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Futures Flat, Europe Sinks As Oil And Gas Soar On Russia, OPEC+ Doubleheader

Futures Flat, Europe Sinks As Oil And Gas Soar On Russia, OPEC+ Doubleheader

Ever since Russia’s shocking announcement late on Friday it would…

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Futures Flat, Europe Sinks As Oil And Gas Soar On Russia, OPEC+ Doubleheader

Ever since Russia's shocking announcement late on Friday it would cut natgas supplies via Nord Stream 1 it was clear that Monday's Labor Day holiday in the US would be chaos, and sure enough, with US futures relatively flat and rangebound after the worst week for world shares since June....

... European stocks slumped and the euro fell Monday as the region’s worsening energy crisis guaranteeing a stagflationary recession for European, added to risks for a global economy already facing high inflation and a wave of monetary tightening.

Gazprom announced its decision to cut European gas after Group of Seven leaders agreed to implement a price cap on Russian oil as the Kremlin continues its war in Ukraine. Natural gas surged more than 30% in Europe and nations there could roll out special steps at the end of the week to rein in power costs. Germany plans a $65 billion package to shield consumers.

“Economies have been preparing for some sort of energy constraint and the prospect of rationing, but obviously compared to expectations at the beginning of the year, this is pretty close to the worst outcome,” Wei Li, BlackRock global chief investment strategist, said on Bloomberg Television. “So as we head into rest of the year, underweight equities at this juncture feels appropriate.”

The view that global shares already hit their bear-market low back in June is looking increasingly precarious. Europe’s intensifying energy crisis is the latest hit to sentiment, which was already under pressure from a wave of monetary tightening.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index fell 1.2% after Russia’s Gazprom halted its key gas pipeline indefinitely, and on Monday clarified it would not resume pumping until sanctions have been lifted. Steelmaker Thyssenkrupp AG, car-parts manufacturer Valeo, chemicals firm BASF SE, cement maker Cie de Saint-Gobain and gas utility Uniper SE were among the worst performers. Energy stocks were among the few gainers on the Stoxx Europe 600 benchmark as oil rallied after OPEC+ unexpectedly announced it would cut output by 100Kb/d. Here are the other notable movers:

  • Philips advance as much as 1.5% after UBS raised the Dutch medical technology firm to neutral, saying “consensus estimates and valuation better reflect the risks ahead”
  • Abcam jumped after Panmure Gordon upgraded the biotech company to buy ahead of interim results next week, which the broker expects to generate a “positive reaction” from the market
  • Countryside Partnerships shares rise as much as 7.4% after Vistry Group agreed to acquire the UK homebuilder, with analysts noting the cash-and-stock deal makes strategic sense
  • European utilities underperformed after Gazprom’s decision to keep the crucial Nord Stream pipeline shut worsened the bloc’s crisis and makes this winter’s outlook gloomier
  • European auto stocks slide to the lowest since July 15, as the region’s escalating energy crisis makes rationing look more likely, while Morgan Stanley strategists downgraded the sector to underweight
  • Campari and Remy Cointreau shares fall, underperforming in Stoxx 600 Food & Beverage sector, following downgrades of both stocks by Exane BNP Paribas, with Diageo and Fevertree also downgraded
  • German stocks on its DAX index benchmark fall the most since mid-June, amid growing recession fears and as the country unveiled a relief package that may cap energy company profits
  • Asos shares fall as much as 5.1% after it had its FY23 sales and pretax profit estimates lowered at Peel Hunt, along with a cut to the price target due to macro-economic risks and other concerns
  • Corbion shares decline as much as 3.1% after Berenberg further reduced its Street-low price target on the biochemicals firm due to the de-rating of its peers in the polylactic acid business
  • Aston Martin shares dropped as much as 8.4% after the carmaker raised GBP575.8m via a 4 for 1 rights issue, with irrevocable committments from PIF, the Yew Tree Consortium and Mercedes-Benz

Earlier in the session, Asian stocks declined, paced by losses in Hong Kong, where tech shares slid as traders weighed the risk of curbs on investment from the US. China reduced the amount of foreign-exchange deposits banks need to set aside as reserves for the second time this year to boost the yuan after the currency hit a two-year low.

