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Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine Candidates Are Promising, but Soligenix’s Civax (TM) May Be a Better Alternative

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New York, New York–(Newsfile Corp. – November 17, 2020) – Enthusiasm is surrounding Pfizer’s and Moderna’s announcement of COVID-19 vaccine candidates that may soon become ripe for approval. But, in all fairness to the progress, tempering some of the excitement is warranted.

There are two significant concerns. First, both Pfizer and Moderna candidates use synthetic mRNA technology to activate the immune system against the virus and must be kept at minus 70 degrees Celsius (-94 F) or below, or at refrigerated levels for no more than 30 days and freezing at -20 degrees Celsius, respectively.

Second, mRNA technology has never been approved as a vaccine previously, meaning that both short and long-term safety risks are not as well understood. Moreover, this may have particular implications for repeated use of the vaccine (e.g., should yearly vaccinations be required).

As a first-generation submission, the mRNA vaccine candidates should be applauded. But, the next-generation of heat-stable alternatives, like Soligenix’s (NASDAQ: SNGX) CiVax, may offer a better and more viable platform to meet global dosing initiatives. That premise is supported in a Reuters’ article that quoted Amesh Adalja, senior scholar at Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, as saying, “The cold chain is going to be one of the most challenging aspects of the delivery of this vaccination…and this will be a challenge in all settings because hospitals even in big cities do not have storage facilities for a vaccine at that ultra-low temperature.”

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The article also noted that even one of the most prestigious U.S. hospitals, the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, does not currently have that capability. Therefore, don’t count on your local pharmacy, grocery chain, or town hospital to have the equipment to store the vaccine either. But, that need may not be necessary.

NASDAQ traded Soligenix believes it can alleviate much of that logistical pressure if its next-generation heat-stable subunit vaccine, CiVax for COVID-19, continues to score preclinical wins.

CiVax Potential May Clear Logistical Obstacles

In light of news about Pfizer’s vaccine facing potentially restrictive dosing challenges due to it requiring freezing, and Moderna’s requiring strict cold-storage temperature guidelines, CiVax is again earning attention as a next-generation vaccine that can be stored at room temperature. While that inherent value is undoubtedly a compelling feature, more critical to the drug’s chances for approval is that CiVax is a subunit vaccine with a known and well-tolerated safety profile that can benefit from accelerated development considerations through partnerships, licensing, or government funding.

That advantage should cause pause for the millions of people around the world who will take the first available vaccine, regardless of how it’s made. Of particular value for them would be to distinguish that the CiVax subunit vaccine does not use live-virus components. That may be the most compelling argument in favor of considering how a CiVax solution compares against dosing a billion people with the Pfizer or Moderna candidate with multiple unknowns.

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A year from now, absolutely nobody knows the potential after-dosing effects of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine candidate. That’s probably not the case with Soligenix’s subunit vaccine since subunit proteins have been used for decades. It also differs substantially from inactivated whole-cell vaccines by including only the pathogen’s antigenic parts — the parts necessary to elicit a protective immune response. Thus, the vaccine’s premise may be safer from the start and provide a similar therapeutic value.

Moreover, subunit vaccine candidates, like CiVax, are safe and follow a long list of vaccines that have been universally well-tolerated and effective for decades.

More Factors In Favor Of CiVax

The arguments against speed over potential efficacy are warranted. After all, before potentially growing an extra ear three years from now because a pharmacy technician allowed the cold-chain to break, it’s essential to look at feasible alternatives. In that measure, CiVax can check off many of the boxes that the Pfizer and Moderna drug does not.

First, CiVax utilizes a protein subunit antigen with a novel adjuvant that has long been considered the gold standard for vaccine safety. Second, CiVax has demonstrated the ability to stimulate Th1 antibody responses, unlike the standard subunit vaccine adjuvant. These preferred Th1 antibody responses have already been generated for vaccines to treat SARS and MERS — that bodes well for CiVax. And if those actions are replicated, it may closely mimic the Pfizer and Moderna immune-boosting applicant’s effects.

