How vaccines help

Vaccines contain weakened or inactive parts of a particular organism (antigen) that triggers an immune response within the body. Newer vaccines contain the blueprint for producing antigens rather than the antigen itself. Regardless of whether the vaccine is made up of the antigen itself or the blueprint so that the body will produce the antigen, this weakened version will not cause the disease in the person receiving the vaccine, but it will prompt their immune system to respond much as it would have on its first reaction to the actual pathogen.

Vaccines Antibody illustration 02_29 Oct

Some vaccines require multiple doses, given weeks or months apart. This is sometimes needed to allow for the production of long-lived antibodies and development of memory cells. In this way, the body is trained to fight the specific disease-causing organism, building up memory of the pathogen so as to rapidly fight it if and when exposed in the future.

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How do vaccines work?

 

This article is part of a series of explainers on vaccine development and distribution. Learn more about vaccines – from how they work and how they’re made to ensuring safety and equitable access – in WHO’s Vaccines Explained series.

Germs are all around us, both in our environment and in our bodies. When a person is susceptible and they encounter a harmful organism, it can lead to disease and death.

The body has many ways of defending itself against pathogens (disease-causing organisms). Skin, mucus, and cilia (microscopic hairs that move debris away from the lungs) all work as physical barriers to prevent pathogens from entering the body in the first place. 

When a pathogen does infect the body, our body’s defences, called the immune system, are triggered and the pathogen is attacked and destroyed or overcome.

The body’s natural response

A pathogen is a bacterium, virus, parasite or fungus that can cause disease within the body. Each pathogen is made up of several subparts, usually unique to that specific pathogen and the disease it causes. The subpart of a pathogen that causes the formation of antibodies is called an antigen. The antibodies produced in response to the pathogen’s antigen are an important part of the immune system. You can consider antibodies as the soldiers in your body’s defense system. Each antibody, or soldier, in our system is trained to recognize one specific antigen. We have thousands of different antibodies in our bodies. When the human body is exposed to an antigen for the first time, it takes time for the immune system to respond and produce antibodies specific to that antigen. 

In the meantime, the person is susceptible to becoming ill. 

Once the antigen-specific antibodies are produced, they work with the rest of the immune system to destroy the pathogen and stop the disease. Antibodies to one pathogen generally don’t protect against another pathogen except when two pathogens are very similar to each other, like cousins. Once the body produces antibodies in its primary response to an antigen, it also creates antibody-producing memory cells, which remain alive even after the pathogen is defeated by the antibodies. If the body is exposed to the same pathogen more than once, the antibody response is much faster and more effective than the first time around because the memory cells are at the ready to pump out antibodies against that antigen.

This means that if the person is exposed to the dangerous pathogen in the future, their immune system will be able to respond immediately, protecting against disease. 

Vaccines Antibody illustration 01_29 Oct

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Amazon TVs are coming in October… With Alexa spying built in…

Amazon is officially in the TV business. The company has announced its first lineup of Amazon-branded 4K Fire TVs, which will begin shipping in October. This is a major expansion from the company’s “Fire TV Edition” collaborations, where its popular streaming software comes preloaded on sets manufactured by other TV makers. But with its new Omni and 4-Series, Amazon is describing these as “Amazon-built TVs.”

The Omni series is the higher-end of the two, and beyond offering better picture quality, its other key selling point is hands-free voice control. Amazon includes far-field microphones in each model of the Omni series, which comes in 43, 50, 55, 65, and 75 inches. (Only the 65- and 75-inch models have Dolby Vision, but the others at least get HDR10.)

See also  The Four Horsemen of the Coming Crash, Pt 2

The company believes that by building the TV itself, it can create a more seamless Fire TV user experience than ever before. That’s led by the content-forward Fire TV interface and wide app selection, but Amazon believes that Alexa voice controls add a major convenience factor. On Omni sets, voice commands are always available — even if the TV is off. These voice commands can be used for finding something to watch, like usual, but you can also adjust the TV’s brightness, volume, or switch inputs with Alexa.

