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MedTech

Three new anti-coronavirus face masks to the rescue

Adnan Kayyali

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Three new anti-coronavirus face masks to the rescue

Anti-coronavirus face masks have been in development by numerous companies around the world, each using different techniques. Although current evidence for the effectiveness of masks against viruses carries many uncertainties, people are not leaving home without one. Studies have showed however that wearing masks does reduce the risk of infection. It prevents one from touching their face, which is the number one precaution to take, and makes transmission a less likely.

Currently, the standard mask people resort to is the widely available N95 respirator, which has a 95% protection rate. Through many electrocharged layers of tightly knit fibers, the mask filters out particles as small as 0.3 microns. COVID-19 can range anywhere from 0.5 to 0.2. If mask pores get any smaller, however, that could mean difficulty breathing for many, and that’s why multiple layers are used, and the static electricity traps the particles before they are inhaled.

The thing is, these masks are made for one-time use, as constant breathing or washing for reuse dampens the charges over time. It is still however one of the most viable anti-coronavirus face masks on the market.

N95s offer more protection than typical surgical masks, but there is clearly plenty of room for improvement. Any mask currently in use will do its job best when used alongside other preventative measures such as constant hand washing and social distancing.

With that in mind, new technologies are being developed by numerous institutions and researchers conducting experiments for the best way to trap and kill the virus before it enters the lungs.

Here are 3 anti-coronavirus face masks you should know about.

  1. Self-Disinfecting Textiles

A Switzerland based hygiene company, Livinguard, has claimed that the same techniques and technologies they use to disinfect their textiles can be used to make reusable, self-disinfecting anti-coronavirus face masks. Researchers have confirmed the effectiveness of this technology in destroying coronavirus particles upon contact, which is washable, and can be used over 200 times.

“The underlying principle is to empower the surface of the textile with a strong positive charge”, says Livinguard founder and CEO, Sanjeev Swamy. “When microbes come in contact with fabric, the microbial cell, which is negatively charged, is destroyed, leading to permanent destruction of the microorganism”.

  1. Electric Mask 

Researcher Yair Ein-Eli from the Technion Institute for Technology has invented a self-cleaning mask that can be plugged with a USB or phone charger to power the heating element within. Heating it up 15 -30 times kills the virus particles trapped inside, making the mask safe to reuse, while maintaining its structural integrity. The mask is supposed to be priced at around 90 cents, and can be incorporated into the N95 masks.

Ein-Eli says the mask has been developed primarily for healthcare professionals. The self-cleaning mask should address the problem of shortages in both hospitals and in public, in addition to helping the environment as less masks will be disposed of.

  1. Copper layered masks:

Copper has long been known to have antimicrobial properties. Many masks before the pandemic have used copper infused filters. Positively charged copper ions attract and trap bacteria and are able to destroy viruses like COVID-19 within 4 hours as they penetrate the microbes and destroy their ability to replicate. When copper infused filters are used in conjunction with nanofabrics such as those found in the N95 types, it can greatly enhance the resistance to odor, moisture, and microbes.

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Junior social media strategist with a degree in media and communication. Technology enthusiast and free-lance writer. Favorite hobby: 3D modeling.

MedTech

The multi-cloud adoption boom

Mounir Jamil

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multi-cloud adoption

As the rapid advancements in tech continue – fueled by the current pandemic – we find ourselves stretching our limits and breaking boundaries. An important area that has gained significant traction this year is cloud computing, and more specifically, multi-cloud adoption.

What is multi-cloud? 

For those of you who are not familiar with the concept, a multi-cloud environment Is when an enterprise utilizes more than one cloud platform and delivers a specific function, application, or service. Multi-clouds can be made up of private, public, and edge clouds to achieve a datacenter’s end goals and objectives. 

Multi-cloud adoption garnered a significant increase to 70 percent year-over-year in 2020, outpacing the previous year by a whopping 20 percent. 

Current State of multi-cloud

The Continuous Intelligence Report The State of Modern applications, DevSecOps and the Impact of COVID-19 from Sumo Logic revealed that customers adopted 3 main vendors to meet their cloud needs; CloudTrail (60 percent), VPC Flow Logs (34 percent) and GuardDuty (22 percent) respectively. 

The report is developed from data that is aggregated from more than 2100 Sumo Logic customers that run applications over several major cloud platforms as well as on-premises environments. The report highlighted the importance of securing cloud workloads via the adoption of both cloud-native security technologies and available cloud data sources. 

