so supplementing may counteract this effect.
  • In a review in 575 people with the common cold, supplementing with more than 75 mg of zinc per day reduced the duration of the cold by 33%.
  • One small review found that elderberries could reduce the symptoms of viral upper respiratory infections, but more research is needed.
  • A study in over 700 people found that those who took echinacea recovered from colds slightly more quickly than those who received a placebo or no treatment.
  • A high quality, 12-week study in 146 people found that supplementing with garlic reduced the incidence of the common cold by about 30%. However, more research is needed. 
Can boosting the immune system, rather than suppressing it, work against COVID-19? – Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis

Can boosting the immune system, rather than suppressing it, work against COVID-19? – Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis

  • August 6, 2020

Visit the News Hub

This episode of ‘Show Me the Science’ details research findings that patients with COVID-19 often develop weakened rather than hyperactive immunity in response to the coronavirus

Matt Miller

A new episode of our podcast, “Show Me the Science,” has been posted. At present, these podcast episodes are highlighting research and patient care on the Washington University Medical Campus as our scientists and clinicians confront the COVID-19 pandemic.

New research from scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis suggests that the immune systems of COVID-19 patients can’t do enough to protect them from the virus.

A popular theory has it that patients’ immune systems get so revved up fighting the virus that, after several days, a so-called cytokine storm ensues, resulting in potentially fatal organ damage, particularly to the lungs. But new findings from a team of researchers led by Richard S. Hotchkiss, MD, a professor of anesthesiology, and Kenneth E. Remy, MD, an assistant professor of pediatrics, have found that many patients get very sick because their immune systems can’t do enough to protect them from the virus. They’re suggesting that rather than trying to dampen the immune response, a better treatment strategy for COVID-19 would involve boosting immunity.

The podcast, “Show Me the Science,” is produced by the Office of Medical Public Affairs at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

Related: Boosting immune system a potential treatment strategy for COVID-19

Researchers find weakened, rather than hyperactive, immunity in response to virus


Transcript coming soon.

Washington University School of Medicine’s 1,500 faculty physicians also are the medical staff of Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children’s hospitals. The School of Medicine is a leader in medical research, teaching and patient care, ranking among the top 10 medical schools in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. Through its affiliations with Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children’s hospitals, the School of Medicine is linked to BJC HealthCare.

University of Minnesota turns natural killer cells against COVID-19

University of Minnesota turns natural killer cells against COVID-19

  • August 6, 2020

A part of the immune system that appears to be suppressed in severe COVID-19 cases is now being used in a clinical trial against the infectious disease at the University of Minnesota.

A female COVID-19 patient in her 50s received an infusion on Wednesday with an experimental therapy containing natural killer (NK) cells, innate components of the immune system that can wipe out tumors or infected cells.

“They attack sick cells, and when we say sick that typically means malignant or virally infected cells,” said Dr. Joshua Rhein, the U physician leading the trial.

The U’s work with NK cells until now has primarily been in the development of therapies for leukemia and other cancers. The COVID-19 trial is using an experimental therapy called FT516, which is manufactured by Fate Therapeutics and was developed through U research.

U researchers have spent months planning the COVID-19 clinical trial and gaining the signoff of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, said Dr. Jeffrey Miller, deputy director of the U’s Masonic Cancer Center and a national leader in NK cell research.

Given that many cases of severe COVID-19 involve inflammation and an overreaction by the immune system, there is concern about using a therapy that boosts the immune system, Rhein said. On the other hand, NK cells have antiviral properties. And research in China showed a suppression of NK cells in severe COVID-19 patients, suggesting they are not part of the immune system overreaction and could instead be a solution.

“We think that the cells are going to help as an antiviral,” Rhein said, “but there’s that possibility that somebody who is headed toward that inflammation type of picture — the worry was that we could push them over the edge.”

Researchers are seeking patients who have been hospitalized for COVID-19 and have biomarkers that suggest they are at risk for such an immune system overreaction — but haven’t suffered it yet. Infusions are happening one patient at a time to monitor the outcomes, with doses increasing in subsequent patients.

The NK study is the latest in an aggressive response by the U to the COVID-19 pandemic. U researchers launched the first double-blinded, placebo-controlled trials of hydroxychloroquine, ultimately determining that it did not prevent the onset of COVID-19 or the development of symptoms in people exposed to the virus. The U also was part of the national study of remdesivir, an antiviral that has been federally approved for treatment of hospitalized COVID-19 patients.



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startups: Immunity boosting chapatis, tea, among eight products developed by startups to combat Covid-19

startups: Immunity boosting chapatis, tea, among eight products developed by startups to combat Covid-19

  • August 6, 2020
BENGALURU: An immunity booster chapati, a telemetry-based device for contactless monitoring of covid-19 patients, an air sanitizer for air-conditioned offices are among the eight products developed by startups at Bangalore Bioinnovation Centre (BBC), all of which centered around limiting the spread of covid pandemic.