See also  Vaccine passports are coming “in the latter part of this year”

www.theverge.com/2021/9/9/22662673/amazon-fire-tv-omni-4-series-price-features

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Lieutenant Colonel in the US Army has resigned because he refuses to get the COVID-19 vaccine. He calls the order to be vaccinated “unlawful, unethical, immoral and tyrannical”, and calls the Biden Administration a “Marxist takeover of the military and United States” (3 Pics)

Lieutenant Colonel in the US Army has resigned because he refuses to get the COVID-19 vaccine. He calls the order to be vaccinated “unlawful, unethical, immoral and tyrannical”, and calls the Biden Administration a “Marxist takeover of the military and United States” (3 Pics)


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Expert: Documents Show Fauci-Funded Wuhan Lab Created Novel Coronavirus with ‘Enhanced Pathogenicity’ for Humans

Newly released U.S. government documents show that Dr. Anthony Fauci’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) provided funding for the gain-of-function research conducted at the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) that created novel coronaviruses with the ability to infect humans, and one previously undisclosed SARS-related coronavirus engineered at the Wuhan lab was reportedly demonstrated to be more pathogenic to humans than the virus from which it was originally constructed.

The 900 pages of documents – obtained by The Intercept through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit – prove that Fauci’s NIAID provided funding to EcoHealth Alliance, which in turn funded the controversial gain-of-function research at the Wuhan lab that created novel coronaviruses that could infect humans.

The Intercept’s report on the documents quotes Richard Ebright, a molecular biologist at Rutgers University, who said that the viruses the Wuhan lab constructed “were tested for their ability to infect mice that were engineered to display human type receptors on their cell.” And these viruses included both SARS-related and MERS-related coronaviruses.

Ebright later posted an eight-part thread on Twitter explaining in greater detail the document’s revelations concerning the “enhanced pathogenicity” of one of the “novel, laboratory-generated SARS-related coronaviruses” created by the Wuhan lab. He noted that this particular Wuhan lab-generated SARS-related coronavirus had not been “previously disclosed publicly” and that it was found to be “more pathogenic” to humans than “the starting virus from which it was constructed.”

Ebright’s Twitter thread reads:

The materials show that the 2014 and 2019 NIH grants to EcoHealth with subcontracts to WIV funded gain-of-function research as defined in federal policies in effect in 2014-2017 and potential pandemic pathogen enhancement as defined in federal policies in effect in 2017-present.

(This had been evident previously from published research papers that credited the 2014 grant and from the publicly available summary of the 2019 grant. But this now can be stated definitively from progress reports of the 2014 grant and the full proposal of the 2017 grant.)

The materials confirm the grants supported the construction–in Wuhan–of novel chimeric SARS-related coronaviruses that combined a spike gene from one coronavirus with genetic information from another coronavirus, and confirmed the resulting viruses could infect human cells.

The materials reveal that the resulting novel, laboratory-generated SARS-related coronaviruses also could infect mice engineered to display human receptors on cells (“humanized mice”).

The materials further reveal for the first time that one of the resulting novel, laboratory-generated SARS-related coronaviruses–one not been previously disclosed publicly–was more pathogenic to humanized mice than the starting virus from which it was constructed…

…and thus not only was reasonably anticipated to exhibit enhanced pathogenicity, but, indeed, was *demonstrated* to exhibit enhanced pathogenicity.

The materials further reveal that the the grants also supported the construction–in Wuhan–of novel chimeric MERS-related coronaviruses that combined spike genes from one MERS-related coronavirus with genetic information from another MERS-related coronavirus.

Ebright concluded his thread by stating: “The documents make it clear that assertions by the NIH Director, Francis Collins, and the NIAID Director, Anthony Fauci, that the NIH did not support gain-of-function research or potential pandemic pathogen enhancement at WIV are untruthful.”

As The Intercept’s article noted, “The closest relative of SARS-CoV-2, which causes Covid-19, is a virus found in bats, making the animals a focal point for efforts to understand the origins of the pandemic. Exactly how the virus jumped to humans is the subject of heated debate.”

Thus, the fact that these documents reveal the existence of a previously undisclosed “novel, laboratory-generated SARS-related” coronavirus with “enhanced pathogenicity” to infect humans should be a matter of intense interest to anyone searching for the potential origins of Covid-19.

 

The fact that a U.S. government agency led by Fauci provided funding for that research should also spark a much-needed debate. Sen. Rand Paul (R-IN), a fierce critic of Fauci, has continued to call for an investigation into this funding and a ban on any future funding of the Wuhan lab.

