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There is a causal link between the coronavirus vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and very rare cases of blood clots, although it remains unclear what the connection is and the possible causes are likewise still unknown, a senior European Medicines Agency (EMA) expert told an Italian on Tuesday.
“It is clear that an association exists” between the vaccine and the dozens of reported blood clots, said Marco Cavaleri, head of the EMA’s health threats and vaccines strategy.
“Such cases are extremely rare, and the benefits (of the vaccine) still largely outweigh the risks,” he stressed.
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“Yet, it is becoming increasingly hard to say there is no cause-effect relationship between the vaccination with AstraZeneca and very rare cases of unusual blood clots associated with a low number of platelets,” he said.
In its latest assessment of embolic and thrombotic events reported after coronavirus vaccination published on March 24, the EMA looked at 258 such cases (45 of them fatal) that occurred in Europe out of almost 20 million first doses of the vaccine administered, the Xinhua news agency reported.
On March 31, the agency explained that such an assessment did not unveil “any specific risk factors, such as age, gender or a previous medical history of clotting disorders for these very rare events.”
“A causal link with the vaccine is not proven but is possible, and further analysis is continuing,” it added.
Cavaleri told the Italian newspaper on Tuesday that the assessment process was “far from over.”
The EMA is expected to provide a new evaluation on the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine soon, perhaps by late Wednesday, the European Union’s (EU) Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides said on Twitter on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, the Italian Medicines Agency (AIFA) and the Health Ministry were also due to discuss the issue late on Tuesday, although the AIFA would reportedly not issue any new rule on the AstraZeneca vaccine’s use pending the EMA’s decision.
Like other EU countries, Italy on March 15 issued a “temporary and precautionary” ban on the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine following reports of a small number of clot deaths in the country.
Three days later, it resumed use of the AstraZeneca vaccine following the EMA’s announcement that it was safe.
Also in March, the Italian branch of AstraZeneca said that “an analysis of safety data on over ten million doses administered has shown no evidence of an increased risk of pulmonary embolism or deep vein thrombosis in any age group, gender or batch.”
However, an official from the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Tuesday that there was “no link for the moment” between the AstraZeneca vaccine and blood clots, stressing that the benefits of the vaccine were “largely still positive” compared to its risks.
“We continue to see a number of events that are rare events. … There’s no evidence that the benefit-risk assessment for the vaccine needs to be changed,” said Rogerio Pinto de Sa Gaspar, Director of Regulation and Pre-qualification of WHO, at a press conference.
The AstraZeneca vaccine was authorized for use in Italy on January 29 and is one of four vaccines currently approved against the coronavirus here, the others being those by Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson.
Italy’s vaccination campaign is ongoing but it has been marred by a slow start and delays.
To date, the country has administered 11.3 million doses out of the 14.1 million doses available, according to the government. Over 3.5 million people have received both vaccine doses.
At a global level, 269 candidate vaccines are still being developed — 85 of them in clinical trials — in several countries including Germany, China, Britain, Russia, and the US, according to data released by the World Health Organization on April 2. (IANS/KB)
As robots evolve to do more work around us, the UK-based humanoid robot manufacturer Engineered Arts has infused more human-like facial expressions into one of its robots, which may leave you with an eerie feeling.
In a video posted on YouTube, the robot called 'Ameca' displays various human expressions, like appearing to "wake up" from sleep, as its face shows confusion and frustration when it opens its eyes.
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Once awake, 'Ameca' starts looking at its hands and arms, opens its mouth and raises its eyebrows, just like a human does.
At the end of the video, Ameca smiles and holds a welcoming hand out towards the viewer.
According to Engineered Arts, the humanoid bot is currently unable to walk and it is working towards giving it the ability in the near future.
"Designed specifically as a platform for development into future robotics technologies, 'Ameca' is the perfect humanoid robot platform for human-robot interaction," says the company.
The 'Ameca' hardware is a development based on its own research into humanoid robotics and built on its advanced 'Mesmer' technology.
Ameca' on display at the CES 2022 conference in Las Vegas in the US in January.Unsplash
Also read: NASA humanoid robot dances to technology
Engineered Arts is slated to put 'Ameca' on display at the CES 2022 conference in Las Vegas in the US in January.