Asia-Pac stocks lacked firm direction amid cautiousness ahead of this week's key events including central bank meetings and tier-1 data releases, while better than expected Chinese Caixin Services PMI is offset by China s COVID-19 lockdowns and ongoing European energy woes. ASX 200 (+0.2%) was just about kept afloat by strength in the commodity-related sectors with outperformance in energy as underlying prices gained following the indefinite shutdown of the Nord Stream 1 pipeline. Nikkei 225 (-0.1%) was subdued alongside disruptions as the region braces for Typhoon Hinnamnor. Hang Seng (-1.4%) and Shanghai Comp. (+0.1%) were mixed with Hong Kong pressured by underperformance in auto and tech stocks, while the mainland was choppy after Chinese Caixin Services PMI topped estimates and following the extension of COVID restrictions in Chengdu and Shenzhen.

The dollar strengthened as commodity-linked currencies joined the euro’s retreat to a two-decade low. The pound was steady as the UK’s Conservative Party named Liz Truss as its leader, clearing her way to become prime minister. Her plan to “turbo-charge” the economy by slashing taxes is already worrying investors amid double-digit inflation.

Cash Treasuries and US stocks are closed because of Labor Day.

Oil surged as a OPEC+ agreed to make an unexpected, if symbolic, oil supply cut for October of 100,000b/d. 

Elsewhere, Bitcoin dropped below the $20,000 level. Gold was little changed.

Monetary authorities including Europe’s central bank are set to keep hiking interest rates this week to fight inflation despite the darkening global economic outlook due to risks such as power shortages.

* * *

A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk

Asia-Pac stocks mostly lacked firm direction amid cautiousness ahead of this week's key events including central bank
meetings and tier-1 data releases, while better than expected Chinese Caixin Services PMI is offset by China’s COVID-
19 lockdowns and ongoing European energy woes. ASX 200 (+0.2%) was just about kept afloat by strength in the
commodity-related sectors with outperformance in energy as underlying prices gained following the indefinite shutdown
of the Nord Stream 1 pipeline. Nikkei 225 (-0.1%) was subdued alongside disruptions as the region braces for Typhoon
Hinnamnor. Hang Seng (-1.4%) and Shanghai Comp. (+0.1%) were mixed with Hong Kong pressured by
underperformance in auto and tech stocks, while the mainland was choppy after Chinese Caixin Services PMI topped
estimates and following the extension of COVID restrictions in Chengdu and Shenzhen

European stocks drifted lower, with Germany announcing it would spend EUR 65bln on its third package which aims to tackle the effects of inflation on consumers and businesses, according to a government document cited by Reuters. It was also reported that Germany is to levy a windfall tax on energy groups to fund the aid package, according to FT. Volkswagen (VOW3 GY) - Porsche will be holding a board meeting on Monday to discuss the IPO. Uniper (UN01 GY)/ Siemens Energy (ENR GY) - Gazprom said the transport of gas to the Nord Stream pipeline has been completely halted until faults are rectified, no timeline for fixing turbine nor restart of gas supply; during routine maintenance works oil leakage was detected. (Newswires)

DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap

I'm still recovering from seeing an 18-foot Burmese Python wrapped around my twins at their 5th birthday party yesterday. They wouldn't go near the Lizzie the crocodile or even the bearded dragon. I joked to my wife that I thought she was the oldest person at the party until the ancient tortoise came out! She wasn't amused.

Recovery from such an event would normally be helped by the week after payrolls tending to be quieter for data, as well as today being US Labor Day and a closed market Stateside. However, the week in Europe could get off to a slightly fraught start after news just after the European trading close on Friday that Nord Stream 1 would remain shut due to a “leak” after the three-day maintenance period. It had looked earlier in the day that it would reopen this past weekend, but the late news was thought by some to be signs that Russia was using its full leverage over Europe. It could have been related to the G7 finance ministers’ decision to implement price caps on Russian oil a few hours earlier.

