At-home COVID testing launches in Boston

first_img Related Cheap, frequent COVID tests could be ‘akin to vaccine,’ professor says How the institute converted a clinical processing lab into a large-scale COVID-19 testing facility in a matter of days Chan School’s Michael Mina urges federal regulatory approval, widespread use Study findings support use of county-level cell phone location data as tool to estimate future trends of the COVID-19 pandemic Facing a pandemic, Broad does a quick pivot Strong signals TestBoston, a large-scale research study that will facilitate at-home testing for both the SARS-CoV-2 virus and antibodies against it, is accepting applications from 10,000 current and former Brigham and Women’s Hospital patients.Researchers from Harvard-affiliated Brigham, the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, and the MGB Center for COVID Innovation said the test will detect active COVID-19 cases, evidence of previous infection, and changes in the rates of both.Over the course of six months, participants will be sent monthly at-home test kits for viral and antibody testing. They will also complete routine symptom surveys and be able to request additional testing if they develop symptoms during the study period. Ongoing study results may reveal critical clues and additional warning signs about how COVID-19 cases are changing in the Greater Boston area, while also helping investigators establish a model for at-home sample collection that is integrated with a medical and public health system. Those interested in participating in the trial can enroll here.TestBoston will invite participation of patients who have been seen at any Brigham site within the past year and live within a 45-mile radius of Boston. The study will involve individuals enrolling online and then receiving a kit in the mail with instructions on how to collect the samples.  Samples collected by participants at home will be picked up and returned overnight to the Broad Institute for analysis. Samples taken using a swab of the front of the nose will be tested for active viral infection with all results being returned to the participant. Samples taken from a dried blood spot obtained by a small finger prick will be tested for antibodies to determine whether the participant has had a previous infection. Antibody results will be aggregated — so that individuals are not identified — and reported at the community level. Together, Broad and the Brigham investigators will analyze all findings in real-time and share them with key stakeholders at the state level, including the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, to enable public health responses to cases of new infection.The program will be led by Ann Woolley and Lisa Cosimi, both infectious disease physicians at the Brigham, and Deborah Hung, a core faculty member and co-director of the Infectious Disease and Microbiome Program of the Broad Institute as well as an infectious disease and critical care physician at the Brigham. “With ongoing limits on testing availability, we still face serious challenges to our understanding of how many people in Massachusetts have been infected and to our ability to detect new outbreaks, which is made all the more challenging because we know that asymptomatic people can transmit this virus to others,” said Woolley.“The objective of our study is to provide at-home testing that pairs viral testing for active virus with antibody testing to give us a clearer picture of COVID-19 rates now and over time in different communities, as well as an understanding of who is getting infected,” said Cosimi. “We believe that this strategy of reaching patients at home is critical to being able to reach meaningful numbers of patients in order to have real impact.”One of the team’s goals is to create a platform for home-based sample collection that can be scaled, if needed, should the Boston area experience a second surge of COVID-19 infections. It can also be modeled in other cities impacted by COVID-19 and future respiratory viruses. The investigators hope TestBoston will empower communities to better understand and end COVID-19 by providing an opportunity for patients to partner in research and public health interventions.“While it is impossible to fully understand a pandemic when one is in the midst of it, integrating clinical,  research and public health efforts, as is the goal of TestBoston, is critical for learning in real- time how we can offer patients the best possible care and informing how we can overcome some of the inequities that currently exist, such as access to testing,” said Hung.Adapted from a Brigham and Women’s news release.last_img read more

