With the growing anxiety around the Covid-19 crisis, these positive news stories should help make us all feel a little better, even though they have stemmed from unwanted events. Modern technology has played a part in all of them.
Airborne Nitrogen Dioxide Plummets over China
A positive side effect of the shutdown of travel and reduction in business operations in China has been the considerable improvement in China’s concentrations of nitrogen dioxide, a noxious gas emitted by motor vehicles, power plants, and industrial facilities. The remarkable reduction between January and February periods are indicated below.
One could conclude that worldwide levels of nitrogen dioxide are likely to decrease based on restrictions in the same types of activity elsewhere. At least this is a win for global warming.
To read more on this subject, visit here.
Researchers are making fast progress on a COVID-19 Vaccine
Researchers in China have begun human tests of a potential coronavirus vaccine. Likewise, Scientists in the United States have also begun clinical trials of a vaccine that has been developed by their National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the biotech firm Moderna. Another research team at the Kaiser Permanente Washington Research Institute in Seattle is being lead by Dr. Lisa Jackson. In her words “going from not even knowing that this virus was out there … to have any vaccine” in testing in about two months is unprecedented.
Another potential vaccine, made by Inovio Pharmaceuticals, should begin safety trials in the U.S., China and South Korea next month.
An immunologist from Johns Hopkins University is reviving a century-old blood-derived treatment for use in the United States in hopes of slowing the spread of the disease. The technique uses antibodies from the blood plasma or serum of people who have recovered from COVID-19 infection to boost the immunity of newly infected patients and those at risk of contracting the disease.
At Australia’s University of Queensland Centre for Clinical Research, scientists have found that two different medications, both of which are registered and available in Australia, have completely wiped out traces of the disease in test tubes. Not only that, the drugs were given to some of the nation’s first COVID-19 patients, which resulted in “disappearance of the virus and complete recovery from the infection,” according to researchers.
Scientists from Canada and the Netherlands have also made medical breakthroughs. In Toronto, a team of researchers has isolated the agent responsible for the ongoing outbreak of COVID-19, which will help researchers around the world develop better diagnostic testing, treatments, and vaccines. “Researchers from these world-class institutions came together in a grassroots way to successfully isolate the virus in just a few short weeks,” said Dr. Rob Kozak, clinical microbiologist at Sunnybrook University. “It demonstrates the amazing things that can happen when we collaborate.”
Meanwhile, Dutch researchers have submitted a scientific paper for publishing on how they have identified an anti-body for the virus—and it could be a world-first.
We can all take some comfort in the many research groups around the world who are urgently working to create a vaccine against COVID-19 with record speed.
China is showing signs of recovery
China has celebrated the closure of all 14 of their temporary hospitals in Wuhan which were opened to treat COVID-19. Chinese authorities are saying the virus has passed its peak with only 11 new cases on March 13th on the mainland. These were mostly from international travelers. Parks and tourist attractions are starting to reopen to the public.
Home food deliveries are projected to boom
As restaurants across Canada and the United States are forced to temporarily shut down amidst COVID-19 outbreaks, Uber Eats has announced that they will be waiving delivery fees for 100,000 independent restaurants. “We know the success of every restaurant depends on customer demand,” the company said in a statement. “That’s why we’re working urgently to drive orders towards independent restaurants on Eats, to help make up for the significant slowdown of in-restaurant dining.
This is just one example of companies that are stepping up to help. At BSC, we are offering our clients a free remote connection service for up to 90 days, that allows staff to connect to their office computer from home.