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Avricore’s HealthTab is the Missing Piece in Shopper’s Point of Care Strategy for Disease Screening & Management

Avricore Health Inc. (TSXv:AVCR) has made a significant breakthrough in its efforts to get widespread adoption of its industry leading HealthTab medical data platform

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Avricore Health Inc. (TSXv:AVCR) has made a significant breakthrough in its efforts to get widespread adoption of its industry leading HealthTab medical data platform – a master agreement covering a number of future projects with Canadian pharmacy giant Shoppers Drug Mart. 

The national chain, Canada’s biggest with nearly 1400 locations, will begin working with Avricore in a 11 store pilot program in Ontario that utilizes the HealthTab real-time data platform and Abbott Laboratories’ Afinion 2 analyzers.  Pharmacists will test patients’ average blood sugar (HbA1C) and lipids with results reported via the cloud-based HealthTab™ system.  

The pilot is intended to finetune procedures and best practices for Shoppers’ pharmacy professionals using the HealthTab real-time system and Abbott machines to test for markers of heart disease and diabetes. 

FIRST DEAL, MORE COMING

Avricore’s CEO, Hector Bremner, said the pilot is just the first in a series of planned initiatives with Shoppers. 

“This pilot project in Ontario is just the beginning and the master agreement (with Shoppers) is designed to add other jurisdictions and add other projects to that agreement.”

“That’s what’s exciting. We are kicking off with the pilot but we already have the infrastructure in place to expand and grow in that area shortly thereafter.” 

Avricore’s entry into Shoppers’ busy pharmacies is an opportunity to showcase the versatility and power of the HealthTab platform, noted Bremner. 

“We have landed in a good place, where we are able to get into stores, and get pharmacists trained when there are lulls in vaccinations. We have designed a really good strategy of marketing to those patients as they are often highly susceptible to the diseases that we are screening for, namely heart disease and diabetes.” 

BIGGER ROLE FOR PHARMACISTS

For Shoppers Drug Mart, it allows the chain’s pharmacists to play a larger role. 

“Lowering barriers to health information and getting more support from a qualified health professional, like one of our pharmacists, are important steps forward in mitigating disease impacts and increasing patient quality of life,” said Doug Bryce, Shoppers Drug Mart’s VP, Health & Pharmacy Programs and Innovation. “We’re committed to innovations in service because it allows us to better support our customers. The HealthTab diabetes platform will provide our patients living with diabetes new program options to better manage their conditions.” 

The Avricore CEO added that diabetes patients typically face worse outcomes if they get hit by the virus. 

“The research is really conclusive of direct linkages between (high) cholesterol and diabetes and overall endemic issues like heart disease having direct impacts on Covid infections,” he said. “So it is a good time to talk to people about their risk profile.” 

Bremner said that there are an estimated 5 million Canadians with undiagnosed diabetes and more who are struggling to deal with the disease.

“People are either unaware they have it or it is not managed well. So that is the core objective of Shoppers’ project with us. To help patient screening and helping them manage their diabetes and improve patient outcomes.” 

Avricore has worked with Shoppers Drug Mart to produce in-store promotional materials that explain the benefits of the HealthTab system. As well, Shoppers will run online advertising touting HealthTab. 

The Shoppers Drug Mart agreement also builds on the recent utilization of HealthTab in a government-funded screening program for Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) in Canadian pharmacies in British Columbia.  

CORPORATE SUPPORT FOR HEALTHTAB

“This will mark the first time there has been any corporate advertising for HealthTab. We have really relied, in the early stages of rollout, on the pharmacist making recommendations in store.”

“This is a major breakthrough for us in the sense that Shoppers Drug Mart is going to be advertising HealthTab in their stores and online,” said Bremner. “We are working closely with Abbott on this and they will be supporting the program as well to drive their network of clinics and physicians to make them aware that this service is available at the pharmacy.”

Shoppers Drug Mart’s network of pharmacists already have some experience with Avricore’s HealthTab. A number of pharmacists in the chain were so attracted by the promise of the point of care system that they contacted Avricore directly and have been running HealthTab independently. That early endorsement by pharmacists helped the company land the formal pilot with the pharmacy giant. 