Europe has done a very good job over the last couple of months, relative to expectations, in getting gas storage levels high and increasing imports from elsewhere, but if no more gas flows from Russia we are likely touch and go in terms of getting through the winter without notable restrictions/rationing. Russia will be aware of this. Indeed, in this job there is now something else we may have to pretend we're experts on. Epidemiology was a recent example and now we'll have to add meteorology to that list as the weather in Europe this winter could be a swing factor as to whether compulsory gas rationing has to be implemented. The good news is that the start of the winter heating season in October looks mild at the moment. However all I would say is I played golf on Saturday and didn't take my waterproofs as the forecast gave less than 5% chance of rain. Halfway round there was the biggest downpour I have seen for some time and I got absolutely soaked.

So all eyes on gas futures this morning and the aftermath to the NS1 news. European stock futures are around -3% lower in Asia so that has set the tone for the open. This Friday EU energy ministers meet so that will be a key meeting. Expect to see more government action over the next few days and weeks. Indeed Germany yesterday announced a fresh $65bn package to help consumers. This is now the third such package.

Elsewhere the new UK PM will be announced today with Liz Truss being the overwhelming favourite. Her reaction to the energy/cost of living crisis will be very much in focus, especially as it pertains to fiscal policy. This might come out more over weeks than days (emergency budget speculated for September 21st) but could signal a meaningful shift in policy.

All this has slightly overshadowed a big week for central banks with all eyes on the ECB meeting on Thursday, as well as Fed Chair Powell's speech the same day. On Wednesday, we will get the Fed's Beige Book and a likely 75bps hike from the BoC. For the ECB our economists’ preview here lays out the case for a 75bps hike following last week’s higher than expected flash CPI print for the region and an array of hawkish ECB comments of late from ECB officials.

In terms of data the US services ISM (tomorrow) will be a highlight given that last month saw a surprisingly strong (to the market) 56.7 print. 55.2 is expected this month which would remain way above normal recessionary levels. In Europe Industrial production for Germany (Wednesday) and France (Friday) might be the highlights given recent energy travails. By contrast, Asia will have a busier week. China's CPI and PPI (Friday) will be the key data release. Current median estimates on Bloomberg point to a slight YoY uptick in the CPI (2.8% vs 2.7% in July) and easing PPI pressures (3.2% vs 4.2%). This price data will be preceded by trade balance figures on Wednesday. We’ve already seen the Caixin services PMI this morning which came in at 55.0 for August (v/s 54.0 expected), recording the second highest level since May 2021 despite softening from July’s 55.5.

Staying in Asia, equity markets have started the week on a negative footing amid growing fears about an energy crisis in Europe, Chinese Covid lockdowns and geopolitical tensions. The Hang Seng (-1.66%) is the largest underperformer across the region with the Kospi (-0.25%) and the Nikkei (-0.14%) also slipping in early trade. Mainland Chinese stocks are mixed with the CSI 300 (-0.56%) edging lower while the Shanghai Composite (+0.06%) is struggling for direction this morning.

We also got Japan’s latest services PMI data with the index dropping to 49.5 in August, lower than 50.3 in July, marking the first contraction in services since March. Elsewhere, the final estimate of Australia’s S&P Global services PMI came in at 50.2 in August, dropping from July’s 50.9.

Over the weekend, Shenzhen shut down its city center with Chengdu extending lockdown curbs for most parts of the city as the nation is facing a steady rise in Covid infections just weeks ahead of a high-profile Communist Party congress.

On the inflation front, amid the heightened volatility in crude futures of late and recent comments from Saudi Arabia officials, today's OPEC+ meeting will be in focus to gauge whether the cartel believes supply adjustments are needed to support prices. As I type, Brent futures (+1.85%) are trading higher at $94.74/bbl with WTI futures up +1.83% at $88.46/bbl. The full day by day week ahead is at the end as usual.

