COVID-19 ‘natural immunity’ could be coming to an end soon

COVID-19 ‘natural immunity’ could be coming to an end soon

  • June 5, 2021

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) – If you had COVID-19, odds are you developed natural immunity afterwards. But how long does that last?

Millions of people have fully recovered from COVID in the U.S, but the timing of their natural immunity may be coming to an end in the next few months.

“Some studies say six months. Some studies say eight months. Some say a year. So if you look at December, and you fast forward six months, that’s when we may start seeing waning natural immunity,” Dr. David Hicks, deputy health officer with the Jefferson County Department of Health said.

Initially, researchers thought natural immunity after COVID-19 would last two to three months, but studies now show that it could last eight months or more. When the time is up though, you could be susceptible to catching COVID-19 again unless you get vaccinated to provide immunity says Dr. Hicks.

We are seeing low COVID-19 cases. Hicks believes that’s from a combination of natural immunity and vaccine-induced immunity.

“At some point, the natural immunity will wane and go away and if you didn’t get a vaccine then things may flare up again. This is not a scare tactic. I’m just telling you this is the science about it,” Hicks said.

Hicks says if you got COVID-19 a while back and are not vaccinated yet, then he doesn’t want you sitting on the fence about getting a shot.

“I don’t want you to roll the dice. That’s why I say get the vaccine. That boosts your immune system for more prolonged protection,” Hicks said.

For people who are vaccinated, Dr. Hicks says we’re going to start hearing more about booster shots at some point. Right now, a trial is underway in the U.S. looking at the impacts of mix and match booster shots.

Copyright 2021 WBRC. All rights reserved.

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HAVN Life Launches New Line of Natural Health Products

HAVN Life Launches New Line of Natural Health Products

  • June 3, 2021

Designed to advance HAVN Life’s mission of unlocking human performance and empowering people to reach their full potential, the formulations include a range of high-quality mushroom and plant extracts that help to boost immune function and reduce inflammation. With our growing need for solutions to improve productivity, combat daily stressors, and boost immune health, these formulations are naturally harvested and effective in supporting brain health and the capabilities of the mind.

The launch of this retail line is part of HAVN Life’s strategy of developing natural health products in parallel with their work on the standardized extraction of psychedelic compounds as a supply chain for research and clinical applications. This work is united by a vision of helping people connect with their potential, free from the stresses and imbalances that hold us back.

“With the launch of our first retail line, we are excited to enter the natural health products market,” said HAVN Life CEO Tim Moore. “The activation of our retail arm is a major milestone for the company and will enable us to build the HAVN brand as we continue researching and developing additional formulations that can help people thrive.”

Modern Science Meets Ancient Wisdom

These formulations were created by HAVN Life’s Chief Science Officer, Gary Leong, an industry veteran of 14 years who was previously Chief Scientific Officer at Jamieson Labs. Leveraging Gary’s biopharma and wellness expertise, HAVN Life retail products offer evidence-informed, high quality natural compounds that are proven to support memory, focus, energy, and overall cognitive function:

  • Mind Mushroom: A source of antioxidants to fight against free radical cell damage and to balance the immune system. This formulation is an adaptogen that increases energy and resistance to stress. (CAD $54 + tax)
  • Bacopa Brain: Supports brain health, improves memory and has been used for centuries in herbal medicine. Bacopa is a powerful plant extract that is clinically proven to support cognitive function and the nervous system. (CAD $27 + tax)
  • Rhodiola Relief: This adaptogen provides relief from symptoms of stress, including mental fatigue. This formulation supports mental focus and stamina. (CAD $45 + tax)
  • Cordyceps Perform: Cordyceps mushrooms help support a healthy immune system. Used in herbal medicine, they improve lung and kidney function and are a source of antioxidants that help fight against free radical cell damage in the body. (CAD $30 + tax)
  • Chaga Immunity: Chaga mushrooms are the second highest antioxidant-rich food on the planet. This superfood helps support the immune system and control inflammation in the body. (CAD $36 + tax)
  • Reishi Recharge: Supports the immune system and is used in herbal medicine around the world for energy, stress and liver function support. This multi-purpose mushroom has also been traditionally used to strengthen the heart to reduce fatigue, insomnia and appetite as well as coughs and wheezing. (CAD $30 + tax)
  • Lion’s Mane: These mushrooms are packed with antioxidants and help protect against free radical cell damage. (CAD $36 + tax)

The product line uses plant-derived, non-psychoactive compounds that have been used in traditional medicine for thousands of years, and are formulated with the highest standards of extraction and quality control. The medicinal and nutritional properties of mushrooms have long been understood across cultures and modern research is now showing us that they also contain compounds that are specifically beneficial for cognitive function and help to support overall human health and wellness.  

The senior leadership of HAVN Life brings decades of natural health product experience with some of the leading brands and companies in Canada. HAVN Life Executive Chairman, Vic Neufeld was previously the CEO and president at Jamieson Labs, and Chief Operations Officer, Jenna Pozar has more than 18 years of marketing and logistics experience in the natural health and performance space, including with Jamieson Wellness. Along with Chief Science Officer Gary Leong, the team is well positioned to leverage its expertise and establish HAVN Life as a leader in the natural health products space.

HAVN Life’s recent acquisition of a state-of-the-art manufacturing and packaging facility in Richmond, B.C. will enable local production and rapid delivery of the product line to retailers. The site will facilitate an expanded product portfolio and, with the launch of this first retail line, is a significant step towards building a strong presence in the Canadian natural health product market.

On Behalf of The Board of Directors
Tim Moore
Chief Executive Officer

About HAVN Life Sciences Inc.
HAVN Life Sciences (CSE: HAVN) (OTC: HAVLF) (FSE: 5NP) is a Canadian biotechnology company pursuing standardized extraction of psychoactive compounds, the development of natural healthcare products, and innovative mental health treatment to support brain health and enhance the capabilities of the mind. Learn more at: HAVNlife.com and follow us on Facebook, TwitterInstagram and Youtube.

For a full media kit or to request interviews and/or product samples, please contact Savi Pannu: [email protected] or 647-896-8078

Forward-Looking Information: This news release contains “forward-looking information” within the meaning of applicable securities laws relating to statements regarding the Acquisition, the Company’s business, products and future of the Company’s business. Although the Company believes that the expectations reflected in the forward-looking information are reasonable, there can be no assurance that such expectations will prove to be correct. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on forward-looking information. Such forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results, performance and developments to differ materially from those contemplated by these statements depending on, among other things, the risk that the Acquisition will not be completed as contemplated, or at all, risks that the Company’s products and plan will vary from those stated in this news release and the Company may not be able to carry out its business plans as expected. Except as required by law, the Company expressly disclaims any obligation and does not intend to update any forward-looking statements or forward-looking information in this news release. Although the Company believes that the expectations reflected in the forward-looking information are reasonable, there can be no assurance that such expectations will prove to be correct. The statements in this news release are made as of the date of this release.

