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Clinical trials of nasal spray for COVID prevention underway. Can it stop the virus at the entry point?



When used in conjunction with existing hygiene measures recommended by health authorities, nasal spray has the potential to be effective and safe in preventing COVID-19 infection and transmission.

When used in conjunction with existing hygiene measures recommended by health authorities, nasal spray has the potential to be effective and safe in preventing COVID-19 infection and transmission.&nbsp | &nbspPhoto Credit:&nbspiStock Images

Diversified entity ITC is expanding its range. After cigarettes, FMCG, hotels, packaging, paperboards, speciality papers and agribusiness, the company has confirmed on Thursday that it is developing a nasal spray for COVID-19 prevention and has initiated clinical trials.

The spray has been developed by scientists at ITC’s Life Sciences and Technology Centre (LSTC) in Bengaluru. Once it gets all the requisite regulatory approvals, the company reportedly plans to market the nasal spray under the Savlon brand. The company has not announced where the clinical trial is being done, or from where the commercial production would happen. However, the sources have confirmed that the company had received approvals from ethics committees and is registered with Clinical Trial Registry-India (CTRI).

Since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, there have been many pharma giants vying to create vaccines and precautionary and preventive medicines to cope with the onslaught of Sars-CoV-2. While the vaccines have become a reality, the research for a nasal spray that is likely to prevent infection from the SARS-CoV-2 has been going on with some players already having entered the market.

How does it work?

It has been established that the SARS- CoV-2 or novel coronavirus enters the human body through nose and mouth cavities. For the initial period, it stays in the nose and/or mouth for a while before it binds with the ACE2 receptor, gaining entry into the cells.

Angiotensin-converting enzyme-2 or ACE2 is an enzyme that cuts up the larger proteins into smaller ones to regulate functions in the cell. Think of it as a protein on the surface of cells. When SARS-CoV-2 comes in contact with this ACE2, it uses the spike-like protein on its surface to bind itself with the host cell. Somewhat akin to a key being inserted into a lock. Once the key is turned and the lock clicks open, the virus enters the host cell and infects. So ACE2 effectively acts as a cellular doorway or a receptor for the virus that causes COVID-19. Hence the name ACE2 receptor.

The ACE2 is present in many cell types and tissues including the lungs and the gastrointestinal tract. So any antiviral solution applied in the nasal and oral cavities offers a protective layer over the tissue so that the SARS-CoV-2 cannot bind with the ACE2 receptor. The doorway is sealed and the virus is left inert, having been denied contact with the host cell.

Take for instance SaNOtize’s nitric oxide nasal spray (NONS) that is being manufactured, marketed, and distributed in India by Glenmark Pharmaceuticals. Based on nitric oxide, NONS forms a protective layer in the upper airways, preventing the COVID-19 virus from incubating and spreading to the lungs. Nitric oxide is a proven anti-microbial and reportedly has a direct effect on SARS-CoV-2.

Another antiviral solution that has been doing rounds is Povidone Iodine (PVP-I). According to a research paper published earlier this year by the Association of Otolaryngologists of India, the PVP-I oro-nasal spray helps in rendering the virus inert.

It is a similar principle that ITC’s spray is also based on. While the company is tight-lipped about the antimicrobial cocktail it is using, the basic idea is to shield the cells at the entry point in the nasal cavity itself to arrest the virus.

Nasal sprays have shown success in the past in preventing mild Covid infection from progressing towards moderate/severe disease. Of course, the clinical trials will determine and be the final judge of the extent of safety and efficacy of this newest shield against the dreaded virus.  

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‘Defeated’ Mike Lindell Ends 96-hour TV Marathon After Failing to Gain Support



Mike Lindell ended a 96-hour online marathon entitled, Thanks-a-thon, after failing to gain strong support for his Supreme Court case.

The MyPillow CEO has long been a fervent supporter of former President Donald Trump and has continued to make baseless claims that the 2020 election was rigged in favour of President Joe Biden and that he would file a lawsuit.

Despite providing no evidence for widespread election fraud, Lindell claimed he would have the support of multiple states’ attorneys in general as he hoped to take this issue to the Supreme Court.

The 60-year-old claimed he would have this support by Thanksgiving, a deadline he set himself, but he did not receive it and the lawsuit was not filed.

By the end of the marathon, Mike Lindell appeared defeated, according to viewers, and in his final words asked the people to take action.

The brief clip has been posted to Twitter and viewed over 150,000 times with many viewers remarking how tired and defeated Lindell appears.

The clip, shared by attorney Ron Filipkowski, was posted to Twitter with the caption: “As Mike Lindell concludes his 96-hour marathon to convince America to rise up and demand the Supreme Court accept his case. He sounds pretty damn beaten down and defeated. Poor guy.”