Recapping last week, it was a difficult one for markets as investors grew increasingly concerned about the risks to global growth. In particular as discussed above the news at the end of the European session on Friday, that the Nord Stream gas pipeline from Russia would remain closed after its 3-day maintenance period, saw a late sell-off which will have implications for this week. All in all, that meant global equities lost ground for a 3rd consecutive week, with the S&P 500 down -3.29% (-1.07% Friday), and the STOXX 600 down -2.38% (+2.04% Friday before NS 1 news). Tech stocks underperformed, with the NASDAQ shedding -4.21% (-1.31% Friday), and the FANG+ index down -4.61% (-1.91% Friday). However, banks did somewhat better thanks to the more hawkish rhetoric from central banks and higher sovereign bond yields, with the STOXX Banks index in Europe up +3.25% (+3.12% Friday).

Ahead of the gas pipeline news, there had actually been signs of a recovery in markets following the post-Jackson Hole selloff. That was given momentum from the US jobs report for August, which was just about weak enough that it led investors to dial back slightly their expectations for another 75bps hike from the Fed this month but without destroying the growth narrative. In terms of the details, the headline nonfarm payrolls number was broadly in line with expectations at +315k (vs. +298k expected), but the two previous months saw downward revisions of -107k. The unemployment rate also ticked up to 3.7% (vs. 3.5% expected), although that was driven by a rise in labour force participation to 62.4% (vs. 62.2% expected) as more people came back into the workforce. This will be a small amount of good news for the Fed. Fed funds futures reduced the hike expected this month by -3.7bps on Friday to 63.9bps, so nearly at the mid-point again between 50 and 75bps

The more dovish implications of the jobs report still weren’t enough to prevent sovereign bonds from losing ground for a 5th consecutive week, with 10yr Treasury yields up by +14.9bps (-6.4bps Friday), and 10yr bund yields up by +13.6bps (-3.6bps Friday). That came as expectations ratcheted up that the ECB would hike by 75bps at their meeting on Thursday, not least following the stronger than expected flash CPI print from the Euro Area earlier in the week, which hit a record +9.1%. Commodities were another asset class to struggle, which wasn’t helped either by the latest Covid lockdowns in China that have raised questions about the strength of global demand. Against that backdrop, Brent crude oil prices fell -7.89% (+0.71% Friday) to $93.02/bbl, and the industrial bellwether of copper fell -7.45% (+0.21% Friday).

 

Tyler Durden Mon, 09/05/2022 - 08:57

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nTIDE November 2022 Jobs Report: People with disabilities continue to outperform people without disabilities in labor market

East Hanover, NJ – December 2, 2022 – Job numbers rose again for people with disabilities, in contrast to people without disabilities, according to…

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East Hanover, NJ – December 2, 2022 – Job numbers rose again for people with disabilities, in contrast to people without disabilities, according to today’s National Trends in Disability Employment – Monthly Update (nTIDE), issued by Kessler Foundation and the University of New Hampshire’s Institute on Disability (UNH-IOD). People with disabilities continued to show strength in the labor market in November, as evidenced by the substantial rise in their employment-to-population ratio.

Credit: Kessler Foundation

East Hanover, NJ – December 2, 2022 – Job numbers rose again for people with disabilities, in contrast to people without disabilities, according to today’s National Trends in Disability Employment – Monthly Update (nTIDE), issued by Kessler Foundation and the University of New Hampshire’s Institute on Disability (UNH-IOD). People with disabilities continued to show strength in the labor market in November, as evidenced by the substantial rise in their employment-to-population ratio.

Month-to-Month nTIDE Numbers (comparing October 2022 to November 2022)

Based on data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Jobs Report released today, the employment-to-population ratio for people with disabilities (ages 16-64) increased from 35.5 percent in October to 36.5 percent in November (up 2.8 percent or 1 percentage point). For people without disabilities (ages 16-64), the employment-to-population ratio decreased from 74.6 percent in October to 74.4 percent in November (down 0.3 percent or 0.2 percentage point). The employment-to-population ratio, a key indicator, reflects the percentage of people who are working relative to the total population (the number of people working divided by the number of people in the total population multiplied by 100).

