The Daily Dose: Russia’s COVID-19 vaccine effective and safe so far; Meet the electric car so powerful it can do a wheelie.

Sputnik V, Russia’s slightly controversial COVID-19 vaccine, has proven safe and effective in limited clinical trials. According to Al-Jazeera, “Russia’s coronavirus vaccine produced an antibody response in all participants in two early-stage trials, according to results published by The Lancet. The medical journal said on Friday the results of the trials – conducted in June-July and involving 76 people – showed 100 percent of participants developing antibodies to the new coronavirus and no serious side-effects.” It is welcome news since the world needs progress on COVID-19 vaccines and nobody wants any lives to be lost during the process.

There’s been a trend in different countries of healthcare workers protesting and having walkouts amidst a deadly global pandemic. At the heart of the discontent lies poor working conditions and a dangerous lack in personal protective equipment. According to reports, South African doctors and nurses have spoken out against shortcomings in hospitals and clinics. “South African healthcare workers have protested against poor working conditions and urged the government to end corruption in the procurement of coronavirus personal protective equipment. The protesters gathered in Pretoria and Cape Town on Thursday, charging that the lives of healthcare workers are endangered as some health facilities have inadequate supplies of protective equipment like surgical masks.” Something needs to be done to address healthcare workers’ concerns. Too many frontline workers have died already.

COVID-19 has altered daily habits around the world, some for the worse and some for the better. In an example of the more positive effects, The Lancet Global Health reports that handwashing is becoming more prevalent in some parts of Africa. According to the Commentary, “Since the outbreak of COVID-19, the handwashing practices of the African population have improved tremendously, with access to handwashing stations noticeably increasing in community centres, schools, markets, bus terminals, lorry stations, and other public spaces in rural and urban areas of African countries. After the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important that these gains are sustained to help reduce sanitation-related diseases, which contribute substantially to disease morbidity and mortality in African countries.” Hand-washing is a seemingly trivial thing but vast public health benefits have long been established.

Brown university academic cryptographer Seny Kamara addressed the audience at the International Association for Cryptologic Research’s Crypto conference. She addressed the way encryption has failed underserved communities around the world. According to Wired, “The talk, dubbed Crypto for the People and given on August 19, examined the question of who really benefits from encryption technologies and advances in cryptographic research. It sounded a call to reexamine research priorities that today largely serve the interests of governments and corporations instead of marginalized people, be they racial minorities, immigrants, women, the LGBTQ community, or others.” Technology, no matter how wonderful, seems to carry the imperfections of their creators on a consistent basis. It’s important that it be addressed by respected voices like Kamara.

And now for some eye candy. It’s getting harder and harder to support the notion that electric cars lack the power to be sexy. Ford has been working hard to put that misguided take to bed. Per Elektrek, “Last year, Ford unveiled the “Mustang Lithium” with 900hp at SEMA in Las Vegas, but I guess we can’t be too mad at them now that they are actually bringing the Mustang Mach-E to production. They followed it up this year with the Mustang Cobra Jet 1400 prototype, another one-off electric prototype to test their latest racing electric powertrain technology.” A car popping a wheelie really is worth a peek.

IMAGE SOURCE: Creative Commons

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