Merchants Bancshares announces dividend declaration of 28 cents per share

first_imgMerchants Bancshares, Inc. (NASDAQ: MBVT), the parent company of Merchants Bank, announced that its Board of Directors declared on January 20, 2011, a dividend of 28 cents per share, payable February 17, 2011, to shareholders of record as of February 3, 2011. Merchants plans to release earnings on or about January 26, 2011.Michael R. Tuttle, Merchants’ President and Chief Executive Officer, and Janet P. Spitler, Merchants’ Chief Financial Officer, will host a conference call to discuss these earnings results at 10:00 a.m. Eastern Time on Friday, January 28, 2011. Interested parties may participate in the conference call by dialing (800) 553-0327; the title of the call is Merchants Bancshares, Inc. Earnings Call. Participants are asked to call a few minutes prior to register. A replay will be available until noon on Friday, February 4, 2011. The U.S. replay dial-in telephone number is (800) 475-6701. The international replay telephone number is (320) 365-3844. The replay access code for both replay telephone numbers is 188055.Merchants also announced the extension, through January 2012, of its stock buyback program, originally adopted in January 2007. Under the program Merchants may repurchase 200,000 shares of its common stock on the open market from time to time, and had purchased 143,475 shares during 2010. Although Merchants did not repurchase any of its shares during the fourth quarter of 2010, and does not expect to repurchase shares in the near future, Merchants wanted to preserve the flexibility of an active buyback program.Vermont Matters. Merchants Bank strives to fulfill its role as the state’s leading independent community bank through a wide range of initiatives. The bank supports organizations throughout Vermont in addressing essential needs, sustaining community programs, providing small business and job start capital, funding financial literacy education and delivering enrichment through local sports activities.Merchants Bank was established in 1849 in Burlington, Vermont. Its continuing mission is to provide Vermonters with a statewide community bank that combines a strong technology platform with a genuine appreciation for local markets. Merchants Bank delivers this commitment through a branch-based system that includes: 34 community bank offices and 43 ATMs throughout Vermont; local branch presidents and personal bankers dedicated to high-quality customer service; free online banking, phone banking, and electronic bill payment services; high-value depositing programs that feature Free Checking for Life®, Cash Rewards Checking, Rewards Checking for Business, business cash management, money market accounts, health savings accounts, certificates of deposit, Flexible CD, IRAs, and overdraft assurance; feature-rich loan programs including mortgages, home equity credit, vehicle loans, personal and small business loans and lines of credit; and merchant card processing. Merchants Bank offers a strong set of commercial and government banking solutions, delivered by experienced banking officers in markets throughout the state; these teams provide customized financing for medium-to-large companies, non-profits, cities, towns, and school districts. Merchants Trust Company, a division of Merchants Bank, provides investment management, financial planning and trustee services. Please visit www.mbvt.com(link is external) for access to Merchants Bank information, programs, and services. Merchants’ stock is traded on the NASDAQ National Market system under the symbol MBVT. Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender.Some of the statements contained in this press release may constitute forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements relate to expectations, beliefs, projections, future plans and strategies, anticipated events or trends and similar expressions concerning matters that are not historical facts. The forward-looking statements reflect Merchants’ current views about future events and are subject to risks, uncertainties, assumptions and changes in circumstances that may cause Merchants’ actual results to differ significantly from those expressed in any forward-looking statement. Forward-looking statements should not be relied on since they involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that are, in some cases, beyond Merchants’ control and which could materially affect actual results. The factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from current expectations include changes in general economic conditions in Vermont, changes in interest rates, changes in competitive product and pricing pressures among financial institutions within Merchants’ markets, and changes in the financial condition of Merchants’ borrowers. The forward-looking statements contained herein represent Merchants’ judgment as of the date of this release, and Merchants cautions readers not to place undue reliance on such statements. For further information, please refer to Merchants’ reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.SOUTH BURLINGTON, VT–(Marketwire – January 21, 2011) –last_img read more

Three more banks develop functions to block gambling transactions

first_img StumbleUpon GambleAware data finds stigma to be key barrier to treatment for women July 16, 2020 Share Related Articles GambleAware: Engage those with lived experience of gambling harms August 28, 2020 Marc Etches to step down as CEO of GambleAware in 2021 August 14, 2020 Submit Share Three more UK high-street banks have announced plans to allow customers to control and block particular payments via mobile applications, following Barclays’ lead.Lloyds, Santander, and RBS have approved proposals to develop payment-blocking functions that are set to affect transactions made in high street bookmakers and online betting sites and provide greater protections to those who have an issue with compulsive gambling.The move comes after Barclays announced back in December a plan to integrate a ‘gambling block’ component across its customer-facing digital platforms.The trio will update mobile banking apps in order to ensure customers are able to take control over when and where money can be spent. RBS, which currently has approximately 30 million customers, announced that it would be implementing similar measures to those issued by Barclays late last year. Barclays’ gambling-block feature allows customers to turn off engagements with all gambling-related properties, as well as blocking payments in four additional categories: food and drink; petrol stations; groceries and supermarkets; and premium websites and phone lines. Customers will also be able to implement controls that are specifically designed to limit withdrawals from ATMs, as well as credit card purchases both in-store and online. Santander and Lloyds are also due to implement similar controls for the 14 million and 22 million customers respectively. A spokesman for Lloyds commented: “Throughout 2019 we will be enhancing our customer communications so customers are informed and alerted to their gambling spend, as well as introducing tools to improve self-service options such as gambling restrictions.“New card controls give customers more control over debit card transactions for extra peace of mind.”Following Barclays’ announcement to develop blocking functions late last year, Marc Etches, chief executive of GambleAware, welcomed the initiative: “There are 340,000 problem gamblers in Britain and a further 1.7 million at risk, and initiatives like this can play an important role in helping to reduce gambling-related harms.“There are no limits to stakes and prizes for online gambling, and credit cards are allowed so it is important to make it easier for people to control their spending.”While the move comes as a positive step towards tackling compulsive behaviours, responsible gambling advocates are continuing to campaign for a significantly longer ‘cooling off’ period between deactivating a payment block and the ability to complete transactions.last_img read more