New No-bun Alt-meat Burger Launched at Burger King Japan

The burger features lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, onions, mustard, and ketchup sandwiched between two vegan meat patties.

The Whopper is available for a limited time for 690 yen (plus tax).

Study: Deadly COVID-19 Lambda Variant Could be Neutralizing Vaccines

Hannah Sparks wrote . . . . . . . . .

As the US struggles to suppress the rapidly advancing coronavirus Delta variant, new evidence has emerged that the latest Lambda mutation — ravaging parts of South America — won’t be slowed by vaccines.

In a July 28 report appearing on bioRxiv, where the study awaits peer review prior to getting published, researchers in Japan are sounding the alarm on the C.37 variant, dubbed Lambda. And it’s proven just as virulent as Delta thanks to a similar mutation making them even more contagious.

The strain has been contained in 26 countries, including substantial outbreaks in Chile, Peru, Argentina and Ecuador.

“Notably, the vaccination rate in Chile is relatively high; the percentage of the people who received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine was [about] 60%,” the authors write.

“Nevertheless, a big COVID-19 surge has occurred in Chile in Spring 2021, suggesting that the Lambda variant is proficient in escaping from the antiviral immunity elicited by vaccination,” they warn.

The Lambda variant is thought to have emerged somewhere in South America between November and December 2020, and has since turned up in countries throughout Europe, North America and a few more isolated cases in Asia, according to GISAID data.

The proportion the Lambda variant has of COVID-19 cases in the US is low with just one-tenth of 1% of the share — about 911 cases. Compare that to Delta, which has infected some 77,692 Americans so far.

“In addition to increasing viral infectivity, the Delta variant exhibits higher resistance to the vaccine-induced neutralization,” the authors said. “Similarly, here we showed that the Lambda variant equips not only increased infectivity but also resistance against antiviral immunity.”

Lambda has so far been labeled a “variant of interest” by the World Health Organization, compared to the Alpha, Beta, Gamma and Delta strains, which have all risen to “variant of concern,” or VOC, status.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has published scant literature on the Lambda variant, though a COVID-19 vaccine briefing from July 27 cited another pre-print study, dated July 3, which concluded that the mRNA vaccine in particular is thought to effectively neutralize the Lambda variant.

In Chile, where C.37 is proliferating, their notably aggressive vaccine campaign relied predominantly on the Sinovac Biotech vaccine, which employs the inactivated virus to promote the production of COVID-19 antibodies.

Meanwhile, doctors are urging patients to get fully vaccinated in order to mitigate the severity of illness if infected with COVID-19 and its variants. Studies have shown that vaccines are effective at reducing deadly outcomes of COVID-19 — and a booster shot may be even better, prompting the Food and Drug Administration to consider providing third vaccine doses to people with compromised immune systems.

In a recent appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” White House chief medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci concluded, “There’s no doubt that over time, you’re going to have an attenuation of protection.”

Source: The New York Post

Vegan Steak Served in a US Steakhouse “For the First-Time Ever”

In a one-off event, a traditional American steak house Bennett’s American Cooking will serve a Rhiza mycoprotein steak made by the Better Meat Co.

After opening its new fermentation plant to produce Rhiza – the company’s new mycoprotein superfood ingredient – the Better Meat Co is primarily focused as a b2b producer. CEO Paul Shapiro convinced the owner of Bennett’s American Cooking steakhouse with a tasting of the plant-based meat and the brand claims it is the first time a vegan steak has been served in an American steakhouse.

The mycoprotein market in the US was valued at $149.6 Million in 2020 and continues to see global growth and is estimated to reach a 21.8% share of the global alt protein market. Not only the US but Canada, Japan, China, and Europe are driving the 6.4% CAGR estimated for this segment, with these markets accounting for a combined market size of $510.5 Million in the year 2020.

“We’re using the power of fermentation to make the most succulent animal-free meats you can get. In fact, the steakhouse owner was skeptical until he tried the Better Meat Co. mycoprotein steak, after which he declared it the best-tasting alt meat he’s ever had,” CEO Paul Shapiro told vegconomist.

Source: Vegconomist

Early Data Shows Rise in Breakthrough Infections Among the Vaccinated

Robin Foster and Ernie Mundell wrote . . . . . . . . .

