A conservation group is warning that the development of an effective coronavirus vaccine on a global scale could ravage shark populations worldwide, as researchers race to produce a vaccine using an oil derived from sharks.
Squalene, a compound that is harvested from the livers of sharks, is a common moisturizing ingredient in cosmetics. But it’s also used in malaria and flu vaccines as an agent that boosts the immune system’s response.
Shark Allies, a nonprofit that advocates for the protection of sharks, projects that some 500,000 sharks could be killed if a coronavirus vaccine with shark squalene proves to be effective. Already, an estimated 2.7 million sharks are killed annually for their squalene to make cosmetics, according to the group.
“The problem is that squalene, used as an ingredient in a COVID-19 vaccine, will be seen as something that’s unavoidable, and then as it becomes tested, it becomes the normal ingredient, and nothing else will be tested,” Shark Allies executive director Stefanie Brendl told NPR’s Weekend Edition Saturday.
As of Oct. 2, there were 193 coronavirus vaccines in clinical and pre-clinical evaluation, according to data released by the World Health Organization. At least five of those vaccines contain shark squalene, according to Shark Allies.
There are more sustainable squalene alternatives, said Brendl. Squalene’s non-animal sources include olive oil, sugarcane, wheat germ, bacteria and yeast.
Non-animal squalene’s identical chemical nature to shark squalene should mean an indistinguishable effectiveness in vaccines, according to Shark Allies. However, the extraction of shark squalene has been a more attractive option for producers as it can cost less and yield greater quantities than non-animal alternatives.
Brendl worries that a dependence on shark squalene in coronavirus vaccine trials is short-sighted and prevents the exploration of sustainable alternatives.
“Our ask is that we start testing the alternatives, because long-term, we cannot rely on a wild animal resource for a global need of anything,” she said.
When it comes to a potentially life-saving vaccine, Brendl isn’t saying that shark populations are worthier of protection than humans. But conserving the ocean’s top predators, she said, can in fact preserve the rest our ecosystem — humans included.
“They keep our fish stock healthy, they keep the food chain intact, they keep diseases out of other animal populations,” she said. “Good luck trying to replace that when we lose them.”
NPR’s Andrew Craig and Dorothy Parvaz produced and edited this interview for broadcast.
CYIOS CORP’S RECEIVES APPROVAL TO SELL ITS SANITIZER PRODUCTS ON AMAZON.COM
Deerfield Beach, Florida, November 23, 2020 – OTC PR WIRE — CYIOS Corp. (OTC US: CYIO), a publicly traded company focused on developing and marketing specialty branded products in the Health and Wellness markets, is pleased to announce it has received approval from Amazon to sell various My-shield sanitizing products in Amazon’s Personal Safety and Household category. Products to be sold on Amazon.com will include the My-shield triple play sanitizing products which have recently undergone clinical studies for effectiveness including My Shield Hand Sanitizer, My-shield Surface Cleaner and My-shield Laundry Complete. Clinical data from these studies conducted on this trio of My-shield sanitizing products have shown long lasting sanitizer protection and effectiveness against a surrogate virus for SARS-CoV-2 on skin, hard surfaces, fabrics and clothes.
John O’Shea CYIO’s Chairman stated, “We are pleased to have received this approval to sell various My-shield sanitizing products in Amazon’s Personal Safety and Household category. Our strategy continues to be on developing market and distribution opportunities around a Triple Play of sanitizing products which have recently undergone clinical studies for effectiveness including My Shield Hand Sanitizer, My-shield Surface Cleaner and My-shield Laundry Complete. During the six week period of time we had to undergo for the approval process within this product category, several of the My-shield Zetrisl® based sanitizer products had completed lengthy clinical testing in a laboratory setting and showed effectiveness against a CDC recognized surrogate virus for SARS-CoV-2 on skin, hard surfaces, fabrics and clothes. Results of which are posted here: Zetrisil-The-Total-Covid-19-Solution
Approval on Amazon gives the Company an additional platform for selling direct to consumers, which complements our recently announced launch with RangeMe giving us direct access to thousands of retail purchasing managers on their B2B platform. As we enter the holiday season, keep an eye out for valuable holiday specials, product marketing and advertising on the My-shield Triple Play and our “24” Brand Hand sanitizer which is also Zetrisl® powered. We believe giving the gift of safety and security with these long-lasting clinically proven sanitizers for effectiveness is a terrific and thoughtful holiday gift”.