“We have a great deal of interest from the pharmacies and all the indicators are that we will be scaling this nationally and doing so pretty quickly. There is a lot of enthusiasm from all the partners for this approach and they have seen the success of the system in pharmacy already in the initial informal test by some Shoppers pharmacists.”

The HealthTab data platform offers real-time evaluations of treated populations and can also provide real-world evaluation of clinical trials through the Rapid Access Safety Test Reporting, or RASTR Network which links anonymized data to be linked with electronic health records and data management systems. HealthTab is the first platform allowing for blood chemistry results to be sent to consumers, their healthcare teams and sponsors such as researchers, insurance providers and the life-science sector.

SUPPORT BUILDING

Developed by Vancouver-based Avricore, HealthTab is gaining acceptance as a point of care screening system to support pharmacists’ increasingly important role in the health care system.

HealthTab promises enhanced access to screening and early detection of disease, better data for physicians and pharmacists to support their patients, plus new opportunities to conduct research and ensure patient safety.

HealthTab also allows patients to play more of a role in their care by directly measuring and monitoring key safety tests and biomarkers of chronic disease with just a few drops of blood drawn from a finger stick.  Results can be printed in store or accessed securely online.

The Avricore CEO said that HealthTab continues to gain supporters among government, pharmacy operators, drug makers and insurance companies because of its position as an industry leader when it comes to rapid testing and real-time reporting for a number of severe diseases, including Covid-19. 

Ira Rotenberg
Author: Ira Rotenberg

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COVID-19 may never go away, but practical herd immunity is within reach

It is unlikely that we will reach full herd immunity for COVID-19. However, we are likely to reach a practical kind of herd immunity through vaccination.

The level of immunity needed — either through vaccination or infection — for practical herd immunity is uncertain, but may be quite high. (Shutterstock)

When people say that we won’t reach “herd immunity” to COVID-19, they are usually referring to an ideal of “full” population immunity: when so many people are immune that, most of the time, there is no community transmission.

With full herd immunity, most people will never be exposed to the virus. Even those who are not vaccinated are protected, because an introduction is so unlikely to reach them: it will sputter out, because so many others are immune — as is the case now with diseases like polio and mumps.

The fraction of the population that needs to be immune in order for the population to have “full” herd immunity depends on the transmissibility of the virus in the population, and on the control measures in place.

It is unlikely we’ll reach full herd immunity for COVID-19.

For one thing, it appears that immunity to COVID-19 acquired either by vaccination or infection wanes over time. In addition, SARS-CoV-2 will continue to evolve. Over time, variants that can infect people with immunity (even if this only results in mild disease) will have a selective advantage, just as until now selection has mainly favoured variants with higher transmission potential.

Electron micrograph of a yellow virus particle with green spikes, against a blue background.
The B.1.1.7 variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Over time, variants of concern will likely continue to emerge. NIAID, CC BY

Also, our population is a composition of different communities, workplaces and environments. In some of these, transmission risk might be high enough and/or immunity low enough to allow larger outbreaks to occur, even if overall in the population we have high vaccination and low transmission.

Finally, SARS-CoV-2 can infect other animals. This means that other animal populations may act as a “reservoir,” allowing the virus to be reintroduced to the human population.

Practical herd immunity

Nonetheless, we are likely to reach a practical kind of herd immunity through vaccination. In practical herd immunity, we can reopen to near-normal levels of activity without needing widespread distancing or lockdowns. This would be a profound change from the situation we have been in for the past 18 months.

Practical herd immunity does not mean that we never see any COVID-19. It will likely be with us, just at low enough levels that we will not need to have widespread distancing measures in place to protect the health-care system.


Read more: COVID-19 variants FAQ: How did the U.K., South Africa and Brazil variants emerge? Are they more contagious? How does a virus mutate? Could there be a super-variant that evades vaccines?


What level of immunity (either through vaccination or infection) we need for practical herd immunity is uncertain, but it may be quite high. The original strain of SARS-CoV-2 was highly transmissible and transmission is thought to be higher still for some variants of concern.

Empty vials of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine
To achieve two-thirds immunity, 90 per cent of the eligible population would need to be vaccinated or infected naturally. (AP Photo/John Locher)

The amount of immunity we need will also depend on what level of controls we are willing to maintain indefinitely. Continued masking, contact tracing, symptomatic and asymptomatic testing and outbreak control measures will mean we will require less immunity than we would without these in place.

