While COVID-19 Rages, Don’t Forget About Pandemic Flu

All, News

Don’t panic, but there is another virus out there that could cause a pandemic.  This one is an influenza strain circulating in pigs and their caretakers in China.  It is not currently causing widespread illness, and it may never do so. But it has “all the essential hallmarks of a candidate pandemic virus,” according to the authors of a new study in the FILE – A patient receives a flu vaccination in Mesquite, Texas, January 23, 2020.‘Good news, bad news’ “There’s good news and bad here,” Pavia said. “I think the bad news is that once again, it looks as if we’re identifying strains of flu that are emerging in populations with the potential to jump to humans.”However, only a handful of serious cases have been reported.”The severity remains low. That’s good news,” Pavia said, adding, “there’s no guarantee that it’s going to stay that way.”Other factors also must change before alarm bells really go off, experts note.”What is really important for influenza pandemic emergence, as well as for any viral pandemic emergence, is sustained airborne transmission,” said University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine microbiologist and molecular geneticist Seema Lakdawala, who was not part of the research team.While a few people are getting infected, she said there is no sign now of sustained transmission.Food animals are a common source of new flu viruses. Birds, pigs and humans can all exchange flu strains. Pigs are especially welcoming environments for influenza viruses to reinvent themselves. Multiple strains can infect one animal, swap genes and emerge as a novel strain.Unpredictable There is no telling when the right combination of genes will fall into place and produce a virulent, transmissible virus.A lethal strain called H5N1 first appeared in poultry in Hong Kong in 1997 and resurfaced in 2003. It kills more than half the people it infects. But for reasons scientists do not understand, it has not gone pandemic.”It’s still a concern. It has caused hundreds of deaths,” said senior scholar Gigi Gronvall at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, who was not involved with the research. “But for whatever reason, even though all eyes were on that, it was this other virus that took off in 2009.” FILE – Researchers of the Veterinary Institute under the Academy of Agricultural Research check on African Swine Flu at Ryongsong District in Pyongyang, North Korea, June 10, 2019.That year, H1N1 emerged from pigs and sparked a pandemic. Researchers estimate that nearly 300,000 people died from it in the first year. Since then, health officials have increased efforts to monitor livestock farms and markets for new viruses.”There’s been a big improvement, but it’s far from complete,” Pavia said. “The challenge is enormous. Influenza circulates among ducks, turkeys, swine – not to mention there are strains that infect everything from horses to dogs. And tracking all of these is an enormous task.”The effort is understaffed and underfunded, “like so many things in public health,” he said.And that’s dangerous. “We’ve seen the consequences of inadequate public health surveillance in the emergence and failure to control COVID-19,” Pavia noted. Flu tools Unlike COVID-19, health experts have tools against influenza that might help if the new strain were to launch a new pandemic.  “We know how to test for influenza viruses,” Lakdawala said. Flu antivirals are only partly effective, “but we do at least have antivirals that can limit the severity of disease. We have a number of them. We also have a vaccine platform that is already approved and safe.”  A vaccine could be available in a matter of months.  But there is no way to know whether the newly identified strain will spark a pandemic.”The more you study flu, the more you realize we just don’t know how to predict that,” Pavia said.  

