TUE AM News: Morgridge Institute virologist shares COVID-era lessons for overcoming the next pandemic; WMC arm launches ad to end federal unemployment benefits

— Morgridge Institute for Research Virology Director Paul Ahlquist identifies both research advancements and social science as the key to tackling the next pandemic. 

The private biomedical institute works closely with UW-Madison and has the flexibility and risk capital to pursue unproven research questions. Morgridge has long worked on viruses related to COVID-19 and other dangerous viruses, such as Zika. 

Some of that research includes identifying host cell factors that viruses depend on in order to replicate. Some of these host functions and pathways appear to be required by many different viruses. Identifying those pathways can be a basis for broad-spectrum antivirals. 

Other work focuses on finding the relationship between the virus and human proteins, which are the machines cells use to carry out their functions. Tracking which viral proteins directly work with human proteins in human cells affected by the virus can also provide new ways to disrupt infection. 

Ahlquist’s team has been generating super magnified resolution images of a major viral protein complex. That complex is responsible for replicating the RNA genome of a member of the same class of viruses as coronaviruses. Those images provide a window into a whole virus.

Ahlquist said about 90 percent of the conversation on COVID-19 has been about roughly 15 percent of the virus. That’s the piece of the virus that vaccines target. Most of the virus is getting ignored. Looking at what’s ignored could lead to insight into controlling this and other viruses, he said.

“Key breakthroughs often are made not because somebody was targeting an immediate application, but because of general curiosity-driven studies,” he said.

Read the full story at WisBusiness.com: https://www.wisbusiness.com/2021/morgridge-institute-virologist-shares-covid-era-lessons-for-overcoming-the-next-pandemic/ 

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— DSPS Secretary Dawn Crim says Wisconsin will need to continue innovative outreach to get more COVID-19 shots into arms.

At the Verona Area High School vaccination clinic yesterday, Crim praised Fitchburg Family Pharmacy for its work raising awareness of and access to COVID-19 vaccination. 

The clinic, coordinated by the pharmacy and the Verona School District, helped vaccinate hundreds of teens and community members as soon as the Pfizer vaccine was approved for kids as young as 12.

The Department of Safety and Professional Services licenses pharmacists, who have been a key component in both the federal and state vaccination rollout. Fitchburg Family Pharmacy has hosted several vaccination clinics in cooperation with schools, churches and other community groups. 

“The people who were eager to get vaccinated have been vaccinated, and we still have about fifty percent of the population to go,” Crim said. “We are going to have to continue and expand this kind of strategic and innovative outreach to get more of our population protected from this disease.”

— A Marquette University economics professor said the real estate market is red hot right now, but he isn’t worried about another crash similar to the meltdown in 2007-2008.

“The circumstances are very different in this market than that one,” said David Clark, who is a consultant for the Wisconsin Realtors Association. He said underwriting standards were lax in 2006 – 2007 and have tightened up considerably since that “house of cards.”

Clark told the latest “UpFront” program tight inventories, relatively strong demand driven in part by millenials, a recovering economy and low mortgage rates have combined to create the current hot housing market. “UpFront” is produced in partnership with WisPolitics.com.

“It’s kind of a perfect storm when it comes to factors that heat up a housing market,” Clark said.

See more from the program: http://www.wisn.com/upfront

— The WMC Issues Mobilization Council has launched a digital ad pushing Gov. Tony Evers to end the enhanced federal unemployment benefits in Wisconsin.

The group, an arm of Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, said the digital ad began running Saturday. It will run statewide, primarily on social media, and the group declined to say how much it was spending on the effort.

The ad comes as the Assembly and Senate both plan to vote Wednesday on a bill that would end the benefit in Wisconsin.

The narrator in the video says the expanded benefit has created a workforce emergency before saying Evers “thinks nothing is wrong.”

It shows a clip of Evers at a news conference last week saying he’s seen “no data” to support the assertion the benefit is discouraging people from returning to work.

The narrator says employers disagree and shows a clip of WMC spokesman Nick Novak doing an interview saying the workforce shortage that was an issue before the pandemic has “become a crisis level.”

“It’s time to get Wisconsinites back to work,” the narrator says to close the spot. “Tell Gov. Evers to end the expanded unemployment benefits.”

See the ad: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i5IswOZbLLQ

— Fourteen local food projects across Wisconsin will get grants through the Buy Local, Buy Wisconsin program.

The Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection received 37 funding requests totaling more than $1.3 million. Fourteen projects totaling $300,000 were selected.

The competitive grant program aims to strengthen Wisconsin ag by helping farms and businesses more efficiently process, market and distribute locally grown food products. This includes organic vegetables, hops varieties, hazelnut products and grain, among others.

“These grants are intended to support the diverse sectors of Wisconsin agriculture, and outcomes generated by the grant recipients provide benefits to local communities and serve as models for others in the food industry,” DATCP ag programs supervisor Kara Kasten-Olson said.

See the grant recipients and their planned projects: https://datcp.wi.gov/Pages/News_Media/06072021DATCPAnnounces2021BLBWGrantRecipients.aspx 

— Young companies and other supporters of state investment in a venture capital “fund of funds” for early stage companies will be discussed tomorrow afternoon.