The CSE has not reviewed, approved or disapproved the content of this press release

SOURCE HAVN Life

For further information: Investor Relations: [email protected], 604-359-0060

Natural killer cells lull tumours into dormancy

Natural killer cells lull tumours into dormancy

  • June 2, 2021

Efforts to treat tumours that have spread from their initial site in the body to grow elsewhere are often unsuccessful. Such tumours, called metastases, are the main cause of cancer-related deaths, so finding a way to control them is crucial to meeting this medical need. Before metastases begin to grow, cancer cells might have already migrated from the primary tumour to seed various other sites (a process called metastasis), where they can remain dormant for long periods of time. Surveillance by immune cells is known to help to maintain this dormancy1, but the mechanisms involved in the switch from dormancy to the growth of metastases have been unclear — until now. Writing in Nature, Correia et al.2 report the pivotal role of natural killer (NK) cells in controlling the development of liver metastases arising from breast cancer.

NK cells are part of the innate branch of the immune system. They can kill other cells and produce soluble messenger molecules, called cytokines and chemokines, that regulate immune responses3. The ability of NK cells to detect and eliminate a wide array of tumour cells directly, and their capacity to shape antitumour immune responses by making cytokines or chemokines, have led to the development of clinical strategies that harness their anticancer functions35.

Several studies have suggested that NK cells specialize in eliminating metastases rather than targeting tumour cells at their primary site of growth6. For some cancers, people who have more tumour-infiltrating NK cells seem to have fewer metastases, as seen in those with cancers such as gastrointestinal sarcoma, and gastric, colorectal, renal or prostate carcinoma3,6. The depletion or dysfunction of NK cells in mice also results in an increase in metastases3. By contrast, when their normal regulation is removed, NK cells protect against the spread of tumours to the liver and lungs7. Tumour cells entering dormancy downregulate their expression of ligand molecules that can activate NK cell receptors, and become resistant to killing mediated by NK cells8.

Correia and colleagues decided to further investigate the composition and dynamics of tumour cells in dormancy. One approach they took was to study the gene-expression profile of human and mouse breast cancer cells transplanted into mice. These cells underwent metastasis to reach sites such as the liver, where they became dormant tumour cells. The authors assessed genes expressed by cells in the vicinity of the dormant tumour cells in the surrounding stromal tissue. These data revealed a gene signature associated with responses mediated by NK cells. Furthermore, Correia et al. compared the areas around dormant tumour cells with those in tumour-free livers, and found that NK cells were the only type of immune cell to increase in number during dormancy. This suggests that NK cells have a crucial role in events that block the reawakening of dormant tumour cells (Fig. 1).

Figure 1

Figure 1 | Interactions that affect the dormancy of tumour cells. Correia et al.2 report mouse and human evidence indicating that a type of immune cell called a natural killer (NK) cell has a key role in preventing the growth of spreading tumour cells, called metastases. a, The molecule IL-15 drives NK cells to proliferate, and these cells secrete the protein IFN- γ, which keeps breast cancer cells that have migrated to the liver in a dormant state. b, Exit from this state of dormancy is associated with activated hepatic stellate cells, which secrete the molecule CXCL12. CXCL12 binds to the CXCR4 receptor on NK cells. This results in NK cells ceasing to divide and stops them from promoting tumour dormancy. The tumour cells proliferate as a consequence.

Consistent with this hypothesis, the authors report that depleting NK cells in a mouse tumour model then led to higher levels of metastases in the liver. However, if NK cells were boosted using the cytokine IL-15, this prevented the formation of liver metastases and tumour cells remained dormant. The authors’ results demonstrate that the size of the pool of NK cells in the liver environment determines whether dormancy occurs or metastases form.

The liver environment associated with dormant tumour cells contained NK cells producing the cytokine interferon-γ (IFN-γ). Correia and colleagues report that, in vitro, adding IFN-γ can nudge cancer cells into dormancy — consistent with the idea that IFN-γ has a key role in controlling the cancer dormancy mediated by NK cells.

Might other factors disrupt NK cells and thereby promote the formation of metastases? A clue to this came from the authors’ discovery that a pool of activated hepatic stellate cells found in the mouse liver increased when tumours switched from dormancy to forming metastases. Hepatic stellate cells have been identified as the main disease-driving population of cells for a condition called hepatic fibrosis9, in which the liver becomes damaged and scarred. These changes often precede tumour formation. The accumulation of activated hepatic stellate cells occurs at the same time as a decline in NK cells, owing to a decrease in NK-cell proliferation. The authors’ results suggest that activated hepatic stellate cells promote metastases in the liver by inhibiting NK cells, thereby disrupting cancer dormancy.

Correia et al. found that hepatic stellate cells secrete the chemokine CXCL12, which has been implicated in aiding the directional migration of breast cancer cells10. Organs that express the highest levels of CXCL12 are the most common sites of metastasis in human breast cancer10. Human NK cells in the liver have a receptor, called CXCR4, that recognizes CXCL12. Correia and colleagues report that activated hepatic stellate cells hamper the function of NK cells in the liver through CXCL12–CXCR4 interactions that halt the proliferation of NK cells, thereby tipping the scales from tumour dormancy to the promotion of metastasis. This study thus reveals a previously unknown function of CXCL12 in altering NK-cell-mediated immunity, in addition to its known effects on tumour cells10.

The authors next examined pairs of human biopsy specimens from metastases and healthy adjacent liver tissue, taken from people with breast cancer. Consistent with the data from mice, the analysis showed that activated hepatic stellate cells accumulated in metastases, and that their abundance was inversely correlated with that of NK cells. The authors’ analysis of published gene-expression data for colorectal cancer that has metastasized to the liver revealed the same association, suggesting that this cellular crosstalk might be relevant for the growth of other types of spreading cancer.

Several questions remain to be answered. For example, the mechanisms underlying the accumulation of NK cells associated with dormant tumour cells and the triggering of IFN-γ production in these circumstances remain to be fully determined. It is not completely clear how CXCL12 that is secreted by activated hepatic stellate cells hinders the function of NK cells. Furthermore, determining whether the CXCL12–CXRC4 axis awakens dormant tumour cells in humans is of utmost importance, and, if so, in which types of cancer.

Finally, the similarities between NK cells and another sort of immune cell called type 1 innate lymphoid cells (ILC1) should prompt further investigation of the role of ILC1 in controlling metastasis3. Indeed, these cells have a complex role in tumour responses11,12. Correia et al. excluded ILC1 as having a role in controlling metastases, because they observed no notable changes in the level of these cells when comparing tumour dormancy and metastases in the liver. However, the lack of a specific ILC1-deficient mouse model means that it is not possible to precisely dissect the respective roles of NK cells and ILC1 in the control of metastasis, leaving a key question unresolved.