your ad here

Facebook Bans Violent ‘Boogaloo’ Groups, Not the Term Itself

All, Business, News, Technology

Facebook has banned an extremist anti-government network loosely associated with the broader “boogaloo” movement, a slang term supporters use to refer to a second Civil War or a collapse of civilization. But the platform didn’t try to name the group, underscoring the difficulty of grappling with an amorphous network linked to a string of domestic terror plots that appears to obfuscate its existence. Among other complications, its internet-savvy members tend to keep their distance from one another, frequently change their symbols and catch phrases and mask their intentions with sarcasm. The move by Facebook designates this group as a dangerous organization similar to the Islamic State group and white supremacists, both of which are already banned from its service. The social network is not banning all references to “boogaloo” and said it is only removing groups, accounts and pages when they have a “clear connection to violence or a credible threat to public safety.”  The loose movement is named after “Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo,” a 1984 sequel to a movie about breakdancing. Boogaloo supporters have shown up at protests over COVID-19 lockdown orders, carrying rifles and wearing tactical gear over Hawaiian shirts – a reference to “big luau,” a homophone for “boogaloo” sometimes favored by group members. Facebook said that the movement dates to 2012 and that it has been tracking it closely since last year.  FILE – Steven Carrillo is seen in a booking photo from the Santa Cruz County (California) Sheriff’s Office, June 7, 2020.Earlier in June, Steven Carrillo, an Air Force sergeant with ties to the boogaloo movement, fatally shot a federal security officer and wounded his partner outside a U.S. courthouse, ambushed and killed a California sheriff’s deputy, and injured four other officers in Oakland, California. According to the criminal complaint, Carrillo posted in a Facebook group, “It’s on our coast now, this needs to be nationwide. It’s a great opportunity to target the specialty soup bois. Keep that energy going.”  The statement was followed by two fire emojis and a link to a YouTube video showing a large crowd attacking two California Highway Patrol vehicles. According to the FBI, “soup bois” may be a term that followers of the boogaloo movement used to refer to federal law enforcement agents.  While the term “boogaloo'” has been embraced by white supremacist groups and other far-right extremists, many supporters insist they aren’t racist or truly advocating for violence. As part of Tuesday’s announcement, Facebook said it has removed 220 Facebook accounts, 95 Instagram accounts, 28 Pages and 106 groups that that comprise the violent Boogaloo-affiliated network. It also took down 400 other groups and 100 pages that hosted similar content as the violent network but were maintained by accounts outside of it. The company said it has so far found no evidence of foreign actors amplifying boogaloo-related material. Social media companies are facing a reckoning over hate speech on their platforms. Reddit, an online comment forum that is one of the world’s most popular websites, on Monday banned a forum that supported President Donald Trump as part of a crackdown on hate speech. Live-streaming site Twitch, which is owned by Amazon, temporarily suspended Trump’s campaign account for violating its hateful conduct rules. YouTube, meanwhile, banned several prominent white nationalist figures from its platform, including Stefan Molyneux, David Duke and Richard Spencer. Civil rights groups have called on large advertisers to stop Facebook ad campaigns during July, saying the social network isn’t doing enough to curtail racist and violent content on its platform, and several major advertisers have signed on to the boycott.  Violent and extremist groups are increasingly turning to encrypted communications networks and fringe social platforms with no content moderation, which makes them more difficult to track.  

your ad here

Measles Mumps and Rubella Vaccine May Protect Some People from COVID-19

All, News

Something data crunchers have noticed during the coronavirus pandemic: countries with recent outbreaks of measles have fewer deaths and serious illnesses from the coronavirus. Is this a coincidence? Or is there something about the measles mumps and rubella vaccine that protects against the worst outcomes of the coronavirus? We learn more from VOA’s Carol Pearson.Produced by: Barry Unger

your ad here

UN Calls for End to Practices Threatening Women, Girls Worldwide

All, News

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has called for urgent action to stop female genital mutilation, child marriage and other harmful practices carried out against millions of women and girls around the world each year.UNFPA made that call as it presented its State of the World Population report from UN headquarters in Geneva Monday. The report was embargoed until Tuesday.UNFPA Director Mónica Ferro told journalists the report cites at lease 19 practice against girls and women girls that have been universally denounced as human rights violations – from breast ironing to virginity testing.  Ferro said the study was also groundbreaking in that it treats these practices as human rights violations. The study indicates that every day, hundreds of thousands of girls around the world are subjected to practices that harm them physically or psychologically – with the full knowledge and consent of their families and communities.Ferro said the three widespread practices that cause harm are genital mutilation, child marriage and preference for male children.  Genital mutilation is the removal or partial removal of all external female genitalia for non-medical reasons. Ferro said this year, 4.1 million girls around the world are at risk for genital mutilation.The report also estimates that some 33,000 girls under the age of 18 are forced into marriage, often to men much older than them. And report says, because of gender-bias towards males, extreme neglect of female children has led 140 million “missing” females world-wide.While Ferro reports the “tide is turning,” with more laws being pass to prevent these abuses and traditional practitioners are changing their ways, she says the COVID-19 pandemic could reverse some of that progress.  Ferro said pandemic-related lockdowns have separated woman from medical and domestic-issue-related caregivers, and cases of violence against women could surge. She said “We cannot slow down the pace.” of addressing these issues.

