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Tech Giants Could Send Helium Prices Soaring as War For Supply Grows

It’s a global issue that could soon disrupt every industry from technology to medicine and much more.
With the global supply of one commodity at its lowest level in years… while demand is spiking to all-time highs…
It could send prices for this…

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It's a global issue that could soon disrupt every industry from technology to medicine and much more.

With the global supply of one commodity at its lowest level in years... while demand is spiking to all-time highs...

It could send prices for this much-needed resource higher yet.

Already, prices had been steadily climbing in recent years.


Source: Bureau of Land Management, USGS

But one small company, Avanti Energy (TSX: AVN.V; US OTC: ARGYF), has seen its share price increase more than 2.5x over just the last few months.

Those recent gains are greater than many of those companies filling the headlines today.

Now, an event set to take place in September 2021 has the potential to send helium prices to the next level.

That's when the global supply of this rare gas could nosedive by as much as 10%.

And that's why some of the biggest media outlets in the world are finally starting to take notice.

Forbes is saying, "Helium is soaring on red-hot demand, shrinking supply."

CNBC points out, "The worldwide helium shortage affects everything from MRIs to rockets."

And the Wall Street Journal is saying, "The gas is crucial in high-tech and medical device manufacturing [...] operations."

With top media outlets now turning their attention to this supply squeeze, it’s clear that the world is facing a potential shortage.

You see, helium is about far more than party balloons.

Big Tech companies like Amazon, Alphabet, Facebook, and many others all rely heavily on this valuable gas.

Because it has the lowest boiling point of any element, it can bring temperatures to lower levels than even liquid nitrogen.

That's incredibly important when you're keeping electronics from overheating.

1) This is crucial for Big Tech’s data centers, as they run around the clock, crunching more data than ever.

2) It's essential for creating computer chips we rely on in every computer and smartphone we own.

3) And the health sector requires them to cool the magnets inside MRI machines.

Helium even plays a critical role in space exploration, quantum computing, and nuclear power.

In today's high-tech era, it's needed nearly everywhere you look.

That's why it's such a concern that supply levels are reducing to the lowest level we've seen in years.

Those in the medical field even went as far as to ask balloon retailers to give up 10% of the helium supply recently to help address the shortage.

If helium levels run out altogether, the effects could be very expensive.

Imagine the impact on fiber optic cables for high speed internet. On cell phones or computers. On MRIs. And even on airbags for our cars.

That’s why this precious gas is now much more valuable than natural gas, at prices of $14.6/Mcf versus just $2.80/Mcf.

And that's great news for little-known helium exploration companies like Avanti (TSX: AVN.V; US OTC: ARGYF).

The junior mining company has already seen shares soar over 2.5x in just three months.


Source: Beacon Securities Limited

But with the looming deadline of the September 2021 event, Avanti Energy (TSX: AVN.V; US OTC: ARGYF) seems to be on the right track.

World-Class Team Jumping On A Massive Opportunity

Avanti recently acquired the license for 6,000+ acres of land in Alberta, Canada that the experienced team says is highly prospective for helium.


Source: Beacon Securities Limited

Around the world, most of the largest supplies of helium have had one thing in common.

They were discovered in areas where there's been drilling for natural gas.

That’s a major reason why Avanti has targeted the site where the government of Alberta previously explored for oil and gas wells.

So we think it already fits the criteria from that angle.

But it's also positioned in an area where there's been multiple drill system tests with analyzed natural gas.

And it's got the potential to be high-grade gas as well.

When it comes to commercially viable grades of helium, experts consider anything from 0.3% to 1% helium to be high-grade.

But on the Alberta property, historical drilling is reported to have showed up to 2.18% helium in some locations.

We think this could have tremendous implications for supply if the hoped for discovery in Alberta pans out as Avanti’s team is expecting.

For prospective helium plays like these though, even when there's great potential, many fall apart just due to poor leadership or lack of experience, in addition to other reasons.

That's why it's essential to only back projects led by teams that have already proven they can deliver the goods.

And that's exactly what we think Avanti Energy (TSX: AVN.V; US OTC: ARGYF) has on their side.

