May 17, 2020

The most expensive home gym equipment

2 min
Expresso Fitness S3U Novo
Written by Gabriella Blake Exercise regimes can easily become tedious, but these four pieces of luxury home gym equipment are anything but boring. Each...

Written by Gabriella Blake

Exercise regimes can easily become tedious, but these four pieces of luxury home gym equipment are anything but boring. Each has something that will raise an eyebrow or two, whether that is for the wild claims they make, the extortionate price tag or even a combination of the two.

QuickGym ROM Machine

While the QuickGym ROM (Range Of Motion) Machine may not transport you backwards in time, if it does what it says on the tin it surely must speed time up. According to QuickGym, you only need to perform a 4-minuite workout on this machine in order to complete full cardio, resistance and flexibility training. Apparently the 85 lb flywheel with a centrifugal brake matches the workout to the user’s ability and any regime carried out using this machine will use 12 times more muscle cells than walking or running does.

So much achieved so quickly sounds like an impossible feat and the machine has attracted skepticism. As a result, the manufacturer goes to great lengths to convince you otherwise. Testimonials and a Q&A are both on its website, which also invites interested visitors to invest in a 30-day trial of the product. A test-run will set you back $2,500, although this cost will go towards the full $15,000 price tag of a ROM if you decide to purchase one. If you need convincing further before you take this expensive plunge, QuickGym will send you a demo video for free.

The machine was designed by visionary artist John Pitre and it is allegedly favoured by Tom Cruise, John Travolta and Jimmy Kemmel.

VibroGym Diamond

The range of Vibrogym products is hugely popular with Hollywood superstars, utilising whole body and vertical vibration and as a fitness method. Almost 100 percent of the body’s muscles are stimulated and exercised during vibration training, as opposed to just 40-60 percent of muscles during a conventional exercise routine. The frequency of vibrations can be altered to achieve a range of workouts and users can benefit from effective full body training in just 10 minutes.

One of the most luxurious models is the VibroGym Diamond. The manufacturer proclaims this product is “for those who not only love luxury, but also live it.” With 65,000 genuine Crystallized™ Swarovski Elements adorning the 100% stainless steel vibration plate, this is indulgence to the extreme. Six hundred hyacinth-coloured stones are used for the VibroGym logo alone.

While aesthetically pleasing for some, the crystals don’t promise to add any extra sparkle to the effectiveness of this knee-trembling workout. They will cost you $69,190, though.

Hypoxi Trainers

The manufacturers of these innovative ‘wind tunnel’ exercise machines describe the four Hypoxi products as a “targeted method of body shaping”. Apparently a six week course of three sessions a week on one of the machines is equivalent to six months of strenuous gym workouts. The pressurized environment in the L520 and S120 models means users can experience a quicker reduction in weight and cellulite as it stimulates blood circulation, one of the key aspects of losing body fat.

Developed at the end of the 1990s by Dr Norbert Egger, the Hypoxi trainers are now available in 40 countries across the world. The gadgets are specifically targeted to problem areas seen in both men and women; fat on the stomach, hips, thighs, buttocks and cellulite. The price of Hypoxi treatments are recommended at $69 a session, or $690 for a course 12.

The Hypoxi products are popular with celebrities and the S120 model made the headlines following rumours singer Cheryl Cole had invested £32,000 in her own machine amid concerns that then fellow UK X Factor judge Dannii Minogue would upstage her in the slender stakes.

Expresso Fitness S3 Novo

The Expresso Fitness S3 Novo is supposedly one of the most expensive exercise bike ranges available and the upright S3U model will set fitness fanatics back $5,800. Other S3 Novo models include the S3R, a recumbent-style bike and the S3Y, an upright bike designed specifically for children aged nine to 14.

The 19-inch monitor on these machines come with Expresso Live!, an interactive fitness management system which aims to add fun to a workout. Users can ride in over 30 ‘virtual tours’, competing against simulated riders or even real-life opponents online, enjoying the experience of realistic shifting and steering along the way.

S3 Novo users can also save their data and compete against themselves in ‘ghost’ rides, offering the rewarding experience of seeing exactly how much they have surpassed themselves. They are also able to review their progress and performance results on their iPhone, constantly reinforcing their enthusiasm for exercise.

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Apr 30, 2021

The challenges to vaccine distribution affecting everyone

Jonathan Colehower
5 min
The challenges to vaccine distribution affecting everyone
Jonathan Colehower, CEO at CargoChain, describes the COVID-19 vaccine distribution challenges impacting every country, organisation and individual...

While it is comforting to know that vaccines against COVID-19 are showing remarkable efficacy, the world still faces intractable challenges with vaccine distribution. Specifically, the sheer number of vaccines required and the complexity of global supply chains are sure to present problems we have neither experienced nor even imagined. 