Some estimates suggest that we may need two thirds of the population to be protected either by successful vaccination or natural infection. If 90 per cent of the population is eligible for vaccination, and vaccines are 85 per cent effective against infection, we can obtain this two thirds with about 90 per cent of the eligible population being vaccinated or infected naturally.

The United Kingdom has already exceeded these rates in some age groups. Higher rates are even better, because there is still uncertainty about the level of transmissibility and vaccine efficacy against infection (although research shows they are very good against severe disease). We don’t want to discover that we do not have enough immunity through vaccination and have another serious wave of infection.

Emerging variants

A sticker reading 'I'm COVID-19 vaccinated' from Vancouver Coastal Health
Booster vaccinations will hopefully allow us to maintain long-term practical herd immunity against future variants of COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

Higher vaccine uptake will mean there are fewer infections before we reach practical herd immunity. The remaining unvaccinated individuals will be safer, protected indirectly by the immunity of those around them. Outbreaks will be smaller and rarer, and there will be fewer opportunities for vaccine escape variants to arise and spread.

That said, variants of SARS-CoV-2 will continue to emerge, and selection will favour variants that escape our immunity. Vaccine developers will continue to broaden the spectrum of the vaccines that are available, and boosters will hopefully allow us to maintain long-term practical herd immunity.

It’s possible that an immune escape variant will emerge that is severe enough, and transmissible enough, that it will cause a new pandemic for which we do not have even practical herd immunity. But barring that, while we may not be free of COVID-19, we can be confident that in the not-too-distant future it will be manageable when we return to near-normal life.

Caroline Colijn's research group receives funding from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, Genome British Columbia, the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research, the Public Health Agency of Canada and Canada 150 Research Chair program of the Federal Government of Canada.

Paul Tupper's research group receives funding from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada.

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UK Government Adviser Says Mask Mandates Should Continue “Forever”

UK Government Adviser Says Mask Mandates Should Continue "Forever"

Authored by Paul Joseph Watson via Summit News,

A UK government adviser and former Communist Party member Susan Michie says that mask mandates and social distancing should…

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UK Government Adviser Says Mask Mandates Should Continue "Forever"

Authored by Paul Joseph Watson via Summit News,

A UK government adviser and former Communist Party member Susan Michie says that mask mandates and social distancing should continue “forever” and that people should adopt such behaviour just as they did with wearing seatbelts.

Michie, who is a Professor of Health Psychology at UCL and a leading member of SAGE, said such control measures should become part of people’s “normal” routine behaviour.

"Vaccines are a really important part of pandemic control but it is only one part. [A] test, trace and isolate system, [as well as] border controls, are really essential. And the third thing is people’s behaviour. That is, the behaviour of social distancing, of… making sure there’s good ventilation [when you’re indoors], or if there’s not, wearing face masks, and [keeping up] hand and surface hygiene."

"We will need to keep these going in the long term, and that will be good not only for Covid but also to reduce other [diseases] at a time when the NHS is [struggling]… I think forever, to some extent…"

"I think there’s lots of different behaviours that we have changed in our lives. We now routinely wear seatbelts – we didn’t use to. We now routinely pick up dog poo in the parks – we didn’t use to. When people see that there is a threat and there is something they can do to reduce that [to protect] themselves, their loved ones and their communities, what we have seen over this last year is that people do that."

Michie’s comments once again emphasize how many scientific advisers have become drunk on COVID-19 power and never want to relinquish it.

“Unsurprisingly, Channel 5 News made absolutely no effort to scrutinise these claims. The programme’s presenter raised no objection to the idea that mask-wearing and social distancing could continue “forever”, resorting only to friendly laughter,” writes Michael Curzon.

“Professor Michie’s co-panellist, a fellow scientist at UCL, Dr Shikta Das, said:

“I think Susan has made a very good point here,” adding that the vaccine roll-out has created a “false sense of security”.

She concluded:

“I don’t think we are yet ready to unlock.”

How’s all that for balance!

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Michie is known to be a long-time Communist hardliner and was so zealous in her beliefs she garnered the nickname “Stalin’s nanny.”