your ad here

Presidential Campaigns Embrace Tech to Reach Voters During Pandemic

All, Business, News, Technology

With social distancing as the new pandemic normal, U.S. presidential campaigns were faced with an unprecedented situation. They no longer were able to send out organizers and volunteers to connect with potential voters face-to-face. Intimate, high-dollar fundraising events were also out of the question. “The coronavirus pandemic shifted things overnight. It was a sudden and instant transformation to 100% virtual campaigning, just like the pandemic disrupted everyone else’s daily life. The same is true of our campaigns,” said Eric Wilson, a Republican digital strategist and director of the Center for Campaign Innovation. “You’re just seeing a lot more creativity in terms of how and where the campaigns are finding the voters they need to get their message across to,” said Tara McGowan, CEO and founder of Acronym, a progressive nonprofit organization and head of the political action committee Pacronym.  Lally Doerrer, right, and Katharine Hildebrand watch Joe Biden during his Illinois virtual town hall, in Doerrer’s living room March 13, 2020, in Chicago.Politics as entertainment Most voters are consuming politics as entertainment, Wilson said. Since the start of social distancing orders in March, the Trump campaign launched, on social media such as Facebook and YouTube, a daily talk show-style broadcast with a host and guests. “That’s one of the biggest kind of innovations we’ve done, are these original seven-nights-a-week online broadcast. We really touch on loads of different dynamics and different messaging opportunities,” Erin Perrine, director of press communications for the Trump campaign, said.  Prominent Republicans and President Donald Trump’s children have been either guests or hosts on these shows. In one program, hosted by Donald Trump Jr., the guest being interviewed was his father, who is running for a second term against the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, former Vice President Joe Biden.  The Biden campaign is also tapping into social media. Biden is using Instagram for live conversations with social media influencers, celebrities and past Democratic presidential candidates such as entrepreneur Andrew Yang.  Last week, Biden raised more than $11 million during a joint virtual fundraising event with former President Barack Obama.President Donald Trump speaks during a Fox News virtual town hall from the Lincoln Memorial, May 3, 2020, in Washington, co-moderated by FOX News anchors Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum.Digital advertising, apps and engagement Digital ads have become another way for campaigns to reach potential voters and build a database of information.  “What the campaign is trying to do is if somebody engages the ad, clicks on the link, goes then to the website, then the first thing the campaign says is, ‘Hey, give me your email address,’ and if you do give your email address, they also then typically ask you for your name and maybe your address or your zip code,” Stromer-Galley said.  “Now they can start to get a profile of who you actually are and then maybe potentially marry that to other data that they have about that email address, whether they’ve purchased that list or are building it organically.”  With a potential supporter’s profile, campaigns can create ads on Facebook that target a specific demographic of users. “We run a lot of ads on Facebook continuously,” Perrine, of the Trump campaign, said. “Our digital team says it’s like high, high-volume trading on the stock market. We do a bunch of them and those that are doing well, we’ll put more money behind and continue to push those, then others that aren’t, you can pull them off the platform.”  Stromer-Galley said Facebook is a useful tool for campaigns because “Facebook has built an algorithm that predicts if you’re politically interested. They have an algorithm that predicts if you’re likely a Democratic supporter or a Republican supporter.” Both campaigns also have apps as ways of engaging supporters, fundraising and encouraging users to conduct peer-to-peer organizing. “If you’re one of my friends, and I know that you’ve not decided on who you’re going to vote for, I can reach out directly to you and say, ‘Hey, here’s who I’m supporting, here’s what I think matters to you, and I would send you a text message or a Facebook message, however we normally communicate,” said Wilson, the Republican strategist.   To encourage supporters, Trump’s app is gamified, where users can earn points by sharing a post or liking something on social media and making phone calls for the campaign. The points get aggregated, and they can be used to gain early entry into rallies, a discount code for buying campaign merchandise, and with enough points, a supporter can meet Trump.  