Inovio Pharmaceutical’s DNA Vaccine for Zika Virus Induces Robust Immune Responses in Preclinical Study

Inovio Pharmaceutical, 2/17/16

Biotech begins clinical manufacturing; expects to test Zika vaccine in humans in 2016

PLYMOUTH MEETING, Pa., Feb. 17, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:INO) announced today that preclinical testing of its synthetic vaccine for the Zika virus induced robust and durable immune responses, demonstrating the potential for a SynCon® vaccine to prevent and treat infections from this harmful pathogen. Health authorities have observed neurological and autoimmune complications potentially associated with Zika virus, including microcephaly in newborns and Guillain-Barre syndrome. Inovio is developing its Zika vaccine with GeneOne Life Sciences (KSE:011000) and academic collaborators.

Read more at Inovio Pharmaceutical. Read about the current clinical trial in Puerto Rico here.

Don’t Spray Me community celebration on Sunday, September 4, at 4-7 p.m. in Everhart Park

Community celebration for Dontsprayme members: Block Captains, displayers of signs, others who support our goals — we’ll ask you to fill out a brief survey and sign in free as members.

What’s happening?

Mayor Carolyn Comitta, who has been indispensable in our successes this year, will speak to us
Friends of Everhart Park
Sierra Club of Chester County
West Chester Food Co-op
West Chester Community Rights Alliance
Info on the Borough’s various green efforts
Games for children; face painting
Bat house construction
Martial arts demo
Meeting lots of local, like-minded people

Union St. side of Everhart Park 

Please bring whatever food and drink you wish to consume (no alcohol), with utensils, plus a blanket or lawn chairs, if desired.

Come celebrate our success in a summer of fewer mosquitoes and no spraying in West Chester!

In case of threatening weather, please check here for any update. Rain date Monday.

History of Dontsprayme to the Sustainability Advisory Council

Margaret Hudgings, on behalf of Dontsprayme, 8/18/16

Don’t Spray Me grew out of citizen concern about spraying in the Borough. The specific issue that rallied support was proposed spraying of Permanone by the Chester County Health Department in Marshall Square Park in late August/early September 2015. More than 300 people signed a petition against spraying and, with the support of Mayor Comitta and Borough Councilman Bill Scott, the Council decided on a “cease and desist” order to stop the spraying.

In October, the West Nile Task Force was formed to work together to reduce mosquitoes and any perceived need for spraying. The three groups involved in the task force are the Chester County Health Department, the Borough of West Chester Public Works Department and the citizen action group Don’tSprayMe. Our goals: reduce mosquitoes and the need for spraying and create a model for other communities to do the same. We would like to assemble a packet of materials that we can hand on to communities with the same mission acting as a model for Chester County and beyond.

Accomplishments to date:

The County and Borough are working together to apply larvicide to storm drains in the borough that have been identified as holding water and being potential breeding grounds for mosquitoes.

The Borough has stepped up enforcement efforts at homes and businesses that have tires stored outside, tall weeds or standing water, especially in trash areas.

The Borough has purchased a vacuum cleaner for storm drains to rid them of debris.

Together we have worked on public education. Continue reading

Comments to the Sustainability Advisory Council, 8/18/16

Nathaniel Smith: views on the role of SAC

I would like to reflect briefly on how the anti-mosquito & non-spray effort fits in to the sustainability theme.

Occasionally people ask us: Aren’t mosquitoes part of the balance of nature too?

Yes, but in an urban environment like West Chester, where the balance of nature is disrupted, they become pests

The stream protection plan, just discussed, fits in nicely here, because natural, healthy streams bring us good drainage and mosquito-eating fish and dragonflies.

If West Chester didn’t have people, we wouldn’t need a Sustainability Advisory Committee. But people are also part of the solution.

The mission statement of this Committee is ”to increase collaboration between Borough departments on issues regarding the economic vitality and environmental sustainability of West Chester Borough.”

And Borough code also says: “The Committee seeks to develop initiatives aimed at increasing Borough staff knowledge, developing community partnerships, and fostering sustainable best management practices.”

In my view, sustainability also extends beyond preserving the balance of nature to assuring that people live in an attractive and healthy natural environment.

The County Health Department is part of the US Environmental Protection Agency’s Pesticide Environmental Stewardship Program, which “promotes the adoption of innovative, alternative pest control practices.” In the EPA’s words, we wish to “work toward pest management practices that reduce the risks to humans and the environment.”