“I forced a vote about a month ago in Senate, and we actually won unanimously no longer to fund the Wuhan Institute, no longer to fund this research in China,” Paul said in a radio interview Tuesday. “Yet it hasn’t been signed by the president; it hasn’t been passed by the House yet.”

As Ebright noted, the fact that the Wuhan lab was conducting gain-of-function research with coronaviruses was well established.

In an article last May documenting the evidence behind the “lab leak theory” that Covid-19 originated at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, New York Times writer Nicholas Wade detailed the Wuhan lab’s extensive research into genetically engineering coronaviruses that could attack human cells.

Wade explained that the Wuhan lab’s “methodical approach was designed to find the best combination of coronavirus backbone and spike protein for infecting human cells. The approach could have generated SARS2-like viruses, and indeed may have created the SARS2 virus itself with the right combination of virus backbone and spike protein.”

Wade further noted:

It cannot yet be stated that Dr. Shi [head of the Wuhan Institute of Virology] did or did not generate SARS2 in her lab because her records have been sealed, but it seems she was certainly on the right track to have done so. “It is clear that the Wuhan Institute of Virology was systematically constructing novel chimeric coronaviruses and was assessing their ability to infect human cells and human-ACE2-expressing mice,” says Richard H. Ebright, a molecular biologist at Rutgers University and leading expert on biosafety.

“It is also clear,” Dr. Ebright said, “that, depending on the constant genomic contexts chosen for analysis, this work could have produced SARS-CoV-2 or a proximal progenitor of SARS-CoV-2.” “Genomic context” refers to the particular viral backbone used as the testbed for the spike protein.

Wade concluded, “The lab escape scenario for the origin of the SARS2 virus, as should by now be evident, is not mere hand-waving in the direction of the Wuhan Institute of Virology. It is a detailed proposal, based on the specific project being funded there by the NIAID.”

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GameStop Says It’s Moving Beyond Games, “Evolving” To Become A Technology Company


 GameStop has laid out its future ambitions, and it’s not all about selling video games. The retailer said as part of its latest earnings release that it is taking steps to evolve to become a more general technology company. This won’t come as much of a surprise to anyone who has been to a GameStop store or visited the retailer’s website in the past few years, as the physical and virtual shelves are populated by plenty of non-gaming items like Funko Pops, clothing, general merchandise, electronics, and other products not strictly tied to gaming.

Still, GameStop is now putting it in writing that it no longer wants to position itself as a video game company first and foremost.

“GameStop has two long-term goals: delighting customers and delivering value for stockholders. We are evolving from a video game retailer to a technology company that connects customers with games, entertainment and a wide assortment of products,” the retailer said in a filing with the SEC (via Yahoo! Finance). “We are focused on offering vast product selection, competitive pricing and fast shipping–supported by high-touch customer service and a frictionless ecommerce and in-store experience.”

To realize its vision, GameStop is aiming to increase the size of its addressable market by “growing [its] product catalog” in areas like consumer electronics, collectibles, toys, and “other categories” that make sense for the business. GameStop is also looking to expand its fulfillment operations to help speed up delivery. It recently opened a massive facility in Pennsylvania and will open one in Nevada next year to support this plan.

What’s more, GameStop is looking to flesh out its technology capabilities by “investing in new systems, modernized ecommerce assets and an expanded, experienced talent base.” The retailer said it also plans to improve its US-based custom service capabilities.

GameStop has for years been moving beyond gaming. It was once a big player in the mobile phone space through its subsidiary Spring Mobile, which it sold in 2018 for $700 million. GameStop also sold off its Simply Mac division back in 2019.

Recently, GameStop has made headlines for its “meme stock” drama. Earlier this years, members of the WallStreetBets subreddit bought up stock as part of a short squeeze that propelled the stock price to new heights, and the stock continues to trade at around $200 per share, which is up from about $5 per share this time last year. GameStop’s leadership team is now changed significantly, too, with billionaire investor Ryan Cohen assembling a team of former Amazon executives and other key players from the technology world to run GameStop.

For the latest quarter, GameStop lost $63 million, but this was a big improvement over the deeper losses it suffered during the same period last year. And although GameStop is in the red on a profit basis, the company is making more money in revenue than before.

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