About Zetrisil: Zetrisil®-based technologies are a family of proprietary silicon-based virus killing agents that reduce the presence of the virus from the hands, hard surfaces, fabric and most clothing environments. Zetrisil® effectively protects and/or “shields” the area that “24” Brand hand sanitizer and My-shield products are applied to from bacterial contamination for an extended period of time after application. Made with non-alcohol, Benzalkonium Chloride (BZK), My-shield® and 24 Brand sanitizers are a safer alternative to Alcohol-based hand sanitizers which can be absorbed into the bloodstream, are flammable, and are only proven effective for a few minutes after each application. These factors make traditional alcohol-based hand sanitizers a less than optimal choice particularly for families with children and/or for those out and about in public. Because Zetrisil® is safer than traditional agents and remains on the skin for several hours, people are protected longer without the need for frequent applications of sanitizer ― all without the toxicity and flammability concerns of alcohol-based sanitizers. The recent clinical testing data is powerful and proven evidence of the effectiveness of these products.
Investors are encouraged to follow CYIOS using:
About ChoiceWellness, Inc:
ChoiceWellness, Inc. is a health and wellness company that has brought to market the DR’s CHOICE line of products, as well as the “24” Brand Hand Sanitizer products. DR’s CHOICE was developed with a mission to offer Doctors and Medical Practitioners their own Professional Grade CBD BRAND with a suite of products they could stand behind and be confident to offer to their patients. Our customers can be assured that DR’s CHOICE CBD products have gone through the highest scrutiny of testing for purity, potency and quality. DR’s Choice products have been brought to market for Doctors and Medical Professionals seeking a better solution for patients suffering from pain, inflammation, anxiety or other persistent symptoms. For more information please visit www.choicewellnessbrands.com
About CYIOS Corporation
CYIOS Corporation is a publicly traded company focused on developing and marketing specialty branded products in the Health and Wellness markets, including the “DR’s CHOICE” and “24” brand of products. The team has in-depth knowledge of the health and wellness markets, financial services industry, medical and health services, and blockchain. The Company looks to develop, distribute, and license proprietary products as well as evaluate potential acquisition opportunities. Further, the Company continues to seek and evaluate attractive business opportunities and to leverage its resources and expertise to build a diversified, sustainable business model. For more information please visit www.cyioscorporation.com
FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS: This release contains “forward-looking statements.” Forward-looking statements also may be included in other publicly available documents issued by the Company and in oral statements made by our officers and representatives from time to time. These forward-looking statements are intended to provide management’s current expectations or plans for our future operating and financial performance, based on assumptions currently believed to be valid. They can be identified by the use of words such as “anticipate,” “intend,” “plan,” “goal,” “seek,” “believe,” “project,” “estimate,” “expect,” “strategy,” “future,” “likely,” “may,” “should,” “would,” “could,” “will” & other words of similar meaning in connection with a discussion of future operating or financial performance. Examples of forward-looking statements include, among others, statements relating to future sales, earnings, cash flows, results of operations, uses of cash and other measures of financial performance. Because forward-looking statements relate to the future, they are subject to inherent risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause the Company’s actual results and financial condition to differ materially from those expressed or implied in the forward-looking statements. Such risks, uncertainties and other factors include, among others such as, but not limited to economic conditions, changes in the laws or regulations, demand for products and services of the company, the effects of competition and other factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those projected or represented in the forward-looking statements. Any forward-looking information provided in this release should be considered w/ these factors in mind. We assume no obligation to update any forward-looking statements contained in this report.
Fintech Sees Strong Growth in South East Asia as COVID-19 Skyrockets Digital Adoption
Despite COVID-19 headwinds, Southeast Asia’s digital economy has remained strong and resilient, adding 40 million people into the online space this year.