“Similar to last month, the employment-to-population ratio for people with disabilities increased and remains above historic highs. For those without disabilities, however, the ratio dropped,” said John O’Neill, PhD, director of the Center for Employment and Disability Research at Kessler Foundation. “This decline may be a sign of the Fed’s efforts to slow the labor market. This is interesting in light of this month’s strong gain for people with disabilities.”

Findings were similar for November’s labor force participation rate. For people with disabilities (ages 16-64), the labor force participation rate was increased slightly from 38.7 percent in October to 38.8 percent in November (up 0.3 percent or 0.1 percentage point). Conversely, the labor force participation rate decreased slightly for people without disabilities (ages 16-64), from 77.1 percent in October to 76.9 percent in November (down 0.3 percent or 0.2 percentage point). The labor force participation rate is the percentage of the population that is working, not working, and on temporary layoff, or not working and actively looking for work.

“While labor force participation for people with disabilities remains stable, increases in the employment to population ratio for people with disabilities suggest that more people with disabilities are succeeding in finding jobs,” remarked Debra Brucker, PhD, research associate professor at the UNH-IOD. “Keep in mind that gains in employment may in part reflect the need to boost income in the face of rising prices. Also, these data are not seasonally adjusted, so some of this increase may be due to seasonal employment.”

Why have people with disabilities been outperforming people without disabilities? Favorable changes in the workplace as employers adapted to COVID-19 restrictions may be a factor. Our new survey compares the workplaces of 2017 and 2022, revealing gains in recruiting, hiring, accommodating, and retaining employees with disabilities. Read more about the 2022 National Employment & Disability Survey: Effects of COVID-19 Pandemic Supervisor Perspectives.

Year-to-Year nTIDE Numbers (Comparing November 2021 to November 2022)

Reflecting the continued strength of the employment of people with disabilities over the course of the year, the employment-to-population ratio for working-age people with disabilities increased substantially from 34.6 percent in November 2021 to 36.5 percent in November 2022 (up 5.5 percent or 1.9 percentage points). However, the employment-to-population ratio increased slightly for working-age people without disabilities, from 73.8 percent in November 2021 to 74.4 percent in November 2022 (up 0.8 percent or 0.6 percentage points).

Similarly, for people with disabilities (16-64), the labor force participation rate increased substantially from 37.7 percent in November 2021 to 38.8 percent in November 2022 (up 2.9 percent or 1.1 percentage points). The labor force participation rate increased slightly for people without disabilities (ages 16-64), from 76.7 percent in November 2021 to 76.9 percent in November 2022 (up 0.3 percent or 0.2 percentage points).

In November, among workers ages 16-64, the 5,962,000 workers with disabilities represented 4 percent of the total 148,009,000 workers in the U.S.

Ask Questions about Disability and Employment

Each nTIDE release is followed by an nTIDE Lunch & Learn online webinar. This live broadcast, hosted via Zoom Webinar, offers attendees Q&A on the latest nTIDE findings, provides news and updates from the field, as well as invited panelists to discuss current disability-related findings and events. On December 2, 2022 at 12:00 pm Eastern, Chai Feldblum, JD, vice chair the of Ability One Commission, a federal agency devoted to the employment of people with significant disabilities, joins Drs. O’Neill and Brucker, and Denise Rozell, Policy Strategist at the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD). Join our Lunch & Learns live or visit the nTIDE archives at: ResearchonDisability.org/nTIDE.

NOTE: The statistics in the nTIDE are based on Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers but are not identical. They are customized by UNH to combine the statistics for men and women of working age (16 to 64). nTIDE is funded, in part, by grants from the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) (90RT5037) and Kessler Foundation.

About the Institute on Disability at the University of New Hampshire

The Institute on Disability (IOD) at the University of New Hampshire (UNH) was established in 1987 to provide a university-based focus for the improvement of knowledge, policies, and practices related to the lives of persons with disabilities and their families. For information on the NIDILRR-funded Research and Training Center on Disability Statistics, visit ResearchOnDisability.org.