Current projections estimate that we could need 12-15 billion doses of vaccine, but the largest vaccine manufacturers produce less than half this volume in a year. To understand the scale of the problem, imagine stacking one billion pennies – you would have a stack that is 950 miles high. Now, think of that times ten. This is a massive problem that one nation can’t solve alone.  

Production capacity 

Even if we have a vaccine – can we make enough? Based on current projections, Pfizer expects to produce up to 1.3 billion doses this year. Moderna is working to expand its capacity to one billion units this year. Serum Institute of India, the world’s largest vaccine producer, is likely to produce 60% of the 3 billion doses committed by AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson and Sanofi. This leaves us about 7 billion doses short. 

Expanding vaccine production for most regions in the world is complicated and time-consuming. Unlike many traditional manufacturing operations that can expand relatively quickly and with limited regulation, pharmaceutical production must meet current good manufacturing practice (CGMP) guidelines. So, not only does it take time to transition from R&D to commercial manufacturing, but it could also take an additional six months to achieve CGMP certification. 

The problem becomes even more complex when considering the co-products required. Glass vials and syringes are just two of the most essential co-products needed to produce a vaccine. Last year, before COVID-19, global demand for glass vials was 12 billion. Even if it is safe to dispense ten doses per vial, there is certain to be significant pressure on world supply of the materials needed to package and distribute a vaccine.

It is imperative drug manufacturers and their raw material suppliers have clear visibility of production plans and raw material availability if there is any hope of optimizing scarce resources and maximising production yield.

Distribution requirements

It is widely known by now that temperature is a critical factor for the COVID-19 vaccine. Even the regions with the most developed logistics infrastructures and resources needed to support a cold-chain network are sure to struggle with distribution.

For the United States alone, State and local health agencies have determined distribution costs will exceed $8.4 billion, including $3 billion for workforce recruitment and training; $1.2 billion for cold-chain, $1 billion vaccination sites and $0.5 billion IT upgrades.  

The complexity of the problem increases further when considering countries such as India that do not have cold-chain logistics networks that meet vaccine requirements. Despite India’s network of 28,000 cold-chain units, none are capable of transporting vaccines below -25°Celsius. While India’s Serum Institute has licensed to manufacture AstraZeneca’s vaccine, which can reportedly be stored in standard refrigerated environments, even a regular vaccine cold chain poses major challenges.

Furthermore, security will undoubtedly become a significant concern that global authorities must address with a coordinated solution. According to the Pharmaceutical Security Institute, theft and counterfeiting of pharmaceutical products rose nearly 70% over the past five years. As with any valuable and scarce product, counterfeits will emerge. Suppliers and producers are actively working on innovative approaches to limit black-market interference. Corning, for example, is equipping vials with black-light verification to curb counterfeiting.

Clearly, this is a global problem that will require an unprecedented level of collaboration and coordination.

Disconnected information systems 

While it is unreasonable to expect every country around the world will suddenly adopt a standard technology that would provide immediate, accurate and available information for everyone, it is not unreasonable to think that we can align on a standard taxonomy that can serve as a Rosetta Stone for collaboration. 

A shared view of the situation (inventory, raw materials, delivery, defects) will provide every nation with the necessary information to make life-saving decisions, such as resource pooling, stock allocations and population coverage.

By allowing one central authority, such as the World Health Organization, to organize and align global leaders to a single collaboration standard, such as GS1, and a standard sharing protocol, such as DSCSA, then every supply chain participant will have the ability to predict, plan and execute in a way that maximises global health.

Political influence and social equality 

As if we don’t have enough stress and churn in today’s geopolitical environment, we must now include the challenge of “vaccine nationalism.” While this might not appear to be a supply chain problem, per se, it is a critical challenge that will hinge on supply chain capabilities.

In response to the critical supply issues the world experienced with SARS-CoV-2, the World Health Organization, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) formed Covax: a coalition dedicated to equitable distribution of 2 billion doses of approved vaccines to its 172 member countries. Covax is currently facilitating a purchasing pool and has made commitments to buy massive quantities of approved vaccines when they become available.  

However, several political powerhouse countries, such as the United States and Russia, are not participating. Instead, they are striking bilateral deals with drug manufacturers – essentially, competing with the rest of the world to secure a national supply. Allocating scarce resources is never easy, but when availability could mean the difference between life and death, it becomes almost impossible.

Global production, distribution and social equality present dependent yet conflicting realities that will demand global supply chains provide complete transparency and an immutable chain of custody imperative to vaccine distribution. 

The technology is available today – we just need to use it. We have the ability to track every batch, pallet, box, vile and dose along the supply chain. We have the ability to know with absolute certainty that the vaccine is approved, where and when it was manufactured, how it was handled and whether it was compromised at any point in the supply chain. Modern blockchain technologies should be applied so that every nation, institution, regulator, doctor and patient can have confidence in knowing that they are making an impact in eradicating COVID-19.

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