Around the globe, scientists have been working to develop treatments and vaccines for the coronavirus. Normally, vaccine development takes a decade or so, but the COVID-19 pandemic has created an urgency that shortened normal timelines, reported the Milliken Institute.1
By late November 2020, 319 treatments and 237 vaccines were in development. Forty of the vaccines had completed pre-clinical testing and begun conducting clinical trials. Clinical trials include multiple phases to ensure new vaccines are safe and determine how effective they may be.1, 2
Typically, the clinical trial process goes like this:1
Stage 1: A small study of healthy people to evaluate safety, dosage, and immune response
Stage 2: Studies of hundreds of people to evaluate safety, measure efficacy, optimize dosage
Stage 3: Studies of thousands of people to further evaluate safety and efficacy
Once the clinical trials have been completed, a vaccine can be submitted for regulatory review.1
Late in 2020, a vaccine in late stage clinical trials was submitted to the United States Food & Drug Administration (FDA) for “Emergency Use Authorization.” The companies that developed it also began delivering the vaccine to the United States so, if the FDA gives approval, immunizations can begin rapidly.3
Pending FDA approval, the vaccine could be widely available in the United States in April 2021. However, the immunization process is likely to take some time because of transportation challenges and the fact the vaccine requires two injections, three to four weeks apart.3
While vaccine availability has the potential to help life return to normal, there are some obstacles. For instance, not everyone is ready to embrace a vaccine.4
An October 2020 Ipsos survey reported 64 percent of U.S. adults agreed they would get a vaccine for COVID-19 if one became available (survey included 18,000 adults in 15 different countries). Americans who were uncertain about getting vaccinated had a variety of concerns including:4
- 38 percent wondered if clinical trials were conducted too quickly
- 24 percent were concerned about possible side effects
- 12 percent were against vaccines, in general
- 11 percent didn’t think the vaccine would be effective
- 9 percent believed the risk of getting COVID-19 was low
The daunting life changes caused by coronavirus lockdowns have almost everyone of almost every age, around the world, pining for the good old days. Let’s hope vaccine challenges can be overcome, and we can take a big step back toward life as we once knew it.
Movie Night Munchie Mix
Streaming movies and binge-watching videos have become a pandemic era past time. Watching shows at home has some advantages. For one, if hunger strikes, you can snack. The Gaston Gazette provided this indulgent recipe for a sweet and savory spin on an old favorite: movie theater popcorn.5
3 cups Corn Chex cereal
3 cups Rice Chex cereal
5 tablespoons butter, cubed
3 tablespoons white cheddar popcorn seasoning
1 package (3.3 ounces) butter-flavored microwave popcorn, popped
2 cups of your favorite bite-size chocolate candies
1 cup red licorice bites
In a large microwave-safe bowl, combine the two cereals. Place butter in a small microwave-safe bowl and microwave on high for 20-25 seconds or until just melted. Whisk in popcorn seasoning until smooth. Pour butter mix over cereal; toss to coat. Microwave, uncovered, on high for 2-3 minutes, stirring after each minute. Immediately spread onto waxed paper; cool completely. Stir in popcorn and your favorite bite-size chocolate candies.
What Do You Know About Chess?
One binge-worthy new show about an orphaned chess prodigy has helped make chess sets and books popular holiday gifts. During the first month the show was available, U.S. sales of chess sets increased 87 percent and chess book sales surged by more than 600 percent, reported analytics firm NPD Group.6
Take this quiz to test your knowledge of the game.
- What is a Queen’s Gambit?
a. It means the Queen can move in any direction
b. It is the term used when a Queen is captured
c. It is an opening move that sacrifices a pawn to gain a strategic advantage
d. It is an ending move that results in checkmate
- What are skittles?
a. A type of candy
b. A term describing novice chess players
c. A term for chess parents who hover during matches
d. A term for casual chess games
- What rating does the U.S. Chess Federation require players to achieve before they are considered chess ‘Masters’?
- What is the name for a chess match played on two chessboards by four players (in teams of two) where captured pieces on one board can be passed to a teammate on the other board?
a. Bughouse chess
b. Cross chess
c. Tandem chess
d. All of the above
Give Your Immune System a Boost
Your body’s internal defense against illness is known as the immune system. People who don’t get sick often, typically, have strong immune systems. With the pandemic, it’s a good idea to keep your immune system healthy. Here are some steps you can take to boost your immunity and improve your resistance to illness:7
- Get plenty of sleep. While you sleep, your body produces cells and proteins (a.k.a. antibodies) that fight infection and defend against illness. The Mayo Clinic suggests adults try to get seven to eight hours of sleep a night.8, 9
- Enjoy the sun. Sunlight may power infection-fighting T-cells, and it is a great source of vitamin D, a natural source of support for your immune system. In the summer just a few minutes (5 to 15) of sunshine is all you need. In the winter, you may need a little more time in the sunshine, according to WebMD.8
- Eat nutrient-rich foods. Almost one-third of people older than age 50 don’t get the daily nutrients they need. WebMD recommends eating more fruits and veggies, which “…may help your body make more of the white blood cells you need to fight off infections. Fresh produce and nuts and seeds pack a lot of zinc, beta-carotene, vitamins A, C, and E, and other nutrients you need for a healthy body. Plant-based foods also fill you up with fiber, which helps lower your body fat percentage, which can strengthen your immune response.”8, 10
Even after COVID-19 has been minimized, it will be important to keep your immune system operating in peak form.
1) C – It is an opening move that sacrifices a pawn to gain a strategic advantage11
2) D – A term for casual chess games12
3) B – 220013
4) D – All of the above14
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