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37 Nations Join C-TAP Initiative To Tackle COVID-19

Mounir Jamil

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37 Nations Join C-TAP Initiative To Tackle COVID-19

37 nations have agreed to sign the C-TAP initiative aimed at developing vaccines, treatments, tests and other health technologies to fight coronavirus, accessible to all.

C-TAP short for COVID-19 Technology Access Pool, was proposed early in March by Costa Rican President Carlos Alvarado who joined WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus during the video launch of the C-TAP initiative. Alvarado noted that tests, vaccines, diagnostics, and other key tools in the fight against coronavirus must be made universally available as public global goods.

Some of the nations that didn’t join the C-TAP initiative are economic powers such as the US, UK, Germany, Japan, China, France, and Turkey.

The Swiss-based umbrella for research-based global pharmaceutical companies, IFPMA held a video press conference last Thursday and stated they are working on finding a vaccine with their commitment to deliver safe, effective, and affordable COVID-19 vaccines for all.

Director General of IFPMA Thomas Cueni acknowledges that none of the countries can succeed in doing this alone, “but we are making progress, and we are seeing it every day.”

During the launch, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus mentions that through the C-TAP initiative, “we are inviting governments and companies that develop effective therapeutics to contribute to the Medicines Patent Pool, which will in turn sub-license the patent to generic manufacturers.”

WHO affirmed that the technology access pool will be based on social responsibility and  voluntary pooling of knowledge. It will offer a one-stop-shop for data, scientific knowledge, and intellectual property to be shared equally.

WHO believe that such actions would guarantee faster and more equitable access to current and new COVID-19 health solutions. Key elements for the C-TAP initiative are transparency regarding the publication of all clinical trial results and public disclosure of the gene sequences and data.

Governments and funders are motivated to mention clauses in funding agreements with innovators and pharmaceutical companies regarding equitable distribution, publication of trial data, and affordability. Furthermore, the licensing of any potential treatment, vaccine, diagnostic, or health technology will be made directly to the UN-backed public health body – Medicines Patent Pool (MPP).

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MedTech

Transparent smart mask allows emotional expression

Mounir Jamil

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Transparent Smart Mask allows Emotion Expression

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, face masks have become an essential part of daily life. However, the masks that we use have stolen a profound way of connecting with others. A person’s facial expression is one of the most important aspects of communication. The typical fabric or paper masks end up concealing our identities and facial reactions (or at least half of them). We are losing valuable personal connections with others because we can’t understand their intentions or see their facial expressions when they smile, frown or laugh.

The answer to this problem? The LEAF mask, the first transparent smart mask that is FDA registered. It has N-99 standard air filtering abilities in addition to a self-purifying feature thanks to a built in UV-C light. The mask protects you and your loved ones while enabling you to convey emotions and expressions; it’s as close to normal as we can get right now.

The LEAF mask’s most defining feature is definitely its transparent design. The unibody is covered in transparent and medical-grade silicon that provides a universal fit, and ensures your face isn’t visually covered by an opaque mask. This is accomplished via the transparent smart mask filters that are located around the chin, which keeps your nose, mouth and cheeks visible to people around you – making the mask more communication-friendly and allowing others to read your lips or facial expressions while talking to them.

The LEAF transparent smart mask also sports an antifogging feature, preventing your mask from becoming cloudy on the inside whenever you take a breath. This means it also allows your smartphones facial-unlock feature to work without taking your mask off. It’s the world’s first transparent mask that has high-quality N99+ HEPA\HEPA-Carbon filters fitted into the lower chin section. Another impressive feature is the self-purifying function, which is made possible with the built-in UV-C light. The LEAF comes in 3 different options: Leaf HEPA, Leaf UV, and Leaf PRO.

The LEAF mask is available in 4 different sizes made to fit children as well as adults. With its transparent structure, the LEAF mask is challenging the status quo of opaque fabric and plastic masks. Especially with disposable masks becoming a threat to the environment, LEAF offers the right solution. A reusable and high-quality mask with long-lasting filters.

