Tuesday March 31, 2020
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“Google Takes Down Misleading Videos Related to Coronavirus Pandemic”, Says CEO Sundar Pichai

Meanwhile, Google said the coronavirus tracking and screening website that US President Donald Trump announced the company is building with 1,700 engineers is delayed to "later this week"

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Pichai said the company is partnering with the US government in developing a website dedicated to COVID-19 education, prevention, and local resources nationwide. Wikimedia Commons

Alphabet and Google CEO Sundar Pichai said the company has taken down thousands of videos related to dangerous or misleading coronavirus information using its Artificial Intelligence (AI)-based technology.

In a blog post, Pichai said that since January, Google has blocked hundreds of thousands of ads attempting to capitalize on the coronavirus pandemic. “Last week, we announced a temporary ban on all ads for medical masks and respirators,” he said on Monday.

“We continue to remove videos that promote medically unproven methods to prevent coronavirus in place of seeking medical treatment. On Google Maps, our automated and manual review systems continue to take down false and harmful content such as fake reviews and misleading information about healthcare locations,” Pichai elaborated.

Meanwhile, Google said the coronavirus tracking and screening website that US President Donald Trump announced the company is building with 1,700 engineers is delayed to “later this week”. Google’s subsidiary Verily is building the website to direct people to testing facilities.

“With local and national guidance evolving rapidly, Google will continue working with relevant agencies and authorities to roll out a website later this week that will surface authoritative information for people in the US, including on screening and testing,” Google said in a statement.

Pichai said the company is partnering with the US government in developing a website dedicated to COVID-19 education, prevention, and local resources nationwide. “Right now on the Google homepage we’re promoting the “Do the Five” campaign to raise awareness of simple measures people can take to slow the spread of the disease, according to the WHO,” he informed.

Sundar Pichai
Alphabet and Google CEO Sundar Pichai said the company has taken down thousands of videos related to dangerous or misleading coronavirus information using its Artificial Intelligence (AI)-based technology. Wikimedia Commons

“Do the Five” raises awareness of simple measures people can take to slow the spread of the disease, according to the World Health Organization. “On YouTube, we’re using the homepage to direct users to videos from the CDC or other locally relevant public health agencies. We’re highlighting content from authoritative sources when people search for COVID-19, and inserting information panels to provide additional context from high-quality sources,” Pichai said.

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Google is also witnessing more people using the premium features of Meet, its video conferencing app, which it made available to all G Suite customers at no cost until July 1.

“Through our philanthropic arm Google.org, we are committing $50 million to the global COVID-19 response, focusing on health and science, access to educational resources and small business support,” said Pichai. (IANS)

Next Story

Can TB Vaccine Fight COVID-19? Here is the Answer

TB vaccine a potential new tool to fight COVID-19: Study

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Researchers have found that Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG), a vaccine for tuberculosis (TB), could be a potential new tool in the fight against the disease. Pixabay

Examining how the COVID-19 has impacted different countries, researchers have found that Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG), a vaccine for tuberculosis (TB), could be a potential new tool in the fight against the disease.

The study that appeared in the pre-print repository medRxiv, proposed that national differences in COVID-19 impact could be partially explained by the different national policies respect to BCG childhood vaccination.

The BCG vaccine has existed for almost a century and is one of the most widely used of all current vaccines.

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BCG vaccine has a documented protective effect against meningitis and disseminated TB in children.

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The BCG vaccine has existed for almost a century and is one of the most widely used of all current vaccines. Pixabay

It has also been reported to offer broad protection to respiratory infections.

For the study, the researchers compared large number of countries BCG vaccination policies with the morbidity and mortality for COVID-19.

“We found that countries without universal policies of BCG vaccination (Italy, the Netherlands, the US) have been more severely affected compared to countries with universal and long-standing BCG policies,” said the study conducted by researchers from New York Institute of Technology (NYIT) College of Osteopathic Medicine in the US.

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the US has increased to 142,502, the highest in terms of infections globally, according to the latest tally from Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE).

The CSSE data showed that at least 34,026 people have died due to the disease in the country.

In Italy, which is one of the worst affected countries, 10,779 people have died due to COVID-19.

In this latest study on impact of BCG vaccination on COVID-19, researchers also found that countries that have a late start of universal BCG policy, for example, Iran had high mortality, consistent with the idea that BCG protects the vaccinated elderly population.

“There was a positive significant correlation between the year of the establishment of universal BCG vaccination and the mortality rate, consistent with the idea that the earlier that a policy was established, the larger fraction of the elderly population would be protected,” said the study.

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BCG vaccine has a documented protective effect against meningitis and disseminated TB in children. Pixabay

“For instance, Iran has a current universal BCG vaccination policy but it just started in 1984, and has an elevated mortality with 19.7 deaths per million inhabitants.

“In contrast, Japan started its universal BCG policy in 1947 and has around 100 times less deaths per million people, with 0.28 deaths. Brazil started universal vaccination in 1920 and also has an even lower mortality rate of 0.0573 deaths per million inhabitants,” the resulst showed.

Iran announced 2,901 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday as the total number of confirmed cases soared to 38,309. Also, the death toll from the disease reached 2,640 in Iran, while 12,391 patients have recovered.

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As the numbers of tuberculosis cases dropped in the late 20th century, several middle high and high-income countries in Europe dropped the universal BCG policy between years 1963 and 2010.

“The combination of reduced morbidity and mortality makes BCG vaccination a potential new tool in the fight against COVID-19,” the researchers concluded.

Also Read- Taking Care of Finances Amid Coronavirus Crisis

Gonzalo H. Otazu of NYIT is the corresponding author of the study.

The COVID-19 death toll in Europe climbed to over 21,000 out of more than 360,000 confirmed cases. (IANS)