Haagan-Dazs Launched Adult Ice Cream Bar Infused with Rum in Japan

Chestnut Tart Bar with flavour of Italian chestnut and butter cookies

The bar will be available nationwide for a limited time from August 31, 2021 and the price is 319 yen (tax included).

The alcohol content is 0.2%.

Highly Potent, Stable Nanobodies Stop Sars-CoV-2

Göttingen researchers have developed mini-antibodies that efficiently block the coronavirus Sars-CoV-2 and its dangerous new variants. These so-called nanobodies bind and neutralize the virus up to 1000 times better than previously developed mini-antibodies. In addition, the scientists optimized their mini-antibodies for stability and resistance to extreme heat. This unique combination makes them promising agents to treat Covid-19. Since nanobodies can be produced at low costs in large quantities, they could meet the global demand for Covid-19 therapeutics. The new nanobodies are currently in preparation for clinical trials.

Antibodies help our immune system to fend off pathogens. For example, the molecules attach to viruses and neutralize them so that they can no longer infect cells. Antibodies can also be produced industrially and administered to acutely ill patients. They then act like drugs, relieving symptoms and shortening recovery from the disease. This is established practice for treating hepatitis B and rabies. Antibodies are also used for treating COVID-19 patients. However, producing these molecules on an industrial scale is too complex and expensive to meet worldwide demand. Nanobodies could solve this problem.

Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Göttingen (Germany) and the University Medical Center Göttingen have now developed mini-antibodies (also known as VHH antibodies or nanobodies) that unite all the properties required for a potent drug against Covid-19. “For the first time, they combine extreme stability and outstanding efficacy against the virus and its Alpha, Beta, Gamma, and Delta mutants,” emphasizes Dirk Görlich, director at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry.

At first glance, the new nanobodies hardly differ from anti-Sars-CoV-2 nanobodies developed by other labs. They are all directed against a crucial part of the coronavirus spikes, the receptor-binding domain that the virus deploys for invading host cells. The nanobodies block this binding domain and thereby prevent the virus from infecting cells.

“Our nanobodies can withstand temperatures of up to 95 °C without losing their function or forming aggregates,” explains Matthias Dobbelstein, professor and director of the University Medical Center Göttingen’s Institute of Molecular Oncology. “For one thing, this tells us that they might remain active in the body long enough to be effective. For another, heat-resistant nanobodies are easier to produce, process, and store.”

Single, double, and triple nanobodies

The simplest mini-antibodies developed by the Göttingen team already bind up to 1000 times more strongly to the spike protein than previously reported nanobodies. They also bind very well to the mutated receptor-binding domains of the Alpha, Beta, Gamma, and Delta strains. “Our single nanobodies are potentially suitable for inhalation and thus for direct virus neutralization in the respiratory tract,” Dobbelstein says. “In addition, because they are very small, they could readily penetrate tissues and prevent the virus from spreading further at the site of infection.”

A ‘nanobody triad’ further improves binding: The researchers bundled three identical nanobodies according to the symmetry of the spike protein, which is comprised of three identical building blocks with three binding domains. “With the nanobody triad, we literally join forces: In an ideal scenario, each of the three nanobodies attaches to one of the three binding domains,” reports Thomas Güttler, a scientist in Görlich’s team. “This creates a virtually irreversible bond. The triple will not let release the spike protein and neutralizes the virus even up to 30,000-fold better than the single nanobodies.” Another advantage: The larger size of the nanobody triad expectedly delays renal excretion. This keeps them in the body for longer and promises a longer-lasting therapeutic effect.

As a third design, the scientists produced tandems. These combine two nanobodies that target different parts of the receptor-binding domain and together can bind the spike protein. “Such tandems are extremely resistant to virus mutations and the resulting ‘immune escape’ because they bind the viral spike so strongly”, explains Metin Aksu, a researcher in Görlich’s team.

For all nanobody variants – monomeric, double as well as triple – the researchers found that very small amounts are sufficient to stop the pathogen. If used as a drug, this would allow for a low dosage and thus for fewer side effects and lower production costs.