About Kessler Foundation

Kessler Foundation, a major nonprofit organization in the field of disability, is a global leader in rehabilitation research that seeks to improve cognition, mobility, and long-term outcomes – including employment – for people with neurological disabilities caused by diseases and injuries of the brain and spinal cord. Kessler Foundation leads the nation in funding innovative programs that expand opportunities for employment for people with disabilities. For more information, visit KesslerFoundation.org.

Stay Connected with Kessler Foundation

Twitter | Facebook | YouTube | Instagram | iTunes & SoundCloud

To interview an expert, contact:

Deborah Hauss, DHauss@kesslerfoundation.org;

Carolann Murphy, CMurphy@KesslerFoundation.org.

 

 


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Scientists reveal encouraging findings in first-in-human clinical trial evaluating HIV vaccine approach

NEW YORK and LA JOLLA, CA—While scientists have struggled in the past to create an effective vaccine against HIV, a novel vaccine design strategy being…

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NEW YORK and LA JOLLA, CA—While scientists have struggled in the past to create an effective vaccine against HIV, a novel vaccine design strategy being pursued by researchers at Scripps Research, IAVI, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center (Fred Hutch) and the National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Vaccine Research Center (VRC) shows new promise, according to data from a first-in-human clinical trial.

Credit: CHRISTOPHER COTTRELL, CREATED WITH BIORENDER.COM

NEW YORK and LA JOLLA, CA—While scientists have struggled in the past to create an effective vaccine against HIV, a novel vaccine design strategy being pursued by researchers at Scripps Research, IAVI, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center (Fred Hutch) and the National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Vaccine Research Center (VRC) shows new promise, according to data from a first-in-human clinical trial.

In a paper published in Science on December 2, 2022, the scientists reveal critical new insights into their novel vaccine strategy, which involves a stepwise approach to producing antibodies capable of targeting a wide range of HIV variants. 

“The data we are publishing in Science demonstrates for the first time that one can design a vaccine that elicits made-to-order antibodies in humans. We specified in advance certain molecular properties of the antibodies that we wanted to elicit, and the results of this trial show that our vaccine antigen consistently induced precisely those types of antibodies,” says co-senior author William Schief, PhD, a professor and immunologist at Scripps Research and executive director of vaccine design at IAVI’s Neutralizing Antibody Center, whose laboratory developed the vaccine antigen. “We believe this vaccine design strategy will be essential to make an HIV vaccine and may help the field create vaccines for other difficult pathogens.”

The Phase 1 trial, known as IAVI G001, tested the first stage in a multi-stage HIV vaccine regimen the researchers are developing. The trial results show that the vaccine had a favorable safety profile and induced the targeted response in 97% of people who were vaccinated. Importantly, the Science study also provides a detailed immunological analysis of the vaccine responses.

“HIV represents an area of dire unmet need across the world, which is what makes the findings from our Phase 1 clinical trial so encouraging,” says Mark Feinberg, MD, PhD, president and CEO of IAVI. “Through the close-knit collaboration of many different scientists, disciplines and institutions, we are that much closer to designing an effective vaccine that could help end the HIV pandemic.”  

Priming the Immune System

Broadly neutralizing antibodies (bnAbs) are a rare type of antibody that can fight and protect against many different variants of a virus—including HIV. This is why scientists have tried to develop an HIV vaccine that induces bnAbs, but thus far without success.   

The researchers in the study are using a strategy known as ‘germline targeting’ to eventually produce bnAbs that can protect against HIV. The first step of germline targeting involves stimulating the rare immune cells—known as bnAb-precursor B cells—that can eventually evolve into the cells that produce the bnAbs needed to block the virus. To accomplish this first step, the researchers designed a customized molecule—known as an immunogen—that would “prime” the immune system and elicit responses from these rare bnAb-precursor cells.

The overarching goal of the IAVI G001 trial was to determine if the vaccine had an acceptable safety profile and could induce responses from these bnAb-precursor B cells.