Her sentiment echoes that of fellow government adviser Professor Neil Ferguson, who once acknowledged that he was surprised authorities were able to “get away with” the same draconian measures that Communist China imposed at the start of the pandemic.

“[China] is a communist one-party state, we said. We couldn’t get away with [lockdown] in Europe, we thought… and then Italy did it. And we realised we could,” said Ferguson.

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Tyler Durden Sat, 06/12/2021 - 11:30

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Venezuela Says US Sanctions Blocking COVID Vaccines: ‘Global Health System’ As Geopolitical Weapon

Venezuela Says US Sanctions Blocking COVID Vaccines: ‘Global Health System’ As Geopolitical Weapon

Authored by Brett Wilkins via via CommonDreams.org,

Venezuelan Vice President Delcy Rodríguez has accused the US-backed international financia

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Venezuela Says US Sanctions Blocking COVID Vaccines: 'Global Health System' As Geopolitical Weapon

Authored by Brett Wilkins via via CommonDreams.org,

Venezuelan Vice President Delcy Rodríguez has accused the US-backed international financial system of blocking the country's access to Covid-19 vaccines under the COVAX program, even though Venezuela has paid all but $10 million of the $120 million it owes.

Appearing in a televised address, Rodríguez said Venezuela was unable to pay the remaining $10 million because it was being blocked from transferring funds to the Switzerland-based GAVI Vaccine Alliance, which directs COVAX. "The financial system that also hides behind the U.S. lobby has the power to block resources that can be used to immunize the population of Venezuela," she said.

Via Reuters

Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza tweeted a letter from COVAX stating that it "received notification from UBS Bank" that four payments, totaling just over $4.6 million, were "blocked and under investigation."

Arreaza said that "Venezuela has paid all of its commitments," adding that "the bank has arbitrarily blocked" the country's final payments and calling the situation "a crime."

The vice president and foreign minister's remarks follow accusations from Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro last week that "organizations of US imperialism" are engaged in an effort to stop vaccine producers from selling doses to the country.

"Venezuela might be the only country in the world that is subject to a persecution against its right to freely purchase vaccines," said Maduro, according to Venezuelanalysis. "Venezuela is besieged so that it cannot buy vaccines."

A mural in Caracas symbolically shows Venezuela and Russia uniting to defeat the coronavirus, with the caption: "We will beat Covid-19 together." Image: AFP via Getty

Successive US administrations have targeted Venezuela with economic sanctions that critics say have devastated the nation's once-thriving economy and have caused tremendous suffering for the poor and working-class people whose dramatic uplift was once hailed as the great success of the Bolivarian Revolution launched under the late President Hugo Chávez. 

According to a 2019 report from the Center for Economic and Policy Research, a progressive think tank based in Washington, D.C., as many as 40,000 Venezuelans have died due to sanctions, which have made it much more difficult for millions of people to obtain food, medicine, and other necessities. 

Maduro also denounced the World Health Organization (WHO) for its role in delaying vaccine delivery to Venezuela. The president had expected "many millions" of the Covid-19 jabs to be delivered in July and August. "The COVAX system owes a debt to Venezuela," asserted Maduro. "We made a deposit in April and we are waiting for the vaccines."

That $64 million deposit to GAVI came after a rare deal between the Maduro administration and Juan Guaidó, the coup leader recognized by the United States and dozens of other nations as Venezuela's legitimate head of state despite never having been elected.

Adept at circumventing US interference in its affairs, Venezuela turned to China, Russia, and Cuba to launch its mass vaccination program, which aims to inoculate 70% of the population this year. Earlier this month, the country reached a deal to buy and locally manufacture the Russian EpiVacCorona vaccine. Venezuela has also already acquired about three million doses of the Russian Sputnik V and Chinese Sinopharm jabs, and last month began clinical trials on Cuba's Adbala vaccine.

Compared to other nations in the region, Venezuela has reported a very low rate of coronavirus infections and deaths. According to Johns Hopkins University's Coronavirus Resource Center, there have been nearly 248,000 reported cases and 2,781 deaths in the country of 28.5 million people during the ongoing pandemic. Neighboring Colombia, with just over 50 million people, has reported more than 3.6 million cases and over 94,000 deaths.

Tyler Durden Sat, 06/12/2021 - 16:30

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