By showing that the IFN-γ-driven effects of NK cells maintain breast cancer cells in a dormant state, Correia and colleagues have revealed that NK cells have other and previously unsuspected anticancer capacities. This finding paves the way for the development of cancer treatment strategies that prevent dormant reservoirs of tumour cells from awakening. For instance, molecules that strongly stimulate the IL-15 pathway in NK cells are already available. These IL-15 superagonists, such as ALT-803 or NKTR-255, are being tested in clinical trials3,5, and the rationale for their use should now also take into account the role of NK cells in controlling dormant tumour cells.

Furthermore, drugs that inhibit CXCR4 are being developed. It would be interesting to determine whether these inhibitors could help to sustain the activity of NK cells in maintaining tumour dormancy. In addition, engineered antibodies called NK cell engagers, which can stimulate NK cells and form a bridge that connects them to tumour cells, offers another way to promote the function of NK cells13. Current clinical trials are also testing various approaches to manipulate NK cells for therapeutic benefit35. Besides the well-characterized effects of NK cells in tumour immunity, Correia and colleagues’ work further highlights the possible advantages of harnessing NK cells to target cancers.

Competing Interests

E.V. is a shareholder and employee of Innate Pharma.

Vaccines boost natural immunity against Covid-19: Study

Vaccines boost natural immunity against Covid-19: Study

  • June 1, 2021

Vaccination boosts the natural immunity in people infected with the novel coronavirus so much that they are likely protected even from the emerging variants, according to a study.

Researchers at the Rockefeller University in the US analysed antibodies present in the blood of Covid patients, tracking the evolution of these molecules.

The 63 people in the study, which has not been peer-reviewed yet, had Covid in the spring of last year.

Data from their follow-ups show that, over time, antibodies produced by the immune system’s memory B cells got better at neutralising SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19.

Also read: Drug that blocks multiple coronavirus variants in mice identified

The memory B cells serve as an immune reservoir that contains a diverse collection of antibodies.

The study suggests that these people were developing an improved, long lasting defence against the virus.

The researchers found that these antibodies were further enhanced among 26 people in the group who had received at least one dose of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine.

Also read: Tracking the enemy

This subset of people developed antibodies that are exceptionally resistant to the most concerning SARS-CoV-2 variants, such as those first isolated in the UK, South Africa, and New York City in the US.

According to the researchers, these potent antibodies are produced by groups of highly evolved memory B cells, which expand dramatically after a nudge by the vaccines.

The study also suggests that well-timed boosters with the current vaccines may provide additional protection in people who have never had the disease.

Eminetra

10 Best Natural Sleep Aids To Help You Sleep

  • May 24, 2021

One of the most serious and common causes of chronic illness is inflammation.

High levels of inflammation in the body cause cells to deteriorate and lose their ability to function properly. This, in turn, leads to the development of diseases such as cancer, autoimmune dysfunction, and other disorders.

Inflammation is a necessary biological process to kickstart your immune system. Chemical mediators warn the body about areas that need protection or repair. Unfortunately, too long an inflammation can have serious consequences.

The level of inflammation in the body is influenced by a variety of factors, including diet, lifestyle and environment.

In the intestine, inflammation can also be caused by a microbial imbalance in the gastrointestinal tract. The growth and spread of harmful microorganisms such as Candida and yeast can cause serious damage to the lining of the intestine. The resulting immune response can cause further inflammation and damage.

Fortunately, reducing bowel inflammation can be a problem in changing the choices you make in your daily life. In fact, there are three simple steps you can take today to reduce bowel inflammation. Let’s see!

1. Drink more water to get rid of toxins

Every day we are exposed to toxins. Air pollutants, heavy metals, mold, and airborne pathogens are always around us, even if we don’t know it.

Many of our foods are full of toxins, such as pesticides, antibiotics, and even the addition of sugar.

These toxins are a serious cause of inflammation. They turn on genes that promote inflammation that causes cancer and heart disease. In the gut, these toxins cause an imbalance in the gut microbiota, allowing the release of inflammatory chemicals. This inflammation promotes changes elsewhere in the body that can lead to chronic illness.

One of the best ways to get rid of toxins from your body is also one of the easiest. Let’s drink more water! Drinking plenty of water daily is an effective and essential way to help detoxify your intestines and body:

  • Your intestinal tract needs water to function optimally, Efficiently moves waste from the intestines through the intestines.
  • Your liver and kidneys are two of the most important detoxifying organs in your body.. Both of these require a constant water supply to function properly.
  • Your sweat also flushes toxins from your body. Sweat is mainly made of water.

Equally important, each cell needs proper hydration to perform its proper function. Studies have shown that inadequate cell hydration contributes to the release of pro-inflammatory chemicals and can even lead to inflammatory diseases.

In general, the more hydration you have, the less inflammation you have in your body.

What should I do:

Try to drink 2-3 liters of water or 6-8 glasses daily. Make sure the water is fresh and filtered, or at least free of contaminants such as chlorine, fluoride and heavy metals.

It may be convenient to carry bottled water all day instead of drinking large amounts of water at once.

One of the healthiest ways to drink water Squeeze the lemon juice.. Lemon juice is rich in vitamin C and can boost immunity.

Not sure if you are properly dehydrated? There is an easy way to find it! Check the color of urine The next time you are in the bathroom. If it is yellow, your body may need more water. If it is obvious, you are properly hydrated.

2. Exercise regularly to keep the detoxifying organs active

Daily exercise is absolutely essential for the normal functioning of the whole body, including the intestines.

Physical activity stimulates the body’s major detoxifying organs, including the intestines, urinary tract, sweat glands, circulatory system, and lymphatic vessels.

Inflammation is minimized if these systems can eliminate toxins and waste products from the body.

A new study shows that just 20 minutes of exercise can have anti-inflammatory effects on the intestines and the whole body.

Exercise improves the body’s anti-inflammatory response by activating the sympathetic nervous system. This will improve your heart rate, blood pressure, and respiratory rate. As a result, your body releases hormones such as epinephrine and norepinephrine into the bloodstream. These hormones play a role in activating adrenal receptors in immune cells.

In a recent study, researchers examined the effect of a single 20-minute exercise on immune system activation. They found that even this small amount of exercise was sufficient to suppress the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines by 5%.

Inflammation is a necessary part of the body’s immune response, but too much inflammation can lead to illness. Chronic inflammation can contribute to diabetes, obesity, celiac disease, arthritis, fibromyalgia, or enteropathy such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.

Short exercises appear to reduce the body’s inflammatory response, and exercise may be recommended as part of future treatment plans for inflammatory conditions.