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Also noteworthy is that CiVax demonstrated the ability to generate both neutralizing antibodies AND cell-mediated immunity – both of which are considered critical to generating a potent immune response. Better still is that robust responses were measured even after one vaccination. Thus, a single dose CiVax vaccine may be feasible.

The differences may be better shown in comparison. If a (-94 F) drug is challenging to deliver as a single dose, the subsequent effort to re-dose the population can present insurmountable challenges even in perfect conditions. And, circumstances that allow for even minimal refrigerated conditions won’t exist for most of the world’s population, especially those outside of metropolitan areas or who live in remote regions of the world. That leaves billions of people exposed…and untreatable.

Meeting Rapid Scale-Up Challenges

Aside from the potential logistical nightmare of a vaccine requiring (-94 F), or -20 degrees Celsius, to stay potent, producing the vaccine presents another set of challenges. While this can be met with licensing agreements, consider that each manufacturing facility will also face rigorous FDA review and oversight. Reproducing a complex, highly intolerant vaccine is not like replicating a potato chip. It’s a too complicated process that has many moving parts to earn even a GMP approval. CiVax clears that hurdle as well.

CiVax utilizes an approach that can rapidly scale up production using different facilities with minimal supply chain overlap. Moreover, the platform can be used as many times as desired, yearly, for example, if there are genetic drifts or mutations in the virus. Also, checking off another unknown against competing vaccine candidates is that CiVax is likely to be equally effective for elderly and immune-compromised individuals with no safety constraints anticipated.

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Maybe most important to the subject is that most vaccine efforts are based on inactivated coronavirus, meaning developers will need significant stocks of the virus to produce their product. That factor presents a host of potential complications. Also, with no vaccines to date getting approved using DNA or RNA technologies, even a successful formula can limit their use and be entirely contraindicated in some populations.

CiVax, again, is showing its ability to meet and beat these challenges. It is also one of the only vaccine candidates showing the potential to generate a thermostabilized vaccine – meaning no cold chain distribution is required and can be easy to distribute worldwide. In other words, it can be produced and sent to many millions of patients quickly and efficiently without the fear of losing its potency.

CiVax Taking Steps Forward

It’s fair to take a challenging viewpoint to the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine candidates and, at the same time, appreciate the contribution. Operation warp-speed provides small and large drug development companies the opportunity to develop a promising drug in record time. But, that speed should not come without an abundance of caution. Injecting billions of people with a drug that has a limited long-term safety profile can cause generations worth of harm. That’s the downside. The potential upside is that it works, and the world can move on from this debilitating pandemic.

It’s also fair to note that alternatives are also advancing quickly, and CiVax is worthy of attention. And while Soligenix may not have the financial muscle of big pharma, they have routinely earned the attention from government agencies like the NIH, who have provided meaningful grants in the past based on the company’s achievements. The company believes they can earn trust in its developing CiVax program.

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Indeed, if CiVax continues to demonstrate an ability to effectuate immune responses, minimize storage concerns, and eliminate distribution constraints, it can likely be included for more funding. Keep in mind, too, that few in the health field expect a one-and-done vaccine approval. Several companies will need to contribute to beat COVID-19, and those contributions can come from companies big or small.

The bottom line is this… don’t discount the value of Soligenix’s contribution to producing a meaningful treatment for COVID-19. Its CiVax vaccine offers a bullish case to be included as a part of a global vaccination solution.

Disclaimer

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Fintech

How to identify authenticity in crypto influencer channels

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Modern brands stake on influencer marketing, with 76% of users making a purchase after seeing a product on social media.The cryptocurrency industry is no exception to this trend. However, promoting crypto products through influencer marketing can be particularly challenging. Crypto influencers pose a significant risk to a brand’s reputation and ROI due to rampant scams. Approximately 80% of channels provide fake statistics, including followers counts and engagement metrics. Additionally, this niche is characterized by high CPMs, which can increase the risk of financial loss for brands.

In this article Nadia Bubennnikova, Head of agency Famesters, will explore the most important things to look for in crypto channels to find the perfect match for influencer marketing collaborations.

