boost shots

Will 2 flu shots this year boost immunity? When is the best time to get it? Here’s what health experts say – CNBC

Covid-19 has been the biggest health concern of 2020, but another virus — the flu — isn’t going anywhere.

Though you can get the flu during any time of year, flu season in the U.S. happens during the fall and winter months — usually reaching its peak between December and March. Getting a flu shot this year may help cut down on the potential effects of a “twindemic,” which could happen if a Covid-19 surge and a severe flu season overlap.

With that in mind, you might be wondering if the pandemic changes any of the usual flu vaccine guidelines — and if getting a second dose will increase immunity. Below, health experts weigh in:

Should I get two flu shots this year?

The short answer is no.

Flu shot recommendations remain the same, and unless you are under nine years old and have never gotten a flu shot before, a second dose is not recommended, says Dr. Kelly Moore, associate director for immunization education at the Immunization Action Coalition.

Children ages six months through eight years who have never been vaccinated against the flu benefit from two doses the first season they get the vaccine, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says.

“If your immune system has never seen influenza before and you’re getting the vaccine for the first time, your immune system doesn’t quite know what to do with that,” Dr. Moore tells CNBC Make It. “It learns, but it doesn’t learn quite well enough, and it needs that second dose to really mount a protective response.”

However, past the age of eight, just one yearly dose will do.

“When you’re older and you’ve had flu vaccines before, or you’ve had influenza before, then your immune system responds quite quickly to one dose of vaccine,” Dr. Moore explains. “We don’t see a noticeable benefit from getting multiple doses of the vaccine.

Other vaccines — such as measles, chickenpox and hepatitis — require two doses, which can be confusing, Moore adds.

“People may think, ‘If one is good, two must be better,’ but in reality, that’s not how our immune system works,” she says. “And while that is the case for certain vaccines and certain viruses, it’s not the case for the influenza vaccine.”

What are the flu shot guidelines?

The flu vaccine works by presenting the immune system with a portion of the virus, allowing the body to develop an immune response so that when it encounters the real thing, it’s much better prepared to fight it off.

According to the CDC, it is recommended that everyone over the age of six months gets vaccinated against the flu every year, with very rare exception (such as those with a severe allergy to the flu vaccine or an ingredient in it).

While getting the vaccine does not guarantee that you won’t suffer the misery that is the flu, it may reduce the risk of infection by 40% to 60%, and help prevent severe illness.

When should I get my flu shot?

Though the exact timing of flu season varies year to year, infections generally start to ramp up around October. The best time to get your flu shot is in the early fall, ideally before the end of October.

“But if you miss that deadline, then get it as soon as you can afterward,” Dr. Moore says. “There’s no point at which it’s too late to get your influenza vaccine.”

Why is it especially important to get a flu shot this year?

Until a Covid-19 vaccine is approved, flu vaccinations are among the most effective ways to ensure that hospitals can weather the pandemic, according to Dr. Amesh Adalja, senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins University Center for Health Security.

The flu sends hundreds of thousands of Americans to the hospital and causes tens of thousands of deaths annually. Even during a normal season, hospitals often become inundated with patients, Dr. Adalja says.

“Both the flu and the coronavirus are going to be competing for the same emergency department beds, the same hospital beds, the same ICU beds, the same mechanical ventilators, the same personal protective equipment and even the same diagnostic test [materials],” Dr. Adalja tells CNBC Make It. “The more we can decrease the burden of influenza, the more room we’ll have to take care of Covid-19 patients.”

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has also insisted that people get the shot, “so that you could at least blunt the effect of one of those two potential respiratory infections.”

If we keep up all the habits we’ve learned to protect ourselves from Covid-19 — like frequently washing our hands, social distancing and wearing masks — on top of getting the flu shot, Dr. Moore adds, we can hopefully have a much milder flu season this year.

Serena McNiff is a journalist covering health and science. Her work has appeared on HealthDay, U.S. News and MedicineNet. Follow her on Twitter @SerenaMcNiff.

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boost Phone's

9 Apps to Boost Your Phone’s Security and Privacy – WIRED

Android and iOS are both constantly evolving to be more secure and protect your privacy, but that doesn’t mean they can’t use a little help here and there. We’ve rounded up 9 great security apps for your phone right here, eschewing the standard antivirus and VPN options to bring you some lesser-known utilities that can really make a difference to how well protected your phone and all the data on it is.