Exercise also reduces inflammation by pumping fresh blood into tissues and helping to wash away metabolic debris. It nourishes inflamed and damaged tissue and promotes repair and recovery.

Like hydration, exercise keeps your digestive system moving, promotes digestive health and further reduces bowel inflammation.

What should I do:

If you live a sedentary lifestyle, it is important to plan walking, jogging, swimming, and stretching for at least 30 minutes each day.

Most modern phones come with some kind of activity tracker. For example, if you own an iPhone, you may already be familiar with the iOS Health app. This handy app keeps track of the steps you take every day. Many people are aiming for 10,000 steps per day. This is a very healthy goal.

Similarly, do not sit for long periods of time. If you work for a long time, set a timer to get up and move regularly at least every hour.

And, as mentioned earlier, be sure to keep exercising with plenty of water!

3. Take curcumin — a natural anti-inflammatory drug

Curcumin is the active ingredient of turmeric, Bright orange spice. It is one of the most powerful and natural anti-inflammatory therapies on the planet, especially for the intestines.

Curcumin aids digestion by relaxing the smooth muscles of the walls and helping food move through the intestines. It also helps relieve gas buildup and bloating when food is being broken down.

In the colon, curcumin promotes a healthy balance of gut bacteria. This is essential for the optimal functioning of the immune system. It also promotes the regeneration and healing of cells in the endometrium following the damage caused by the overgrowth of pathogens and yeasts such as Candida.

Recent studies have even shown that curcumin may be an effective means of inhibiting fungal infections of the intestine. Clinical trials have reported that high concentrations of curcumin have a strong antifungal effect against this harmful yeast and other fungal infections. There is evidence that curcumin can inhibit the growth of Candida albicans more effectively than common antifungal drugs.

Studies have shown that the medicinal properties of curcumin are primarily due to its phytochemicals. These are phytochemicals with antioxidant and antibacterial properties. These phytochemicals can also help relieve nausea caused by mental problems such as anxiety and stress.

Curcumin’s anti-inflammatory and antibacterial activity may also help reduce intestinal pain caused by spicy foods, alcohol, or pathogens. The incredible compound of curcumin supports your natural digestive process, which can mean that your gut doesn’t have to work so hard to break down food.

What should I do:

Taking curcumin is as easy as finding a high-quality supplement from a health food store.

You can also blend turmeric powder into smoothies, meals and turmeric latte. Be sure to add healthy fats such as coconut oil and black pepper. This helps your body absorb the active ingredients of curcumin.

Conclusion

When reducing intestinal inflammation, your top priority should be to reduce the amount of pro-inflammatory factors in your diet and lifestyle.

The above three steps are very easy to incorporate into your daily life and help minimize the inflammatory processes that occur in your body.

By supporting the body’s detoxification function with proper exercise and hydration, the amount of harmful toxins that the immune system must fight each day can be dramatically reduced. Fewer toxins mean your body can focus more on healing!

This is greatly improved by adding curcumin to your daily diet, whether as a supplement or during your diet. Curcumin is a notable component of the inflamed intestine. It helps to soothe those inflamed membranes, repel yeast such as Candida, and support healing of the intestinal lining.

Follow these simple steps and start reducing your inflammation today. Your intestines thank you!

Other resources related to gut health

Featured Photo Credits: Rawpixel via unsplash.com

Natural Products Expo West Virtual Week Kicks Off with

Natural Products Expo West Virtual Week Kicks Off with

  • May 24, 2021

BOULDER, Colo., May 24, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Natural Products Expo West Virtual Week, running May 24-27, is the leading event for discovering what products and changemakers are driving the natural products industry forward—and this event is free for retail buyers, distributors, investors and other industry members to attend. As the show opens, New Hope Network’s editorial team has announced its nine top trends coming to retailers in 2021. These trends and much more will be examined as the virtual event brings together the industry for four days of can’t miss education sessions and a virtual exhibit hall featuring thousands of product offerings in organic and natural foods, clean beauty and home products and supplements.

The nine innovation trends propelling the industry forward include:

  1. Organic Matters: Organic continues to be a gold standard in the fight for good food, reflecting a company’s commitment to industrywide criteria for growing, raising, and sourcing ingredients. Today, brands are going beyond certification, engaging in policy to strengthen standards, expanding acreage and educating on their ecological journey. Many organic companies are also making measurable climate commitments to truly protect the future of our planet and launching initiatives that support fair and equitable supply chains globally.

    Exemplary products: Nature’s Yoke Organic Free-Range Large Brown Eggs, Solspring® Biodynamic® Organic Spaghetti Durum Wheat Pasta, Organic Valley Low-Fat Chocolate Milk

  2. Year-Round Immune Support: Shifting from reactive to preventative and from cold and flu season to year-round protection, the immune market is looks much different today. Brands are helping consumers meet their whole-health goals rooted in a strong immune system through a mix of traditional immune-boosting vitamins (C and D) and antioxidants, newer natural plant-derivatives (think mushrooms, elderberry, chlorophyll) and old-world wisdom (like ayurvedic herbs).

    Exemplary products: Trace Minerals Liquid Immunity+, Flora Immune Essence, Nuun Immunity3 Super Berry, Source Naturals Wellness D-mmunity™

  3. Peak Brain Performance: Peak performance isn’t just about strength and endurance. Cognitive function is top of mind for consumers wanting to remaining smart and on point as they navigate life’s many hurdles and challenges. Brands promoting brain health are designing products that foster attention and focus, improve or maintain memory and other cognitive functions and regulate mood and behavior. While measures can be proactive or preventative, the overall objective is clear: to ensure that the brain functions optimally for as long as possible.

    Exemplary products: Ergogenics 8 Mushroom Blend, Mason Natural Brain Power with Sage Extract, Freedom ETS Brain-Boost

  4. A New Era for Fats: The sun has set on the fat-free era, and consumers are seeking healthy whole fats as part of a balanced lifestyle. At the forefront is full fat dairy like whole milk and ghee, plus coconut, avocado, nut and other plant fat. Other key players include natural vegetable fats and fats rich in Omega-3s. These top-shelf fats are especially of interest to those adhering to a ketogenic diet.

    Exemplary products: Fatso Classic Almond+Seed Butter with plant-based fats, Healthy Crunch White Chocolate Coconut Chips, Truly Grass-Fed Ghee Clarified Butter

  5. 20/20 Vision: With too much blue screen technology shoved in our faces, our eyes are becoming fatigued. Brands are innovating to address this with ingredients that help strengthen and repair eyes such as lutein and carotenoids, cope with screen time (lenses, filters and lights to reduce adverse effects) and stave off secondary effects of excess screen time such as difficulty sleeping.

