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US sends malaria drug to Brazil – still an unproven treatment for Covid-19

Adnan Kayyali

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hydroxychloroquine covid-19

Malaria drug, hydroxychloroquine, has been sent to Brazil at the behest of US President Donald Trump. The president is pitching the drug as a possible cure or treatment for Covid-19 and dispatching it to one of the hardest hit countries.

The problem is that the medication has yet not been backed up by enough clinical trials proving its safety or effectiveness for prevention or treatment, and a few smaller studies even result in worse effects of taking it. Never-the-less, 2 million doses of the malaria drug have been sent.

Brazil continues to see a rise in virus cases to the point where the US is restricting travel from the country to prevent potential spread. With just under 30,000 deceased and over 500,000 cases confirmed, the US has sent the malaria drug as a prophylactic, or preventive treatment, and a therapeutic for those afflicted, along with 1,000 ventilators to essential front-line workers.

The World Health Organization is currently still assessing the use of the possible Covid-19 treatment, but caution any further use outside of clinical trials under strict supervision. They then put their hydroxychloroquine arm on pause while the drug’s safety efficacy is being reviewed.

Trump said that he had taken a 2-week course of the drug himself to prevent the coronavirus In May. He was however warned that it should only be administered for Covid-19 in a properly secured setting such as a hospital or research center due to potential harmful, or fatal side effects.

His decision to take the drug was prompted when two White House staff reported positive for Covid-19. Despite FDA warning, the president continued taking hydroxychloroquine, with criticism by some medical experts following shortly after, stating that others in his rather large sphere of influence may be encouraged to take the malaria drug as well in an equally unsafe manner.

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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 future of virtual events post-pandemic

Adnan Kayyali

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future of virtual events

From virtual conferences hosting up to 10,000 people, to weekly meetups on a company or team level, the virtual communication space has seen a surge during the pandemic. What could the adoption and evolution of online communication tools mean for the future of virtual events?

The short answer? They will be there. Virtual events boast several advantages which companies and marketers will want to get hold of. In contrast, face-to-face events hold the same status. They are too different experiences, and as we will see, both have their place long after the virus subsides.

Let’s start with the advantages of hosting virtual events. Virtual events are incredibly versatile experiences, the kind of content you choose to show is limited only by the data transfer limit. Event planners can call speakers from halfway across the world to give a talk or attend a discussion.

Virtual events are also cheaper to organize, as no physical avenues are needed. Viewers can essentially browse the event content while listening to a discussion in another tab.

Companies with enough funds can supply their speakers with the equipment needed to hold a much higher production session or talk, including a microphone, face camera, and even a new modem. If not, most basic equipment will generally be good, and planners can test communications with the speakers beforehand.

The educational potential for such technology is pivotal in the 21st century and has so far contributed immensely to knowledge transfer during the pandemic and will likely continue to define the future of virtual events.

Medical professionals from all over the globe attended conferences and discussions to better understand COVID-19, and its lifesaving treatments. Virtual conferences and meetups were perhaps a key to maintaining communications and research initiatives across all industries in the past year.

In doing so, they have revealed their tools of greater influence.

One important aspect to consider in all fields is the data being acquired; with proper data gathering and customer journey tracking tools, companies can gain a substantial amount of quality insight into consumer behavior in any given industry; where the mouse curser goes, where the viewer’s attention is, and how much time they spend on a specific landing page.

Nevertheless, the human element of events will never be forgotten, and most business leaders predict that while virtual events take a new-found importance, physical gatherings have the ultimate advantage of human connection and relationship building.

Thus, the future of virtual events is certainly bright when employed properly.

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MedTech

The pandemic’s hidden digital divide

Mounir Jamil

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Digital Divide

The current pandemic has really opened our eyes to the importance of interconnectivity. Lockdowns, curfews, and quarantines helped us realize how our progress and prosperity is a function dependent upon one other, and we can clearly see this on an individual-micro level and on a group-macro level (companies, groups, governments).

The larger the company, the more complex the ecosystem of partners and their interdependence. Studies show that this is particularly true in developing countries where brewing beer sustains millions of livelihoods dependent on a fragmented and traditional trade such as corner shops, grocery stores and small retail.

Naturally, as a company grows larger, a more complex ecosystem of partners is required, but what about smaller micro retailers? The current pandemic has shed light on a critical weakness for small retailers. In most developed countries, the general consensus is that citizens enjoy high speed internet access therefore transitioning a business from brick-and-mortar to online seems relatively straightforward (with some training and practice). However, when we look at other countries where Wi-Fi is not as readily available, or when citizens have to walk lengthy distances to access Wi-Fi, that’s when you understand the daily impact of the digital divide.

As the pandemic continues, access to technology becomes another source of vulnerability and inequality as smaller retailers struggle to make the shift to digital, which only makes it harder for them to deliver across their value chain. Businesses that played vital roles in their communities are now unable to meet the growing demands online.

The pandemic has forced us to face the issue of the digital divide; while some might think we are all moving toward a digitally enabled future, the reality is that there are many communities across the world still falling behind. The issue of what needs to be done rests in the hands of governments and leaders worldwide to ensure that digital inclusion is extended to all citizens and disadvantaged groups.

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MedTech

UK to rollout first-round of Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine

Mounir Jamil

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Pfizer BioNtech

The British Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) recently gave the green light to rollout the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for commercial use in the UK.

The first batch of vaccines are already making their way to the UK, with 800,000 units expected in the coming days. Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care said that the NHS will do its part in contacting people for the vaccine shot.

Based on vaccine storage requirements (-70°C), hospitals will be the first to receive supplies since they already have the correct storage facilities; the first round will likely take place in hospitals for care home staff, NHS staff and patients.

While the typical vaccine usually takes 10 years to be fully accepted, the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine was developed and introduced in just 10 months.

The UK has ordered enough units to vaccinate 20 million people – around 40 million doses in total. These doses will be given out as soon as they are made available by Pfizer in Belgium. The first round is expected next week, and “several millions” will be made available throughout December said Hancock. He also added that the majority of the rollout will take place next year.

The vaccine will be free, and it will not be mandatory. In addition, there are 3 ways of vaccinating citizens in the UK

  • Vaccination Centers
  • Hospitals
  • In the community, with general practitioners and pharmacists

As we speak, 50 hospitals are on stand-by and vaccination centers in venues like conference centers or sport stadiums are now being set up. The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine will hopefully mark the beginning of the end of the pandemic.

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