"Human-like Artificial Intelligence needs a human-like artificial body. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning systems can be tested and developed on Ameca alongside our powerful 'Tritium' robot operating system," the company posted on its website. (IANS/PR)
(Keywords: Humanoid Robot, Ameca, Technology)
Microsoft has disrupted the activities of a China-based hacking group, gaining control of the malicious websites the group used to attack organisations in the US and 28 other countries around the world.
The Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit (DCU) said in a statement that a federal court in Virginia granted its request to seize websites of the hacking group called 'Nickel', enabling the company to cut off Nickel's access to its victims and prevent the websites from being used to execute attacks.
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"We believe these attacks were largely being used for intelligence gathering from government agencies, think tanks and human rights organisations," said Tom Burt, Corporate Vice President, Customer Security and Trust at Microsoft.
Obtaining control of the malicious websites and redirecting traffic from those sites to Microsoft's secure servers will help the company protect existing and future victims while learning more about Nickel's activities.
Also Read : Fortnite : A Gold Mine for Hackers
"Our disruption will not prevent Nickel from continuing other hacking activities, but we do believe we have removed a key piece of the infrastructure the group has been relying on for this latest wave of attacks," Burt said late on Monday.
To date, in 24 lawsuits - five against nation-state actors -- Microsoft has taken down more than 10,000 malicious websites used by cybercriminals and nearly 600 sites used by nation-state actors.
"We have also successfully blocked the registration of 600,000 sites to get ahead of criminal actors that planned to use them maliciously in the future," the tech giant informed.
"We believe these attacks were largely being used for intelligence gathering from government agencies, think tanks and human rights organisations."Unsplash
In some observed activity, Nickel malware used exploits targeting unpatched on-premises Exchange Server and SharePoint systems.
"However, we have not observed any new vulnerabilities in Microsoft products as part of these attacks. Microsoft has created unique signatures to detect and protect from known Nickel activity through our security products, like Microsoft 365 Defender," the company noted.
Nickel has targeted organisations in both the private and public sectors, including diplomatic organisations and ministries of foreign affairs in North America, Central America, South America, the Caribbean, Europe and Africa. (IANS/SP)
(Keywords : hacking, China, Microsoft, website, victim, intelligence, attack, malicious, traffic, server, company, disruption, lawsuits, cybercriminals, vulnerability.)
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Chip manufacturer MediaTek on Monday announced that it is focused on making 2022 a year aimed at rapid growth, business success, substantial expansion in Research and Development capabilities.
MediaTek's plans to boost technology democratisation and enable access to disruptive connectivity with its range of mainstream to flagship 5G chips.
"We at MediaTek are focused on making 2022 a year aimed at rapid growth, business success, and substantial expansion in our R&D capabilities. For 2022, we are focused on further strengthening our presence in India, offering incredible experiences to customers, and supporting the country's technology initiatives with our expertise and collaboration with leading OEMs," Anku Jain, Managing Director, MediaTek India said in a statement.
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In the flagship segment, MediaTek recently announced the Dimensity 9000 chip, which is a milestone of innovation and a rise to the incredible, built-to-power flagship 5G smartphones in the world, the company claims.
MediaTek Dimensity 9000 features a single Cortex-X2 performance core clocked at 3.05GHz, three Cortex-A710 cores at 2.85GHz and four Cortex-A510 efficiency cores at 1.8GHz.
It packs a 10-core Arm Mali-G710 that takes care of graphics processing, the report said.
The chipset also comes packed with MediaTek's fifth-generation APU with six total cores for AI processing.Unsplash
Also read: Realme Unveils First 5G Smartphone
The chipset also comes packed with MediaTek's fifth-generation APU with six total cores for AI processing.
The chipset can handle screens with up to a 180Hz refresh rate at Full HD+ resolutions. It is also the first chipset to have an 18-bit image signal processor, offering the ability to capture 4K HDR video using up to three cameras at the same time, or still photos using up to a massive 320MP sensor. (IANS/PR)
(Keywords: 5G, smartphones, Mediatek)