Deputy chief minister CN Ashwath Narayan, who holds the IT portfolio, launched the products on Thursday in the presence of Prime Minister’s principal scientific advisor K Vijay Raghavan. The Centre is an initiative of Karnataka’s IT/BT department.

“These products add to the list of earlier products developed at BBC. This shows that Karnataka has emerged as a leading state in developing solutions to fight the pandemic,” the deputy CM said.

The PM’s scientific advisor said BBC’s partnership with IIMB should help the startups with scaling up their products, market analysis and access to capital.

Here are the details of startups and their products as disclosed by the IT/BT department:

  • Padma Vitals +: Developed by Madan Gopal of Cardiac Design labs, it is a centralized monitoring device for ECG, respiration, Spo2 and body temperature. It measures vitals continuously and the analysis sent through telemetry, with an alerting system embedded in it. The device helps with contactless monitoring of Covid patients and was validated at Narayana Hrudayalaya.
  • Malli’s Cordytea: Developed by Dr. Moushmi Mondal from Mallipatra Neutraceuticals, the product is an immunity booster tea prepared from medicinal mushroom, grown under lab conditions.
  • CD4 Shield : Developed by Vijay Lanka & team from Stabicon, it is a chewable tablet. The product reduces cytokine storm in response to viral infection.
  • BeamRoti : Developed by Srinivas from Aspartika, the product is an immunity booster chapati having mixture of herbs recommended by AYUSH ministry.
  • Immune booster daily drops: Developed by Srinivas from Aspartika, the product is an immunity booster drop having mixture of herbs recommended by the AYUSH ministry.
  • VegPhal : Developed by Deepak Bhajantri from Krimmi Biotech, this fruit and vegetable sanitizer is prepared using edible ingredients effective against microbes and removal of pesticides.
  • Water Sanitizer – Kitchen Tap: The product developed by Ravi Kumar from Biofi is a miniaturized version of UV purifier that can be attached to a water tap and kill 99% of microbes.
  • Anti-Micobial HVAC module: Developed by Ravi Kumar from Biofi, the module can be fitted to HVAC-system to sanitize air indoors.

Bishop: Our Bodies Are Designed to Fight Off Viruses – And They Do It Every Day

Bishop: Our Bodies Are Designed to Fight Off Viruses – And They Do It Every Day

  • August 6, 2020

By Dr. Kristen Bishop

Valley residents are continuing to work through the slight declining trend of COVID-19, many are still concerned about the safety of themselves and their families. With Maricopa County schools beginning the year with online learning, parents, teachers and students are experiencing overwhelming concerns for how and when in-person learning begins. As these health worries weigh heavily on everyone’s minds, our team at the Keystone Natural Family Medicine Clinic is hoping to provide clarity on how our bodies fight viruses and ways to improve our immune systems to stay healthy.

The human body has a highly sophisticated, well-orchestrated system with many mechanisms to deal with bacteria, viruses, fungi and other pathogens. Schools were made for social interaction, not social distancing. Our immune systems are very able to defend the body against viruses.

To assure people that our bodies are designed to fight off many viruses, there are two main parts of our immune system: the innate and adaptive responses. These will work in tandem to ward off infections.

When a virus enters the body, the innate immune system is triggered. Your body will send white blood cells to meet the virus in an almost immediate response. These first responder cells will attack the pathogen and provide barriers to keep it from spreading through the whole body. This type of defense is happening all the time as we come in contact with countless viruses, oftentimes without us ever knowing it.

When the white blood cells aren’t enough, the immune system will signal its adaptive response to form antibodies, so that the next time your body encounters that virus, it can recognize and respond more efficiently.

Regardless when schools open, and the expectation of a harsh cold and flu season, my Keystone team and I continue to stress that one of the most important things you can do to protect against various pathogens is to boost your immune system to keep it running effectively. There are a few ways you and your families can easily do this:

  • Eat healthy: The best way to boost your immune system is by eating nutrient-dense foods, such as fruits and vegetables.
  • Sleep: Getting a healthy amount of sleep is one of the best ways you can support a healthy immune system.
  • Exercise regularly: To keep all your bodily systems functioning normally, getting a healthy amount of regular exercise is extremely important.
  • Disinfect your hands: Our hands are full of bacteria that we then introduce to our bodies. By washing or disinfecting our hands frequently we can ensure that we are keeping our immune system from fighting off too many viruses at once.

As you can see, our immune systems are designed to fight off viruses. I want to remind everyone to wash your hands regularly, wear a mask or practice social distancing, and stay home if you or a member of your family is sick. However, I want to assure you that our immune systems are ready and able to defend against any viruses they might encounter this fall.

