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Building Your Brand on YouTube

– Contributed content –

YouTube film strip

(Gerd Altmann, Pixabay)

8 June 2021. When you look at the numbers, you’ll see that over five billion videos are watched on YouTube every day – that equates to about one billion hours. Increasingly, with the advent of better editing and production values, younger generations are turning to YouTube when they might otherwise have watched TV. It’s a powerhouse, and it’s only going to get bigger.

It makes sense, then, that you should showcase your brand and business on this social media platform. You might already have considered Facebook or Instagram, but with the number of visitors who log into YouTube every day, if you don’t also have a channel here, you’re missing out on a lot of potential business.

With all this in mind, what are the best ways to build a brand on YouTube? Whether you intend to utilize YouTube API or you want to start more straightforwardly, the following points are sure to help you.

Know your target audience 

Before you can create a YouTube channel and enhance your business brand through it (or even your personal brand if this is your preference), you need to know who your target audience is. Just because you are using a video channel doesn’t mean you should ignore the rules governing marketing in general, and knowing who your target audience is will be crucial.

Unless you are aware of who you are selling to, you won’t be able to make content that works for them and interests them. For example, if your brand sells products to seniors, they’re not necessarily going to be interested in the kind of marketing that would work for young adults or parents. When you understand your market, you can ensure your videos fit with what they are expecting. This goes a long way towards making them trust your brand.

Research the competition 

Not every business owner wants to know what their competition is doing, especially if they are doing better. They will prefer to simply ignore this issue and carry on with their own work. Although this can be an ideal way to live in real life, in business, it can spell disaster. You need to know what your competitors are doing so that you can react.

Another benefit to knowing what your competition is doing when it comes to YouTube marketing is getting some good ideas about what works and what doesn’t. Take a look at the kinds of videos your rivals are posting, and see how many views and likes or dislikes they have. Read through the comments. This will give you the perfect snapshot of what kind of content to create.

Promote correctly

In the past, YouTube was not as highly populated as it is today, which meant that you could see a business video with the right hashtags and title quite easily. Today, millions of YouTube users all upload millions of videos, and your piece of content could easily be lost in the crowd.

When you promote your video or channel in the right way, this is less likely to happen. Utilizing the other social media platforms you are signed up to as well as your own website and blog, you need to market your YouTube channel just as much as you market your products and services. When you do this, your target market will find you much more easily.

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Genetic Link Found for Covid-19 Loss of Smell

Saliva sample kit

23andMe saliva sample collection kit (23andMe)

7 June 2021. A genetic analysis identifies a single genetic variation associated with loss of smell and taste, an early symptom in many people with Covid-19 infections. Researchers from the consumer genetics company 23andMe conducted the analysis reported on 31 May in a paper posted on MedRxiv, a preprint server, with the findings not yet peer-reviewed.

Loss of smell and taste, known as anosmia, is an early and common symptom of Covid-19 infections. A review of 24 studies of more than 8,400 patients in 13 countries shows about four in 10 people with Covid-19 lose their ability to smell odors. And the loss of smell or taste continues among those infected well after other symptoms disappear. Because anosmia is such a common symptom, and sometimes the only symptom experienced by many infected individuals, it’s considered a reliable indicator of community spread and mitigation.

The company 23andMe, in Sunnyvale, California, conducts on-demand genetics testing for individuals to determine their ancestry and genetic traits, or reveal inherited health risks. Customers of these services are given the option to take part in research studies, usually involving surveys, that connect genetic factors and variations with medical conditions. According to 23andMe, some 80 percent of its 10 million customers agree to take part in these studies.

A key genetic variation

One of the company’s studies seeks to find genetic indicators associated with Covid-19 symptoms. The project recruited 23andMe customers testing positive or hospitalized with Covid-19 infections — enrollment is now closed — with participants providing saliva samples and answering occasional surveys. Researchers enlisted 1.3 million participants from the U.S. and U.K. before closing enrollment in March 2021. The 23andMe team led by geneticist Adam Auton conducted a genome-wide association study that scans a person’s entire genome, looking for genetic indicators associated with a particular conditions, in this case loss of smell or taste among people with Covid-19.