Owing to the surge in digital adoption by customers and businesses, usage of digital financial services has jumped significantly this year, according to the e-Conomy SEA 2020 report by Google, Temasek and Bain & Company.
Usage of mobile banking apps rose across all Southeast Asian markets with Vietnam, the Philippines and Indonesia recording the strongest growth rates in monthly active users.
Digital payments grew 3% this year, rising from US$600 billion in 2019 to US$620 billion in 2020. This comes on the back of declining cash usage and rising adoption of e-wallets.
But COVID-19 has not just given mobile banking and digital payments a boost, the public health crisis has also pushed for greater adoption of digital remittances, online investment and online insurance purchases.
With physical movements restricted, online remittances jumped by nearly 2x, the study found, and app downloads of digital remittances players such as TransferWise, Remitly and World Remit, surged 1.3x.
Amid the pandemic, demand for life and health insurance coverage also rose. With traditional channels disrupted by social distancing measures, insurance purchases moved online. Online insurance purchase increased 30% to US$2 billion this year, and is expected to reach US$7.6 billion by 2025.
Online investment, a rather nascent industry in Southeast Asia, has also gained significant traction amid COVID-19. Query volume of robo-advisors and online wealth management grew across all Southeast Asian countries, with Thailand and Malaysia seeing the strongest growth, the report says.
In online lending, while volumes had remained unchanged between 2019 and 2020, the report projects a 32% increase to US$92 billion in 2025.
Investors remain confident
Fintech companies raised US$835 million in the first half of 2020, nearly double what was raised in H1 2019 at US$475 million. The report notes a 24% increase in the number of deals during this period.
Southeast Asia’s fintech companies continued to ride the H1 2020 momentum with a number of investments being made in H2 2020. Deals include Fvndit, the operator of Vietnamese peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform eLoan.vn, which raised US$30 million in September 2020; Silent Eight, a Singaporean regtech startup, which raised US$15 million in October 2020; and LinkAja, one of Indonesia’s largest e-wallets, which announced a US$100 million Series B just earlier this month.
Southeast Asia’s digital economy continued to see strong growth in 2020, hitting US$100 billion. E-commerce has emerged as the biggest vertical growing 63% to reach US$62 billion in 2020.
COVID-19 has been a catalyst for digital adoption in the region, with more than one in every three digital service consumers starting using the service due to the pandemic. The behavioral changes will be long-lasting as nine in ten new digital consumers intend to continue using digital services post-COVID-19.
Southeast Asia is now home to 400 million Internet users, representing 70% of the region’s population.
DBS Makes Radical Shifts To Adapt to The Future of Work
DBS announced that it will be rolling out a series of initiatives to adapt to the future of work by addressing the massive changes brought about by COVID-19.
These initiatives are a result of insights gathered from research, deep-dive experiments and employee surveys conducted by a cross-functional regional Future of Work (FOW) Taskforce which the bank convened six months ago.
With DBS‘ distributed workforce model, all employees will be given the flexibility to work remotely up to 40% of the time. The FOW Taskforce found that over four in five of the bank’s 29,000-strong workforce are able to work seamlessly remotely.
Close to 3,000 employees in Singapore indicated that while they are still productive while working remotely, staying engaged and connected with colleagues was challenging. As such, they prefer hybrid work arrangements over a pure ‘remote work’ or ‘work in office’ approach.
The bank will also be implementing a formal job-sharing scheme to better support employees who need more flexible work arrangements. The scheme will enable two employees to share the responsibilities of one full-time role.
Employees on this scheme will retain all existing medical benefits in full and continue to be covered under the bank’s insurance plans. At the same time, the bank will also introduce more part-time work arrangements.
In addition to that, DBS will accelerate its transition to operating models characterised not by conventional functional departments but by project-specific data-driven squads formed with members from different functions and relevant areas of expertise.
While agile squads are already commonplace in some parts of the bank, primarily in the technology space, this approach will now be extended at scale to other parts of the bank.
DBS will also be doubling down on its efforts to upskill and reskill employees. Employees will be trained in emerging areas such as design thinking, data and analytics, artificial intelligence, machine learning and agile practices. Over 7,200 employees across the bank will be upskilled or reskilled and of this group, about 4,300 are in Singapore.
