May 17, 2020

Facebook grants the University of California San Francisco $10million

Medicine
Technology
Catherine Sturman
2 min
Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan have long championed the research and development of eradicating long term diseases. The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative w...

Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan have long championed the research and development of eradicating long term diseases. The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative was even a development from such goals, alongside the belief that every person should have the ability to advance their human potential, with the promotion of equal opportunity across the board.

Zuckerberg and Chan have consequently pledged a $10 million grant to the University of California San Francisco (UCSF), which will allow the university to build a new research and development facility, which will focus primarily on prevision medicine and the advancement of Big Data, in order to support the healthcare industry as a result of this increased digital focus.

The grant emphasizes the duo’s aim to advance digital tools to help support a growing health industry, which is now being viewed as a lucrative business for tech giants to move into. Apple, Facebook and Amazon are all reportedly working on developing health technologies at present.

Dr Atul Butte has also been named the the Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg Distinguished Professor at UC San Francisco, and will be responsible for Computational Health Sciences and developing Electronic Health Records, in order to provide exceptional, personalised care.

Dr Butte is also looking into a research approach he has named “data recycling”, going against traditional clinic research methods by utilising existing data, which can support the development of future medicines and drive down costs. “This is among the richest and most diverse medical datasets in the world – much more than just a set of billing codes. Because the data come from our patients, the data are an incredible resource for UC hospitals to improve the quality of care we deliver throughout California”, he explained.

 “We are enormously grateful to Priscilla and Mark for their visionary gift supporting the work of Atul Butte, one of the world’s leading physician-scientists working at the frontier of big data,” commented UCSF Chancellor Sam Hawgood. “His leadership of the Institute for Computational Health Sciences is helping UCSF researchers, health care providers and the UC Health system as a whole to drive progress in the new world of data-driven medicine and science. We expect this to transform health, at the level of individuals and communities.”

Flickr/Image credits

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May 19, 2021

Vaccine rollout spurring dark net activity, McAfee finds

covid-19vaccine
darknet
covid-19
Fraud
2 min
Research by McAfee has found illegal sales of fake COVID-19 vaccines and tests on the dark net

A report by security software company McAfee has found a huge rise in the availability and demand for illegal COVID-19 vaccines. 

The research by McAfee Advanced Threat Research found evidence that COVID-19 vaccines are currently available on at least a dozen dark net marketplaces. Vaccines allegedly made by Pfizer-BioNTech are being sold for $600 to $2,500 per dose, with vendors using channels such as Wickr, Telegram, WhatsApp and Gmail to advertise and communicate. 

Some of the supposed vaccines are imported from the US, while others are packed in the UK and shipped all over the world, according to the listings.

Moderna vaccines, potentially fraudulent antibody tests and fake vaccine cards are also being increasingly sold on the dark web, on at least 10 different underground markets. 

Anne An, senior security researcher at McAfee’s Advanced Programs Group, told us that with the increased global demand for COVID-19 vaccinations, the demand for illegal vaccines, fake test results and vaccination record cards has also grown. "Consumers who are buying these items pose a serious threat to public health and spur the underground economy" she said. 

"Opportunistic cybercriminals capitalise on public interest in obtaining a COVID-19 immunity passport. These bad actors can also benefit by reselling the names, dates of birth, home addresses, contact details and other personally indefinable information of their customers." 

As well as cyber security measures, An says education is necessary to stem the rise in these illegal sales. "Dark net selling of illegal COVID-19 vaccinations, fake test results and vaccination record cards is both a cybersecurity issue and an educational issue.

"On the one hand, channels being used as a means of business have the responsibility to monitor and mitigate cybercriminal activity on their platforms. On the other, the ongoing efforts of government and medical officials to provide factual information on COVID-19 and vaccinations is critical to discouraging the demand for fraudulent alternatives."  

Read McAfee's report Fool’s Gold”: Questionable Vaccines, Bogus Results, and Forged Cards

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