 

  1. Comments 

There are several levels related to this point.

 

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LEVEL 1

Analyze approximately 10 of the channel’s latest videos, looking through the comments to ensure they are not purchased from dubious sources. For example, such comments as “Yes sir, great video!”; “Thanks!”; “Love you man!”; “Quality content”, and others most certainly are bot-generated and should be avoided.

Just to compare: 

LEVEL 2

Don’t rush to conclude that you’ve discovered the perfect crypto channel just because you’ve come across some logical comments that align with the video’s topic. This may seem controversial, but it’s important to dive deeper. When you encounter a channel with logical comments, ensure that they are unique and not duplicated under the description box. Some creators are smarter than just buying comments from the first link that Google shows you when you search “buy YouTube comments”. They generate topics, provide multiple examples, or upload lists of examples, all produced by AI. You can either manually review the comments or use a script to parse all the YouTube comments into an Excel file. Then, add a formula to highlight any duplicates.

LEVEL 3

It is also a must to check the names of the profiles that leave the comments: most of the bot-generated comments are easy to track: they will all have the usernames made of random symbols and numbers, random first and last name combinations, “Habibi”, etc. No profile pictures on all comments is also a red flag.

 

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LEVEL 4

Another important factor to consider when assessing comment authenticity is the posting date. If all the comments were posted on the same day, it’s likely that the traffic was purchased.

 

2. Average views number per video

This is indeed one of the key metrics to consider when selecting an influencer for collaboration, regardless of the product type. What specific factors should we focus on?

First & foremost: the views dynamics on the channel. The most desirable type of YouTube channel in terms of views is one that maintains stable viewership across all of its videos. This stability serves as proof of an active and loyal audience genuinely interested in the creator’s content, unlike channels where views vary significantly from one video to another.

Many unauthentic crypto channels not only buy YouTube comments but also invest in increasing video views to create the impression of stability. So, what exactly should we look at in terms of views? Firstly, calculate the average number of views based on the ten latest videos. Then, compare this figure to the views of the most recent videos posted within the past week. If you notice that these new videos have nearly the same number of views as those posted a month or two ago, it’s a clear red flag. Typically, a YouTube channel experiences lower views on new videos, with the number increasing organically each day as the audience engages with the content. If you see a video posted just three days ago already garnering 30k views, matching the total views of older videos, it’s a sign of fraudulent traffic purchased to create the illusion of view stability.

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3. Influencer’s channel statistics

The primary statistics of interest are region and demographic split, and sometimes the device types of the viewers.

LEVEL 1

When reviewing the shared statistics, the first step is to request a video screencast instead of a simple screenshot. This is because it takes more time to organically edit a video than a screenshot, making it harder to manipulate the statistics. If the creator refuses, step two (if only screenshots are provided) is to download them and check the file’s properties on your computer. Look for details such as whether it was created with Adobe Photoshop or the color profile, typically Adobe RGB, to determine if the screenshot has been edited.

LEVEL 2

After confirming the authenticity of the stats screenshot, it’s crucial to analyze the data. For instance, if you’re examining a channel conducted in Spanish with all videos filmed in the same language, it would raise concerns to find a significant audience from countries like India or Turkey. This discrepancy, where the audience doesn’t align with regions known for speaking the language, is a red flag.

If we’re considering an English-language crypto channel, it typically suggests an international audience, as English’s global use for quality educational content on niche topics like crypto. However, certain considerations apply. For instance, if an English-speaking channel shows a significant percentage of Polish viewers (15% to 30%) without any mention of the Polish language, it could indicate fake followers and views. However, if the channel’s creator is Polish, occasionally posts videos in Polish alongside English, and receives Polish comments, it’s important not to rush to conclusions.

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Example of statistics

 

Wrapping up

These are the main factors to consider when selecting an influencer to promote your crypto product. Once you’ve launched the campaign, there are also some markers to show which creators did bring the authentic traffic and which used some tools to create the illusion of an active and engaged audience. While this may seem obvious, it’s still worth mentioning. After the video is posted, allow 5-7 days for it to accumulate a basic number of views, then check performance metrics such as views, clicks, click-through rate (CTR), signups, and conversion rate (CR) from clicks to signups.