Furthermore, the pandemic has highlighted how important remote work is – and that is where cloud-computing shines bright. The rise in multi-cloud adoption led enterprises to modern cloud platforms such as Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services (AWS), and Google Cloud Platform (GCP).

It is noteworthy to mention that AWS regional centers in the EU and US were among the top targets for hackers, according to the Sumo Logic’s global intelligence. 

What are the benefits of multi-cloud adoption? 

  • Flexibility: No single cloud can perform most business functions, or at least no single cloud can do everything well. Integrating multi-cloud can allocate the right cloud platform to the right business function 
  • Proximity: By hosting some workloads through regional cloud providers that operate closer to where the user is, the enterprise would be greatly enhancing a user’s experience
  • Failover: As a failover solution, multi-cloud adoption can protect an enterprise from outages by providing readily available and highly scalable backup for data and workflows for systems 
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MedTech

Why GovTech adoption during COVID-19 is a must

Adnan Kayyali

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Govtech

GovTech is a new term that refers to the modernization and/or digitization of government services for better accessibility and efficiency of public services. A mouth full, but this suggests a need for governments to do what the private sector has been doing from the start: embrace and incorporate industry 4.0 technology. However, to do so on a governmental level is complex.

The tech revolution occurring around the world, accelerated by the pandemic will not wait for governments to search their paper file cabinet for a solution. Citizens’ expectations of speed and efficiency are set higher by the private sector.

Too many authorities in developing nations, and many government-managed institutions in developed nations, are woefully behind on tech adoption within their systems.

According to the World Bank’s definition as stated in their brief, GovTech is essentially about putting people first.

“GovTech is a whole-of-government approach to public sector modernization that promotes simple, accessible, and efficient government”.

Governments who had already begun improving their digital infrastructure before the pandemic, had a better chance of curbing outbreaks after the initial wave with known exceptions. Namely the US and UK. 

Examples of GovTech used well during the pandemic can be found more to the east, in Singapore and South Korea among others, where data-gathering and citizen compliance with safety measures worked well to begin with.

Still, in the United states we see examples of GovTech being implemented even before the pandemic.

In areas of infrastructure, 120 Water Audit was recently launched, a cloud-based water management software, that a government on any level and size can use to minimize water waste.

During the pandemic, we have seen companies like BlueDot develop early warning systems to predict outbreaks, allowing governments to react preemptively. These systems used data gathered from numerous data sets from news, medical records and airlines to detect certain trends using their algorithm.

In the future, we should expect better GovTech adoption in public health services. Governments must work with the private sector to secure the right systems and consolidate their systems for better data collection. Undoubtedly, this is a long-term process.

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MedTech

Vaccine warriors: University of Oxford COVID-19 vaccine update

Mounir Jamil

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University of Oxford

As the race for a new COVID-19 vaccine continues, the University of Oxford vaccine is effective at stopping people from developing COVID-19 symptoms. Overall, results indicated 70 percent protection rate, however, researchers claim that figures can increase to 90% if the dose is modified. 

Study lead, Andrew Pollard, Professor of Paediatric Infection and Immunity at the University of Oxford, has vast experience in clinical trials of new and improved vaccines for children and adults. 

In comparison to the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, the University of Oxford vaccine is far cheaper, easier to store and can be transported to every country around the world. It shows highly promising use in tackling the current pandemic, if it gets the approval from regulators, who will assess the vaccine based on safety, efficacy and manufacturing standards. This process is set to take place in the coming weeks.  

While typical vaccines usually take around a decade to be developed, the University of Oxford vaccine was developed in about 10 months. Initial trials involved a sample size of 20,000 individuals: 10,000 participants in the UK and 10,000 participants in Brazil. From the study, there were 30 Coronavirus cases from those who received two doses of the vaccine and 101 cases in people receiving placebo treatment.

The researchers say it works out at 70 percent protection however, it increased to 90 percent when people were given a “low” dose followed by a high one. It remains unclear why there is a difference. 

Although nothing will happen until the University of Oxford vaccine receives full approval, the UK is preparing for an unprecedented immunization campaign. Care home residents and staff will be the first in line while healthcare workers and citizens 80 years and above, will be the next priority. The plan is to steadily work down the age groups. 

After Pfizer and Moderna introduced their vaccine candidates with a protection rate of 95 and 90 percent respectively, a figure of 70 percent might be perceived by some as disappointing. However, in reality, anything above 50 percent is considered promising. 

AstraZeneca, Oxford University’s manufacturing partner is prepping to make three billion doses of the vaccine to be made available worldwide.

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