“Through extensive safety and tolerability monitoring during the trial, we showed the vaccine had a favorable safety profile, while still inducing the necessary target cells,” says study author Dagna Laufer, MD, vice president and head of clinical development at IAVI. “This represents a large step forward in developing an HIV vaccine that is both safe and effective.”

To determine if the targeted bnAb-precursor B cells were induced, the researchers carried out a sophisticated analytical process.

“The workflow of multidimensional immunological analyses has taken clinical trial evaluation to the next level,” says co-senior author Adrian B. McDermott, PhD, former chief of the Vaccine Immunology Program at the NIAID VRC. “In evaluating these important immunological factors, we helped show why the vaccine antigen was able to induce the targeted response in 97% of vaccine recipients.” 

IAVI G001 was sponsored by IAVI and took place at two sites: George Washington University (GWU) in Washington, D.C., and Fred Hutch in Seattle, enrolling 48 healthy adult volunteers. Participants received either a placebo or two doses of the vaccine antigen, eOD-GT8 60mer, along with an adjuvant developed by the pharmaceutical company GSK. Julie McElrath, MD, PhD, co-senior author, senior vice president and director of Fred Hutch’s Vaccine and Infectious Disease Division, and David Diemert, MD, professor of medicine at GWU School of Medicine and Health Sciences, were lead investigators at the trial sites.

A Deeper Immunological Dive

The study also carefully examined the properties of the antibodies and B cells induced by the vaccine antigen, in what Schief likens to “looking under the car hood” to understand how the immune system operated in response to the vaccine. One analysis showed that the vaccine antigen first stimulated an average of 30 to 65 different bnAb precursors per person vaccinated, and then caused those cells to multiply. This helped explain why the vaccine induced the desired response in almost all participants.

Other analyses delved into the specific mutations the bnAb-precursor B cells acquired over time and how tightly they bound to the vaccine antigen. These investigations showed that that after each dose of the vaccine, the bnAb-precursor B cells gained affinity and continued along favorable maturation pathways.

One concern for this type of vaccine approach is the notion of “competitors”—in other words, the B cells induced by the vaccine antigen that are not bnAb precursors. The researchers extensively studied the “competitor” responses, and the results were very encouraging. Although the majority of the B cells triggered by vaccination were, in fact, “competitors”, these undesired B cells could not match the binding strength of the desired bnAb precursors and did not seem to impede maturation of the bnAb-precursor responses.

“These findings were very encouraging, as they indicated that immunogen design principles we used could be applied to many different epitopes, whether for HIV or even other pathogens,” adds Schief.

With these promising data in hand spanning both safety and immune responses, the researchers will continue to iterate and design boosting immunogens that could eventually induce the desired bnAbs and provide protection against the virus. These findings also come shortly after two additional studies in Immunity published in September 2022, which helped validate the germline-targeting approach for vaccinating against HIV.

“Working together with IAVI, Scripps Research, the VRC, GWU, additional investigators at Fred Hutch and many others, this trial and additional analyses will help inform design of the remaining stages of a candidate HIV vaccine regimen—while also enabling others in the field to develop vaccine strategies for additional viruses,” says McElrath of Fred Hutch.

IAVI, Scripps Research, NIAID, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) are partnering with the biotechnology company Moderna to develop and test mRNA delivery of these HIV vaccine antigens. Two Phase I clinical trials are underway that build on IAVI G001, one (IAVI G002) at four sites in the U.S. and another (IAVI G003) at the Center for Family Health Research in Kigali, Rwanda, and The Aurum Institute in Tembisa, South Africa. Both are testing mRNA delivery of the eOD-GT8 60mer that was evaluated as recombinant protein in IAVI G001, and the U.S. trial includes a boost antigen designed by the Schief lab and delivered with Moderna mRNA technology. A third trial (HVTN302), at ten sites in the U.S., is testing mRNA delivery of three different stabilized HIV trimers designed in the Schief laboratory that are candidates for late-stage boosters in multi-stage vaccines aiming to induce bnAbs. Using mRNA technology could significantly accelerate the pace of HIV vaccine development as it allows for faster production of clinical trial material.

