The virus that causes COVID-19 can develop partial resistance to the antiviral drug remdesivir during infection of cultured cells in the laboratory by more than one mechanism.
Credit: Vanderbilt University Medical Center
The virus that causes COVID-19 can develop partial resistance to the antiviral drug remdesivir during infection of cultured cells in the laboratory by more than one mechanism.
The results of the laboratory study led by researchers at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and published in the journal Science Translational Medicine support the importance of monitoring for resistance and its mechanisms, tracking specific mutations and developing combination therapies.
“Remdesivir is a critical antiviral in our armamentarium to treat COVID infections and limit illness, hospitalization and death,” said Mark R. Denison, MD, an internationally known authority on coronavirus biology at VUMC who led the study with colleagues from the University of Alberta, Canada, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Gilead Sciences.
“To date, there have been very few reports of resistance to remdesivir in clinical practice,” said Denison, the Edward Claiborne Stahlman Professor of Pediatric Physiology and Cell Metabolism at VUMC. “We must be sure that we can continue to use this antiviral against COVID, future human coronaviruses and potentially even against our known human coronaviruses.
“So, it is critical to understand how coronaviruses might try to escape from the drug, and to use that data to monitor for any potential emergence of resistance in COVID-19 patients,” he said.
Denison’s lab and collaborators contributed to the initial development of remdesivir, which was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as the first drug treatment for COVID-19 in both hospitalized and non-hospitalized patients as young as 12. Last month the FDA approved its use in high-risk children as young as 28 days.
Given by intravenous injection, remdesivir stops the virus, SARS-CoV-2, by preventing its RNA genome from being copied.
In the current report, the investigators led by Laura Stevens, MS, and Andrea Pruijssers, PhD, at VUMC showed that upon repeated exposure to the parent nucleoside (compound) of remdesivir in cell culture, SARS-CoV-2 developed mutations in the polymerase enzyme that copies its RNA genome.
These mutations, which emerged after prolonged passaging of virus in the presence of the drug, enabled SARS-CoV-2 to partially evade remdesivir’s antiviral effect. The mutations also could confer resistance in a mouse coronavirus that does not infect humans.
Biochemical studies from the laboratory of Matthias Götte, PhD, at the University of Alberta showed that the mutations resisted remdesivir by two distinct mechanisms.
Other VUMC contributors to the study included Tia Hughes, MS, and Xioatao Lu, MS, Amelia George, MS, and Jennifer Gribble, BS.
The study was supported in part by National Institutes of Health grants AI132178 and AI108197, and by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Antimicrobial Resistance – One Health Consortium in Alberta.
Science Translational Medicine
Mutations in the SARS-CoV-2 RNA dependent RNA polymerase confer resistance to remdesivir by distinct mechanisms
As we’re approaching Independence Day, travel stocks may seem attractive for investors today. Since parts of the world are already moving towards the endemic phase, consumers could be increasingly keen on traveling. Moreover, with summer vacations continuing, families are excited to enjoy a vacation somewhere in the world. According to an estimate by the American Automobile Association, 42 million Americans are likely to travel for the long weekend ahead. Therefore, it would make sense that investors are considering travel stocks now.
On top of that, China has just cut the quarantine period for international travelers. This would make for a milestone in its loosening of Covid restrictions in the past two years. According to the revised government protocol, international travelers only have to quarantine at centralized facilities for seven days, and an additional three days spent at home before venturing out. This decision is made as Chinese officials continue to get a hold of the pandemic locally.
The slash in quarantine times has benefited many companies, and Wynn Resorts (NASDAQ: WYNN) and Las Vegas Sands (NYSE: LVS) are some of them. Since both companies operate casinos in Macau, both companies are gaining in the stock market today. Evidently, both LVS stock and WYNN stock are now gaining by over 7% at the opening bell today. With a great weekend coming ahead, here are three more travel stocks for your watchlist today.
First up on our list today we have an international online travel agency, Trip.com. In short, the company offers hotel reservations, flight tickets, package tours, corporate travel management, and train ticketing services. All of which are readily available to consumers via its one-stop mobile app. With hotel and transportation information given, leisure and business travelers can make reservations. Travel packages and guided tours are also offered for corporate clients to manage their travel needs. For independent leisure visitors, Trip.com also provides package trips, including those for tour groups, semi-tour groups, and private groups.