The researchers found 69,841 participants testing positive for the SARS-CoV-2 virus, with two-thirds (68%) reporting a loss of taste or smell. The genome-wide analysis shows a connection between this sensory loss and the the UGT2A1 and UGT2A2 genes that code for proteins in the surface of nasal passages for detecting odors. The team found a single nucleotide polymorphism, or SNP, a genomic variation in the vicinity of these genes strongly associated with sensory loss. Because these genes are important for producing the sense of smell, the researchers hypothesize this SNP may be responsible for impairing these functions in people with Covid-19 infections.

Results show people of European descent are most likely (37%) to report this particular SNP, while those of East Asian ancestry are least likely (19%). The 23andMe team also looked for other demographic patterns among participants losing their ability to smell and taste. The findings show these sensory losses decreasing with age, dropping from 73 percent among participants age 26-35 to 43 percent among those age 85 and older. Women are somewhat more likely than men, 72 and 61 percent respectively, to lose their smell and taste functions.

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Infographic – Conventional Clinical Trial Process

Clinical trial process graphic

Click on image for full-size view (CB Insights)

5 June 2021. Science & Enterprise reports on many clinical trials, but also on efforts to improve the ways these studies are conducted. The technology market research company CB Insights recently issued a report (registration required) on companies working to reduce the long time and high cost of most clinical trials that includes a chart showing why the process is in such dire need of disruption.

The graphic — click on the image above for a full-size view — shows the many steps needed for prospects to find, enroll, and participate in a clinical trial, as well as the follow-up process by the study team. Moreover, many of those steps are labor-intensive and impose substantial time or cost burdens on participants and caregivers, particularly those living some distance from a clinical trial site. The CB Insights report points out a number of companies designing more efficient ways of collecting and analyzing clinical trial data that take advantage of mobile technology to ease travel burdens on participants, electronic health records to reduce the volume of data required from participants, and artificial intelligence to speed the analysis.

Adaptive trials are another cost- and time-saving innovation that enable clinical studies testing multiple treatments to share a common protocol and administrators, as well as make changes in design while the study is underway. NIH’s Activ trials of Covid-19 therapies are a current example of adaptive trials. And better use of real-world evidence, from electronic health and insurance claim records, are being tested as an alternative to post-marketing studies that report on long-term treatment effects.

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FDA Okays Lower Dose, Injected Covid-19 Antibodies

Intradermal injection

Intradermal injection (British Columbia Institute of Technology, Wikimedia Commons,

4 June 2021. The Food and Drug Administration updated its emergency authorization for a dual-antibody Covid-19 therapy to allow for a lower and injectable dose. Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. in Tarrytown, New York says FDA extended its authorization to increase supplies and ease administration of the company’s synthetic antibodies casirivimab and imdevimab, given together to treat Covid-19 infections in non-hospitalized patients.

FDA cleared the combination of casirivimab and imdevimab in November 2020 as a therapy for people age 12 and older with Covid-19 infections, mild to moderate symptoms not requiring hospitalization, and considered at high risk of progressing to severe illness. High risk individuals include those over 65, obese, pregnant, or having a chronic condition such as diabetes or heart disease. At the time of authorization, casirivimab and imdevimab were given as an intravenous infusion in doses of 1,200 milligrams each, or 2,400 milligrams total.

Patients prescribed the antibody combination, now marketed by Regeneron as Regen-Cov, needed to receive their treatment at a hospital or clinic with the ability to provide intravenous infusions, which limited its availability. The updated authorization now calls for giving Regen-Cov in 1,200 milligram doses, 600 milligrams for each antibody, and as an intradermal or under-the-skin injection if infusions are not feasible. Intradermal injections can be given at doctors’ offices and outpatient clinics without infusion equipment. The lower dose also, in effect, doubles its supply.