This work was supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Collaboration for AIDS Vaccine Discovery; the IAVI Neutralizing Antibody Center; NIAID; Scripps Center for HIV/AIDS Vaccine Immunology and Immunogen Discovery and Scripps Consortium for HIV/AIDS Vaccine Development; and the Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT, and Harvard. Other collaborating organizations include Duke Human Vaccine Institute, Karolinska Institutet, and La Jolla Institute. 

Research at the IAVI Neutralizing Antibody Center that contributed to the development of the vaccine antigen eOD-GT8 60mer was also made possible by the government of the Netherlands through the Minister of Foreign Trade & Development Cooperation and through the generous support of the American people through PEPFAR through USAID. The contents are the responsibility of IAVI and Scripps Research and do not necessarily reflect the views of PEPFAR, USAID, or the United States government.

About IAVI

IAVI is a nonprofit scientific research organization dedicated to addressing urgent, unmet global health challenges including HIV and tuberculosis. Its mission is to translate scientific discoveries into affordable, globally accessible public health solutions. Read more at iavi.org.

About Scripps Research

Scripps Research is an independent, nonprofit biomedical institute ranked the most influential in the world for its impact on innovation by Nature Index. We are advancing human health through profound discoveries that address pressing medical concerns around the globe. Our drug discovery and development division, Calibr, works hand-in-hand with scientists across disciplines to bring new medicines to patients as quickly and efficiently as possible, while teams at Scripps Research Translational Institute harness genomics, digital medicine and cutting-edge informatics to understand individual health and render more effective healthcare. Scripps Research also trains the next generation of leading scientists at our Skaggs Graduate School, consistently named among the top 10 US programs for chemistry and biological sciences. Learn more at www.scripps.edu.


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US nonfarm payrolls surpass expectations to rise by 263,000; Wages up by the sharpest in 13 months

In a highly unexpected development, U.S. nonfarm payrolls outperformed market expectations and rose by 263,000 in the month of November. This was against…

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In a highly unexpected development, U.S. nonfarm payrolls outperformed market expectations and rose by 263,000 in the month of November.

This was against market estimates of a slowdown to 200,000.

The unemployment rate was also unchanged and stayed near fifty-year lows at 3.7%.

The recent ADP report missed its mark once more, having forecast a steep dip in jobs, almost halving October’s figures.

October data was revised upwards to 284,000, higher than the preliminary data for November, as compared to the initial report of 261,000 (which I covered here for Invezz).

September data which came in at a strong 315,000 has been revised sharply downwards to 269,000.

Source: TradingEconomics.com

Gains were highest in leisure and hospitality (88,000), health care (45,000), and government (42,000) which were concentrated at the local levels.

Payroll reductions were seen in retail (-32,000) and warehousing and storage (-13,000).

The November uptick is robust compared to average pre-pandemic levels, suggesting that the Fed’s tightening has not yet managed to sufficiently curb labour market strength.

Having said that, monthly additions have largely continued to cool through the second half of the year.

Earnings

Average hourly earnings, month-over-month rose sharply by 0.6% to $32.82, as against expectations of a rise of 0.3%.  This amounted to the sharpest rise in 13 months.

Similarly, on an annual basis, hourly earnings went up 5.1% as against forecasts of 4.6% and improved over October’s 4.7%.

Due to higher wages, the Fed will likely find inflationary pressures staying firmer than earlier anticipated, and price stability elusive.

Outlook

Although there have been reports of mass layoffs in technology companies and the banking sector, the labour market headline for the last month is still relatively firm.

This will be highly frustrating for policymakers who have already executed four 75bps rate hikes this year.

As per the CME FedWatch Tool, there is a 74.7% likelihood of a downshift in rate hikes to 50 bps later this month, but this report may delay discussions of a pivot.

Do check out our other economic analysis that can be found here.

The post US nonfarm payrolls surpass expectations to rise by 263,000; Wages up by the sharpest in 13 months appeared first on Invezz.

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