Team of Experts with a Proven Track Record

Their world-class management team was responsible for identifying and developing one of the largest oil and gas discoveries in all of North America.

That's where they helped discover natural gas in the Montney, which has been producing almost 300,000 boe/d over the past 15 years.

And now, Genga Nadaraju, Dr. Jim Wood, and Ali Esmail have keyed in on the Alberta property because of the incredible potential they've seen there.

They've probably already developed a plan for identifying the structural traps and high points for drilling.

But many are eagerly waiting to see how these world-class experts will do it.

They've already revealed that they're pursuing an 80-20% targeted model approach.

The 20% will follow standard industry conventional strategies.

But the remaining 80%, which could be the key to helping unlock the opportunities at the Alberta property, is being kept strictly confidential.

It’s expected that they’ll plan to follow their own models, just as they did at the Montney.

And they’re hoping they’ll see similar results with another world-class discovery in their new property, this time of a different kind of gas.

Expanding Quickly Throughout North America

With such a highly-respected team behind this project, it's beginning to draw attention within the industry.

That's especially true after Avanti moved to grow their land package across the border into the United States earlier in April.

They’ve entered into an LOI to add another 12,000 acres of land in Montana to this already impressive land package in Alberta.

And they're supposedly eyeing another roughly 55,000 acres around the midwestern United States with potentially very large helium reserves.

Altogether, they're said to have identified around 20 additional proprietary targets around Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Montana.

And over the coming months, they've made clear that they are planning to aggressively start acquiring more land to build a long-term pipeline of opportunities and projects.

That's massive news as the supply squeeze for helium has a lot of different industries seeking what Avanti is looking to be able to supply.

And once the Helium Stewardship Act expires in September 2021, that's only expected by some experts to push helium prices higher.

That's when the United States Bureau of Land Management (BLM) will auction off all remaining helium reserves in their possession, which could do away with the price ceiling keeping the lid on the market today.

Avanti Energy (TSX: AVN.V; US OTC: ARGYF) is in a good position to cash in if they achieve the discoveries they’re aiming for as they assemble a growing property portfolio that's highly prospective for helium.

Now, with the success of this tech boom riding on companies like Avanti discovering and producing more helium in the coming months, the potential upside looks good to us.

So how does Big Tech use helium, anyway?

It’s used primarily for cooling in fiber optic manufacturing and semiconductor manufacturing. That means that companies with massive data centers like Google, Facebook and Microsoft are distinctly dependent on this rare gas.

Other energy plays to keep an eye on:

As demand for energy continues to explode in a post-pandemic China, CNOOC Limited (NYSE:CEO, TSX:CNU) will likely be one of the biggest winners in this boom. It’s the country’s most significant producer of offshore crude oil and natural gas and may well be one of the most controversial oil stocks for investors on the market. A label that has nothing to do with its operations, however.

Just last month, U.S. regulators announced their intention to de-list Chinese companies from the New York Stock Exchange, going back on their announcement just a few days later. The sustained negative press surrounding Chinese companies, however, has put CNOOC in an uncomfortable position for investors. While many analysts see the company as significantly undervalued, it is still struggling to gain traction in U.S. markets.

Teck Resources Limited (NYSE:TECK, TSX:TECK.B) is one of the world’s largest and most diverse resource and mineral companies. And it isn’t going to miss out on the global energy transition, either. While its primary mining and mineral development plays focus on steelmaking coal, copper and zinc, Teck also has a major stake in renewable projects with massive potential.

Explaining why investment in the new-energy industry, Teck states, “Flow batteries – such as the zinc-air battery developed by ZincNyx, with its flexible and low-cost scaling, long-term storage properties and the ability to separate the energy storage function from the power generation source – could provide a more efficient alternative for large-scale energy storage.” 

Like the rest of the market, Teck struggled in 2020. Its share price fell to just $7 in March of last year due to the market chaos sparked by the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite this downturn, however, the company was able to rebound significantly, rising by nearly 180% to its current prices. But with more projects on the horizon, and global demand for copper and zinc on the rise, Teck is poised to climb even higher.

