• Breathing aidCoronavirus: Mercedes F1 to Make Breathing Aid

    University College London engineers worked with clinicians at UCLH and Mercedes Formula One to build the device, which delivers oxygen to the lungs without needing a ventilator. Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) devices are already used in hospitals but are in short supply.
    Fergus Walsh writes for the BBC that China and Italy used the devices to help Covid-19 patients. Forty of the new devices have been delivered to ULCH and to three other London hospitals. If trials go well, up to 1,000 of the CPAP machines can be produced per day by Mercedes-AMG-HPP, beginning in a week’s time.
    The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has already given its approval for their use.
    Meanwhile a consortium of U.K. industrial, technology and engineering businesses in the U.K. has come together to produce medical ventilators for the NHS. The “VentilatorChallengeUK” consortium includes Airbus, BAE Systems, Ford, Rolls-Royce and Siemens.

  • VaccinesA New Way of Developing Vaccines for COVID-19 Could Help the World to Prepare for Future Outbreaks

    Vaccines are one of our greatest tools to protect against infectious diseases and the world waits with bated breath for a vaccine against coronavirus (COVID-19). The wait might be much shorter if we can hone new methods of vaccine development. Charlie Weller writes for Wellcome Trust that although it has been just nine weeks since scientists around the world received the genetic code for COVID-19, a phase 1 clinical trial for a vaccine (mRNA-1273)(opens in a new tab) has already begun. This timescale from genomic sequence to clinical trial is unprecedented in vaccine development.
    This vaccine, unlike traditional vaccines, has been developed using ribonucleic acid (RNA) technology. If successful, the cutting-edge method could revolutionize vaccine development for future disease outbreaks. 

  • COVID-19: VaccinesU.S. Pharmaceutical Giant Says COVID Vaccine Could Be Ready for Emergency Use by Early 2021

    U.S. pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson says human testing of its experimental coronavirus vaccine will begin by September and says the vaccine could be available for emergency use by early next year.  

    The company said Monday that it has jointly committed more than $1 billion to develop and test a vaccine along with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It said if human trials of the vaccine are successful, it is prepared to produce more than 1 billion doses of the vaccine. 

  • Pandemic bondsPandemic Bonds: The Financial Cure We Need for COVID-19?

    By Dror Etzion, Bernard Forgues, and Emmanuel Kypraios

    Like other financial players that have embraced innovation in recent years, insurers too have developed novel tools and products. One such innovation is catastrophe bonds. A catastrophe bond provides the issuer (usually either an insurer or a reinsurer) with financial protection in case of a major catastrophe. Most catastrophe bonds cover extreme natural events such as hurricanes or earthquakes, but some bonds cover pandemics like the one the world is facing now.

  • PerspectiveCryptocurrency Laundering Is a National Security Risk

    As U.S. adversaries get more acquainted with blockchain technology, their hostile cyber operations are likely to rely increasingly on cryptocurrency activity. And rogue states are likely to become more innovative in using cryptocurrencies as they try to dampen the impact of U.S. economic sanctions.

  • Economic shocksUnderstanding the Economic Shock of Coronavirus

    As the coronavirus continues its march around the world, governments have turned to proven public health measures, such as social distancing, to physically disrupt the contagion. Yet, doing so has severed the flow of goods and people, stalled economies, and is in the process of delivering a global recession. Economic contagion is now spreading as fast as the disease itself.
    Philipp Carlsson-Szlezak , Martin Reeves, and Paul Swartz write in the Harvard Business Review that this didn’t look plausible even a few weeks ago. As the virus began to spread, politicians, policy makers, and markets, informed by the pattern of historical outbreaks, looked on while the early (and thus more effective and less costly) window for social distancing closed. Now, much further along the disease trajectory, the economic costs are much higher, and predicting the path ahead has become nearly impossible, as multiple dimensions of the crisis are unprecedented and unknowable.
    “In this uncharted territory, naming a global recession adds little clarity beyond setting the expectation of negative growth. Pressing questions include the path of the shock and recovery, whether economies will be able to return to their pre-shock output levels and growth rates, and whether there will be any structural legacy from the coronavirus crisis,” they write.

  • COVID-19: Sweden’s response Sweden under Fire for “Relaxed” Coronavirus Approach – Here’s the Science Behind It

    By Paul W Franks and Peter M Nilsson

    A growing number of Swedish doctors and scientists are raising alarm over the Swedish government’s approach to COVID-19. Unlike its Nordic neighbors, Sweden has adopted a relatively relaxed strategy, seemingly assuming that overreaction is more harmful than under-reaction. Some support the government’s policy as rational and reasonable, while critics say that Sweden is hurtling toward a disaster of biblical proportions and that the direction of travel must change. The truth is that of all these opinions, none is derived from direct experience of a global pandemic. No one knows for sure what lies ahead.