The reason why campaigns want people to engage digitally is to “glean data, is to get more information on voters, how we can stay in contact with them, because you want these people to become volunteers, you want them to stay engaged and become part of the movement. But, ultimately, we want them to show up on election day,” Perrine said. “When I downloaded them to my phone, the first thing it asks — after some personal information about me, like my address, some demographic information, my name, my email address — it then asks if the app, the mobile app can access my contacts, my photographs,” said Stromer-Galley, who downloaded the Trump and Biden apps for her research. McGowan, of Pacronym, and her staff are separate from the Biden campaign. They  have been running their own digital advertising to support Biden on nontraditional platforms, such as streaming apps like Hulu and Roku, on gaming devices such as Xbox, and on streaming radio, including Pandora and Spotify.  McGowan said ads are no longer one-size-fits-all and have to be tailored for the various unique platforms available to consumers today. “It’s become such, just a diverse media landscape today. So you really have to sort of stay ahead of the curve. You really can’t rest on your laurels, and it’s a real challenge for campaigns,” she said.  Digital campaign contest With a bigger war chest, analysts of digital campaigns say Trump started the 2020 digital campaign with a huge advantage, both as the incumbent and with a database of supporters from his last presidential race.  “Trump has been very effective at blurring his presidential messaging and his campaign messaging on Twitter, and so as a journalist or as a member of the public, you can’t help but sort of get both at the same time when you’re watching him,” Stromer-Galley said. “Biden doesn’t have that advantage because he’s not the incumbent. He doesn’t have the presidency. He’s issuing formal statements. He’s doing YouTube videos. He is holding online events, but they don’t get the same traction,” she added. By numbers alone, Trump has more than 82 million followers on Twitter and Biden has just over 6 million. There are close to 30 million followers on Trump’s campaign Facebook page compared to just over 2 million followers on Biden’s Facebook page.  Trump’s campaign has outspent Biden on Facebook ads. “With online marketing, it’s a lot like compound interest. It pays more dividends the sooner you get it into the bank, and so the fact that the Trump campaign was able to get started building their digital infrastructure so early, it gives them a huge head start,” Wilson said.  As an example, he pointed to Trump’s decision to name Brad Pascale, his 2016 digital strategist, as his 2020 campaign manager as a sign that Trump understands the importance of having a strong digital presence in a campaign. Although Biden has been in politics much longer, “all of the campaign experiences can be a curse because you think you know how things should be done,” Wilson said. He further described the Biden campaign as “a traditional legacy style of campaign first, with digital operations as an add-on, and that’s not the way campaigns should be run in 2020.” The Biden campaign did not respond to repeated requests for an interview. However, McGowan countered, saying Biden has experience with digital campaigning while running as Obama’s running mate. “The Obama campaigns really drove a lot of the innovation in campaigning and bringing campaigning online. Online fundraising, advertising, and so Vice President Biden is no stranger to digital campaigning or strategy,” McGowan said. Earlier in June, the Biden campaign spent $15 million on advertising across media platforms.  “The Biden campaign has very quickly adapted to this moment. They’re continuing to grow and pivot, and I really believe that they are closing the gap,” McGowan said.  Since the pandemic, the Democratic National Committee has sent more than 4 million text messages to get people to sign up to vote by mail and held 82 training sessions on digital organizing since March, compared to 14 training sessions in 2019.  “The way that people have shown up in droves for them has been a really important thing,” Meg DiMartino, Democratic National Committee digital organizing director, said with more than 11,500 people signing up across all of the trainings. The key to a successful digital campaign is to reach “the right voters with the right message at the right moment on the right platform from the right messenger,” strategist Wilson said. That largely means meeting potential voters in the digital world during the 2020 pandemic. 