We are asking SAC to also support those goals and to:

– accept the mosquito Task Force as a SAC project

– appoint a SAC member as a regular liaison to the Task Force

– help publicize the Task Force’s outreach to residents

What we can learn from anti-zika spraying

by Nathaniel Smith, Politics: A View from West Chester, 8/9/16

Zika virus is transmitted by mosquitoes and people.

So, health authorities have been working on the twin challenges of eradicating mosquitoes and educating people.

Transmission of Zika virus from mosquitoes to people (and vice versa) in the continental US has occurred only in one small tropical enclave: a square mile (or now it seems even less) of Miami. Pennsylvanians might worry about catching zika from travelers returning from the Rio Olympics but not from mosquitoes this summer so far north. (1)

However, we should be worrying about the effects of being sprayed with pesticides, of which there is really no safe level for the environment and human exposure.

As someone involved in the current campaign to cut down on both mosquitoes and pesticide spraying in West Chester, I think we can learn a lot from zika, even if it is not currently being transmitted by mosquitoes anywhere near us.

Many insects, like the viruses that attack the human body, reproduce quickly and can develop resistance to whatever we throw against them. As doctors turn from one antibiotic to another to find one that still kills a given virus, so health officials experiment to see what still kills different mosquito species.

The Aedes aegypti mosquito, the chief transmitter of zika, is particularly problematic for traditional mosquito elimination programs and the standard anti-mosquito pesticide permethrin, a pesticide usually applied from ground-based equipment such as trucks. (2)

Aedes aegypti has been acquiring immunity in Thailand (3) to permethrin and even to DDT (which was banned in the US in 1972 after severe impacts such as almost driving our national bird into extinction); and similarly in Mexico (4) and, more recently, in Puerto Rico (5) and now Florida. (6)

As time goes on, scientists have to look farther up the pesticide chain—with further likely risks—to find more effective pesticides. This is not good news….

aerial spraying

read more and see end notes at Politics: A View from West Chester, 8/9/16

These 9 Plants Naturally Help To Keep Mosquitoes Away…

n.b. Readers, for repellent strategies like these, please let us know of any experiences you can attest to.

from EcoSnippets

If you are trying to enjoy the wonderful healing benefits of nature there is nothing more annoying then mosquitos keeping you from enjoying the great outdoors. Sure they are part of nature and should be respected but that doesn’t mean that they need to be biting you every chance they get.

Unfortunately, many of the ‘remedies’ out there involve spraying chemicals on your body that are not very good for you or the environment either.

That is why we recommend using nature’s natural defense in your yard to keep the mosquitos away so that you can meditate, garden, or enjoy more healing time outside.

1. Catnip…

Now you may be thinking that this little plant is only for cats but it actually works wonders as a natural mosquito repellent! Plants are complex organisms that have been evolving for millions of years and with that comes a natural ability to defend themselves against foreign intruders. In this case, they will help keep mosquitos away from your yard and family….

read more at EcoSnippets

Larviciding with Bti

A larvicide (or larvacide) kills larvae.

In a rare too-good-to-be-true moment, the biological agent Bti prevents mosquito larvae from maturing. It’s made from bacteria called Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis, which affects no other forms of life except two other nuisance insects (black flies and midges). It is organic and totally non-toxic.

You can use mosquito dunks in any standing water that you can’t dump out regularly: a small pond or stagnant stretch of stream in your yard, or a built-in plant soaking area that no longer drains, etc.

For a small surface area, just break up the dunks in pieces. In any case, reapply every month or so to be sure the Bti is still active.

Dunks usually come in packs of 6 dunks. If you buy more than one at a time at ACE hardware store in East Bradford (720 W Strasburg Rd., just west of West Chester borough, after Daily Local News), ask for a discount.

Just to remind you, we don’t promote the use of pesticide sprays and SPRAYS HAVE NO EFFECT ON LARVAE (or on pupae, the cocoon-like form that larvae go through before emerging as adults).

For detailed information on Bti, see “Best Natural Mosquito Control: Bti” at mosquitoreviews.

Mosquito dunks

Dontsprayme baby yard signs

That image of the baby in a gas mask, the Don’t Spray Me! logo, is popping up all over West Chester. Our baby, just like a real infant, cannot be ignored. Signs picturing him with our web address are attracting lots of attention and bringing the issue of getting rid of mosquitoes without spraying to the attention of the community.

More signs are ready for delivery and awaiting a new home on your lawn or your neighbor’s. To have your free sign delivered, contact Margaret.

Here are some photos of houses in the Borough where our babies have found happy homes. 

yard sign 1

yard sign 3

yard sign 5

Sign in flowers