    Exemplary products: Dr. Mercola Lutein with Zeaxanthin, Wiley’s Finest Bold Benefits™ Vision, Sammann Company, Inc Simply Kids blue light glasses

  6. Keep Eating More Plants: For years, consumers have been waking up to the value of a plant-forward diet and now there are more ways (and more delicious ways!) than ever to make it a reality. Brands are creatively catering to picky children avoiding spinach and broccoli, adventurous adults seeking the latest exotic plant superstar, and any consumer seeking meat and dairy alternatives. Plant-based dairy, meat replacements, and all-plant meal kits are some of the ways that companies are bringing tasty and convenient plant innovations to consumers.

    Exemplary products: No Evil Foods Best Life – “No Beef” -Steak Strips Plant Meat, 10 oz, SOWN Organic Oat Creamers, Melatta V-GURT Passion Fruit & Turmeric

  7. Digestive Health: Digestive health used to just be about regularity. As important as that is, modern consumers have greater expectations due to increased experience with food intolerances and digestive disorders like IBS and leaky gut, and because of an increased understanding of the microbiome and its potential to impact other body systems. Brands are developing products with digestive benefits like fiber, probiotics, prebiotics, and other microbiome support measures to help improve and maintain optimal digestive health for kids and adults.

    Exemplary products: ChildLife Essentials LiveBiotics Immune & Digestive Support, Kevita Prebiotic Shot, Wakunaga of America Kyo-Dophilus Max E-Z Probiotic, Probulin Total Care Immune Probiotic

  8. Healing Diets: Many consumers today are turning to specific diets, not for weight loss but rather to help resolve health issues, identify and eliminate intolerances, and reduce inflammation triggers. Viewing food as medicine, these self-aware consumers experiment with what they eat to identify what works for their very unique needs. Brands are designing products for this group’s commonly considered measures including keto, low-sugar, low-glycemic and FODMAP products free from dairy, gluten, and grains.

    Exemplary products: V20 Sicilian Lemon Sparkling Balsamic Water, Ardent Mills Net Carb Flour Blend, Keto and Co Peanut Butter Soft-Baked Cookie Mix

  9. Clean Label: Consumers want to feel empowered to take control of what they and their families put in and on their bodies. For brands, simplification can rebuild consumer trust. By stripping out unpopular ingredients, creating simple ingredient lists and addressing all the cleanup efforts behind their products, companies across categories are chipping away at consumer concerns that their products are tainted. Brands are making products free from dubious natural and artificial flavors, colors, thickeners, stabilizers, preservatives, preservatives and other offending additives.

    Exemplary products: Dr. Bronner’s Honor Thy Label Book, Humble Brands Geranium & Vetiver Organic Formula Deodorant, Solely Whole Fruit Gummies, Elma Farms Poshi Asparagus Cuts, Lotus Foods, Willa’s Oat Milk

Registered attendees can hear a deep dive into these trends and much more at education sessions examining what’s happening in retail aisles today and what will drive sales in the future. These include the State of the Natural & Organic Industry session and a series of 30-minute discovery sessions exploring market manifestations and sales data across categories including snacks, meat and meat alternatives, supplements and more. Attendees can also tune in for the Pitch Slam and NEXTY Award winner announcements to discover emerging entrepreneurs and products that inspire a healthy and sustainable future for both people and planet.

Looking beyond the aisles, Natural Products Expo West Virtual Week will host a Justice, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Keynote featuring Van Jones, CNN host and political commentator; a Climate Justice Keynote featuring Rev. Lennox Yearwood Jr. that will examine the link between climate change and social injustice; and a Changing Consumer Keynote from thought-leader Eve Turow-Paul examining social and environmental activism.

“We’ve seen a year of unpredictable challenges worldwide but so much that’s good about the natural products industry has grown even stronger,” said Carlotta Mast, Senior Vice President and Market Leader at New Hope Network. “The natural and organic industry has continued to bring new products to market that bring more health to more people and to find ever more sustainable business practices that support the health of the planet. This year also shone a long overdue light on the urgency to work together to make the natural and organic community more inclusive and ensure opportunities within our growing industry are open and accessible to everyone.”

Follow @NatProdExpo on Twitter and Instagram and find us on Facebook and LinkedIn for ongoing conversations. Visit Natural Products Expo Virtual online for more details about virtual events in 2021. Natural Products Expo East is scheduled for September 22-25, 2021, at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia and will feature virtual programming for those unable to attend in person. Natural Products Expo West will return to the Anaheim Convention Center March 8-12, 2022.

About New Hope Network
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People are more invested in preventive health, natural wellness than before: Sanjaya Mariwala, OmniActive Health Technologies

  • May 20, 2021

The second wave of Covid-19 has reinforced the need to revamp our healthcare infrastructure. “Immunity” which is the talk of the town, is probably the only reliable tool available today to deal with many unknowns, whether it is the unknown variants of the virus or the looming uncertainties. Once again, traditional and nature-based preventive care medicine streams are gaining traction. This has resulted in people resorting to various dietary supplements to boost immunity. OmniActive Health Technologies has observed a significant jump in overall demand for nutraceutical products, across various segments including immunity boosters.

In conversation with Financial Express Online, Sanjaya Mariwala, Executive Chairman and MD, OmniActive Health Technologies and Founder President of the Association of Herbal and Nutraceuticals Manufacturers of India (AHNMI), talks about the role of the nutraceutical industry, opportunities that can be tapped to fight this virus through preventive care medicines, his own immunity hacks, and what keeps him going to continue to innovate in this sector. Excerpts:

Despite the Covid-19 vaccination, the pandemic continues to affect a huge population, severely impacting the country’s economic and social fabric. Do you think, alternative medicine system can be tapped to fight the 2nd wave?

Vaccination or no vaccination, there is no escape to build our health and adopt preventive care. When there is a fire, you have to call the fire brigade. But just because they are there, we can’t evade fire safety protocols and allow the fire to occur.  Pandemic has completely transformed the perspective towards healthcare and it has moved from sick care to preventive care. Inclusion of exercise, diet and the use of over-the-counter medications & dietary supplements is becoming a way of life. At OmniActive we have observed a significant jump in overall demand for nutraceutical products, especially in the top 4 metros. Tier-II and Tier-III cities in Maharashtra, Karnataka, Haryana, Rajasthan, and Gujarat have also seen rising trends post-pandemic. People are far more invested in preventive health, natural wellness than before.  Recent research published by the World Economic Forum said, simple exercise makes us 50% more likely to have higher antibodies after vaccination and it should be for at least 30 minutes, 5 days a week. This means the effectiveness of a vaccine is also dependent on how seriously we take health in our daily routine. So evidently, alternative medicine systems can be and should be tapped. In fact, we should bring them to the forefront and make them the first line of defense.