He said: “If you have a voice you have got to speak out, we are going to be that voice.”

Lindell then started to say he would be back before trailing off and looking down away from the camera. He then stopped speaking as he tapped a pen on the desk before continuing.

He said: “Everybody watching, it depends on all of you now. We have got the tools and we are going to be back and talk about the pathway forward.”

Mike Lindell on Freedom Patriot Network
Mike Lindell’s 96-hour TV marathon ended in failure.
Freedom Patriot Network

During the stream, Newsweek also reported on the low number of viewers despite the claim by Lindell that millions were watching. On the Youtube stream of the event, only a dozen people were watching the event.

Posted on Lindell’s Youtube channel, Freedom Patriot Network, the stream ended with 9,164 views.

The exact viewing figures are unclear as the event was also being streamed on Lindell’s own platforms, Frank Speech, and Lindell TV where viewing figures are not shared publicly.

On Wednesday, Lindell held a protest outside the Fox News headquarters in Manhattan in the hopes the network would start covering his election fraud case. Only a handful of protesters joined the pillow salesman in the rally, where they could be seen on camera chanting “”Shame on Fox, shame on Fox.”

Newsweek has contacted Lindell for comment.

Mike Lindell
Mike Lindell, CEO of My Pillow, speaks during a campaign rally held by U.S. President Donald Trump at the Target Center on October 10, 2019 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Mike Lindell ended his online Marathan after 96 hours
Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

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Omicron crypto token surges to record highs after new Covid variant is named



Written by Shankhyaneel Sarkar | Edited by Poulomi Ghosh, Hindustan Times, New Delhi

An obscure cryptocurrency named Omicron surged after the World Health Organization (WHO) named the coronavirus variant first found in southern African nations South Africa and Botswana. Cryptocurrency experts say that the currency surged owing to a similar name to that of the new variant of Coronavirus.

The news of the Covid-19 variant affected world markets along with cryptocurrencies but the Omicron coin remained resilient, according to finance and cryptocurrency news website CoinDesk.

OMIC, the native coin of decentralized reserve currency protocol, picked up a bid near $70 earlier on Friday and rose to $711 on Sunday, the CoinDesk report said citing

The report also highlighted the rise as an example of ‘peak irrationality’ since the cryptocurrency rallied owing to its name’s likeness to the Covid-19 variant. It also said that OMIC is far from being a ‘safe haven asset’. The OMIC coin is built on Ethereum scaling technology Arbitrum, CoinDesk said in its report.

The bond-based yield farming project started out in early November as a fork of the OlympusDAO DeFi protocol. The token rose to $689 on Monday.

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The Last Airbender Cast Photo Teases Aang’s Iconic Shaven Look



Avatar: The Last Airbender is getting ready to embark on a new journey, and Netflix cannot afford to lead the series wrong. The company is working on its live-action adaptation of Avatar, and fans are cautiously hopeful about the project given its spot-on cast. With production underway at last, netizens are eagerly waiting for their first look at Netflix’s series, and a new cast photo teases how Aang will look in the series.

The update comes from social media as actor Gordon Cormier posted a photo of himself with co-star Ian Ousley. As you can see below, Cormier is already in character as Aang even off the set, and fans are paying close attention to his hairline.

Even though a hat is obscuring Cormier’s head, fans can tell the actor has taken a razor to his hair. What little hairline can be seen is shaved close, and Cormier’s ears are not framed by any hair either. The child actor’s dark shaggy hair is gone, and Avatar fans knew that was going to happen at some point.

After all, Aang is an airbender, and he follows most of the tribe’s nomadic practices. This includes shaving one’s hair until they’re bald. The look allows nomads to show off their airbender tattoos, and just like in our world, the people shave their heads as a sign of their spirituality. While Aang did grow out his hair at points in the original show, our hero kept his locks trimmed more often than not. And now, it seems Cormier is learning how to take care of his hair just like Aang would. 

While it may seem strange to obsess over a tiny detail like Aang’s hair, fans of the original series are taking in every sign they get. It is no secret that Avatar: The Last Airbender has a dark history with live-action adaptations, but Netflix’s approach has the fandom infinitely more optimistic this time around. Nailing the characters’ looks is just one of many things this TV series must do to win fans over. But with stars like Cormier onboard, fans are hopeful this live-action adaptation will be the one they’ve been dreaming about. 

What do you think of Cormier’s new look? Do you have faith in this Netflix adaptation given Avatar‘s top-notch cast? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below or hit me up on Twitter @MeganPetersCB.

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