Antibodies act against leading variants

Regeneron says FDA’s new Regen-Cov authorization is based on results of several clinical trials, including a late-stage study reported last month at a professional meeting. The findings from more than 4,500 participants show similar efficacy of the 1,200 and 2,400 milligram doses, defined as reduced risk of hospitalization, less time needed to resolve symptoms, and reduced viral load after seven days. In another trial, reported by Science & Enterprise in April, Regen-Cov given as an intradermal injection helps reduce the risk of symptomatic infections among household members of Covid-19 patients, and prevents individuals already infected with SARS-CoV-2 viruses from developing Covid-19 disease symptoms.

“Despite increased use of vaccines,” says George Yancopoulos, Regeneron’s president and chief scientist, in a company statement, “thousands of patients are still becoming infected in the U.S. every day, with many at high risk of serious complications from Covid-19. Unfortunately, to date only a fraction of patients eligible for antibody treatments have received them, which we hope will change based on this updated FDA authorization.”

The company says lab studies show the Regen-Cov antibodies also act against two of the more prominent SARS-CoV-2 viral variants, B.1.351 first identified in South Africa and P.1 first found in Brazil. World Health Organization now labels those variants Beta and Gamma respectively.

Regeneron develops synthetic antibodies that stimulate the immune system to prevent or treat infectious diseases. The company’s VelocImmune technology produces these human antibodies with genetically engineered mice. The engineered mice become living production lines, says the company, producing antibodies that respond as a human to a specific pathogen, while not affecting the rest of the animal. The antibodies are then retrieved and combined with human genetic properties for testing as therapies.

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Modernizing Your Business: Tips For Entrepreneurs

– Contributed content –

Workgroup around laptop

(Rawpixel, Pixabay)

4 June 2021. To succeed in business, you have to be able to evolve, develop and adapt. There is no time to stand still even if you’re attracting rave reviews and sales are increasing. If you are a forward-thinking entrepreneur looking to modernize their business and blaze a trail, this guide is packed with useful tips.

Investing in technology

Technology is increasingly influential in the world of business, and most companies can benefit from investing in new technology and embracing innovation. You can use technology to boost efficiency, save money, simplify tasks and processes and gain a competitive advantage. Look into investment options that will have a positive impact on your business, and carry out regular audits to see what needs updating or replacing. From automation and augmented reality to new machines, devices and equipment, you can utilize technology to streamline operations, free up time for your team to focus on core tasks and provide a better service for your customers.

Adopting greener ways of working

We are more conscious about the future of the planet than ever before. More and more businesses are setting ambitious targets to reduce emissions, and consumers are actively searching for brands and companies that do their bit. As a business owner, you can enhance your brand image and reputation by supporting green initiatives at the same time as saving money and contributing to global efforts to protect the environment. Take a look at sites like to find out more about community solar programs, invest in sustainable materials and supplies, encourage green commuting and try to reduce your energy consumption. You can also swap company vehicles for hybrid or electric cars, implement recycling schemes at work and donate to eco charities and causes as part of your corporate social responsibility plans.

Embracing flexible working arrangements

Flexible working had become more commonplace before the pandemic but it is expected to gather pace in the months and years to come. More employees are looking for flexible roles that promote a better work-life balance, and companies are adjusting to remote working models. As an employer, you can support your team and encourage talented employees to join your company by embracing flexible working and understanding the importance of morale and wellbeing. Flexible arrangements can also save businesses a substantial amount of money in rent and employee expenses. If you pay to rent offices in a premium location, for example, you could cut your bills significantly by hiring coworking spaces and meeting rooms on an ad hoc basis and allowing employees to work from home more frequently. To find out more about the benefits of creating a more flexible workplace, take a look at this article

To compete and cater to customer demands and new trends, businesses have to be able to move with the times and adapt. If you are looking to the future and you want to lead rather than follow the crowd, take these tips on board. Invest in technology, embrace innovation, adopt greener, eco-friendly ways of working and try to create more flexible workplaces.