Everyone talks about immunity and we saw a surge in demand for immunity boosting products during the first wave. What immunity hacks would you recommend and why? Any example you can share from personal experience?

Immunity needs to be built and strengthened too. To build immunity, we have to expose ourselves to various conditions, allow the body to adapt to them, and develop resistance to  certain conditions. This is what even happens through vaccination. The shot activates the immune system to respond and build the immunity to fight those specific viruses. On the other hand, to strengthen the system, a lot of hard work is required. Exercising regularly, including at least one active sport in our routine, eating nutritious food, herbs, and supplements, and making certain necessary changes to the lifestyle – all contribute to strengthening the immune system. Working out daily, helps a healthy rise in endorphins in your body and they help in both building and strengthening immunity to fight back most attacks. Over and above regular workouts, I consume a daily dose of the curcumin (Active from Turmeric) based formulation called CurcuWIN, one of our own brands, and our Vitamin C formulation. In fact, at OmniActive, we witnessed ~20% growth in these products during the last year.

How did you identify the opportunity in the space of nutraceuticals? What was the idea of launching OmniActive Health Technologies way before preventive medication received much importance in India?

Experience of running Kancor Ingredients (formerly Bombay Oil Industries set up by my grandfather Kanji Morarji in 1911), a Kerala-based pioneer in the extraction of spices like black pepper, turmeric, and paprika, for 24 years, had educated me enough about the abundant natural resources available in India. With a robust supply of raw material like herbs, spices, fruits, and flowers, along with the rich history of Ayurveda and related sciences, it was very clear for me that India has enough resources and potential to become a key supplier of nutraceutical ingredients to global health care and food companies. When we have the capabilities to export more value-added products and earn higher forex for the country, why settle for just the raw materials? This is how we began our journey and committed to delivering innovative and trendsetting health ingredients to the dietary supplement and health food industries.  When we set out, we started with us writing 3 patents even before the company was incorporated.

Heathcare technologies, covid-19, Sanjaya Mariwala, immunity, Covid VaccinationSanjaya Mariwala, Executive Chairman and MD, OmniActive Health Technologies and Founder President of the Association of Herbal and Nutraceuticals Manufacturers of India (AHNMI)

Then we innovated ways to deliver beadlets and became the first company in the industry to do a vegetable beadlet.  We kept focusing on more innovative products to retain our competitive edge in the industry and launched our lutein product called Lutemax 2020. It is a globally recognised and award-winning product in the eye health category; something very relevant in current times when screen time is a major challenge for eye health Today, OmniActive holds 38 patents, has applied for 60 more, derives 99% of its revenues from exports, and boasts heavyweight customers like Pennsylvania-based health and nutrition-related product manufacturer GNC, direct-seller of dietary supplements Amway, specialised eye care company Bausch and Lomb, and mass-market giants Costco and Sam’s club and many other innovative companies that have launched interesting products and platforms in the nutritional space. OmniActive Health was thus established with a clear purpose “to improve lives by enhancing nutrition and wellness and leveraging the most innovative science and technology to meet consumers’ demands while adhering to the highest scientific standards of quality”, and set out on the journey to bring India on the global map of the nutraceutical.

What are the most important steps that need to be taken by both, industry players and regulators, to optimise the growth potential in this sphere? What are the key challenges you are dealing with as an industry player?

For the industry to thrive, we need to expand, bring size and scale and create value through innovations. Work across the supply chain – use technology extensively to yield better quality agricultural output, create sustainable models for farming and processing, build quality systems, and benchmark standards to make sure the products are globally accepted, install state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities, set up more research labs and encourage clinical researches, and ultimately generate data through tech platforms and use data analytics for R&D and innovations. Industry players have to continue doing their work and not keep waiting for the regulators to do everything.

Having said that, I do urge the authorities to give due recognition to the nutraceutical and natural product industry. This includes providing necessary incentives to encourage the production (e.g. extension of PLI scheme specifically to the nutraceutical industry), improving the agricultural base and encourage medicinal seed research to drive innovation, define the policies around product standardization and minimizing product adulteration, and actively involve private participation through PPP model. The nutraceutical industry presents opportunities for exponential growth, it is important to proactively leverage them.

Any views on the recent liquidity push to the healthcare sector by RBI? How is it expected to resolve the challenges with respect to healthcare infrastructure in India?

RBI has been very proactive and responsive throughout this pandemic. Recent announcements are again timely and encouraging. It will help set up more clinics, oxygen centers, smaller specialty hospitals. I am also hopeful that it will encourage doctors from rural areas to go back to their towns and set up centers of excellence.

The government has announced Mission Poshan 2.0 to strengthen the nutrition content, delivery and outcome. How can the nutraceutical industry support this program?

Mission Poshan 2.0 is an apt program. All we now need is the outlay and delivery of the program. The government needs to improve its outreach significantly; use the press better, and publicise it enough with clarity around what it is aiming to do. We are all interested in helping and contributing to accelerate these efforts. The nutraceutical industry can immensely contribute to this mission as the product by design fulfills vitamins and nutrients requirements of the body. The government should define the agenda and allow the industry players to execute. We are eager to partner and deliver the results.

Any social initiatives or contributions you have made in a personal capacity that also promoted the growth of the overall industry?

Our close connection with the agriculture sector and hence farmers has provided us an opportunity to create a social impact at the ground level. OmniActive works with small and marginal farmers, helping them not only improve yield but also help improve their incomes through assured buy-back at pre-agreed price and subsidized seed supply. Since 2016 farmers working with OmniActive have seen yield and income improvements of ~25%. Additionally, over 500,000 women are employed in fields for flower harvesting, thereby helping improve income for women in the rural areas where we operate. While we talk about using a preventive care approach, we also implemented it for all the farmer families that are associated with us. We focused on handling anemia through preventive measures. 27% of the women tested were anaemic when we began our program in 2018, after our targeted interventions, only 15% were recorded Anaemic in 2019. The number has further reduced and we aim to reach 0% in years to come.

Image: iStock

A naturopath reveals the cold and flu supplements that actually work

  • May 18, 2021

We speak with an expert in natural health and wellness about how to keep sickness at bay this winter. 

Winter is coming and Australians are once again facing a double threat of flu and COVID-19, so it’s more important than ever to make sure we have a strong immune system in place to ward off viruses.

Eating well, getting enough sleep, and maintaining a regular fitness routine are all crucial for immunity but there are also a few ways to supplement good health.

After almost 20 years in the health industry working as a naturopath, herbalist and naturopathy lecturer at the largest private higher education provider of natural health courses in the Southern Hemisphere – Endeavour College of Natural Health, I’ve come across some cold and flu remedies that have become staples during the cooler months to boost immunity and stay fighting fit.