Preliminary data from seven U.S. states show that the arrival of the Delta variant in July may be fueling a rise in breakthrough infections among the fully vaccinated.

At least 1 in every 5 new COVID-19 cases in six of these states have involved vaccinated people, with higher percentages of hospitalizations and deaths among these folks than had previously been seen in all seven states, The New York Times reported.

Still, the absolute numbers of vaccinated people made sick by COVID-19 remains very low, experts said, and the vaccines are still very potent weapons against severe disease.

If breakthrough infections are becoming more common, “it’s also going to demonstrate how well these vaccines are working and that they’re preventing hospitalization and death, which is really what we asked our vaccines to do,” said Anne Rimoin, an epidemiologist at the University of California, Los Angeles, told the Times.

Importantly, a vast majority of vaccinated people who are hospitalized for COVID-19 are likely to be older adults or those who have weakened immune systems. CDC data show that 74% of breakthrough cases are among adults aged 65 or older.

The numbers suggest that people who are at higher risk for complications from COVID-19, and anyone who lives with a high-risk person, “really needs to seriously consider the risks that they’re taking now,” Dr. Dean Sidelinger, a state epidemiologist and state health officer for Oregon, told the Times.

“Remember when the early vaccine studies came out, it was like nobody gets hospitalized, nobody dies,” Dr. Robert Wachter, chairman of the department of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, told the Times. “That clearly is not true.”

“If the chances of a breakthrough infection have gone up considerably, and I think the evidence is clear that they have, and the level of protection against severe illness is no longer as robust as it was, I think the case for boosters goes up pretty quickly,” Wachter added.

The seven states analyzed by the Times — California, Colorado, Massachusetts, Oregon, Utah, Vermont and Virginia — were chosen because they are keeping the most detailed data, the Times said. It is not certain whether the trends in these states would hold across the country.

The increases seen are largely due on the mathematics of mass vaccination: Scientists have always expected that as the number of vaccinated people exponentially grows, vaccinated people will show up more frequently than before in tallies of the severely ill and dead.

“We don’t want to dilute the message that the vaccine is tremendously successful and protective, more so than we ever hoped initially,” said Dr. Scott Dryden-Peterson, an infectious disease physician and epidemiologist at Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston. “The fact that we’re seeing breakthrough cases and breakthrough hospitalizations and deaths doesn’t diminish that it still saves many people’s lives.”

The states’ data do confirm that vaccinated people are still far less likely to become severely ill or to die from COVID-19. In California, the 1,615 hospitalizations of people with breakthrough infections as of Aug. 8 represents just 0.007% of nearly 22 million fully immunized residents, and breakthrough deaths constitute an even smaller portion, the Times reported.

But in six of the states, breakthrough infections accounted for 18% to 28% of recorded cases in recent weeks, the newspaper said. These numbers are likely to be low, because most fully immunized people may not feel ill enough to seek a test.

Breakthrough infections accounted for 12% to 24% of COVID-19 hospitalizations in the states, the Times found. The number of deaths was too small to arrive at a solid number, although it does appear to be higher than the CDC estimate of 0.5%.

The latest numbers make a good case for booster shots, and a recent survey showed that seniors can’t wait to get one: Among vaccinated Americans, 72 percent of those who are 65 or older already say they want a booster shot.

Source: HealthDay

Boiled Polenta with Tomatoes and Gorgonzola

Ingredients

10 ounces cooked polenta
3 tablespoons olive oil, for greasing
10 ounces Gorgonzola cheese or other blue cheese
4 small tomatoes
salt and pepper, to taste
fresh oregano leaves, to garnish

Method

  1. Cut the polenta into 6 x 3-inch rectangles and brush both sides with oil.
  2. Preheat a ridged grill pan.
  3. Put the polenta pieces into the pan and sauté on each side until golden.
  4. Meanwhile cut the cheese into small pieces and the tomatoes into sixths.
  5. Preheat the broiler to high.
  6. Grease a baking dish, then add the polenta slices in a single layer. Cover them with the tomatoes and pieces of cheese. Lightly season with salt and generously season with pepper. Place under the preheated broiler and cook for 3-5 minutes, until the cheese is melted.
  7. Garnish with oregano and serve.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: Vegetables


Today’s Comic