Yesterday, Trip.com released its first fiscal quarter financial results. Among its highlights, net revenue was $649 million, remaining stable year-over-year. The reason is because of the impact of the latest wave of Covid in China. However, staycation travels have been a major contributor to the recovery of the Chinese domestic market. In particular, local hotel bookings are up by over 20% year-over-year. At the same time, Trip.com’s air-ticket bookings on its global platforms are also up by 270% over the same period.
Despite China’s strict lockdown measures in most of the first half of 2022, Trip.com is maintaining its overall growth. According to CEO Jane Sun, the company’s “results demonstrated our resilience amidst a confluence of challenges and uncertainties.” Sun also adds, “While we may continue to see short-term fluctuations, demand for travel is still strong and shows a bright outlook in the long-term.” Pair all this with China loosening its restrictions and TCOM stock could be an attractive buy amongst its travel stock peers. Would you say the same?
Next, we have Spirit Airlines, an ultra-low-cost carrier. The company operates across the U.S., Latin America, and the Caribbean. In fact, it is a leader in providing customizable travel options that start with an unbundled fare. Its Fit Fleet is one of the youngest and most fuel-efficient in the U.S. as well. In recent weeks, the company has been locked in a fierce battle as companies like JetBlue (NASDAQ: JBLU) and Frontier Group (NASDAQ: ULCC) have been trying to bid for Spirit.
The saga could be heading towards a climax this week as Spirit shareholders will vote on fellow budget airline Frontier’s acquisition offer on Thursday. However, JetBlue has been on the offensive, even boosting its offer price for Spirit on Monday evening. Diving in, JetBlue’s new offer raises the reverse break-up fee to $400 million from $350 million if regulators do not approve the deal. It also includes a dividend to Spirit shareholders of $2.50 a share, up from its previous offer of $1.50. On Frontier’s end, however, the company dismissed JetBlue’s claims that its acquisition of Spirit will lead to lower airfares.
Separately, TIG Advisors, an investment adviser that owns a stake of approximately 2 million Spirit Airlines shares, says that it has just sent a letter to the board of directors at Spirit regarding its intention to vote against the company’s proposed merger agreement with Frontier Group. It believes that its merger with JetBlue is the far superior outcome for Spirit shareholders due to its all-cash bid. This would also eliminate execution risk and maximize certainty of value. All things considered, should investors be looking at SAVE stock right now?
Topping our list today, we have Airbnb, a travel company that offers an online marketplace for lodging and tourism activities. It mainly earns its income through commissions from each booking. Today, it has over 4 million hosts who have welcomed more than 1 billion guests across the globe.
Today, the company announced that it is officially codifying the ban of all parties and events in its listings as part of its policy. This follows a temporary ban that was initiated in August 2020 on all parties and events. In that time since the company says it saw a direct correlation between the implementation of its policy in August 2020 and a 44% year-over-year drop in the rate of party reports. The ban has also been well received by its host community and it has also received positive feedback from community leaders and elected officials.
On June 27, 2022, the company also reported that family travel and long-term stays will trend across the U.S. this Independence Day. For instance, from February 2022 to March 2022, searches for stays over July 4th have increased by nearly 50%. Also, hosts could stand to earn a lot during the holiday. After all, last year’s Independence Day yielded the biggest payout for U.S. hosts in 2021 compared to other holiday weekends, a major moment for hosts to earn. All things considered, is ABNB stock worth investing in right now?
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6-in-10 Canadians relocated as a result of the pandemic and now plan to drive further daily
TORONTO, June 28, 2022
Aviva Canada's 'How We Live' report is a revealing glimpse at post-pandemic life
TORONTO, June 28, 2022 /CNW/ - Return to work means Canadians plan to drive their car longer distances as a result of having moved during the pandemic, a new Aviva Canada report shows.
Aviva Canada's 'How We Live Report' is a revealing glimpse at post-pandemic life.
And as the housing market begins to show signs of slowing amid rising interest rates, about half of Canadian homeowners think the value of their home is higher than it actually is.
Those are just two of the revealing findings in Aviva Canada's second How We Live Report, a national survey that quizzed Canadians about their lives and aspirations during and post-pandemic. The complete report can be viewed here.