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Andrographis

Andrographis (also known as Indian echinacea) has been shown to be acutely effective for colds and flus but it’s important to note that it should only be taken in short bursts. There were some stories during the pandemic about Andrographis supplements causing loss of taste and this highlighted the need to follow instructions and consult a professional to avoid side effects from overuse.

Recent research also showed that Andrographis (along with green tea, Vitamins C, D and zinc) lowered symptom severity and duration of respiratory events via immune modulation, inflammatory regulation and viral control. Andrographis may be protective for patients at risk of severe consequences from infection.

Elderberry

Elderberry isn’t as well-known as Vitamin C but it packs a punch when it comes to immunity and assisting with colds and flus. It’s one of most researched herbs and has been shown to be effective against viral infections. The little known berry skyrocketed to fame when Miranda Kerr touted its benefits during the pandemic.

Medicinal mushrooms

Medicinal mushrooms like Reishi, Shitake, Cordyceps and Coriolus may have beneficial effects on our immune response by enhancing immune function and providing antiviral and antibacterial actions. They can trigger the production of Natural Killer cells, which help us fight back against invading pathogens, which may help us recover from infections while providing resistance to illness.

In addition they are beneficial for our gut microbiome in many ways including acting as a prebiotic source which supplies food for our beneficial flora and also via signalling to our immune system. In addition, medicinal mushrooms are nourishing for our adrenal glands and can help us cope with stress. These mushrooms with benefits usually come in a powder form and can be mixed with plant based milks and honey.

Probiotics

Considering that 80 per cent of the immune system resides in the gut, this is a crucial area to support in winter and probiotics are a great tool for good gut health. These tiny live organisms, which we consume in the billions (of colony forming units), can have a big impact on our physical wellbeing.

Their antimicrobial effect in the gut promotes immune modulation which makes them an effective tool against allergic and inflammatory responses while at the same time improving resistance to pathogens.

Propolis

Propolis is always in my handbag in winter and whenever I travel, especially on planes. Produced as a by-product of honey production, bees use the sticky substance to coat the inside of the hive and it does the same thing in our throat, reducing the likelihood of bacteria taking hold or infecting the host, which may protect against catching a virus.

It’s also valued for its antimicrobial, antiviral and antifungal properties, which have been shown to be effective against viruses like influenza. It may also be useful for sore throats, ear infections and any mild upper respiratory tract infection.

Vitamin C

Long touted for its ability to reduce cold and flu symptoms and ramp up immunity, Vitamin C is one of the most popular supplements in the world. For the best impact against a cold or flu, try liposomal formulations of Vitamin C which have been shown to improve absorption – up to 93 per cent compared to 17 per cent for regular Vitamin C capsules.

Vitamin D

The sunshine vitamin really came into its own during the pandemic with a lot of studies showing how important it was in the fight against COVID-19. It has even been proposed that vitamin D supplementation could help reduce the severity of a flu for nursing home residents.

It has long been known that Vitamin D is useful when it comes to immunity but it’s estimated that 30-50 per cent of us could be deficient. A daily supplement can top up regular bursts of sunshine.

Zinc

Zinc is one of my favourite supplements, especially when it is in a readily available form like citrate or glycinate for better absorption. Zinc can help with many modern ailments including immunity, as long as it’s taken in the right dose – around 25-50mg daily.

Some research during the pandemic showed that absorption was markedly increased when taken with ECGC (from green tea) to increase zinc’s anti-viral activity while other studies revealed that COVID-19 patients lacking in zinc developed more complications.

Always seek the advice of a health practitioner and speak to your Naturopath before self-prescribing herbal medicine, especially if you are taking any other medication. Fin Mackenzie is a naturopath, Naturopathic & Nutritional Medicine Lecturer at Endeavour College of Natural Health, and founder of Green Door Health.

“If you start steroids in a hurry, you suppress your body’s natural immunity”

“If you start steroids in a hurry, you suppress your body’s natural immunity”

  • May 14, 2021
The rampant use of steroids, which is being seen as a reliable way to treat COVID patients is in question these days. There are random prescriptions being circulated from recovered COVID patients, urging and encouraging people to self medicate. Moreover, many doctors are prescribing prolonged doses of steroids, which are leading to further complications. It needs to be noted that steroids are medicines that need to be used judiciously and under proper guidance. We spoke exclusively to Dr Lancelot Pinto, a consultant pulmonologist and epidemiologist at Hinduja Hospital in Mumbai, who is an MBBS and Master of Science in epidemiology from McGill University, Montreal, Canada about the nuisance surrounding steroids use and concerning methods many doctors are using to treat COVID patients.

Many steroid prescriptions are freely floating and many people are blindly following it, which is a dangerous trend.


Dr Lancelot: It all boils down to understanding what happens in COVID-19 and we have had more than one year and two months of experience in it. And, you know, the understanding is always straightforward, that in the first week, most of the problems happen because of the virus. Towards the end of the first week, in a very small subset of people, the deterioration that happens is because of a very aggressive and, and very hyper responsive immune system.

“If you start steroids in a hurry, you suppress your body’s natural immunity”

Duration – 05:29 min

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So therefore, in the first week, your aim should be to do whatever you can, whatever might be feasible to try and, you know, keep the virus in check. And towards the end of the first week, if somebody deteriorates, that’s when there’s almost no virus left in the body. So more studies have shown us that after 10 days, your probability of transmission comes down to almost zero. So clearly, the virus is on its way out. If you do antibodies, you know, if you do IDM antibodies, IDM antibodies make their appearance somewhere towards the middle towards the end of the first week.

So if you look at the statistics, almost 80 to 85% of individuals with COVID, will self heal, will heal without any treatment whatsoever. So what happens in these individuals is that those natural antibodies in the first week, climb up gradually, take care of the virus, the virus gets killed, and you move on in life. Now, in that scene, you get steroids, which by definition suppresses your immunity – so when your body’s trying to fight the virus with its own immunity and will succeed in a majority of individuals in that stage, you give them steroids, you are suppressing their immunity, and you are allowing the virus to freely grow.