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MedTech

Microsoft online courses for the unemployed

Adnan Kayyali

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Microsoft online courses for the unemployed

Microsoft online courses have been created on LinkedIn in support of those hit hardest by the pandemic. The pandemic has caused widespread devastation to worldwide economies, affecting different parts of the world in varying degrees. One thing is for sure, worldwide unemployment hasn’t been this high since The Great Depression.

According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), it is projected that the economic and labour crisis brought about by the pandemic may see around 25 million additional people unemployed worldwide.

What’s more, they estimate that some 436 million businesses in sectors such as retail, manufacturing, wholesale, hospitality and others are at high risk of “serious disruption”. Some businesses and jobs may bounce back after the pandemic, but there will most certainly be permanent changes to the post-Coronavirus job landscape.

“This is no longer only a global health crisis, it is also a major labor market and economic crisis that is having a huge impact on people.” Said Director-General of ILO, Guy Ryder.

“For millions of workers, no income means no food, no security and no future” he later continued. “As the pandemic and the jobs crisis evolve, the need to protect the most vulnerable becomes even more urgent.”

In response to the crisis, we are seeing tech companies push relief efforts on their own platforms, assisting severely affected communities through various means. Efforts like information platforms, live maps, updated news, and even platforms to ease distribution of medical resources worldwide, have become invaluable tools.

Microsoft online courses are meant to boost efforts in education, with the company distributing $20 million in donations to numerous NGOs, aimed at aiding those impacted by unemployment.

Using its own tool, LinkedIn Learning Paths was designed with tutorials to kickstart a person’s career in 10 fields currently in high-demand, according to LinkedIn’s data. These jobs will offer livable wages with promising future prospects.

The jobs listed include: digital marketer, graphic designer, IT support, sales representative, project manager, IT administration, software developer, customer services rep, data analyst, financial analyst. With courses free of charge and available to everyone until March 2021, anyone can go to this link and learn a new trade.

The education portal is part of a global trend pushing towards remote education inclusion in mainstream education systems. Microsoft online courses are just a drop among thousands of hours of quality educational material offered by companies such as Udemy, Skillshare, The Great Courses Plus and many more.

Alongside these, Microsoft Learn is offering supplemental technical content to these Paths, and Microsoft is also making GitHub’s Learning Lab free to practice if you’re learning skills to become a software developer.

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MedTech

New feature on Google Maps aids in the fight against Coronavirus

Mounir Jamil

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New feature on Google Maps aids in the fight against Coronavirus

A new feature on Google Maps now allows for users to get around safely during the Coronavirus pandemic. More than 11 million people have contracted the virus worldwide, and almost 500,000 have died according to the Johns Hopkins University. Countries worldwide have adopted different restrictions depending on the severity of the outbreak, which has caused numerous travel complications.

Ramesh Nagarajan, Google Maps product management director commented. “As countries around the world adapt, we are committed to bringing users the most pertinent information right to their fingertips, so when you’re ready and able to, you can safely venture out.”

The new feature on Google Maps collects data from national and local governments and agencies and alerts users to pertinent information. It also sports other updates:

Restriction alerts

Google Maps users will now receive driving alerts that notify them of COVID-19 checkpoints while crossing national borders, also the varying restrictions across their routes.

Users will now see the alert on the directions screen if they are entering an area that is impacted by restrictions, like mask mandate or social distancing regulations. These alerts are currently available in the United States, Canada and Mexico.

Testing alerts

If a user is headed towards a medical facility or a Coronavirus testing center, they will receive alerts that remind them of eligibility and facility guidelines. These alerts are available in the US, South Korea, Indonesia, and the Philippines.

Public transit alerts

When using Google Maps to navigate public transportation in an area affected by Covid-19 restrictions, travelers will receive alerts from local transit agencies with reminders of regulations, like mask requirements or if government mandates are impacting transit services.

When users are using Google Maps to navigate public transportation in an area with COVID-19 restrictions, travelers will receive alerts from local transit agencies that remind them of the regulations. These alerts are rolling out in Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Belgium, Colombia, France, Mexico, India, Spain, Netherlands, Thailand, UK and the US.

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