"We're starting to see the boomerang effect of the pandemic in terms of the distances people aredriving," says Phil Gibson, EVP and Managing Director, Personal Insurance at Aviva Canada. "Consumer driving distances dropped when COVID-19 first struck, due to work from home. But now return to work has translated into driving greater distances than before. It's just one example of how Aviva's second How We Live Report shows that Canadians' perspectives continue to shift as we adjust to post-pandemic life."
Top categories and findings from the report include:
1. Property values and buying/selling aspirations
60% of Canadians have relocated as a result of the pandemic, with those working from home (26%) flocking to the suburbs or small towns.
The dream of homeownership is still alive for Canadians: 32% are currently living in their first home (compared to 22% in 2020). Over half of those respondents are between the ages of 25-44.
Last year, homeowners had a fairly accurate understanding of the value of their home. This year, skyrocketing housing prices have resulted in Canadians overestimating the value of their home – especially in hot markets like Ontario where homeowners estimated 53% higher than the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA).
When homeowners were asked if their home has increased in value since March 2021, Canadians remain optimistic. Most homeowners (81%) believe their property has increased in value (compared to 55% last year). Regionally, homeowners in Ontario and Quebec are much more likely to indicate this.
Gibson says: "Whatever the reason Canadians are choosing to move to more remote areas, special attention should be paid to areas known for windstorms and/or hail. Additionally, the presence of wildlife is a factor as it can impact the natural deterioration of a home. When moving to more rural areas, Canadians should always contact their insurance representative to ensure they have the right coverage for the additional protection required."
2. Renovations and home improvements
Fewer Canadians are renovating. In the last year, 11% of Canadians improved their home space through renovations, compared to 17% the year prior. Changes to the backyard remains the most popular renovation.
Canadians are spending roughly the same amount on renovations year-over-year. In 2021,
Canadian homeowners who renovated spent an average of $4,500, just $25 less than the average spend in 2020, with those in Ontario spending almost double than other provinces.
Of those who renovated, Canadians working from home spent on average $1,000 more. They spent three times as much adding a playroom to their home, compared to those who returned to the workplace. Not all home improvements were planned for Canadians – 14% of those who renovated say they renovated their home on impulse during the pandemic. Some homeowners regret renovating, saying they didn't use the space as much as they expected (8%) and spent too much on renovations (7%).
Gibson says: "When considering making renovations to your home, it's always a good idea to ensure you have a plan in place. Canadians looking to make major changes to their home should know that renovations like finishing a basement, removing structural supports, or building an addition may impact their insurance coverage as they can change the home's rebuild value. Your insurance representative can help ensure that your home is covered for its true value, giving you peace of mind should the unexpected happen."
3. Possessions and protection measures
47% of Canadians purchased new home décor during the pandemic, followed by 43% who bought new cooking equipment and 41% who purchased new technology for their home.
Despite spending on items within the home, 28% of Canadians say they currently don't know what their content insurance covers.
When thinking about the possessions they bought during the pandemic, 18% of Canadians say they made impulse purchases. Of the purchases made, 24% use their fitness items less than expected, 21% say the same about the voice-activated assistant they bought, 18% aren't using the hobby equipment they bought, and 18% are not using their gaming equipment/streaming services as often as anticipated.
Gibson says: "Your home is your sanctuary. With all the changes and updates Canadians have made, it's important to make sure that your home is insured to value, and that includes the contents within. You might be surprised to learn that many underestimate the value of their possessions in their home. Often, items like jewelry may need special coverage. Talk to your insurance representative if you are unsure about what your contents insurance covers to ensure you have adequate coverage."
4. Transportation and working habits
18% of Canadians say their transportation habits have changed since COVID-19.
Driving has become more popular among Canadians. Many who aren't currently driving are anticipating using a motorized vehicle in the next year (54%), and 23% of Canadians are expecting their mileage to increase.
More than half of Canadians are choosing to use their own vehicle for transportation (52%), followed by walking (14%), taking a bus (12%) or taking the subway (8%).
Since the beginning of 2022, 47% of the Canadian workforce state that they had fully returned to a designated workspace, 25% say they adopted the hybrid model, while 28% are now working permanently from home. Those in Ontario are more likely to work from home full-time (32% vs. 23% for the rest of Canada).
Older Canadians reportedly enjoy returning to the workplace more than their younger counterparts. 61% of those aged 18-34 who returned to working in-person stated they found it difficult to concentrate and adjust to normal working conditions – this is 7% higher than the average Canadian.
