Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Archive for March 1st, 2021

First vaccine to fully immunize against malaria builds on pandemic-driven RNA tech

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Monisha Ravisetti writes in The Academic Times about some very good news indeed:

Consistently ranked as one of the leading causes of death around the world, malaria doesn’t have an eective vaccine yet. But researchers have invented a promising new blueprint for one — with properties akin to the novel RNA- based vaccine for COVID-19.

Making a vaccine for malaria is challenging because its associated parasite, Plasmodium, contains a protein that inhibits production of memory T-cells, which protect against previously encountered pathogens. If the body can’t generate these cells, a vaccine is ineective. But scientists recently tried a new approach using an RNA-based platform.

Their design circumvented the sneaky protein, allowed the body to produce the needed T-cells and completely immunized against malaria. The patent application for their novel vaccine, which hasn’t yet been tested on humans, was published by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Oce on Feb. 4.

“It’s probably the highest level of protection that has been seen in a mouse model,” said Richard Bucala, co-inventor of the new vaccine and a physician and professor at Yale School of Medicine.

The team’s breakthrough could save hundreds of thousands of lives, particularly in developing nations. In 2019 alone, there were an estimated 229 million cases of malaria and 409,000 deaths worldwide. Of those deaths, 94% were in Africa, with children being the most vulnerable.

“It aects societies and populations that have the least amount of resources and expertise to manage these infections well,” Bucala told The Academic Times. “We need new vaccines, and we need more tools.”

Novartis Pharmaceuticals and the National Institutes of Health funded the work. GlaxoSmithKline is an assignee on the patent, which if approved, will allow the company to produce the vaccine and make it available to the public.

At present, the only vaccine to prevent malaria is called RTS,S. Approved two years ago, this vaccine is the result of nearly two decades of research, but is only about 30% eective. And after four years, that gure drops to 15%.

“It doesn’t work very well,” Bucala said. “And the research studies all have the conclusion that the people who fail to mount a vaccine response, or who get reinfected, have poor memory T-cell responses.”

Along with Andrew Geall, a pharmaceutical researcher who developed the RNA platform that the duo used, Bucala found a way to prevent the unwanted protein in Plasmodium, called PMIF, from inhibiting T-cell generation.

“Our research studies indicate that . . .

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Written by Leisureguy

1 March 2021 at 5:18 pm

More signs of Spring

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Another cluster of crocuses out front. Today I had a hearing aid tune-up, and what a difference it makes. The audiologist said that it’s worthwhile stopping in for a check-up ad adjustment every couple of years: one’s hearing changes (generally degradation of hearing higher frequencies), and the hearing aid can be adjusted for a new amplification curve (degree amplified by frequency). Also, the firmware in the hearing aids generally needs an update — and that was the case today, with the update downloaded and installed.

As I left, high frequencies were once again clearly heard, which made sound much crisper — the same sensation I noticed when I first got hearing aids.

Hearing aids — good hearing aids — are expensive, but all this maintenance and testing and updating is free, as are the supplies (cleaning picks, domes over the speaker, batteries). And I have a dehumidifier where my hearing aids spend each night to maximize lifespan of the devices.

Written by Leisureguy

1 March 2021 at 4:31 pm

Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s wealth tax is a good idea

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And it is by no means onerous. Here’s how it works. I am listening now to her announcement, being streamed live.

I really have difficulty seeing a valid objection to this idea, but a lot of good arguments for it. The tax affects only 100,000 households across the entire US.

Written by Leisureguy

1 March 2021 at 11:12 am

Ahhh, the Monday shave — even better with the new pre-shave

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I was going to use MR GLO again before switching again to Grooming Dept Moisturizing Pre-Shave, so that I could have a side-by-side (day 1/day 2) comparison, but when the time came for the shave I just really wanting to use that GD pre-shave. So I did.

And, I have to say, I think it does a great job. I used a Valobra shave stick — and that’s an excellent shave stick if you’re interested in one — and I do think the lather in this case was not quite so good as I’ve gotten with using MR GLO. My guess is that the difference is due to the oil content and the difference in loading. For both tub soap and a shave stick, I prepare the stubble with the GD pre-shave by rubbing it well into my stubble — and this pre-shave is heavy on oil. Then:

  1. Tub soap: Load the brush fully directly from the soap, then move to the stubble, with the fully loaded brush.
  2. Shave stick: Rub stick over the stubble and pre-shave, which mixes soap and pre-shave. Then use damp brush to load the mixture and build lather from it.

The first works fine, the second not so well — at least not this morning. I’ll perhaps try again, but just from the description I think it would work better to use MR GLO with shave sticks and reserve the GD pre-shave for use with tub soaps and shaving creams. Carefully mixing oils/waxes with an approximately equal amount of soap before trying to build lather: that does not sound like a recipe for a good lather.

Fortunately, a) almost all my shaving is done with tub soaps, and b) I enjoy MR GLO and will happily use that with shave sticks.

Despite the so-so lather, the iKon stainless-steel slant sliced the stubble superbly, leaving a smooth result. A little splash of Speick, and the week is launched. I noticed that Speick provides another example of the German fondness for locking screw-tops. My Meisner-Tremnia lids also use locking screws.

Written by Leisureguy

1 March 2021 at 10:56 am

Posted in Shaving

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