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Low Cost Vaccine, Patch Device Produce Immune Responses

Vaccine patch

High density microarray patch (Vaxxas, Univ. of Queensland)

3 June 2021. Tests with lab mice show one dose of a lower cost Covid-19 vaccine given with a needle-free patch generates strong antibody and cellular immune responses. Researchers from University of Queensland in St. Lucia, Australia report their findings of the HexaPro vaccine with a high-density microarray patch that appear this week on the BioRxiv preprint server and are not yet peer-reviewed.

Vaccines have become a key weapon against the Covid-19 pandemic, and where widely administered, they reduce infections, hospitalizations, and deaths. Today’s Covid-19 vaccines are made with advanced biotechnology processes, such as synthetic messenger RNA, given by injection, which in most cases require two doses. Current vaccines also require deep refrigeration or freezing from their manufacturing sites to injection, which limits their shelf life and raises distribution costs. Maintaining this so-called cold chain is difficult to achieve in some lower resource regions of the world.

A team at University of Texas in Austin and Mount Sinai medical center in New York is developing a lower-cost Covid-19 vaccine designed to be more easily manufactured, transported, and administered. The HexaPro vaccine uses a synthetic protein resembling the protein on the surface of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus spike, to generate a protective response from the immune system, including antibodies and T-cells, against six variations of the protein. But HexaPro is also designed to be produced in eggs, an inexpensive manufacturing process similar to flu vaccines used for seven decades, to reduce the final cost of the vaccine to health authorities.

Easy painless vaccine administration

In addition, the vaccine is less heat-sensitive and more stable than many other Covid-19 vaccines, requiring normal refrigeration, 2 to 8 degrees C (35 to 46 F). Vaxxas, in Brisbane, Australia and spun-off from Queensland university labs, develops high-density microneedle patches or HD-MAPs for administering vaccines, a technology that allows vaccines to be stored at ambient temperatures. Each nine-millimeter square patch contains micro-scale needles coated with a dry form of the vaccine that remains stable for 30 days in temperatures reaching 25 degrees C (77 F). In addition, Vaxxas uses an applicator device for easy painless administration of the vaccine, or even self-administration, without syringes that can frighten recipients.

Researchers led by Queensland’s David Muller, a research fellow in chemistry and molecular biology, tested the HexaPro vaccine administered with an HD-MAP in lab mice engineered to express Covid-19 infections and human immune responses. The mice were given the vaccine with HD-MAPs in one or two doses, as well as with or without an adjuvant to boost the immune response. Likewise, comparable doses were given to mice through intradermal syringe injections, with both vaccination methods compared to unvaccinated mice. The mice were then given SARS-CoV-2 viruses through the nose. After six days, blood and tissue samples from their lungs and brains were collected.

The results show a two doses of HexaPro or a single dose of HexaPro with an adjuvant, given either with HD-MAPs or injections, stops Covid-19 infections in mice, which show no sign of virus in their lungs or brains. Blood samples show, however, that a single dose of HexaPro and adjuvant given with an HD-MAP produce strong and broad immunoglobulin G and T-cell responses that protect against the B.1.1.7 and B.1.35.1 variants, first discovered in the U.K. and South Africa respectively, exceeding the immune responses of mice given the vaccine with intradermal injections.

“We designed this research to address the serious on-going need to improve the global vaccination efforts against COVID-19 and future pandemics,” says Muller in a Vaxxas statement released through BusinessWire. “Based on our results, we believe that Vaxxas’ HD-MAP could offer a compelling solution that importantly could use less vaccine and potentially could be readily distributed without refrigeration for self-administration.”

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Trade, Finance, Health Groups Urge Vaccine Boost

Vaccine vials

(ulleo, Needpix)

2 June 2021. The leaders of four international economic and health organizations call for a $50 billion investment to ensure faster vaccinations in all parts of the world. The heads of the International Monetary Fund, World Bank, World Health Organization, and World Trade Organization argue their case in a joint statement released yesterday to newspapers worldwide.