By the way, we are aware that this list is a little Android-heavy, but that’s due to the nature of Android and iOS. Apple takes more control over the security of iOS, whereas Google is more willing to let third-party apps step in—iOS apps simply aren’t allowed to scan for viruses, analyze networks in detail, reconfigure user permissions, or access any of the other deep hooks in the software that a serious security app would need.

Access Dots

Make sure your device’s camera and mic aren’t used without your permission.

Screenshot: David Nield via Access Dots

iOS 14 adds a new feature to iPhones that shows an on-screen alert if an app is trying to use your device’s camera or mic—just like the ‘active’ light that might be next to your laptop’s webcam. Access Dots brings the same functionality to Android, quickly and easily.

There’s not much to the app, but it’s incredibly useful: You’ll see an indicator in the status bar if an app has secretly enabled the camera or the mic. Make a donation to support the app’s development, and you can change the position and size of the indicator dot too.

Access Dots for Android (Freemium)


Deleting old tweets is just one of many tasks Jumbo can take on.

Screenshot: David Nield via Jumbo

Social network privacy settings are difficult to understand and constantly changing—but Jumbo can do the hard work for you when it comes to making sure you’re not sharing more about yourself than you’d like. It can also help you keep your social accounts locked down.

The app connects directly to your online accounts to offer a variety of useful services: deleting your old tweets automatically, stopping Google from collecting quite as much information about you, limiting ad personalization on Facebook, and much more.

Jumbo for Android and iOS (Freemium)


 GlassWire keeps watch on how much data apps are using.

Screenshot: David Nield via Glasswire

GlassWire keeps a careful eye on app data usage—you can see which of the apps on your smartphone are using up the most data (both in terms of uploads and downloads), get instant alerts when a new app starts communicating with the internet, and more.

Whether you’re worried about your data plan while you’re away from the Wi-Fi at home or you want to make sure certain apps aren’t sending data back to base when they shouldn’t be, GlassWire can help. There’s an integrated firewall available inside the app as well.

GlassWire for Android (Freemium)

Norton App Lock

Lock down certain apps with Norton App Lock.

Screenshot: David Nield via Norton

Passcode lock apps add an extra layer of security beyond the main lock screen on your phone, which can come in very handy if you’re always sharing your device with a colleague, partner, or young relative—they effectively seal off part of your phone.

We’ve covered these apps in more detail here, but our favorite option on Android is Norton App Lock (not least because it comes from a brand you can trust). It’s simple to use, it’s completely free, and it supports PINs, passwords, and patterns for unlocking apps.

Norton App Lock for Android (Free)


Use Fing to figure out what’s going on on your network.

Screenshot: David Nield via Fing

Are all the devices on your home network yours, or are your neighbors making use of your broadband too? Fing can tell you exactly what’s on your network at any given moment, which is helpful for troubleshooting problems as well as keeping your home Wi-Fi secure.

It has plenty of other strings to its bow too: Fing will check the speed of your web connection, attempt to find hidden cameras in your hotel room, warn you about internet outages, tell you about new devices connecting to your network, and more.

Fing for Android and iOS (Freemium)

Alfred Home Security Camera

Make use of an old phone or tablet with Alfred.

Screenshot: David Nield via Alfred

Did you know that with the right app you can repurpose an old phone or tablet into a security camera? Whether you want to keep an eye on the back yard or a sleeping baby, Alfred Home Security Camera makes it easy to get everything set up and configured.

Obviously you’re going to need more than one device here—one to do the video recording and another to watch the feed from wherever you happen to be—but Alfred offers all the features you’ll need, including motion detection, two-way audio, and a built-in siren.

Alfred Home Security Camera for Android and iOS (Freemium)

Twilio Authy

You should have 2FA in place, and Twilio Authy can help.

Screenshot: David Nield via Twilio Authy

We’ve written about the importance of two-factor authentication (2FA) many times, but we’re not going to stop mentioning it—it makes a huge difference to the security of your online accounts, and Authy is one of the best tools for the job of managing your 2FA codes.