“Our nanobodies originate from alpacas and are smaller and simpler than conventional antibodies,” Görlich says. To generate the nanobodies against Sars-CoV-2, the researchers immunized three alpacas – Britta, Nora, and Xenia from the herd at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry – with parts of the coronavirus spike protein. The mares then produced antibodies, and the scientists drew a small blood sample from the animals. For the alpacas, the mission was then complete, as all further steps were carried out with the help of enzymes, bacteria, so-called bacteriophages, and yeast. “The overall burden on our animals is very low, comparable to vaccination and blood testing in humans,” Görlich explains.

Görlich’s team extracted around one billion blueprints for nanobodies from the alpacas’ blood. What then followed was a laboratory routine perfected over many years: The biochemists used bacteriophages to select the very best nanobodies from the initially vast pool of candidates. These were then tested for their efficacy against Sars-CoV-2 and further improved in successive rounds of optimization.

Not every antibody is ‘neutralizing’. Researchers of Dobbelstein’s group therefore determined if and how well the nanobodies prevent the viruses from replicating in cultured cells in the lab. “By testing a wide range of nanobody dilutions, we find out which quantity suffices to achieve this effect,” explains Antje Dickmanns from Dobbelstein’s team. Her colleague Kim Stegmann adds: “Some of the nanobodies were really impressive. Less than a millionth of a gram per liter of medium was enough to completely prevent infection. In the case of the nanobody triads, even another twenty-fold dilution was sufficient.“

Also effective against current coronavirus variants

Over the course of the coronavirus pandemic, new virus variants have emerged and rapidly became dominant. These variants are often more infectious than the strain that first appeared in Wuhan (China). Their mutated spike protein can also ‘escape’ neutralization by some originally effective antibodies of infected, recovered, or vaccinated persons. This makes it more difficult even for an already trained immune system to eliminate the virus. This problem also affects previously developed therapeutic antibodies and nanobodies.

This is where the new nanobodies show their full potential, as they are also effective against the major coronavirus variants of concern. The researchers had inoculated their alpacas with part of the spike protein of the first known Sars-CoV-2 virus, but remarkably, the animals’ immune system also produced antibodies that are active against the different virus variants. “Should our nanobodies prove ineffective against a future variant, we can reimmunize the alpacas. Since they have already been vaccinated against the virus, they would very quickly produce antibodies against the new variant,” Güttler asserts confidently.

Therapeutic application in view

The Göttingen team is currently preparing the nanobodies for therapeutic use. Dobbelstein emphasizes: “We want to test the nanobodies as soon as possible for safe use as a drug so that they can be of benefit to those seriously ill with Covid-19 and those who have not been vaccinated or cannot build up an effective immunity.” The team is supported by experts in technology transfer: Dieter Link (Max Planck Innovation), Johannes Bange (Lead Discovery Center, Dortmund, Germany), and Holm Keller (kENUP Foundation). The Max Planck Foundation provides financial support for the project.

The receptor-binding domain of Sars-CoV-2 is known to be a good candidate for a protein vaccine but so far difficult to manufacture economically on a large scale and in a form, which activates the immune system against the virus. Bacteria programmed accordingly produce incorrectly folded material. The Göttingen researchers discovered a solution for this problem: They identified special nanobodies that enforce correct folding in bacterial cells, without obstructing the crucial neutralizing part of the receptor-binding domain. This might allow for vaccines that can be produced inexpensively, can be quickly adapted to new virus variants, and can be distributed with simple logistics even in countries with little infrastructure. “The fact that nanobodies can help with protein folding was previously not known and is extremely interesting for research and pharmaceutical applications,” Görlich says.

Source: Max-Planck-Gesellschaft

What’s Wrong With Ice Cream Right Now?

Rachel Sugar wrote . . . . . . . . .