If you overlooked some red flags when selecting crypto channels for your launch, you might find the following outcomes: channels with high views numbers and high CTRs, demonstrating the real interest of the audience, yet with remarkably low conversion rates. In the worst-case scenario, you might witness thousands of clicks resulting in zero to just a few signups. While this might suggest technical issues in other industries, in crypto campaigns it indicates that the creator engaged in the campaign not only bought fake views and comments but also link clicks. And this happens more often than you may realize.

Summing up, choosing the right crypto creator to promote your product is indeed a tricky job that requires a lot of resources to be put into the search process. 

Author Nadia Bubennikova, Head of agency  at Famesters

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Nadia Bubennikova, Head of agency at Famesters

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Fintech

Central banks and the FinTech sector unite to change global payments space

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The BIS, along with seven leading central banks and a cohort of private financial firms, has embarked on an ambitious venture known as Project Agorá.

Named after the Greek word for “marketplace,” this initiative stands at the forefront of exploring the potential of tokenisation to significantly enhance the operational efficiency of the monetary system worldwide.

Central to this pioneering project are the Bank of France (on behalf of the Eurosystem), the Bank of Japan, the Bank of Korea, the Bank of Mexico, the Swiss National Bank, the Bank of England, and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. These institutions have joined forces under the banner of Project Agorá, in partnership with an extensive assembly of private financial entities convened by the Institute of International Finance (IIF).

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At the heart of Project Agorá is the pursuit of integrating tokenised commercial bank deposits with tokenised wholesale central bank money within a unified, public-private programmable financial platform. By harnessing the advanced capabilities of smart contracts and programmability, the project aspires to unlock new transactional possibilities that were previously infeasible or impractical, thereby fostering novel opportunities that could benefit businesses and consumers alike.

The collaborative effort seeks to address and surmount a variety of structural inefficiencies that currently plague cross-border payments. These challenges include disparate legal, regulatory, and technical standards; varying operating hours and time zones; and the heightened complexity associated with conducting financial integrity checks (such as anti-money laundering and customer verification procedures), which are often redundantly executed across multiple stages of a single transaction due to the involvement of several intermediaries.

As a beacon of experimental and exploratory projects, the BIS Innovation Hub is committed to delivering public goods to the global central banking community through initiatives like Project Agorá. In line with this mission, the BIS will soon issue a call for expressions of interest from private financial institutions eager to contribute to this ground-breaking project. The IIF will facilitate the involvement of private sector participants, extending an invitation to regulated financial institutions representing each of the seven aforementioned currencies to partake in this transformative endeavour.

Source: fintech.globa

The post Central banks and the FinTech sector unite to change global payments space appeared first on HIPTHER Alerts.

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TD Bank inks multi-year strategic partnership with Google Cloud

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TD Bank has inked a multi-year deal with Google Cloud as it looks to streamline the development and deployment of new products and services.

The deal will see the Canadian banking group integrate the vendor’s cloud services into a wider portion of its technology solutions portfolio, a move which TD expects will enable it “to respond quickly to changing customer expectations by rolling out new features, updates, or entirely new financial products at an accelerated pace”.

This marks an expansion of the already established relationship between TD Bank and Google Cloud after the group previously adopted the vendor’s Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE) for TD Securities Automated Trading (TDSAT), the Chicago-based subsidiary of its investment banking unit, TD Securities.

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TDSAT uses GKE for process automation and quantitative modelling across fixed income markets, resulting in the development of a “data-driven research platform” capable of processing large research workloads in trading.

Dan Bosman, SVP and CIO of TD Securities, claims the infrastructure has so far supported TDSAT with “compute-intensive quantitative analysis” while expanding the subsidiary’s “trading volumes and portfolio size”.

TD’s new partnership with Google Cloud will see the group attempt to replicate the same level of success across its entire portfolio.

Source: fintechfutures.com

The post TD Bank inks multi-year strategic partnership with Google Cloud appeared first on HIPTHER Alerts.

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