The global organization leaders — Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala of the World Trade Organization, David Malpass of the World Bank, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus of the World Health Organization, and Kristalina Georgieva of the International Monetary Fund — warn that the current trends point to a two-track pandemic response, where rich nations have access to Covid-19 vaccines, and the rest of the world is left behind. Not only is the two-track response making millions of people in lower resource regions more vulnerable to the virus, say the authors, but it allows more dangerous variants to evolve and emerge, threatening all parts of the world and causing serious economic dislocations.

“It need not be this way,” says the statement. “That is why we are calling today for a new level of international support for, and implementation of, a stepped up coordinated strategy, backed by new financing, to vaccinate the world.”

A prudent international investment

The four organization heads urge governments to adopt an International Monetary Fund staff proposal released in May with a roadmap for defeating the pandemic. The IMF plan calls for vaccinating at least 40 percent of the world’s population by the end of 2021 and 60 percent by the middle of 2022. The paper also points out the need for diversifying and boosting production by 1 billion doses by early 2022, as well as increasing genomic surveillance and supply chain monitoring to guard against emerging viral variants and supply chain interruptions. And the proposal recommends strengthening the global public health care support structure with widespread testing and tracing and adequate supplies of therapies.

The organization leaders say this plan can be funded with $50 billion in grants, from national governments and development banks, including the World Bank that already has a $12 billion loan program for vaccinating poorer countries. The IMF is also preparing an increase in Special Drawing Rights, a program for supplementing member nations’ financial reserves to increase their liquidity. However, say the authors, the financing needs to be done quickly and transparently, with all funds provided in tandem.

The funds are expected to increase vaccine stocks of the Covax facility, short for Covid-19 Vaccine Global Access, backed by World Health Organization, European Union, and several non-government organizations. Covax seeks to provide worldwide equitable access to Covid-19 vaccines, designed and led by a group called Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. The plan would also benefit World Health Organization’s Access to Covid-19 Tools, or ACT-Accelerator, a collaboration to speed development, production, and access to Covid-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines.

The organization heads say the $50 billion is a prudent investment, calling it “potentially the best use of public money we will see in our lifetimes. It will pay a huge development dividend and boost growth and well-being globally.” In addition to reducing infections and saving lives, say the authors citing IMF estimates, the investment will “accelerate the economic recovery, and generate some $9 trillion in additional global output by 2025.”

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Electronic Device Cuts Bacterial Lab Test Time

Klebsiella pneumoniae

Klebsiella pneumoniae bacteria (

1 June 2021. An electronic device for assessing bacteria in blood samples is shown to meet conventional lab culture standards in a fraction of the usual testing time. Results evaluating the eQuant device, a system designed for the antibiotic susceptibility testing process developed by Avails Medical Inc. in Menlo Park, California, appear in yesterday’s issue of the journal Scientific Reports.

Antibiotic susceptibility testing helps determine the best antibacterial response regimen for individual patients, particularly patients in hospitals or clinics. In many of these health care settings, risks of bacterial infection are higher, yet the microbes are becoming increasingly resistant to current antibiotics. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says in 2015, some 687,000 health care associated infections were reported in U.S. acute care facilities, with 1 in 31 hospital patients contracting one of these infections. About 72,000 deaths occurred that year, says CDC, among patients with health care associated infections.

An antibiotic susceptibility test is usually done after a patient’s blood sample shows a positive result for resistant bacteria. Today, those tests first require bacteria to be measured in lab cultures requiring 18 to 24 hours of incubation time. In that time the bacteria grow to a strong enough concentration of cell counts to media to meet lab testing reference standards, known as MacFarland standards. The concentration standard for antibiotic susceptibility tests is called 0.5 MacFarland.

Measuring metabolic reactions of bacteria with voltage changes

The eQuant device inserts two electrodes into a patient’s blood sample or other fluids. The electrodes send electronic signals into the sample, and gauging bacterial metabolic reactions by oxidation changes in the blood, measured with voltage changes. As with current procedures, the eQuant test is used after a patient’s blood sample tests positive, identifies the specific bacteria strains, and quantifies those strains in the patient’s blood for the following antibiotic susceptibility test. The device, designed for medical labs, uses replaceable cartridges to hold individual patient samples.