Turquoise Hill Resources Ltd. (NYSE:TRQ, TSX:TRQ) is major player in Canada’s resource and mineral industry, and its bound to gain some major traction in the world’s push towards greener energy. Like Teck Resources, Turquoise Hill is a major producer of coal and zinc, two resources with distinctly different futures. While the end of coal is looming, zinc is a mineral that will likely grow exponentially in the future of energy for years and years to come.

But that’s not all Turqoise Hill has going for it in the energy transition. It’s also a major producer of Uranium. Uranium is a key material in the production of nuclear energy, which many analysts are suggesting could be a major component in the global transition to cleaner energy. While the mineral has not seen significant price action in recent years, there are a number of new projects set to come online across the globe in the medium-term, which could be a boon to Turquoise Hill.

Magna International (NYSE:MGA, TSX:MG) is a little-known stock with huge potential. And it is a great way to get in on the booming battery market without betting big on one of the new hot stocks tearing up among the millennials right now. The 63-year-old Canadian manufacturing giant provides mobility technology for automakers of all types. From GM and Ford to luxury brands like BMW and Tesla, Magna is a master at striking deals. And it’s clear to see why. The company has the experience and reputation that automakers are looking for.

Magna saw the battery boom before most. In fact, more than ten years ago, it was already making major moves in this emerging market, investing over half a billion dollars in battery production while the market was still gaining traction. Back then, electric vehicles as we know them had barely hit the scene, with Tesla launching its very first car just two years before.

Magna’s big bet on batteries has paid off in a big way. Since its initial investment the company has seen its valuation soar by tens of billions of dollars, and it has quietly solidified itself as one of the leaders in this emerging market. 

Similar to Magna, Celestica (NYSE:CLS, TSX:CLS ), is a company that saw this trend before it took Wall Street by storm. As a manufacturer of key technology in this industry, it has gained a lot of ground, especially in recent years. Celestica’s wide range of products includes but is not limited to communications solutions, enterprise and cloud services, aerospace and defense products, renewable energy and healthcare tech.

Celestica’s future is tied hand-in-hand with the green energy boom that’s sweeping the world at the moment. It helps build smart and efficient products that integrate the latest in power generation, conversion and management technology to deliver smarter, more efficient grid and off-grid applications for the world’s leading energy equipment manufacturers and developers.

Celestica fell victim to the massive selloff sparked by the global COVID-19 pandemic, seeing its share price fall into the $2 range in March 2020. Since then, however, the stock price has soared by nearly 400% to its current price. This could be just the beginning for Celestica, however. As the pressure continues to grow to go green, Celestica may emerge as a major benefactor in this new energy race.  

By. Arakan Okada

**IMPORTANT! BY READING OUR CONTENT YOU EXPLICITLY AGREE TO THE FOLLOWING. PLEASE READ CAREFULLY**

Forward-Looking Statements

This publication contains forward-looking information which is subject to a variety of risks and uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual events or results to differ from those projected in the forward-looking statements. Forward looking statements in this publication include that prices for helium will significantly increase due to global demand and use in a wide array of industries and that helium will retain its value in future due to the demand increases and overall shortage of supply; that Avanti can pursue exploration of the recently acquired licenses of property in Alberta; that Avanti’s licenses in respect of the Alberta property can achieve drilling and mining success for helium; that Avanti will be able acquire the rights to helium on 12,000 acres of prospective land in Montana pursuant to its recently announced letter of intent; that the Avanti team will be able to develop and implement helium exploration models, including their own proprietary models, that may result in successful exploration and development efforts; that historical geological information and estimations will prove to be accurate or at least very indicative of helium; that high helium content targets exist in the Alberta and Montana projects; and that Avanti will be able to carry out its business plans, including timing for drilling and exploration. These forward-looking statements are subject to a variety of risks and uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual events or results to differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking information. Risks that could change or prevent these statements from coming to fruition include that demand for helium is not as great as expected; that alternative commodities or compounds are used in applications which currently use helium, thus reducing the need for helium in the future; that the Company may not fulfill the requirements under its Alberta licenses for various reasons or otherwise cannot pursue exploration on the project as planned or at all; that the Company may not be able to acquire the helium rights to the Montana lands as contemplated in the letter of intent or at all; that the Avanti team may be unable to develop any helium exploration models, including proprietary models, which allow successful exploration efforts on any of the Company’s current or future projects; that Avanti may not be able to finance its intended drilling programs to explore for helium or may otherwise not raise sufficient funds to carry out its business plans; that geological interpretations and technological results based on current data may change with more detailed information, analysis or testing; and that despite promise, there may be no commercially viable helium or other resources on any of Avanti’s properties. The forward-looking information contained herein is given as of the date hereof and we assume no responsibility to update or revise such information to reflect new events or circumstances, except as required by law.

