SARANAC LAKE—Trudeau Institute and Ampersand Biosciences have received a $596,519 grant from the National Institutes of Health to develop tests that help COVID-19 researchers assess the effectiveness of new vaccines under development.
As part of the two-year Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) grant, which will begin in September, Trudeau will produce monoclonal antibodies for Ampersand. In turn, Ampersand will include those antibodies in tests—or reagents—it produces for use by immunology researchers.
Trudeau Institute researchers played a key role in confirming the effectiveness of two approaches to fighting the novel coronavirus, according to a pair of papers published this winter.
Both projects relied on pre-clinical studies carried out at Trudeau on behalf of the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR), which developed the vaccine and treatment. One, which tested a new COVID-19 vaccine, was published in Cell Reports. The other, which tested a monoclonal antibody treatment aimed at infected individuals, was published in Nature Immunology.
WRAIR is a leading researcher of diseases such as malaria, HIV/AIDS, Ebola and dengue. It relied on Trudeau’s laboratory expertise to verify the effectiveness of the vaccine and treatment before moving to clinical trials.
“We have really extensive experience and knowledge of how to work with pathogens,” said William Reiley, Ph.D., head of research services at Trudeau. “Since the start of the coronavirus epidemic, we’ve been developing models to conduct preclinical, early developmental stage testing of vaccines, therapeutics and monoclonal antibodies.”
The bioRxiv-published report details a study conducted by an interdisciplinary team of researchers led by Penn State University (PSU) scientists. The team examined 131 free-ranging white-tailed deer, all living on Staten Island, the most suburban of the 5 New York City boroughs. Nineteen tested positive for COVID antibodies, indicating that the deer had prior exposure to the virus and, according to the researchers, implying that they are vulnerable to repeated re-infections with new variants.
The report has not yet been certified by peer review, but has been published as a pre-print because of the significance of the findings, according to Suresh Kuchipudi, an American College of Veterinary Microbiologists (ACVM) board-certified specialist in virology and immunology at the Department of Veterinary and Biological Sciences at PSU. He serves as associate director of PSU’s Animal Diagnostic Laboratory where, as head of microbiology, he oversees the University’s bacteriology, virology, serology, and molecular diagnostic units. Kuchipudi has expressed concern that spillover of omicron from humans to deer could result in new and possibly vaccine-resistant mutations of the virus evolving undetected in non-human hosts and noted that one of the infected deer in the study had antibodies from a previous COVID-19 infection; indicating that deer, like humans, can experience breakthrough cases.
These days it seems like everyone wants to call the Adirondacks home. During the pandemic, closed-in city spaces have lost their allure. It’s a repeat of Saranac Lake’s tuberculosis years, when tens of thousands of people came here from around the world in search of the fresh air cure. When you want to avoid germs, a place with more trees than people is a good bet. Mohawks picking berries in the Adirondacks. Illustration by John Fadden.
In order to help support small business during the COVID-19 pandemic, up to $3,000,000 in reimbursement grants at $5,000 per business is being offered to eligible applicants. This program, lead by “Raising the NYS Bar Restaurant Recovery Fund” was created in support of full-service restaurants, arguably the industry hit the hardest by the pandemic, during the winter months where temperature and weather prevents outdoor dining.
To qualify for the program, an establishment must:
This New Year’s Day, the 10th anniversary of First Day Hikes is taking place in New York State parks, historic sites, wildlife areas, trails, and public lands across the North Country (With some minor limitations for COVID-19).
The event includes options for hikes ranging from self-guided to small staff and or volunteer-led hikes on Friday the 1st, or the following Saturday or Sunday of January. The extended hiking schedule is to allow hikers time and space to social distance while enjoying nature.
All hikes are family-friendly, ranging from one to five miles dependant on location and conditions. Hikes are being offered at 61 state parks, historic sites, DEC state lands, wildlife areas, Forest Preserve trails and environmental education centers.
The 2021 Decentralization (DEC) Grant application process is now open for eligible arts organizations and individual artists residing in Clinton, Essex, Franklin, and Hamilton Counties. Artists may submit up to three direct requests of up to $5000 in any combination of two categories: Community Arts and Arts Education projects.
The requirements for submission include reading the guidelines for whichever category you are applying in and attending a free informational seminar with a Grant Coordinator. Seminars will be held online via Zoom between now and January 15. The deadline for the online application process is January 31.
Recognizing the financial stress social distancing and the COVID-19 crisis has placed on area not-for-profits, the trustees of The Glenn and Carol Pearsall Adirondack Foundation this year increased the dollar amount of grant awards over 50% from $87,195 awarded last year to $139,325 this year.
The Foundation had agreed for this year to also consider funding non-for-profit operational costs as well as program-specific requests. Of the 60 grant proposals received, 43 were funded in whole or in part.
Area not-for-profits that received grants from the Pearsall Adirondack Foundation this year included:
The Oswegatchie Educational Center on Long Pond Road in Croghan, NY will be offering its first Mega Duck Dash & Dining Hall Fundraiser, to take place at noon on Sunday, October 25.
The fundraiser is to celebrate the construction of a new dining hall, which was started in September 2019. The construction of the hall finished 2 months early. But due to Covid-19 and the consequential shut down of the Oswegatchie Educational Center’s Summer Camp program, they lost 9 months of operation, and need funds to wrap up the project. This means that for the first time ever, Oswegatchie is adding a fall rubber duck race to its popular annual springtime AdironDuck Race.
Todd Lighthall, the Executive Director of the NYS FFA Foundation says “The AdironDuck Race is about sending kids to camp, but the Mega Duck Dash is about providing them a dining hall that can safely handle the volume of campers we are hosting.”
The Mega Duck Dash will happen online at noon. Each duck will be $50, with a grand prize of $5,000. Ducks may be sponsored up till the day of the race at noon.
All proceeds from this event benefit the Oswegatchie Summer Program Fund, which provides youth scholarships and funds for improvements to the summer program. To adopt a duck, visit https://www.adironduckrace.com and tune into Facebook on October 25 to catch the race. For more information, contact (315) 346-1222.
This week it began. We have initiated the economic “phase-in” period of our return to normalcy, a studied collection of charts, graphs and data which, if all goes well, will allow us by mid-June to sit down in public and eat a cheeseburger.
“Easy, easy … caaareful … OK, now do you want fries with that?” By that time we will have worn masks so long that, forgetting they are there, we will smush a tuna sub right into the business end of our N95.
Then, on June 1, the North Country is expected to get back to the serious business of cutting hair. Stylists are going to be like humanitarian relief workers in Haiti after a Category IV hurricane — working around the clock to the point of exhaustion, until the average Adirondacker no longer resembles Dee Snider of Twisted Sister.
Adirondack Health has developed a plan to increase testing throughout the region after receiving 2,000 COVID-19 testing kits. Standing provider orders have been given throughout all Adirondack Health testing sites, and no one will be denied a test if they do not have a doctor’s orders. Individuals may still opt to have their testing done through primary care providers as well.
The toolkit was developed with the St. Lawrence County Industrial Development Agency and SUNY Canton Small Business Development Center. It should take about 10 minutes to review and includes recommend policy updates, planning for reopening, online check-up, helpful links and resources and printable posters.
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