Seoul, March 11 (IANS) Jae-yong, the imprisoned de facto leader of Samsung Group, is under investigation over an allegation that he took anesthesia drug propofol shots illegally, police said on Thursday.Propofol is a highly regulated drug in South Korea that the country's Ministry of Food and Drug Safety issued standards to prevent its misuse and abuse.The ministry issued a notice last September to set standards for the use of narcotic drugs propofol and zolpidem, saying propofol is a "psychotropic drug used to induce and maintain the general anesthetic state."The Gyeonggi Nambu Police Agency said they were looking into the accusation made against Lee, vice chairman of Samsung Electronics, that he illegally used the anesthesia drug at a plastic surgery clinic in Seoul last year, but refused to provide further details on the ongoing case, reports Yonhap news agency.The police are said to have visited Lee, who is imprisoned in the Seoul Detention Center in Uiwang, south of the capital, last month to take a hair sample from him for drug testing.Lee is currently serving a two-and-a-half-year prison term for bribing impeached former President Park Geun-hye and her longtime friend Choi Soon-sil to win government support for a smooth father-to-son transfer of managerial power at Samsung.Samsung said that Lee only took propofol shots for medical purposes and that the police have not corroborated the allegation against him, reports Yonhap news agency.Early last year, a similar accusation was filed against Lee with the Anti-Corruption and Civil Rights Commission that he regularly used propofol at another plastic surgery clinic in Seoul.The case has been referred to the Supreme Prosecutors Office.Lee also denied the allegation at that time and requested the case to be reviewed by an independent committee consisting of outside experts to see whether the prosecution's investigation is legitimate.--IANSwh/na
London, Jan 6 (IANS) Millions of Britons woke up Tuesday to face new strict lockdown measures requiring them to stay indoors as Covid-19 infections continue to spiral upwards.Announcing the lockdown, the third of its kind since the pandemic began in the country, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson told the nation on Monday in a televised address that new tough measures were needed to control the coronavirus, protect the National Health Service (NHS) and save lives, the Xinhua news agency reported.He said a drastic jump in cases has been attributed to a new variant of coronavirus, which is said to be about 70 per cent more transmissible.With no specific end-date for tougher restrictions set by Johnson, controls across England might last up to several months.The coming weeks will be the hardest yet since the virus struck, Johnson warned.The gloomy start to the new year also saw restriction rules imposed across Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.Meanwhile, British ministers are considering introducing a requirement for international arrivals to have a negative Covid test before travelling to Britain in a bid to tackle the rising tide of infections, the Evening Standard newspaper reported Tuesday.Chief medical officers across all regions of Britain advised politicians that the Covid-19 threat level should move from Tier Four to Tier Five, indicating that if action is not taken, the NHS may be soon overwhelmed.Johnson confirmed that hospitals are now under more pressure than at any other point throughout the pandemic.Lawmakers are being recalled to the House of Commons, the lower house of the British Parliament, for a special sitting Wednesday to give retrospective approval to the new controls in England.Earlier on Tuesday, British Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove indicated that the new lockdown in England is likely to remain in place into March at least."I think it is right to say that as we enter March we should be able to lift some of these restrictions but not necessarily all," Gove said.Also on Tuesday, Professor Andrew Hayward from the University College London (UCL) told the BBC that while the new lockdown would clearly save tens of thousands of lives, it was not clear the restrictions would be sufficient to stop its spread."We need to learn from the last lockdown and particularly some of the things we saw," he said.In England, people are only allowed to go to work if it's impossible to work from home, such as construction workers. They are allowed to go out to shop for necessities including food and medicines, and to exercise, ideally once a day and locally.Meanwhile, all schools and colleges will close from Tuesday (except for vulnerable children and those of key workers), and switch to remote learning until the middle of February.On Monday, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced that Scotland would enter a new lockdown from midnight on Monday, as well as a shutdown of schools until February 1.Alongside the gloomy message, Johnson offered a message of hope that the virus will be defeated as the country continues to roll out the vaccines.Urging people to pull together, Johnson said: "With every jab that goes into our arms, we are tilting the odds against Covid and in favour of the British people."On Tuesday, British Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak announced a support package worth 4.6 billion pounds (about $6.25 billion) to help support businesses impacted by the new lockdown.Meanwhile, Keir Starmer, leader of the main opposition Labour Party, criticised Johnson's handling of the pandemic, but said his party would on Wednesday back the new measures in the House of Commons."It's going to be a struggle and we need to make this work," said Starmer in a television interview on Tuesday.Tony Danker, director-general of the Confederation of British Industry, said: "It is absolutely essential that we all put the health of our citizens first, and businesses will continue to step up in the national interest to support the NHS, employees and customers in the weeks ahead.""In tandem we need to acknowledge that the economic impact of these new restrictions is significant," Danker added.The lockdown came as another 58,784 people in Britain have tested positive for Covid-19, marking the highest daily increase in coronavirus cases since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic in the country, according to official figures released Monday.It was the seventh day in a row that new cases have topped 50,000 in Britain. The total number of coronavirus cases in the country now stands at 27,13,563, the data showed.Another 407 have died within 28 days of a positive test, bringing the total number of coronavirus-related deaths in Britain to 75,431, the data showed.To bring life back to normal, countries such as Britain, China, Germany, Russia and the United States have been racing against time to develop coronavirus vaccines. --IANSint/rs/
New York - Facial recognition technology created after the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic shows that some software developers have made demonstrable progress at recognizing masked faces, says a study.
The findings by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), measures the performance of face recognition algorithms developed following the arrival of the pandemic.
A previous report from July explored the effect of masked faces on algorithms submitted before March 2020, indicating that software available before the pandemic often had more trouble with masked faces.