DISCLAIMERS

This communication is for entertainment purposes only. Never invest purely based on our communication. Oilprice.com and its owners and affiliates (“Oilprice.com”) have not been compensated by Avanti but may in the future be compensated to conduct investor awareness advertising and marketing for TSXV:AVN. The information in this report and on our website has not been independently verified and is not guaranteed to be correct.

SHARE OWNERSHIP. The owner of Oilprice.com owns shares of Avanti and therefore has an additional incentive to see the featured company’s stock perform well. Oilprice is therefore conflicted and is not purporting to present an independent report. The owner of Oilprice.com will not notify the market when it decides to buy more or sell shares of this issuer in the market. The owner of Oilprice.com will be buying and selling shares of this issuer for its own profit. This is why we stress that you conduct extensive due diligence as well as seek the advice of your financial advisor or a registered broker-dealer before investing in any securities. 

NOT AN INVESTMENT ADVISOR. Oilprice.com is not registered or licensed by any governing body in any jurisdiction to give investing advice or provide investment recommendation, nor are any of its writers or owners.

ALWAYS DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH and consult with a licensed investment professional before making an investment. This communication should not be used as a basis for making any investment.

RISK OF INVESTING. Investing is inherently risky. Don't trade with money you can't afford to lose. This is neither a solicitation nor an offer to Buy/Sell securities. No representation is being made that any stock acquisition will or is likely to achieve profits.

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Middle-aged Americans in US are stressed and struggle with physical and mental health – other nations do better

Adults in Germany, South Korea and Mexico reported improvements in health, well-being and memory.

Middle age was often a time to enjoy life. Now, it brings stress and bad health to many Americans, especially those with lower education levels. Mike Harrington/Getty Images

Midlife was once considered a time to enjoy the fruits of one’s years of work and parenting. That is no longer true in the U.S.

Deaths of despair and chronic pain among middle-aged adults have been increasing for the past decade. Today’s middle-aged adults – ages 40 to 65 – report more daily stress and poorer physical health and psychological well-being, compared to middle-aged adults during the 1990s. These trends are most pronounced for people who attained fewer years of education.

Although these trends preclude the COVID-19 pandemic, COVID-19’s imprint promises to further exacerbate the suffering. Historical declines in the health and well-being of U.S. middle-aged adults raises two important questions: To what extent is this confined to the U.S., and will COVID-19 impact future trends?

My colleagues and I recently published a cross-national study, which is currently in press, that provides insights into how U.S. middle-aged adults are currently faring in relation to their counterparts in other nations, and what future generations can expect in the post-COVID-19 world. Our study examined cohort differences in the health, well-being and memory of U.S. middle-aged adults and whether they differed from middle-aged adults in Australia, Germany, South Korea and Mexico.

A middle-aged woman looking sad sitting in front of artwork.
Susan Stevens poses for a photograph in her daughter Toria’s room with artwork Toria left behind at their home in Lewisville, N.C. Toria died from an overdose. Eamon Queeney/For The Washington Post via Getty Images

US is an outlier among rich nations

We compared people who were born in the 1930s through the 1960s in terms of their health and well-being – such as depressive symptoms and life satisfaction – and memory in midlife.