Adding new accounts is easy, and so is generating login codes, and so is moving Authy between devices, all of which makes 2FA as stress-free as it should be. It’ll work with a whole host of accounts, including Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Evernote, and Dropbox.

Twilio Authy for Android and iOS (Free)

Firefox Focus

Firefox Focus offers a clean, secure browsing experience.

Screenshot: David Nield via Firefox

There are privacy-focused browsers, and then there’s Firefox Focus—a browser that blocks ads and trackers by default, leaving you with a fast, secure, and mostly untracked browsing experience (though be aware of the limits of this type of locked-down browsing).

Even better, there’s a big trash can icon up at the top of the Firefox Focus screen that will wipe out your browsing history, stored passwords, and site cookies with a single tap—it’s like having instant access to a private or incognito mode whenever you step online.

Firefox Focus for Android and iOS (Free)


Take more control over app permissions with Bouncer.

Screenshot: David Nield via Bouncer

It’s not always easy to keep on top of app permissions, but Bouncer gives you a little more control over what apps are allowed to do on your Android device. It essentially lets you grant permissions to apps on a temporary, one-off basis whenever it’s necessary.

Say you want to give Facebook permission to tag a photo, but don’t want it accessing your location the rest of the time, then Bouncer can help. Permissions can be revoked after a certain time or when the app closes, and it keeps a log of app permission activity as well.

Bouncer for Android (Free)

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boost plant

How to boost plant biomass: Biologists uncover molecular link between nutrient availability, growth –

How to boost plant biomass: Biologists uncover molecular link between nutrient availability, growth
Arabidopsis growing in the Coruzzi Lab at NYU’s Center for Genomics and Systems Biology. Credit: New York University

Plant scientists have long known that crop yield is proportional to the dose of nitrogen fertilizer, but the increased use of fertilizers is costly and harmful to the environment. Until now, the underlying mechanisms by which plants adjust their growth according to the nitrogen dose has been unknown—a key finding that could help enhance plant growth and limit fertilizer use.

In a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), plant genomic scientists at New York University’s Center for Genomics & Systems Biology discovered the missing piece in the molecular link between a plant’s perception of the nitrogen dose in its environment and the dose-responsive changes in its biomass.

Taking a novel approach, the NYU researchers examined how increasing doses of nitrogen created changes in ‘ genome-wide expression as a function of time. They then used mathematical models to investigate the rate of change of messenger RNA (mRNA) for thousands of genes within the genome to this experimental set up.

The researchers discovered that the dynamics of mRNA responses to nitrogen dose were governed by simple principles of enzyme kinetics—the rates of reactions catalyzed by enzymes—first described by Michaelis-Menten in 1913. Indeed, the authors found that Michaelis-Menten kinetics could accurately model the rate of change in in 30 percent of nitrogen-dose responsive genes.

“According to the classic Michaelis-Menten kinetic model, changing enzyme abundance will impact the maximum rate of reaction possible. Because transcription factors establish the rates at which from DNA into RNA takes place, they can be directly compared to the catalytic enzymes in the Michaelis-Menten model. This means that increasing the abundance of key should be able to boost the rate of nitrogen-dose dependent gene expression and, as a consequence, the rate of plant growth,” said Gloria Coruzzi, Carroll & Milton Petrie Professor in NYU’s Department of Biology and Center for Genomics & Systems Biology, and the paper’s senior author.

The research team found that increasing the level of the transcription factor TGA1 accelerated the rates of nitrogen-dose responsive gene expression and the rate of . The plants that overexpressed TGA1 had increased growth rates in response to nitrogen, reaching a plant biomass three times greater than wild type plants.

“By modeling the transcriptome kinetics underlying nitrogen-dose sensing using a classic principle of Michaelis-Menten kinetics, we discovered a regulatory gene whose increased expression may boost crop growth within low-nitrogen soils,” said Coruzzi. “Because TGA1 is conserved in plants, including crops such as rice, tomatoes, and wheat, our findings have implications for improving nitrogen use efficiency in crops, which can benefit agriculture and sustainability.”

More information:
Joseph Swift el al., “Nutrient dose-responsive transcriptome changes driven by Michaelis–Menten kinetics underlie plant growth rates,” PNAS (2020).

How to boost plant biomass: Biologists uncover molecular link between nutrient availability, growth (2020, May 11)
retrieved 12 May 2020

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