With gas prices soaring and more Canadians saying they are returning to the roads and anticipating future use of vehicles increasing over the next 12 months, one way Canadians can save is through usage-based insurance like Aviva Journey, which uses drivers' driving data to tailor their insurance premiums based on how well they drive.*
Gibson says: "We know consumers want more choices and influence over the rates they pay. The Aviva Journey app gives trip scores on every trip taken, and consistently updates the potential renewal discount drivers can receive so there's never a surprise for the customer. Aviva Journey truly allows drivers to take control of their auto premiums by understanding how to drive more safely and how it impacts their insurance premium."
Note to editors
The survey was conducted by Leger through an online survey with 2,500 Canadians, 18 years of age and older, who currently own homes or rent in Canada. The survey was carried out between March 18 – April 5, 2022. The results are considered accurate within plus or minus 2 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
Aviva Canada is one of the leading property and casualty insurance groups in the country, providing home, automobile, lifestyle, and business insurance to 2.4 million customers. A subsidiary of UK-based Aviva plc, Aviva Canada has more than 4,000 employees focused on creating a bright and sustainable future for our people, our customers, our communities and our planet. Launched in 2019, Aviva Canada is investing in safer communities through Aviva Take Back Our Roads, which uses data driven solutions and strategic collaborations to make safer roads a reality for all. In 2021, we announced our plan to become a net zero carbon emissions company by 2040, the most demanding target of any major insurance company in the world.
Pharma advertising has long been considered second-tier when compared to the rest of the advertising industry. And there are some legitimate reasons why. Nike sneakers and Coca-Cola soda ads will likely always be more entertaining or exciting than regulated campaigns for diabetes and heart disease.
Still, the Cannes Lions advertising festival of creativity was pharma and healthcare advertising’s annual chance to shine. For the past eight years, pharma agencies and clients stood side by side with consumer companies and agency hotshots on the biggest advertising award stage in the world at the Palais in Cannes, France.
However, something changed this year. While the awards for pharma and health and wellness were handed out to widespread applause on the first night of the show, for much of the rest of the time, healthcare marketing was relegated to the back of the room and mostly off the main stages.
The pharma and health and wellness category award finalists, for instance, were tucked in the back corner of the basement of the main building. Even people who wanted to see the work complained that they had to search for them. Only three Cannes Lions official sessions this year covered health or pharma advertising topics and were mostly general topics about creativity, diversity or empathy.
There were no pharma and health case study dissections or deep dives into the unique challenges in health and pharma advertising — and, maybe more importantly for the industry, there were no pharma executives on the Cannes stages as they have been in the past. Patricia Corsi was the lone pharma-connected executive; she is the chief marketing officer of Bayer Consumer Health and served as both a speaker and health and wellness jury president.
Patricia Corsi speaks on a judge’s panel (Clara Bui/Endpoints News)
Click on the image to see the full-sized version
Even among this year’s health and wellness award winners, no gold prizes went to pharma companies. Unexpected winners like Heineken and Harley Davidson did, however, take home the gold for their respective vaccination and “Tough Turban” campaigns.
There are two schools of thought about the disappearance of Cannes Lions Health as an official programmed track. On one hand, it signifies the parity of the industry with big consumer brands, but on the other hand, it also meant fewer conversations, less networking opportunities and an overall dimming of the industries’ presences at Cannes Lions.
“I would be lying if I didn’t say that I was disappointed so far,” said Rich Levy, chief creative officer of Klick Health on the first day of the show. “When you’re talking about a multibillion dollar industry in the US, I thought that 31 short list for pharma was remarkably small … I don’t think it’s an accurate view of the work that the industry is doing.”
Pharma and health and wellness entries both were way down this year. Total pharma entries dropped to 298, down from 509 last year with 11 total Lion awards given out. In health and wellness, there were 1,213 entries, down from 1,300 last year. There were Grand Prix awards given in both categories, but this was the first year it was required — in the past, judges could pass over a category for the top award if they thought it didn’t rise to the level of Grand Prix.
For the second year in a row, the Grand Prix in the pharma category went to a non-pharma company. Dell Technologies and Intel snagged the top prize for their voice app for people with motor neuron disease. The entry — created by VMLY&R New York and called “I Will Always Be Me” — helps people with MND bank a digital copy of their voice by reading a story book.