Differences between nations were stark. For the U.S., we found a general pattern of decline. Americans born in the 1950s and 1960s experienced overall declines in well-being and memory in middle age compared to those born in the 1930s and 1940s. A similar pattern was found for Australian middle-aged adults.

In contrast, each successive cohort in Germany, South Korea and Mexico reported improvements in well-being and memory. Improvements were observed in health for each nation across cohorts, but were slowed for Americans born in the 1950s and 1960s, suggesting they improved less rapidly than their counterparts in the countries examined.

Our study finds that middle-aged Americans are experiencing overall declines in key outcomes, whereas other nations are showing general improvements. Our cross-national approach points to policies that could could help alleviate the long-term effects arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Will COVID-19 exacerbate troubling trends?

Initial research on the short-term effects of COVID-19 is telling.

The COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare the fragility of life. Seismic shifts have been experienced in every sphere of existence. In the U.S., job loss and instability rose, household financial fragility and lack of emergency savings have been spotlighted, and children fell behind in school.

At the start of the pandemic the focus was rightly on the safety of older adults. Older adults were most vulnerable to the risks posed by COVID-19, which included mortality, social isolation and loneliness. Indeed, older adults were at higher risk, but an overlooked component has been how the mental health risks and long-haul effects will likely differ across age groups.

Yet, young adults and middle-aged adults are showing the most vulnerabilities in their well-being. Studies are documenting that they are currently reporting more psychological distress and stressors and poorer well-being, compared to older adults. COVID-19 has been exacerbating inequalities across race, gender and socioeconomic status. Women are more likely to leave the workforce, which could further strain their well-being.

A older women hugs her daughter.
Middle-aged people often have parents to take care of as well as children. Ron Levine/Getty Images

Changing views and experiences of midlife

The very nature and expectations surrounding midlife are shifting. U.S. middle-aged adults are confronting more parenting pressures than ever before, in the form of engagement in extracurricular activities and pressures for their children to succeed in school. Record numbers of young adults are moving back home with their middle-aged parents due to student loan debt and a historically challenging labor and housing market.

A direct effect of gains in life expectancy is that middle-aged adults are needing to take on more caregiving-related duties for their aging parents and other relatives, while continuing with full-time work and taking care of school-aged children. This is complicated by the fact that there is no federally mandated program for paid family leave that could cover instances of caregiving, or the birth or adoption of a child. A recent AARP report estimated that in 2020, there were 53 million caregivers whose unpaid labor was valued at US$470 billion.

The restructuring of corporate America has led to less investment in employee development and destabilization of unions. Employees now have less power and input than ever before. Although health care coverage has risen since the Affordable Care Act was enacted, notable gaps exist. High numbers of people are underinsured, which leads to more out-of-pocket expenses that eat up monthly budgets and financially strain households. President Biden’s executive order for providing a special enrollment period of the health care marketplace exchange until Aug. 15, 2021 promises to bring some relief to those in need.

Promoting a prosperous midlife

Our cross-national approach provides ample opportunities to explore ways to reverse the U.S. disadvantage and promote resilience for middle-aged adults.

The nations we studied vastly differ in their family and work policies. Paid parental leave and subsidized child care help relieve the stress and financial strain of parenting in countries such as Germany, Denmark and Sweden. Research documents how well-being is higher in both parents and nonparents in nations with more generous family leave policies.

Countries with ample paid sick and vacation days ensure that employees can take time off to care for an ailing family member. Stronger safety nets protect laid-off employees by ensuring that they have the resources available to stay on their feet.

In the U.S., health insurance is typically tied to one’s employment. Early on in the COVID-19 pandemic over 5 million people in the U.S. lost their health insurance when they lost their jobs.

During the pandemic, the U.S. government passed policy measures to aid people and businesses. The U.S. approved measures to stimulate the economy through stimulus checks, payroll protection for small businesses, expansion of unemployment benefits and health care enrollment, child tax credits, and individuals’ ability to claim forbearance for various forms of debt and housing payments. Some of these measures have been beneficial, with recent findings showing that material hardship declined and well-being improved during periods when the stimulus checks were distributed.