  • RansomwareDeal with Ransomware the Way Police Deal with Hostage Situations

    By Scott Shackelford and Megan Wade

    When faced with a ransomware attack, a person or company or government agency finds its digital data encrypted by an unknown person, and then gets a demand for a ransom. The two major ways people have so far responded – pay the ransom of hire a specialist to recover the data — are missing another option that we have identified in our cybersecurity policy studies. Police have a long history of successful crisis and hostage negotiation – experience that offers lessons that could be useful for people and organizations facing ransomware attacks.

  • ConversionsMyPillow, Other U.S. Companies Making Face Masks to Meet Coronavirus Shortages

    As coronavirus cases start to overwhelm U.S. hospitals, American companies say they’re starting to make face masks and other personal protective equipment critically needed by medical staff.
    Brie Stimson writes in Fox News that in Minnesota, the MyPillow company is refocusing 75 percent of its production to face masks for health care workers.
    “We have capacity to make a lot of things at big rates and we’re going to be going hopefully from 10,000 units a day to 50,000 units a day in a very short period of time,” CEO Mike Lindell told FOX 9 of Minneapolis-St. Paul.
    In New Jersey, Stuart Carlitz, president and CEO of mattress company Eclipse International, said he made the decision to switch production to masks last week after hearing New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo say that state had a shortage and was paying high prices for masks.
    “I’m not trying to sell masks,” Carlitz said. “Whether it’s a dollar apiece or four dollars apiece, that’s not going to change my business. I’m going to donate the masks.”
    Other companies, too, have converted their production lines to producing masks, among them: The Tablecloth Company in Paterson, N.J., decided to start making masks after requests from customers, including nursing homes where the virus can easily spread, according to NJ.com.
    Los Angeles-based apron company Hedley &Bennett will also be putting its 30 factory employees to work on face masks, Owner Ellen Bennett told Fast Company magazine.
    Other American fashion brands like Hanes, Los Angeles Apparel and Michael Costello and Karla Colletto Swimwear are also asking their workers to start making masks.
    Michigan-based Ford is assisting General Electric Healthcare with ventilator production, according to Yahoo Finance.

  • Economic cost Economic Crash Could Cost More Life Than Coronavirus, Says Expert

    If the coronavirus lockdown leads to a fall in GDP of more than 6.4 per cent more years of life will be lost due to recession than will be gained through beating the virus, a study suggests.
    Philip Thomas, professor of risk management at Bristol University, said that keeping the economy going in the next year was crucial, otherwise the measures would “do more harm than good.”
    “I’m worried that in order to solve one problem we’d create a bigger problem,” he said a day after economists predicted we were on course for the worst recession in modern history.
    Tom Whipple writes in The Times that there is a clear link between GDP and life expectancy, in part due to richer countries being able to spend more on healthcare, safety and environmental regulations. This means it is possible to calculate roughly the effect of increased, or decreased, wealth on the health of a population.

  • CepheidFast COVID-19 Test to Be Limited to Hospitals

    Sunnyvale, California-based Cepheid has a new diagnostic test for the coronavirus – a test which returns results in just 45 minutes, four times faster than existing systems. Techcrunch reports, however, that the test, which was cleared by the Food and Drug Administration last week,  will not materially affect the number of tests experts say are needed because it will likely be used only in the most urgent situations: triaging patients who are already in the hospital or the emergency room, and testing health care workers who might be infected to see whether they can return to work.

  • The Russia connectionFacebook, Twitter Remove Russia-Linked Fake Accounts Targeting Americans

    Social-media giants Facebook and Twitter say they have removed a number of Russia-linked fake accounts that targeted U.S. users from their operations in Ghana and Nigeria. Facebook on 12 March said the accounts it removed were in the “early stages” of building an audience on behalf of individuals in Russia, posting on topics such as black history, celebrity gossip, and fashion.

  • China syndromeU.K.: Tory MPs Rebel against Government’s Huawei’s Plan

    The U.K. government has launched an all-hands-on-deck effort to contain a growing rebellion by Tory MPs who want to ban the use of Huawei’s equipment in the U.K. 5G telecoms network, arguing that allowing the Chinese company, with its close ties to China’s intelligence and military establishments, any access to the country’s communication infrastructure would be like inviting a fox to guard the hen house.

  • Western hemisphereAmerican Observers Threatened over Guyana Election Results

    Tensions are rising in newly oil-rich Guyana with nearly 100 percent of the votes now reported from Monday’s national election. The governing APNU party appears to have lost to the opposition Peoples Progressive Party (PPP). International elections observers – mostly Americans – are now being menaced and threatened by APNU to leave or face arrest. Guyana’s election is being watched closely because the winner will be in control of a coming oil boom which will transform Guyana. In December Exxon began commercial exploitation of a huge 2016 oil discovery off the coast, and production is expected to grow from 52,000 barrels per day to over 750,000 by 2025.

  • PrivacyLawmaker Presses Clearview AI on Foreign Sales of Facial Recognition

    Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Massachusetts earlier this week raised new concerns about Clearview AI’s facial recognition app. Markey initially wrote to Clearview in January 2020 with concerns about how the company’s app might violate Americans’ civil liberties and privacy. Clearview is marketing its product to users in foreign countries with authoritarian regimes such as Saudi Arabia. The company might also be collecting and processing images of children from social media sites.