In the past several weeks, America has been hit with a wave of new ice-cream flavors, all of them collaborations between brands. Kraft Heinz and Van Leeuwen released a “limited edition” Macaroni & Cheese ice cream, which launched its own minor news cycle and sold out within a day. A novelty!, I thought. But was it? A few weeks later, the Marble Slab Creamery revealed that it had partnered with Frito-Lay on a Flamin’ Hot Cheetos ice cream, a limited-time offering at its 259 retail locations. (This too sparked a miniature media frenzy, which conveniently did not dwell on the working conditions at Frito-Lay.) The Dogfish Head brewery, meanwhile, teamed up with NYC-based Tipsy Scoop to debut an alcoholic Hazy-O IPA ice cream, which is available on Goldbelly and costs $99 for four pints. (Shipping ice cream is expensive.) Finally, the multistate cannabis operator MariMed is now collaborating with Boston-based ice-cream chain Emack & Bolio’s on a line of marijuana-infused ice creams. “There is a good vibe between our companies,” mused Emack & Bolio’s CEO Bob Rook, calling it the execution of a long-held vision.

It is time to call it. Enough cross-branded ice creams are enough. Ice creams should exist for one purpose and one purpose only, and that is to be good.

To be clear: Some of these gonzo flavor collaborations are almost certainly delicious. All of them, perhaps. But that is not the reason they exist. They are marketing opportunities. Does anyone believe in Flamin’ Hot Cheetos ice cream? I want at least the illusion that some lone ice-cream artisan jolted awake one night with a vision. Instead, we have this statement from the head of Cheetos marketing: “Our fans’ biggest passion points are food mashups, and we’re constantly inspired by how they use Cheetos as an ingredient in their culinary creations. We know they will love Cheetos Flamin’ Hot Ice Cream and can’t wait to bring a little mischief to summer.”

It is craven pandering. And it is against the fundamental spirit of ice cream, which is, above all else, sincere.

It’s not that we should inherently object to ice-cream collaboration. Just look at Dairy Queen, which since 1986 has been pulverizing Heath bars, Snickers, and Oreos into its Blizzards. In fact, you could argue that ice cream is uniquely well positioned for collaboration. What can’t you mix into a semi-frozen sweet-cream soup?

Nor am I an ice-cream conservative demanding that all ice cream be sweet and obvious and time tested. I am strongly pro–ice-cream innovation. Recently, for example, I was talking with a flavorist in New Jersey who told me that over the past five or six years, she has seen an explosion of salted-caramel ice creams, to the point where she now considers the flavor a modern classic. This is what progress looks like: There was a time when salted caramel was not widely available, and now it is and we are all better for it. Cookies-and-cream was new once! Somebody decided many years ago that it would be fun to flavor ice cream with smashed-up pistachios, and while we’d all like to think we would also have thought of it eventually, we can never really know.

Perhaps the motivation doesn’t matter, only the consequences. If the taste is right, who cares if it’s a stunt? Me, I discovered.

Ice cream is a singularly earnest food. It can be playful — experimental, even — but it is not ironic. Ice cream is supposed to be an uncomplicated pleasure. It always means exactly what it says. It is a food that evokes childhood and inspires nostalgia: I did not actually grow up eating cones with rainbow sprinkles at the beach, but when eating ice cream, I feel as though I did and that is the part that matters. If an ice-cream flavor doesn’t immediately trigger a sense of unbridled delight, it has failed.

For that to happen, someone must believe in these flavors. I want ice creams developed with a conviction, or at least an illusion of a conviction, that transcends market forces. I want to believe that somebody — a lone genius, a corporate focus group outside of Cincinnati, I’m flexible — thinks that, in a vacuum, this would be a truly great idea. I want big swings. Most ice creams won’t ever turn into classics, obviously, but I want new flavors that try. If you’re going to do cold macaroni, by all means. But not smirking, limited-time promotion. Let’s see commitment. Ice cream demands you double down.

Source: Grub Street

Diet Key to Better Health in People With Diabetes

Cara Murez wrote . . . . . . . . .

A diet rich in fresh veggies, fruit and fiber has meaningful benefits for people with diabetes, a new research review confirms.

Doctors have long recommended this kind of “low-glycemic” eating regimen to help patients manage their diabetes and keep blood sugar levels steady. The new review of findings from 29 different trials lends support for that advice.

“Although it was small, the effects were important,” said study co-author Dr. John Sievenpiper, an associate professor of nutritional sciences and medicine at the University of Toronto. “I think it provides an opportunity for patients to help them achieve their diabetes treatment goals using diet,” he added.

The trials reviewed in this study investigated the effects of a low-glycemic index/glycemic load diet for three or more weeks in 1,617 patients with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. Most were middle-aged and overweight or obese. Their diabetes was moderately controlled and they were using medication or insulin.