I believe these programs are a good start, but they need to be expanded if there is any hope of reversing these troubling trends and promoting resilience in middle-aged Americans. A recent report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation concluded that paid family leave has a wide range of benefits, including, but not limited to, addressing health, racial and gender inequities; helping women stay in the workforce; and assisting businesses in recruiting skilled workers. Research from Germany and the United Kingdom shows how expansions in family leave policies have lasting effects on well-being, particularly for women.

Middle-aged adults form the backbone of society. They constitute large segments of the workforce while having to simultaneously bridge younger and older generations through caregiving-related duties. Ensuring their success, productivity, health and well-being through these various programs promises to have cascading effects on their families and society as a whole.

[Get the best of The Conversation, every weekend. Sign up for our weekly newsletter.]

Frank J. Infurna receives funding from the National Institute on Aging and previously from the John Templeton Foundation. The content is solely his responsibility and does not necessarily represent the official views of the funding agencies.

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Does a plant-based diet really help beat COVID-19?

A new paper suggests that plant- and fish-based diets lessen the chance of developing severe symptoms – but hold off from becoming vegetarian or pescatarian for now.

Dejan Dundjerski/Shutterstock

Since the beginning of the pandemic, it’s been suggested that certain foods or diets may offer protection against COVID-19. But are these sorts of claims reliable?

A recent study published in BMJ Nutrition, Prevention and Health sought to test this hypothesis. It found that health professionals who reported following diets that are vegetarian, vegan or pescatarian (those that exclude meat but include fish) had a lower risk of developing moderate-to-severe COVID-19.

Additionally, the study found that those who said they eat a low-carbohydrate or high-protein diet seemed to have an increased risk of contracting moderate-to-severe COVID-19.

This may make it sound like certain food preferences – such as being vegetarian or a fish eater – may benefit you by reducing the risk of COVID-19. But in reality, things aren’t so clear.

Self-reporting and small samples

First, it’s important to underline that reported diet type didn’t influence the initial risk of contracting COVID-19. The study isn’t suggesting that diet changes the risk of getting infected. Nor did it find links between diet type and length of illness. Rather, the study only suggests that there’s a link between diet and the specific risk of developing moderate-to-severe COVID-19 symptoms.

It’s also important to consider the actual number of people involved. Just under 3,000 health professionals took part, spread across six western countries, and only 138 developed moderate-to-severe disease. As each person placed their diet into one of 11 categories, this left a very small number eating certain types of diet and then even smaller numbers getting seriously ill.

A man eating a burger and chips
It’s hard to assess the true quality of people’s diets without monitoring what they actually eat. veryulissa/Shutterstock

This meant, for instance, that fish eaters had to be grouped together with vegetarians and vegans to produce meaningful results. In the end only 41 vegetarians/vegans contracted COVID-19 and only five fish eaters got the disease. Of these, just a handful went on to develop moderate-to-severe COVID-19. Working with such small numbers increases the risk of a falsely identifying a relationship between factors when there isn’t one – what statisticians call a type 1 error.

Then there is another problem with studies of this type. It’s observational only, so can only suggest theories about what is happening, rather than any causality of diet over the effects of COVID-19. To attempt to show something is actually causal, you ideally need to test it as an intervention – that is, get someone to switch to doing it for the study, give it time to show an effect, and then compare the results with people who haven’t had that intervention.

This is how randomised controlled trials work and why they are considered the best source of evidence. They are a much more robust method of testing whether one single thing is having an effect on something else.

Plus, there is also the problem that the diet people say they consume may not be what they actually eat. A questionnaire was used to find out what foods people ate specifically, but responses to this were also self-reported. It also had only 47 questions, so subtle but influential differences in people’s diets may have gone unnoticed. After all, the foods available in the US do differ from those available in Spain, France, Italy, the UK and Germany.

So what does this tell us?

When it comes to trying to determine the best diet for protecting against COVID-19, the truth is we don’t have enough quality data – even with the results of this study, which are a small data set and only observational.