In the health and wellness category, Maxx Flash’s mosquito repellent campaign “The Killer Pack” took the top prize. The repellent is designed to address India’s mosquito problem, with a biodegradable packaging that kills mosquitoes outside while a nontoxic coil fights them inside.
Other health creatives and executives agreed with Levy’s award assessment, but also expressed concern about the limited health content. The health and pharma panels and award deep dives that were presented got solid reviews, but there were scant few in the official program, along with a handful of unofficial ones outside the main venues.
Several health agency networks set up off-site slates of healthcare and pharma programming — WPP Health and IPG Health both offered multiple panels and discussions at their own sites. CMI Media Group hosted a panel at the Pandora Beach pavilion on audio branding, while other agency creatives like Levy and Bernardo Romero, along with Ogilvy Health’s Adam Hessel and both panels of judges for pharma and health and wellness, attended sessions and networked with others in the health community.
Still, there just weren’t as many health and pharma people on the ground as there typically have been in the past as agencies cut back rosters of attendees and didn’t invite as many clients. That’s likely in part due to the Covid-19 pandemic recovery year of Cannes Lions this year as well as budget considerations in general.
Dana Maiman, CEO of IPG Health and a long-time Cannes Lions attendee said, “I’m hoping the changes honestly are just temporary. Because I remember when I first started coming here — I think this may be my 10th one or so — but back then it was consolidated. It was really liberating when it was focused and broken out, even though clearly there’s a lot of crossovers and all of that. But I think there is something very special about celebrating the creativity in our world because we can all agree it is more challenging.”
Hessel, chief creative officer at Ogilvy Health, said one reason for fewer entries was heavier curation down to just a few this year, but added that no matter the numbers, Cannes and other marketing award shows still are important for the industry.
“Just celebrating great work in any category is what the industry really needs and also maybe to pull back a bit — everybody’s looking for that one crown jewel, but there’s so much great work out there that should be celebrated,” he said, adding, “When clients see great work, they want that too, so that’s the bar.”
Corsi, meanwhile, said she wants to see more creativity from pharma marketers. She finds that creatives in the pharma industry are often trained to be more conservative, because if you cross the line, you face regulators — but she would like that to change.
“We really believe that there is a great opportunity for us to raise the bar in this category,” she said. “Work in health and wellness consistently across the years has not been the most inspiring.”
That doesn’t necessarily mean the work should be more complicated. According to Corsi, sometimes the simplest idea is the best. What she wants to see, though, is more outside-the-box thinking.
A handful of execs, including Corsi, noted that the Covid-19 pandemic has served as a wake-up call for pharma companies discovering what their role should be with patients. Pharma advertising is becoming more of a conversation as opposed to a one-off encounter, Corsi said. Even companies like Walgreens — which facilitated the vaccination of more than 30 million Americans — are taking a new approach to advertising.
“The pandemic, there’s no going back. You can’t unhear the bell, right? The bell’s been rung,” said Mel Routhier, chief creative officer of the WPP Walgreens team. “It’s a good thing for us to take stock and say we can have more purpose as a brand.”
One thing that hasn’t changed this year? The level of passion that pharma creatives are bringing to the conference.
“What I’m taking away now, that I guess maybe I didn’t really expect, is how much passion people have in the work that they’re doing,” said first-time attendee Gena Pemberton, Omnicom Health Group’s diversity, equity and inclusion director. “[It’s] really impactful to be able to talk with people in different areas, understand a little bit more about the work they’ve done, and just seeing how excited everybody is to be together again.”
In the end, the questions remain. Does Cannes Lions need a separate pharma and health track? Or vice versa, does pharma and healthcare advertising need that spotlight at Cannes? The debate won’t be easily settled.
Franklin Williams, director of experience design at Area 23 and a pharma judge, said, “It doesn’t really matter who’s doing the work as long as the targets are being hit. So I think that’s what you’re starting to see almost as a trend and a theme. It doesn’t have to be, we did pharma because we’re pharma. We did pharma because we wanted to do good.”
The danger, of course, is that without broader inclusion, specific content and more awards, pharma may lose interest in Cannes.
“It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. And what I mean by that is fewer winners every year mean fewer entries the following year. And fewer entries mean fewer winners,” Levy said.