Editor’s Note: Dr. Kristen Bishop is Keystone Natural Family Medicine’s Lead Doctor and Medical Advisor, overseeing all care, its residency program and sees patients as well. As the legislative committee chair for the Arizona Naturopathic Medical Association and an Arizona delegate for the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians, Dr. Bishop is focused on quality care for all patients at Keystone Natural Family Medicine and strives to bring innovation to Naturopathic Medicine.

ENDO Ethos opened in Huntington in August.

ENDO Ethos Hemp Store Opens In Huntington

  • August 6, 2020

HUNTINGTON, NY — ENDO Ethos, a hemp CBD retailer, is open for business in Huntington Village. CBD, which stands for Cannabidiol, is commonly used for stress and anxiety, pain, sleep and inflammation.

Husband and wife owners Clark and Chrissy Ruggeri held the soft opening of their second ENDO Ethos location on Aug. 1. The 289 Main St. location is in the heart of the village and is a larger space than their flagship Northport shop. The couple signed their lease in November — before the coronavirus outbreak. The pandemic’s harsh impact on merchants made them consider backing out on the lease, Chrissy said. Ultimately, they felt their products would benefit customers at a time some need them most.

“We decided there’s no better time than now, as people are struggling with stress and anxiety, and trying to boost their health naturally,” Chrissy told Patch. “Now we’re trying to build some momentum and make sure people know we’re there.”

The store specializes in hemp-derived products such as oils placed under one’s tongue, capsules, gummies, topical items applied to inflamed areas, flower, as well as beauty and pet goods.

Hemp interacts with hormones, brain chemicals, and major body systems, according to Chrissy. Other than helping with stress or insomnia, the products can benefit the immune system long term. The compounds in hemp, including CBD, interact with receptors in the immune system that also connect to neurotransmitters, or chemicals in the brain, she said.

“Even micro-dosing with a hemp extract — small amounts every day as part of your health regimen — can have a tremendous impact in the long term,” Chrissy said. “Not only will it help relieve stress or anxiety in that six-hour period it works in the body, but it’s also interacting with hormones and chemicals in the body to maintain balance. It’s having a long term effect on your wellness. It is preventative. It’s not a band-aid like an over-the-counter pain reliever that would fix the issue for the moment; it’s something that’s actually working to correct the problem internally. That’s why it’s so powerful and such an exciting plant to have available now.”

A look at the interior of ENDO Ethos (Credit: Clark Ruggeri)

The Ruggeris have some concerns about opening a new store in the uncertainty of the coronavirus outbreak, Chrissy said.

“People are not in the village walking around shopping like they used to be,” she said. “They may be more prone to just shop online. I’m also confident that people understand that now, more than ever, we need to shop locally.”

The couple also believes people will find their wares useful.

“We’re confident this is a product that will help people, especially now, as people are trying to boost their immune systems and their overall wellness,” Chrissy said. “As soon as people know about us, they’re going to be coming back to us, and they’ll enjoy what we have to offer.”

The same hemp products are also sold at the Northport shop. However, the significantly larger Huntington venue allows for other items: hand-crafted jewelry, artwork, t-shirts and a rotating pop-up shop.

The new space also features a lounge area with a couch, table and chairs. The Ruggeris plan to host a few workshops each month where people can learn about their health and plant-based medicine. There are plans to make it a community space, according to Chrissy. The first workshop, on stress and inflammation, is scheduled for 7 p.m. Aug. 15.

The lounge area of ENDO Ethos’ Huntington spot. (Credit: Clark Ruggeri)

The response to the shop has been good, though a bit slow, Chrissy said. A small budget has led to a lack of advertising, but the owners have received “really great” feedback. Education is a core aspect of the owners’ mission, as a free consultation will be offered to anyone who walks in and wants to learn about the medicinal or therapeutic effects of hemp.

“When people leave the store, not only do they have one of the best products on the market, but they also know exactly how to use it for their specific needs,” Chrissy said. “I think that’s really important in this market, because it’s very confusing and brand new. There’s a lot of low-quality products on the market right now that people are using, and then they’re not working. So they think maybe it’s a scam, because it doesn’t work. But when you get the right products, and you’re taught how to use it properly, it really can do amazing things.”

The original store in Northport is doing well, though the physical spot was shut down for nearly three months due to COVID-19, according to Chrissy. The business survived as customers shopped on the ENDO Ethos website. Products are available for shipping, pickup or delivery within a 10-mile radius of either store.

“We survived,” Chrissy said. “I’m thankful for that. I think it goes back to the fact that people were feeling really on edge and felt like they needed something to help them get through the stress and anxiety. That’s what we were providing. Thankfully, we had a following throughout the months we were closed.”