Glycemic index is a measure of how quickly different foods affect blood sugar levels.

Past research has found that low-glycemic index foods help keep blood sugar levels steady and reduce the risk of heart disease in people with diabetes.

In this research review, low-glycemic diets were associated with lower blood sugar levels with a high degree of certainty of evidence.

With moderate certainty, the diet was associated with reductions in fasting blood sugar, LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, weight and a protein involved in inflammation.

The diets did not seem to affect blood levels of insulin and HDL (“good”) cholesterol, waist circumference or blood pressure, the review found.

Diet is a cornerstone of diabetes therapy, Sievenpiper said. Though patients in the reviewed studies were already on medications or insulin, adding in a low-glycemic diet later could also help, the evidence showed.

Laura Chiavaroli, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Toronto, led the research review.

When it comes to choosing carbohydrates, she said people with diabetes ideally would choose whole and plant-based foods, including vegetables, fruit, legumes and whole grains.

“With the rise in popularity of plant-based diets right now, [this research] is coming out at a good time where people are a bit more aware of those kinds of foods,” Chiavaroli said.

A big takeaway from the study is that all carbohydrates aren’t created equal.

Sievenpiper said, “All carbohydrates aren’t bad. And there’s advantages to selecting lower-glycemic carbohydrates.”

That includes scrapping refined grains in favor of whole grains with “sticky” fiber, such as oats and barley, he said. In its traditional form, a Mediterranean diet has a low-glycemic index, he added.

The findings were published online Aug. 5 in the BMJ.

The research was done, in part, for an update to European Association for the Study of Diabetes’ guidelines.

The American Association of Clinical Endocrinology is updating its guidelines, too, and the American Diabetes Association has included updates in its standards of care, according to Dr. Karl Nadolsky, assistant clinical professor at Michigan State University College of Human Medicine, in East Lansing.

Replacing food that’s refined, processed and high-energy with whole foods will automatically result in a diet that’s lower in glycemic index and energy intake, he said.

“Energy balance matters. We know that reducing our energy intake will help obesity and … diseases like type 2 diabetes,” said Nadolsky, who was not involved in the study. “We know that Mediterranean-pattern diet, getting fat from nuts and seeds and all that stuff is better for cardiovascular risk and diabetes.”

People may need individualized diets based on their circumstances. For example, Nadolsky said, an athlete with 5% body fat will have different needs than most, including more high-glycemic foods. Others may want to increase their consumption of plant-based foods, while sometimes eating high-quality fish or meat.

Replacing white bread, pizza crust, sugar-sweetened beverages and baked goods with veggies, beans, legumes and fruit makes sense, he added.

“It’s low-glycemic index, low-glycemic load. It’s a lower energy intake. It has higher fiber, which they do talk about in this study,” Nadolsky said. “So you end up getting all those benefits when you do that.”

Source: HealthDay

Date and Tofu Ice

Ingredients

9 oz stoned dates
2-1/2 cups apple juice
1 tsp ground cinnamon
10-1/2 oz pack chilled tofu, drained and cubed
2/3 cup unsweetened soy milk

Method

  1. Put the dates in a saucepan. Pour in 1-1/4 cups of the apple juice and leave to soak for 2 hours. Simmer for 10 minutes, then leave to cool.
  2. Using a slotted spoon, lift out one-quarter of the dates, chop roughly and set aside.
  3. Puree the remaining dates in a food processor or blender.
  4. Add the cinnamon and process with enough of the remaining apple juice to make a smooth paste.
  5. Add the cubes of tofu, a few at a time, processing after each addition.
  6. Finally, add the remaining apple juice and the soya milk.
  7. Churn the mixture with an ice cream maker until very thick, but not thick enough to scoop. Scrape into a plastic tub.
  8. Stir in most of the chopped dates and freeze for 2-3 hours until firm.
  9. Scoop into dessert glasses and decorate with the remaining chopped dates.

Cook’s Tip

As tofu is a non-dairy product it will not blend completely, so don’t be concerned if the mixture contains tiny flecks of tofu.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: Ice Cream and Iced Desserts


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