In the paper, researchers from Avails Medical and Stanford University medical school — the company is founded by Stanford alumni — tested blood samples with two types of gram-negative bacteria: Escherichia coli or E. coli and Klebsiella pneumoniae, or K. pneumoniae. Some E. coli strains are also responsible for urinary tract infections, while K. pneumoniae is associated with pneumonia, blood stream, and surgical site infections. “Gram” refers to a classification for bacteria where the microbes either retain (gram-positive) or shed (gram-negative) a test stain on their protective cell coatings. The tough coating on gram-negative bacteria causing the microbes to shed the testing stain also helps protect the bacteria from antibiotics.

The researchers, led by Avails’s co-founder and chief technology officer Meike Herget, wrote an algorithm to measure cell-density concentrations of the two target gram-negative bacteria, as well as other microbes in the samples, against look-up tables of those bacteria cultured in agar-coated lab plates. The results show the eQuant device calculates bacterial concentrations to 0.5 MacFarland standards in one to two hours for antibiotic susceptibility tests or ASTs, compared to 18 to 24 hours needed by conventional lab procedures.

“Accelerating antibiotic susceptibility testing for blood stream infections,” says Herget in a company statement released through Cision, “is key to reduce patient mortality and to deescalate antibiotic therapy from a costly broad spectrum and empiric one to a targeted and lower cost therapy.” Herget adds, “With eQuant, we are addressing the holy grail of timely blood stream infection diagnosis by allowing AST directly from a patient positive blood culture, saving time and lives.”

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Memorial Day 2021

Vietnam Veterans Memorial

Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. 31 May 2021. (A. Kotok)

31 May 2021. It’s Memorial Day today in the U.S., a day to honor those who gave their lives in the service of this country. We spent the morning at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., a unique memorial both somber and uplifting that honors the individuals who died in that war.

We’ll resume our editorial posting tomorrow.

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Infographic – U.S. Kids Vaccine Status Matches Parents

Poll: Vaccination status

Click on image for full-size view (YouGov)

29 May 2021. If you want to discover the Covid-19 vaccination status or plans of children in the U.S., check if their parents are vaccinated. Those are the findings of a new survey conducted by the polling company YouGov for the Economist newspaper and reported yesterday.

Earlier this month, the Food and Drug Administration extended its emergency clearance for the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine to children as young as 12 years old, with parental consent, based on encouraging safety and efficacy data from clinical trials with children age 12 to 15.  And vaccine developer Moderna reported this week similar efficacy and safety results for its Covid-19 vaccine from a clinical trial of children and adolescents age 12 to 18. Moderna plans to submit its emergency authorization request for vaccinating this age group as early as next week.

Findings from the YouGov poll show the likelihood of children in the U.S. getting a Covid-19 vaccine depends largely on their parents’ vaccination status or plans. Among parents overall, about two-thirds (65%) say they already got their children vaccinated or plan to do so, while the remainder (35%) definitely plan not to vaccinate their children or are unsure. Among parents who already got or plan to get the vaccine, some eight in 10 (81%) say they plan to do the same for their children. However, nine in 10 parents not planning to get the vaccine or are unsure (90%) say they will not get their children vaccinated or don’t know.

Today’s New York Times indicates many adolescents in the U.S. eligible for a Covid-19 vaccine aren’t wasting any time getting their shots. In the two-and-a-half weeks since FDA authorized the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for this age group, some 2.5 million adolescents received their first of two shots, making up about a quarter of all vaccinations. This new surge is causing the overall daily vaccination rate to begin ticking up again in the U.S., after declining since early April.

YouGov conducted the online poll among 1,500 adults in the U.S. from 22 to 25 May. Participants were selected from YouGov’s opt-in panel, which the company says is representative of the U.S. population, and weighted by U.S. Census demographic data, participation in the 2020 presidential election, and voter registration. The findings have a confidence interval, sometimes called margin-of-error, of about 2.9 percent for the overall sample.

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Disclosure: The author owns shares in Pfizer.

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