ENDO Ethos Huntington can be reached at 631-264-5891, while the Northport store, at 112 Main St., can be called at 631-264-5891. The business can also be followed on Instagram for updates.

ENDO Ethos in Huntington (Credit: Clark Ruggeri)

The Special Sauce That Makes Some Vaccines Work

The Special Sauce That Makes Some Vaccines Work

  • August 6, 2020

The Special Sauce That Makes Some Vaccines Work


Posted on:

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WASHINGTON, D.C. (NPR) — There are many approaches to making a vaccine to COVID-19. Some use genetic material from the coronavirus, some use synthetic proteins that mimic viral proteins, some use disabled versions of the virus itself.

Three potential COVID-19 vaccines are kept in a tray at Novavax labs in Maryland on March 20, 2020. The Novavax vaccine requires an immune-boosting ingredient called an adjuvant to be effective.
Three potential COVID-19 vaccines are kept in a tray at Novavax labs in Maryland on March 20, 2020. The Novavax vaccine requires an immune-boosting ingredient called an adjuvant to be effective. [ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS | AFP via Getty Images]

But before any of these approaches can generate the antibodies to the coronavirus that scientists say is essential to protect people from getting sick, the immune system has to be primed to make those antibodies.

That’s the job of something called an adjuvant.

“The definition of [an] adjuvant is something you add to enhance, in the case of immunity, the immune response,” says Gregory Glenn, president of research and development at Novavax. Novavax is one of the companies that has received money from Operation Warp Speed.

Vaccines essentially trick the body into making an immune response to a specific virus or bacterium, so if something dangerous comes along, the immune system will be prepared.

But before it can prompt a response to a specific virus, the immune system has to be made ready.

“When you inject a vaccine the first immune cell that’s of importance is a dendritic cell,” Glenn says.

Dendritic cells are part of what’s called the innate immune response. These cells will respond to anything foreign that enters the body, coronavirus included.

“If they see something, they see a virus of bacteria, they become highly activated and then they create a whole cascade of events,” Glenn says.

That cascade leads to the production of antibodies, and it’s the antibodies that will recognize the specific virus of interest.

Novavax’s testing shows an adjuvant is critical to its vaccine working well. That’s the case for many vaccines.

But the strange thing is there aren’t a lot adjuvants out there.

“We only think about adjuvants when there’s a dire need, such as this pandemic, for example,” says Bali Pulendran, a vaccine developer at Stanford University. “Now everyone is interested in faster response and a better response and a longer lasting response.”

Pulendran says for almost a century, scientists relied on a compound called alum to act as an adjuvant. It was only in the 1990s that new adjuvants started appearing on the scene. Now there are several more options but Pulendram says more choices are needed.

“This is a topic that needs, deserves better attention,” he says.

That’s a sentiment Corey Casper totally agrees with. He’s the CEO of IDRI, the Infectious Disease Research Institute, and a proselytizer for adjuvant research. Casper says consider what happened when the pharmaceutical company GSK added a powerful adjuvant to a shingles vaccine.

“It took a vaccine that had previously existed which was about 50 percent effective, and it made it 97 percent effective,” Casper says. “Not just in all people, but in the hardest to protect people which are the elderly, who typically make poor immune responses.”

Casper says the vaccine community has underestimated the importance of adjuvants. He’s even got data suggesting that adjuvants alone might be capable of preventing infectious disease. That has enormous implications.

“Every time a new infection pops up, there’s a race to develop a new vaccine for it,” Casper says. “But what if you could give the adjuvant alone, and you didn’t have to develop a vaccine. That adjuvant could be stockpiled, it could be made at millions of doses, placed on the shelf, sitting there waiting for the next pandemic.”

Sallie Permar, a vaccine researcher at Duke University says there may be some validity to what Casper is proposing. She says scientists now have a better idea of how adjuvants work, and how they might be able to prevent disease all by themselves.

But Permar says you have to be careful with adjuvants.

“There are some downsides to having such a strong adjuvant affect,” she says

In the process of activating immune cells, adjuvants can also bring on some of the symptoms of disease, such as fever, malaise or inflammation. The GSK shingles vaccine works well because of its adjuvant, but many people complain about unpleasant side effects.

One problem facing vaccine developers is the fact the many companies are reluctant to share their adjuvant technology.

“Adjuvants end up being very proprietary,” says Barney Graham, deputy director at the Vaccine Research Center at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. “It’s kind of the secret sauce of how to make your protein vaccine work.”

Academic researchers are hoping the urgency of finding a successful vaccine for COVID-19 might make companies more willing to share.

“There is a whole science awaiting us in vaccines, that lies in adjuvants,” Permar says.

With so much attention being paid to vaccines now, that science may not be far off.

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