"Some newer algorithms from developers performed significantly better than their predecessors. In some cases, error rates decreased by as much as a factor of 10 between their pre and post-Covid algorithms," said study author Mei Ngan from NIST.
"In the best cases, software algorithms are making errors between 2.4 and five per cent of the time on masked faces, comparable to where the technology was in 2017 on non-masked photos," Ngan added.
The new study adds the performance of 65 newly submitted algorithms to those that were tested on masked faces in the previous round, offering cumulative results for 152 total algorithms.
Using the same set of 6.2 million images as it had previously, the team tested the algorithms' ability to perform "one-to-one" matching, in which a photo is compared with a different photo of the same person - a function commonly used to unlock a smartphone.
The researchers revealed that software can handle images regardless of whether or not the faces are masked. The algorithms detect the difference automatically, without being told. (IANS)
New York - After disclosing promising results from its Covid-19 vaccine trial earlier this week, drugmaker AstraZeneca is now facing tough questions from experts, especially after the company admitted a manufacturing error by a contractor.
The error came to light after AstraZeneca, which is developing the potential Covid-19 vaccine in partnership with Oxford University, revealed different efficacy results from two different dose regimes.
In the two different dose regimens vaccine efficacy was 90 per cent in one and 62 per cent in the other.
The higher efficacy regime used a halved first dose and standard second dose. Two full doses showed lower efficacy.
AstraZeneca made a key "mistake" in the vaccine dosage received by some volunteers only after disclosing the preliminary results, according to a report in the New York Times on Wednesday.
This raised questions about whether the vaccine's efficacy rate derived from the interim analysis of the Phase 3 trial will hold up under additional testing, said the report.
Officials in the US have already pointed out that the results were not clear, said the NYT report.
In a series of tweets on Wednesday, Natalie Dean, Assistant Professor of Biostatistics at the University of Florida who also specialises in vaccine trial design, said that "Astrazeneca/Oxford get a poor grade for transparency and rigor when it comes to the vaccine trial results they have reported."
"This is not like Pfizer or Moderna where we had the protocols in advance and a pre-specified primary analysis was reported," she said.
AstraZeneca revealed the interim results after Pfizer and Moderna had earlier reported late-stage data for their Covid-19 vaccine candidates.
"And reporting out a secondary analysis that was not pre-specified (since it seems to be based on a dosing error) is not desirable. If they seek to get the half-dose approved, they should wait until they have a compelling result. Otherwise, we can land in "evidence limbo," Dean said in another tweet.
AstraZeneca said that it reported the positive results from an interim analysis of clinical trials of the "AZD1222" vaccine in the UK and Brazil.
The company said that it continues to engage with governments, multilateral organisations and collaborators around the world to ensure broad and equitable access to the vaccine at no profit for the duration of the pandemic.(IANS)
Thiruvananthapuram, Oct 24 (IANS) In a relaxation of sorts in health safety protocols, the Kerala government on Saturday announced new guidelines to allow the near and dear ones of COVID-19 victims to have one last look at their faces before the cremations or burials.Health Minister KK Shailaja said only very close relatives of the dead will be allowed to see their deceased kin's faces."Under no circumstances should there be crowding at the funeral. The last religious rituals should be done without touching the body. Those allowed to see the faces of the dead should not touch them. None above the age of 60 or below 10 and those with ailments should come in contact with the body. The health authorities' instructions should be duly followed at the time of the funeral," said Shailaja.All those who attend the funeral of a COVID-19 victim should strictly follow the health guidelines and go into isolation.The new guidelines were issued after requests came from various organisations.Till Friday, Kerala had recorded 1,261 COVID-19 deaths.--IANSsg/tsb
Stockholm, Aug 16 (IANS) A group of 26 Swedish researchers suggested that children should wear face masks in schools to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, it was reported."The Swedish Public Health Agency makes the wrong assessment of children's infectivity," Xinhua news agency quoted the researchers, who are members of the Swedish Science Forum COVID-19, as saying in an article on Saturda.According to the researchers, there is now data from South Korea, the US and Israel that proves that the children are contagious -- and data from Sweden that proves that the children can become seriously ill.They also reasoned about the fact that the Swedish cases of infection have decreased since the schools closed, and believed that the concern about an increased spread of infection before the start of school, which happens next week, is justified."Because children are contagious, can become seriously ill, and it is unclear today how a mild infection also affects their future health, we should already at the start of school take measures to keep the infection down," they wrote.The researchers suggested, among other things, that face masks should be worn in schools, that sports should be held outdoors, that meals should be eaten class by class and that group teaching avoided. They also suggested that children in families where someone belongs to a risk group should be allowed to receive home schooling -- and urge parents to provide their children with face masks regardless of (authority's) recommendations."It is now, when infection rates are relatively low, that we have a second chance to take control of the epidemic," they wrote.Last week, Ole Petter Ottersen, president of the Swedish medical university Karolinska Institutet, advocated the use of face masks on the university campus if it's difficult to maintain physical distance before the term start."We also recommend the use of face masks in situations where physical distancing may be difficult or impossible to observe. In doing so, we take the stand that the effectiveness of face masks can no longer be disputed."Sweden has so far reported 5,783 deaths and 84,294 cases. It has neither imposed a lockdown -- even during the peak of the pandemic -- nor asked people to wear face masks in public, quoting a lack of support in research. On its website, the Swedish Public Health Agency, which offers national guidance for the pandemic, writes that the current state of knowledge shows that few children and young people are infected with Covid-19 -- and that school activities have not been shown to be a driving force in the spread of infection. --IANSksk/
Dear Patron, Please provide additional information to validate your profile and continue to participate in engagement activities and purchase medicine.