Weekly News Round-Up (31st October – 5th November)
This week in the news, learn about updates related to Covid, the gene that might threaten your life, Facebook’s dodgy antics, the Squid Game inspired cryptocurrency that ruined hundreds of peoples’ lives and how Riz Ahmed invoked desi nostalgia! Read more to find out all the news you’ve missed this week.
What’s Molnupiravir & How Will It Prevent COVID-19
Molnupiravir is the first oral antiviral treatment for Covid. Developed by the US drug companies Merck, Sharp and Dohme (MSD) and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics, it is the first antiviral medication for Covid which can be taken as a pill rather than injected or given intravenously. The drug needs to be given within five days of symptoms developing to be most effective. The tablet – molnupiravir – will be given twice a day to vulnerable patients recently diagnosed with the disease.
In clinical trials, the pill originally developed to treat flu, cut the risk of hospitalisation or death by about half. The new treatment targets an enzyme that the virus uses to make copies of itself, introducing errors into its genetic code. That should prevent it from multiplying, so keeping virus levels low in the body and reduce the severity of the disease. Merck said that approach should make the treatment equally effective against new variants of the virus as it evolves in the future. But experts have warned that the treatment is not a miracle cure and it is not intended to be used as a substitute for vaccination against the virus.
The UK has agreed to purchase 480,000 courses with the first deliveries expected in November. Initially, it will be given to both vaccinated and unvaccinated patients through a national study, with extra data on its effectiveness collected before any decision to order more. (Source: BBC)
What Is LZTFL1 & Why It’s Deadly For South Asians
Researchers from the University of Oxford have identified a specific gene called ‘LZTFL1’ that doubles the risk of respiratory failure from Covid-19. A higher-risk version of the gene most likely prevents the cells lining the airways and the lungs from responding to the virus properly. About 60% of people with South Asian ancestry carry this version of the gene, compared with 15% of people with European heritage, according to the study published Thursday. However, the authors cautioned that the gene cannot be used as a sole explanation as many other factors, such as socioeconomic conditions, play a role. People with the higher-risk genotype would particularly benefit from vaccination, which remains the best method of protection, the authors said. The findings raise the possibility of research into treatments specific to patients with this gene, though no tailored drugs are currently available. (Source: Bloomberg)
All You Need To Know About The Squid Game Cryptocurrency Scam
After the popularity of the Netflix series ‘Squid Game’ a digital currency, called Squid, was launched in late October and quickly skyrocketed in price. It reached more than $2,860 per token Monday morning before losing all its value after the project’s unknown creators appeared to cash out Squid tokens worth more than $3 million. Since then, the project’s website, SquidGame.cash has vanished and its social media profiles have gone dark
Archived versions of the cryptocurrency’s website show that it had promised investors that they would be invited to join a virtual game that was inspired by the popular Netflix series, in which people could win rewards. On Friday, the technology website Gizmodo warned that the tokens were a likely scam. That same day, the crypto price-tracking website CoinMarketCap warned potential investors to “exercise caution” after it had received reports that users were not able to sell their tokens.
CoinMarketCap then went on to warn that while the project was inspired by the Netflix series, it “is unlikely to be affiliated with the official IP,” in a reference to intellectual property. After the crash, more than 40,000 people still held Squid tokens, according to data from BscScan, a blockchain search engine. (Source: NBCnews)
Facebook’s Plan To “Lure” Young Children To Become A Part Of Its Consumer Base Makes Global News Headlines
According to the latest news, Facebook made an internal post in April for multiple jobs tasked with making new products for children as young as six years old with an aim to attract more users to its platforms. Bold letters at the top of the post read, “The internet wasn’t built with young people in mind, but we’re about to change that.” The post describes openings for three roles, including “strategists on the experiences” of “Kids (6-9), Tweens (10-12), Early Teens (13-15), Late Teens (16+) that includes net new products” and reshape existing ones. (Source: Forbes)
Naturally, this news has caused quite the uproar and has resulted in negative publicity for the social media platform – which in an effort to shed its old image recently rebranded as “Meta“. However, by the looks of things, it’s unlikely the rebranding efforts will help distract the masses from the numerous things wrong with the platform as it continues to get heat from both policymakers and the public alike.
A Star-studded Diwali!
Two of our favourite singers were spotted together at a Diwali celebration in Dubai! It was none other than Sonu Nigam and Faisal Kapadia (from Strings)! The celebration was held at Nigam’s residence in Dubai and hosted numerous Bollywood celebrities and artists – Salim Merchant, Rohit Roy and Talat Aziz to name a few. Faisal Kapadia is no stranger to the Bollywood music scene having collaborated with various Indian composers and artists on numerous songs for Indian movies. A few of them include hits such as, ‘Yeh Hai Meri Kahani‘ from the movie Zinda, ‘Aakhri Alvida’ which was featured in the blockbuster hit movie ‘Shootout at Lokhandwala’ and the latest hit – ‘Chaaron Taraf’ in John Day. We can only hope this meeting results in a dream collaboration in the future! Until then, we’ll have our fingers crossed!
Riz Ahmed On The Cover Of British GQ Invokes Desi Nostalgia
British-Pakistani actor, Riz Ahmed will be gracing the cover of British GQ for their Dec 2021/Jan 2022 issue wearing the ‘Rahat trousers’ by the label ZN Ali which retail for 120 GBP on their website. The trousers are described as being ‘wide-cut, made of handwoven and handspun cotton’ and remind us of Pakistan in the 50s.
The trousers are a creation of designer Zain Ali, who after emigrating from Pakistan at the age of five was intrigued by the evolution of clothing in his own family (witnessed through family photos), which led him to archive his history. What exists today is a label that is porous and being moulded by the community that is involved with it. A means of building narratives, Zain wishes for it to grow in tandem with his vision. (Source: Platform Magazine)
IPPA Awards 2021 – Pakistani Stars Take Istanbul By Storm!
IPPA 2021 was held last weekend (read about the winners here) and Pakistani celebs stepped onto foreign soil to celebrate the industry that has been an ambassador of our culture, arts, talent and so much love. Yes, Istanbul was home to the IPPA 2021 Awards and it was no small effort to get them off the ground. But when the national anthems of both nations played out in silent respect, as the auditorium and its occupants stood still to mark the moment, the feeling was gold for those who witnessed it. The event had numerous highs (read a detailed account here), but something to keep in mind for the future would be to ensure that the itinerary is strictly followed according to the timeline provided so that everyone in attendance can have fun without depleting their energy.
Pakistani Actress Zoha Rahman Features In Apple TV+ Show ‘Foundation’
The show is an adaptation of the popular Isaac Asimov Foundation books. Zoha Rahman will be playing the character of Onelle, an Anacreon soldier who works closely with Huntress Phara, played by Kubbra Sait.
“I’m such a huge fan of the Foundation books which is why it’s a huge honour for me to be a part of the series,” commented Zoha. “My character is very interesting, Onelle has the task to guard the warden Salvor after she is captured while trying to invade Terminus. I love anything that has to do with sci-fi so I’m pretty excited about this show.”