your ad here

Chinese Scientists Discover New H1N1 Virus Strain That Could Infect Humans

All, News

Scientists in China have identified a new strain of a flu virus in pigs that has the potential to infect humans and lead to a new pandemic.
 
In a paper published in the U.S.-based journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the scientists say the new “G4” strain was discovered during a surveillance program of pig farms and slaughterhouses across 10 provinces between 2011 and 2018.   
 
The new virus is a variation of the H1N1 swine flu virus that killed hundreds of thousands of people around the world in 2009.   
 
The scientists discovered the G4 virus has already infected workers at various farms and slaughterhouses throughout China.  The new H1N1 strain can grow and quickly multiply in the cells that line the airways of humans, although there is no current evidence the illness can spread through human-to-human contact.   
 
But the researchers also found that although G4 is derived from H1N1, current flu vaccines do not provide any immunity from the new virus.
 
The research paper said that G4 have all the “essential hallmarks of a candidate pandemic virus.”  The scientists urged pig farmers to control the spread of the virus among pigs, and to closely monitor people who work with the animals.   
 
The study’s release comes as the world is in the grips of COVID-19 pandemic which has sickened over 10.2 million people worldwide and killed over 500,000 since it was first detected late last year in the central city of Wuhan.   

your ad here

Social Media Platforms Face Reckoning Over Hate Speech 

All, Business, News, Technology

For years, social media platforms have fueled political polarization and hosted an explosion of hate speech. Now, with four months until the U.S. presidential election and the country’s divisions reaching a boiling point, these companies are upping their game against bigotry and threats of violence. What’s not yet clear is whether this action is too little, too late — nor whether the pressure on these companies, including a growing advertiser boycott, will be enough to produce lasting change. FILE – Reddit employees work at the company’s headquarters in San Francisco, California, April 15, 2014.Reddit, an online comment forum that is one of the world’s most popular websites, on Monday banned a forum that supported President Donald Trump as part of a crackdown on hate speech. Also on Monday, live-streaming site Twitch, which is owned by Amazon, temporarily suspended Trump’s campaign account for violating its hateful conduct rules. YouTube, meanwhile, banned several prominent white nationalist figures from its platform, including Stefan Molyneux, David Duke and Richard Spencer.  Social media companies, led by Facebook, now face a reckoning over what critics call indefensible excuses for amplifying divisions, hate and misinformation on their platforms. Civil rights groups have called on large advertisers to stop Facebook ad campaigns during July, saying the social network isn’t doing enough to curtail racist and violent content on its platform.  Companies such as the consumer goods giant Unilever — one of the world’s largest advertisers — as well as Verizon, Ford and many smaller brands have joined the boycott, some for the month of July and others for the rest of the year. New companies have been signing on to the boycott almost every day. While some are pausing ads only on Facebook, others have also stepped back from advertising on Twitter and other platforms. On Monday, Ford Motor Co. put the brakes on all national social media advertising for the next 30 days. The company says hate speech, as well as posts advocating violence and racial injustice, need to be eradicated from the sites. FILE – The Twitter and Facebook logos are seen with binary cyber codes in this illustration, Nov. 26, 2019.While the ad boycott has dinged Facebook’s and Twitter’s shares, analysts who follow the social media business don’t see it as having a lasting effect.  Raymond James analyst Aaron Kessler noted that YouTube has faced several ad boycotts in the past over hate speech and other objectionable material. Each time, it adjusted its policies and the advertisers returned. In addition, July is generally a slow month for advertising. Companies have also been cutting their ad budgets due to COVID-19, so the spending declines are not a surprise for investors. Kessler called Facebook’s stock pullback — its shares fell more than 8% on Friday, then rallied a bit Monday — a “buying opportunity.” Reddit’s action was part of a larger purge at the San Francisco-based site. The company said it took down a total of 2,000 forums, known as the site as “subreddits,” most of which it said were inactive or had few users.  