Over 80% of employees across key markets indicated that they prefer to have more open collaboration spaces to facilitate informal discussions and cross-team ideation, which they found difficult to do remotely.
Building on its experience in developing ‘JoySpaces’, or activity-based workspaces since 2016, DBS will further reconfigure its workspaces to enable greater collaboration and ideation. The bank will also be launching a 5,000-square foot ‘Living Lab’ that aims to blend the best of physical and virtual work space configurations.
Piyush Gupta, DBS CEO, said,
“We are prepared to radically transform the way we work by introducing a comprehensive range of measures which include implementing a permanent hybrid work model, flexible work arrangements and deploying more agile squads while creating workspaces that will help to supercharge ideation and collaboration.
We will also accelerate our employee upskilling agenda at scale and ingrain the use of data-driven operating models across the bank. By implementing these measures, we believe that Team DBS will emerge as a confident future-ready workforce.”
Fintech News Singapore recently spoke with Jeremy Soo, Head of Consumer Banking at DBS Bank for our “Redefining Finance for Good” interview series where he outlined how the bank has responded to the pandemic.
COVID-19 Impact Accelerates IoT Projects in Singapore
Companies in Singapore have identified the Internet of Things (IoT) as a key priority to address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, a new study by Vodafone Business has revealed. According to Vodafone Business’ IoT Spotlight 2020 report, 86% of businesses that have already adopted IoT in Singapore are accelerating some IoT projects because of the pandemic; similarly, 86% highlighted that IoT has risen up the list of priorities during the pandemic.
The IoT Spotlight 2020 report is a piece of global research that explores the relationship between IoT, business strategy, resiliency and success. The survey was conducted with more than 1,600 respondents across 13 markets, including Singapore, China, South Korea, Japan and India.
IoT is providing much-needed respite during the pandemic
As COVID-19 continues to impact economies worldwide, business leaders must balance initiatives to rein in operating costs with the need to invest in new business models that can drive innovation and build competitive advantage in the new normal. The study shows that IoT could be one of the solutions businesses leaders need. Within Singapore, the top benefits experienced by companies that have already implemented IoT products / solutions are:
- Improved productivity (60%);
- Reduced operating costs (52%);
- Improvement of existing revenue streams (35%); and
- The creation of new revenue streams (25%)
Other key findings include:
- Among Asia-Pacific companies that have reduced costs thanks to IoT, almost three quarters (73%) reported savings of at least 30%
- Similarly, IoT has helped 74% of IoT adopters in Singapore decrease their operational cost by nearly a third.
Different approaches to IoT across Asia-Pacific
Operational factors, instead of tech issues, are top barriers IoT adoption
While IoT technology is quickly on its way to becoming mainstream, challenges to adoption and implementation remain. The key barriers to IoT adoption in Asia-Pacific were identified as operational factors such as budgets and financial constraints, as well as a lack of certainty as to how it can help the organisation. To overcome this, 63% of businesses in the region (as compared to 56% globally) consider working with communication service providers to create a stronger business case for IoT projects.
On the other hand, few were concerned about technical issues, such as complexity of solutions and lack of relevant ‘off the shelf’ products. Less than one in five (19%) of Asia-Pacific respondents noted cybersecurity among the potential barriers to adoption of IoT solutions, compared to just a year ago, when cybersecurity was one of the main barriers to business’ willingness to adopt IoT.
Justin Nelson, Head of IoT Consulting, Vodafone Asia-Pacific said,
“The promise of IoT hasn’t dimmed in Asia-Pacific amid the COVID-19 outbreak. In fact, it’s been accelerated. Thanks to 5G, IoT as a technology has evolved from simple monitoring and sensing, to being able to take active control in real-time. This opens up a new world of possibilities and benefits that businesses here are just as eager, if not more so than their global peers to realise. We are excited to see organizations in APAC kickstarting their IoT journey and gaining the means to create a future ready business.”
The article first appeared on IOTNewsAsia
Featured image credit: Pexels
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