So that’s the big problem. So which is why you need to be very cautious about it in the viremic phase. So you need to be very cautious about giving steroids in this phase. Once you are reasonably certain that you’re probably off the viremic phase, and for some reason you’re in a hyper immune phase, your body is reacting a lot more strongly than it should and that immune response might cause damage, that is where steroids may have a role. Now I say ‘may’, because the largest trial which used steroids, found a benefit only if it was used in people whose oxygen levels are falling. Some would argue that in the second week, if you’re getting a very high fever, for example, you should get steroids. Now, maybe there is a rationale there, I don’t know. But it’s not been scientifically proven. So the science points out to just one direction, that if the oxygen levels fall, that’s when you’re supposed to give steroids, in no other circumstance are you supposed to give steroids.

coronavirus vaccination1

Basically, in a nutshell, that’s the whole philosophy of steroids. So therefore, you know, what tends to happen is what we at least this time around, I feel, a lot of young individuals have very strong fever in the first three, four days, you know, of course, 102 102.5, though, it’s not not settling. So doctors prescribe a whole cocktail of everything under the sun. But that cocktail doesn’t work for COVID. So therefore, there is no response, there is no change in that fever, because that will always change when the body is ready. So on day three, day four, the patient probably goes to the doctor and says, “Listen, you’re giving me a cocktail of 10 drugs and yet my fever hasn’t budged in three days.” So I suspect that is a nudge for the doctor where the doctor says, okay, fine, let’s add some steroids. And that, unfortunately, is causing a lot of problems. So we’re seeing a lot of individuals who should not have deteriorated based on their profile. Young people, no comorbidities, who in an ideal world based on the statistics that we’ve seen across the world should not have deteriorated, but they deteriorate and come to us in a bad shape because some overenthusiastic doctor has given them a very high, high dose of steroids.

That’s a common concern among patients as being openly discussed in the medical fraternity too that patients are being overdosed with steroids. There is no rule being followed here…


Dr Lancelot: Yeah, so that’s the, that’s the second message. So there are two different aspects to this one – one is the early users, right, which actually is responsible, probably responsible for the patient deteriorating today. The second is secondary infections where you will get too much of steroids and you’re given it for too long a period. So you may be a very sensible doctor who’s not given it in the first week, who waited for a person to know their oxygen levels to drop, then started steroids, but then for some reason, you continued it for a month. This causes its own set of problems, because that leads to high blood sugar that leads to bacterial infections, viral infection, so there are different aspects.

What is the ratio you see of people recovering from COVID and succumbing to it?


Dr Lancelot: If you ask me honestly, a lot of it is getting confounded by these factors – the factors of early institutional steroids. So one, there’s one group, which started steroids early and therefore their condition deteriorated. Then there’s another group, which waits till it’s too late and have to be hospitalised, but they already have significant damage because they came in too late. So that’s the other, you know, that is associated with higher mortality as well. If you come in too late, there’s not much that can be done last minute, you know.

So I think when you just count percentages of that, if you just use a normal number, it might seem that India is having a higher proportion. But I think it’s also complicated by the fact that it’s not straightforward. I have handheld a significant number of people from home now over the past two months, because we do teleconference calls. So I’m doing teleconferences with people from Delhi and other parts of the country. I have seen them at some point and now I am managing them, telling them what to watch out for and helping them monitor their condition well at home. And honestly, a very small proportion of those people have gotten admitted. But that takes a lot of hand holding between the patient and the doctor. Because if you’re with somebody like me, you’re not going to get a prescription with 10 drugs on it. You will get a prescription with almost nothing on it initially, except good, solid, moderate monitoring. So the only way doctors can build experience at doing this is that they do it more often. Now, if you’ve been prescribing 10 drugs, and I told somebody that 85% of people with COVID, you do whatever you want to them, they will still probably get better. But the doctor giving 10 drugs will say that because he prescribed those drugs, 85% of his patients got better.Now, for him, to suddenly break that belief and go down to prescribing no drugs is challenging, like, how will he get that confidence? If he’s never done it before? Right.

Immune Response From mRNA COVID-19 Vaccines Is More Robust Than Natural Infection

Immune Response From mRNA COVID-19 Vaccines Is More Robust Than Natural Infection

  • May 12, 2021

The antibody response induced by mRNA vaccination against coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is stronger and more variable than that of natural infection, a new study found.

The study, published on the bioRxiv preprint server, used data from ongoing seroprevalence studies in Orange County, Calif., before and after a campaign to administer mRNA vaccines.

“MRNA vaccine induced antibody levels are spectacular and appear rapidly within a few days after vaccination,” corresponding author Philip Felgner, PhD, professor in residence and director of the Vaccine R&D Center at the University of California, Irvine told Contagion. “Only in our dreams we could have imagined a vaccine that that could be developed so quickly, works so well, can be manufactured at scale, distributed and administered to billions of people worldwide within months.”

The study included a cohort of 6724 health care workers from the University of California Irvine Medical Center, who were vaccinated within 3 weeks as part of an intensive vaccination campaign that began Dec. 16. It also included participants in a countywide study in Orange County and a focused community study in Santa Ana.

Before the vaccination campaign, seropositivity among health care workers increased from 4.5% in May to 13% in December. After vaccination, seropositivity rose to 78% by the last week of January, 93% by the last week of February and 98.7% by the last week of March.

“Ab levels induced by the vaccine are much higher than levels induced by natural exposure and infection,” Felgner said. “The vaccine also induces cross reactive Abs against other novel CoV strains that are not induced by natural exposure and infection. This offers hope that the vaccine will be effective against emerging virus variants that are circulating around the world.”

The vaccines induced robust reactivity levels, including antibodies against the full-length spike protein, S1 and S2 subunits, and the receptor binding domain (RBD) of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, which binds to the angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptor on host cells. Cross-reactive antibodies between the spike protein and RBD induced by the vaccine could possibly provide protection against emerging variants.

This differs from the response from natural infection, which had weak antibody levels against RBD but produced the highest levels of antibodies against nucleocapsid protein (NP) antigens. Anti-nucleocapsid antibodies weren’t affected by the vaccines and could indicate prior natural exposure.

After the second dose of the vaccine, antibody titers were up to 10 times higher than those of patients who had recovered from natural COVID-19 infection, suggesting that even those with prior exposure could benefit from vaccination.

The study also found that people who have had prior exposure to SARS-CoV-2 had a stronger immune response to the vaccine, developing antibody levels faster than those who hadn’t been exposed to the virus.

Weekly monitoring of 9 individuals before and after vaccination showed differences in responses to first and second doses of the vaccine and suggested that for many individuals a more robust response only occurred after the second shot.

Felgner said further research is needed to discover ways to boost immunity in immune compromised individuals, who do not develop high antibody levels after vaccination. Further research also is needed to measure the duration of immunity and to compare immune responses of different vaccines.

“Nucleic acid vaccination was discovered 30 years ago,” Felgner said. “Thirty years of scientific discovery by hundreds of scientists, clinical development and manufacturing supported with billions of dollars from the NIH and several companies led to the outcome we’re experiencing today, and saving the world.”

Pfizer announced recently that individuals who received the BNT162b2 COVID-19 vaccine will most likely need a third dose within 12 months of being fully vaccinated, and annual vaccinations may be necessary.

After the success of its COVID-19 vaccine, Moderna announced that it has 14 different mRNA vaccines in clinical trials for viruses including respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), cytomegalovirus (CMV) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

capsimmunesystem.org