The Trump Reddit forum, called The_Donald, was banned because it encouraged violence, regularly broke other Reddit rules, and defiantly “antagonized” both Reddit and other forums, the company said in a statement. Reddit had previously tried to discipline the forum. “We are cautiously optimistic that Reddit is finally working with groups like ours to dismantle the systems that enable hateful rhetoric on their platform,” Bridget Todd, a spokeswoman for the women’s advocacy organization UltraViolet, said in an emailed statement.  The group said its members met with Reddit CEO Steve Huffman via Zoom last week, encouraging him to address racism and hate speech on the platform. Despite optimism from some critics, others said it is not clear if such measures will be enough. For years, racist groups “have successfully used social media to amplify their message and gain new recruits,” said Sophie Bjork-James an anthropology professor at Vanderbilt University who specializes in white nationalism, racism and hate crimes.  “However, limiting access to a broader public will have unintended negative consequences. Far-right and white nationalist groups are increasingly gathering on encrypted apps and social media sites that do not monitor for offensive speech or violent content,” she added. “This shift allows for coordinating more violent and radical actions.” The algorithms tech companies developed to keep users glued to their services “have provided perhaps the biggest boon to organized racism in decades, as they help racist ideas find a much larger and potentially receptive audience,” Bjork-James said, adding that she is hopeful that the same companies that “helped this anti-democratic movement expand” can now help limit its impact. For its part, Twitch pointed to comments the president made at two rallies, videos of which were posted on the site.  Supporters of President Donald Trump cheer as he arrives on stage to speak to a campaign rally at the BOK Center, June 20, 2020, in Tulsa, Oklahoma.In one, a live stream of a rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Trump talked about a “very tough hombre” breaking into someone’s home. The other was from a 2015 campaign rally that was recently posted on Twitch, in which Trump said Mexico sends rapists and criminals to the U.S. Twitch declined to say how long the suspension will last. The White House referred a request for comment to Trump’s reelection campaign. Tim Murtaugh, the campaign’s director of communications, said that people who want to hear directly from the president should download the campaign’s app. Reddit has  tweaked its rules and banned forums  for white nationalists  over the years in an attempt to rid its platform of vitriol, sometimes producing significant user backlash as a result. CEO Steve Huffman said earlier this month that Reddit was working with moderators to explicitly address hate speech. 

your ad here

New Swine Flu Found in China Has Pandemic Potential

All, News

Researchers in China have discovered a new type of swine flu that is capable of triggering a pandemic, according to a study published Monday in the U.S. science journal PNAS. Named G4, it is genetically descended from the H1N1 strain that caused a pandemic in 2009. It possesses “all the essential hallmarks of being highly adapted to infect humans,” say the authors, scientists at Chinese universities and China’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention.  From 2011 to 2018, researchers took 30,000 nasal swabs from pigs in slaughterhouses in 10 Chinese provinces and in a veterinary hospital, allowing them to isolate 179 swine flu viruses.   The majority were of a new kind, which has been dominant among pigs since 2016. The researchers then carried out various experiments including on ferrets, which are widely used in flu studies because they experience similar symptoms to humans, principally fever, coughing and sneezing.   G4 was observed to be highly infectious, replicating in human cells and causing more serious symptoms in ferrets than other viruses. Tests also showed that any immunity humans gain from exposure to seasonal flu does not provide protection from G4. According to blood tests, which showed antibodies created by exposure to the virus, 10.4% of swine workers had already been infected. The tests showed that as many as 4.4% of the general population also appeared to have been exposed.  The virus has therefore already passed from animals to humans but there is no evidence yet that it can be passed from human to human, the scientists’ main worry. “It is of concern that human infection of G4 virus will further human adaptation and increase the risk of a human pandemic,” the researchers wrote. The authors called for urgent measures to monitor people working with pigs.  “The work comes as a salutary reminder that we are constantly at risk of new emergence of zoonotic pathogens and that farmed animals, with which humans have greater contact than with wildlife, may act as the source for important pandemic viruses,” said James Wood, head of the department of veterinary medicine at Cambridge University. A zoonotic infection is caused by a pathogen that has jumped from a non-human animal into a human. 