The 2:30 p.m. session will be held at Titletown’s conference room, 1025 Lombardi Ave., and through a Microsoft Teams link that will be provided to people who contact [email protected] by noon Wednesday to attend.

Participants will include: two TitletownTech companies, ChemDirect and Strive; Missy Hughes, secretary of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp.; Craig Dickman, managing director of TitletownTech; and Tom Still, president of the Wisconsin Technology Council. 

The Wisconsin Fund Coalition is a group formed to advance legislative discussion of a state budget proposal to invest $100 million in a privately matched, venture capital fund of funds. The idea is contained in Gov. Tony Evers’ 2021-23 budget bill.

— UW-Stout won the Momentum West Economic Development Regional Impact Award for its Red Cedar Basin Assessment for Water Quality Improvement Project.

The three-year water quality research project was a collaboration between the Army Corps of Engineers, Department of Natural Resources and private stakeholders. Running from 2017 to 2020, the Red Cedar Basin project measured phosphorus levels in waterways and the economic impact of water quality on tourism, home values, business and industry.

UW Stout’s research found improving water quality would increase each lakeshore house’s value by $10,000 to $30,000. A 10 percent increase in water quality would also add 200 water tourism jobs and $13 million to the local economy.

The award gave the Red Cedar Basin project $342,000 for another three-year research cycle that will begin in summer 2022.

#TOP STORIES#

# Marquette becomes largest university in state to require student vaccinations for COVID-19 

https://www.jsonline.com/story/news/education/2021/06/07/marquette-university-requiring-students-vaccinated-covid-19/7589820002/

# Marquette University requiring COVID-19 vaccine while UW-Madison weighs mandate for dorms 

https://madison.com/wsj/news/local/education/university/marquette-university-requiring-covid-19-vaccine-while-uw-madison-weighs-mandate-for-dorms/article_d0103035-42df-58f4-a319-30ac37805d12.html

# Wisconsin prisons to resume in-person visitation July 6 

https://madison.com/wsj/news/local/crime-and-courts/wisconsin-prisons-to-resume-in-person-visitation-july-6/article_a6c0b44d-7b56-5eea-b44f-b065c3536074.html

#TOPICS#

# AGRIBUSINESS 

– State Cheese Production Continues to Climb http://wisconsinagconnection.com/story-state.php?Id=577&yr=2021 

# ECONOMY 

– Briggs & Stratton ‘has no intentions’ of exiting metro Milwaukee, committed to HQ, community: CEO https://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/news/2021/06/04/briggs-stratton-has-no-intentions-of-exiting-m.html 

# ENVIRONMENT 

– Here’s what you should know about Milorganite and a recent study showing it may contain ‘forever chemicals’ https://www.jsonline.com/story/news/local/wisconsin/2021/06/07/milorganite-fertilizer-what-you-should-know-forever-chemicals-pfas-pfos/7491610002/ 

# HEALTH CARE 

– Medical supply company Medline with Hartland facility sold in $34B deal https://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/news/2021/06/07/medline-private-equity-deal-34b.html?cx_testId=40&cx_testVariant=cx_33&cx_artPos=8#cxrecs_s 

# MANUFACTURING 

– Canadian plastics manufacturer buys Pleasant Prairie building, plans to bring dozens of jobs there https://biztimes.com/canadian-plastics-manufacturer-buys-pleasant-prairie-building/ 

# POLITICS 

– Three top Menominee Nation officials suspended with pay, under investigation https://www.greenbaypressgazette.com/story/news/native-american-issues/2021/06/07/menominee-legislature-suspends-investigates-3-top-tribal-officials/7592012002/ 

# REAL ESTATE 

– Northeastern Wisconsin’s shortage of affordable housing has become critical. Here’s how it happened and some ideas on how to fill the gap. https://www.greenbaypressgazette.com/in-depth/news/2021/06/07/cost-living-market-forces-wages-combine-create-big-gaps-affordable-housing-wisconsin/7357594002/ 

# RETAIL 

– Big Boy franchise returns to Wisconsin after 26 years https://biztimes.com/big-boy-franchise-returns-to-wisconsin-after-26-years/

# SMALL BUSINESS 

– O&H Teams With Distillery For Whiskey Kringle https://racinecountyeye.com/oh-teams-with-distillery-for-whiskey-kringle/ 

# SPORTS 

– Harden not back for Game 2, Bucks hope their shooting is https://www.tmj4.com/sports/basketball/milwaukee-bucks/harden-not-back-for-game-2-bucks-hope-their-shooting-is 

# TRANSPORTATION 

– Milwaukee Mitchell numbers continue to rebound; but travel not back to pre-pandemic levels https://www.jsonline.com/story/money/2021/06/07/passenger-numbers-continue-rising-milwaukee-mitchell-international/7589138002/ 

# PRESS RELEASES

<i>See these and other press releases: 

https://www.wisbusiness.com/press-releases/ </i>

– WMC: Launches statewide digital ad campaign calling on Gov. Evers to address workforce shortage emergency

– RE/MAX INTEGRA: Announces new openings, ownership transitions In Midwest

– Dept. of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection: Dog sellers program celebrates 10-year anniversary

– Hoffman Planning, Design & Construction, Inc.: Clintonville public school district breaks ground