And a further issue is that the study didn’t look at the quality of people’s diets by assessing which foods they actually ate. This is another reason why it needs treating with caution. Self-declared diet types or food questionnaires may not capture information on the variety and type of foods eaten – for instance missing details about how much fresh or processed food someone eats, how meals are eaten and with whom. And as alluded to above, self-reported data on what people eat is also notoriously inaccurate.

The bottom line is: the name of what you call your diet is far less important than what you actually eat. Just because a diet is vegetarian or pescatarian doesn’t automatically make it healthy.

A table of friends eating a variety of food dishes
Eating a varied, balanced diet is a route to general good health. Rawpixel.com/Shutterstock

For now, the robust evidence isn’t there to suggest that being vegetarian or pescatarian protects against COVID-19 – so there’s no need to rush to switch your diet as a result of this study. However, what we do know is that keeping active, eating a sensible healthy diet and keeping our weight in check helps to fortify us against a wide range of health issues, and this could include COVID-19.

Perhaps the best advice is simply to keep following general dietary guidelines: that is, that we should eat a variety of foods, mainly vegetables, fruit, pulses, nuts, seeds and whole grains, with few highly processed foods that are high in sugar, salt and fat.

Duane Mellor has written commissioned articles about supplements for Kinerva and he has supported the production of educational resources for the Vegan Society. He is a member of the British Dietetic Association and Association for Nutrition. He also chooses to follow a vegetarian diet.

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FDA authorizes about 10M J&J vaccine doses, trashes 60M more from troubled Emergent plant

The FDA on Friday released about 10 million doses of J&J’s vaccine for use, and disposed of another 60 million doses that were manufactured at the now-shuttered Emergent BioSolutions facility in Baltimore where cross-contamination occurred.
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The FDA on Friday released about 10 million doses of J&J’s vaccine for use, and disposed of another 60 million doses that were manufactured at the now-shuttered Emergent BioSolutions facility in Baltimore where cross-contamination occurred.

The agency said it’s not yet ready to allow the Emergent plant to be included in the J&J EUA, but that may occur soon. FDA came to the decision to authorize some of the doses after reviewing facility records and quality testing results.

Peter Marks, FDA

“This review has been taking place while Emergent BioSolutions prepares to resume manufacturing operations with corrective actions to ensure compliance with the FDA’s current good manufacturing practice requirements,” said CBER director Peter Marks.

Emergent previously ruined 15 million doses of J&J’s Covid-19 vaccine in March due to the cross-contamination with the AstraZeneca vaccine, which was previously made at the same Baltimore site. In April, Emergent slammed the brakes on all production there, at the FDA’s behest, and J&J took control of the plant.

Now, the 10 million doses that are OK to be used may also be exported, but the FDA said Friday that will come with conditions. For instance, for any export of these two batches OKed for use, or of vaccine manufactured from these batches, J&J and Emergent agreed that the FDA may share relevant information, under an appropriate confidentiality agreement, with the regulatory authorities of the countries in which the vaccine may be used.

Additional batches are still under review, FDA said, but the agency declined to say how many or even how many doses are in one batch. The New York Times first reported on Friday that the FDA would not allow the use of the 60 million doses. J&J did not respond to a request for comment.

The European Medicines Agency also released a statement on Friday, saying that based on available information, batches of the vaccine released in the EU are not affected by the cross-contamination that occurred at the Emergent facility.

“However, as a precaution and to safeguard the quality of vaccines, the supervisory authorities [the medicines authorities in Belgium and the Netherlands who are responsible for batch release in the EU] have recommended not releasing vaccine batches containing the active substance made at around the same time that the contamination occurred,” the EMA said.

Additionally, the FDA has extended the expiration dating for the refrigerated J&J doses, after reviewing information and determining that the vaccine can be stored at 2-8 degrees Celsius for 4.5 months, instead of 3 months.

More than 10 million people in the US have now received the J&J vaccine, all of whom received vaccines made at the company’s plant in the Netherlands. Another 10 million more doses have been delivered across the country but not administered yet, according to the CDC.

As of the end of May, 2 million doses of the J&J vaccine have been administered in the EU, EMA said.

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