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Pfizer, BioNTech dose U.S first participants of trial coronavirus vaccine

Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE announced on Wednesday, May 6, 2020, that the first participants have been dosed in the U.S in the Phase 1/2 clinical trial for the BNT162 vaccine program to prevent COVID-19. The trial is part of a global development program, and the dosing of the first cohort in Germany was completed last week. The Phase 1/2 study is designed to determine the safety, immunogenicity and optimal dose level of four mRNA vaccine candidates evaluated in a single, continuous study. The dose level escalation portion (Stage 1) of the Phase 1/2 trial in the U.S will enrol up to 360 healthy subjects into two age cohorts (18-55 and 65-85 years of age). The first subjects immunized in Stage 1 of the study will be healthy adults 18-55 years of age. Older adults will only be immunized with ...

EU, Britain to start third push on post-Brexit ties

Britain and Brussels embark on a fresh round of trade talks Monday that downbeat EU officials say show little promise of advancing amid the added turmoil of the coronavirus outbreak. The UK left the European Union on January 31 and both sides have until the end of the year to forge a new basis for relations, barring an optional extension that London refuses to contemplate. The new talks round will begin with a virtual head-to-head between Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator, and his UK counterpart, David Frost — both of whom have recovered from a bout with the virus. That will be followed by videoconferences involving hundreds of officials throughout the week. The previous round of UK-EU talks broke up on April 24 with little or no progress. European officials accuse Britain of focus...

France using artificial intelligence to check whether people are wearing masks on public transport

France is integrating new AI tools into security cameras in the Paris metro system to check whether passengers are wearing face masks. The software, which has already been deployed elsewhere in the country, began a three-month trial in the central Chatelet-Les Halles station of Paris this week, reports Bloomberg. French startup DatakaLab, which created the program, says the goal is not to identify or punish individuals who don’t wear masks, but to generate anonymous statistical data that will help authorities anticipate future outbreaks of COVID-19. “We are just measuring this one objective,” DatakaLab CEO Xavier Fischer told The Verge. “The goal is just to publish statistics of how many people are wearing masks every day.” The pilot is one of a number of measures cities around the world a...

La Liga congratulates Bundesliga ahead football league return

The Spanish La Liga has congratulated Germany’s Bundesliga for announcing its imminent return as Spain’s top-flight stepped up its own comeback preparations. The Bundesliga was given the green light to resume later this month when chancellor Angela Merkel made the announcement during a news conference on Wednesday. Strict testing and matchday procedures will be put in place by the German government, with football seemingly set to resume on May 15 having been paused in mid-March. LaLiga outlined its own plan for a staggered return to training on Monday, with teams set to begin individual work this week before gradually moving to group sessions, the ultimate aim being to re-commence the 2019-20 season in June. Spanish clubs began testing players for COVID-19 on Tuesday and LaLiga sees the Bu...

Climbing the seven summits: a route to the top

Climbing the seven summits – the highest mountain on every continent – is an improbable dream of mine… but that’s the beauty of dreams I have always loved trekking and climbing. I usually spend several weeks of any given year on the grades of the Scottish Highlands or Welsh Snowdonia or ideally further afield such as the Arctic Circle Trail in Greenland or the K2 base camp trek in Pakistan. It was one of these trekking trips – to Tanzania in 2010 – that ignited something new inside me. It was while climbing Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa, that an idea, an ambition, began to formulate. My hobby deepened into passion and I realised that I wanted to achieve something great: to climb the seven summits, the highest mountain on every continent. Mountain Continent Altitude Tech....

Happiest countries in the world 2020

The happiest countries in the world 2020 have been ranked in the latest World Happiness Report. For the third year running, Finland holds on to top spot Happiness is a nebulous thing; hard to grasp and harder to hold onto. Scientists, economists and philosophers have defined it through the ages as a combination of different things, among them health, wealth, companionship and security. Various indices attempt to rank the happiest countries in the world on an annual basis. The World Happiness Report from the UN’s Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) is particularly interesting as it ranks 153 countries by how happy their citizens perceive themselves to be. The SDSN employs an international group of economists, neuroscientists and statisticians to survey citizens on their subject...