your ad here

US Procures Almost Entire Supply of COVID-19 Drug

All, News

The Trump administration says it has locked down nearly the entire supply of one of the only available anti-COVID-19 drugs from the manufacturer for the next several months. That raises questions about access to one of the few treatments available for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, for much of the rest of the world. Remdesivir is the first drug shown to help patients with COVID-19, though its impact is modest. Hospitalized patients given the drug recovered four days faster than those given a placebo. FILE – Vials of the drug remdesivir are seen at a hospital in Germany, April 8, 2020.FILE – Gilead Sciences pharmaceutical company is seen during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in La Verne, California.The Institute for Clinical and Economic Review, the drug pricing watchdog, said Gilead’s price is “reasonable,” provided the drug ultimately shows it can save lives.Gilead donated the first 1.5 million doses worldwide. The United States received more than 900,000, according to health news website Stat. “The U.S. was certainly at the front of the line for the donated remdesivir,” said Brook Baker, professor of law at Northeastern University and a senior policy analyst for Health Global Access Project. “Now, we find out that the U.S. is wholly at the front of the line for all the additional half-million doses to be produced between now and basically the end of September.” “There’s no way to explain this than to say, well, somehow between the U.S. government and Gilead, they have collusively agreed that for whatever reason, Americans come first,” he added. Gilead says it is ramping up production and aims to have 2 million treatment courses available by December, up from 190,000 at the end of June.   “We are doing everything we can to accelerate manufacturing timelines and quantities of remdesivir to meet the growing demand for emergency use of the medicine from around the world,” the company said in a statement. The company said it has “multiple manufacturing partners in North America, Europe and Asia” that are “capable of producing large volumes of remdesivir at the fastest pace feasible,” but did not provide details or answer requests for comment.The global pandemic so far has claimed more than 500,000 lives and infected more than 10 million people worldwide, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University.  The World Health Organization and a number of public-private partnerships are aiming to make access to COVID-19 countermeasures equitable around the world.The U.S. government has put billions of dollars into research and development of COVID-19 treatments, vaccines and diagnostics.  “Rich countries have more money to spend on research and development,” Baker said. “Does that mean that only rich people get medicine? That’s highly problematic in a moral, ethical sense.”  

your ad here

India Bans 59 Chinese Apps Amid Border Tensions

All, Business, News, Technology

India has banned the use of 59 Chinese-owned apps, including TikTok, citing security concerns Monday, as relations between the two neighbors worsen. In a statement, India’s Ministry of Electronics and IT said it “has decided to block 59 apps since in view of information available, they are engaged in activities which is prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defense of India, security of state and public order.” TikTok, a popular video application owned by Chinese parent company ByteDance, counts India as its biggest market. It was not immediately clear how the “ban” would be enforced and whether mobile companies were expected to comply. As of Monday evening, the banned apps were still available on Google’s Play store and the Apple App store in India, according to Tech Crunch.The announcement from Delhi comes amid rising tension between the two countries, weeks after 20 Indian soldiers were killed in clashes with Chinese forces along the border in the region of Ladakh. The Chinese government did not release figures on how many of its own soldiers were injured or killed. 
 

your ad here