WHO recommends highly successful COVID-19 therapy; calls for wide geographical distribution, transparency from originator
May 2, 2022 9:46 p.m.
WHO made a strong recommendation for nirmatrelvir and ritonavir, sold under the name Paxlovid, for mild and moderate COVID-19 patients at highest risk of hospital admission, calling it the best therapeutic choice for high-risk patients to date.
However, availability, lack of price transparency in bilateral deals made by the producer, and the need for prompt and accurate testing before administering it, are turning this life-saving medicine into a major challenge for low- and middle-income countries.
Pfizer’s oral antiviral drug (a combination of nirmatrelvir and ritonavir tablets) is strongly recommended for patients with non-severe COVID-19 who are at highest risk of developing severe disease and hospitalization, such as unvaccinated, older, or immunosuppressed patients.
This recommendation is based on new data from two randomized controlled trials involving 3078 patients.
The data show that the risk of hospitalization is reduced by 85% following this treatment. In a high-risk group (over 10% risk of hospitalization), that means 84 fewer hospitalizations per 1000 patients.
WHO suggests against its use in patients at lower risk, as the benefits were found to be negligible.
One obstacle for low- and middle-income countries is that the medicine can only be administered while the disease is at its early stages; prompt and accurate testing is therefore essential for a successful outcome with this therapy.
Data collected by FIND show that the average daily testing rate in low-income countries is as low as one-eightieth the rate in high-income countries. Improving access to early testing and diagnosis in primary health care settings will be key for the global rollout of this treatment.
WHO is extremely concerned that — as occurred with COVID-19 vaccines — low- and middle-income countries will again be pushed to the end of the queue when it comes to accessing this treatment.
Lack of transparency on the part of the originator company is making it difficult for public health organizations to obtain an accurate picture of the availability of the medicine, which countries are involved in bilateral deals and what they are paying.
In addition, a licensing agreement made by Pfizer with the Medicines Patent Pool limits the number of countries that can benefit from generic production of the medicine.
The originator product, sold under the name Paxlovid, will be included in the WHO prequalification list today, but generic products are not yet available from quality-assured sources.
Several generic companies (many of which are covered by the licensing agreement between the Medicines Pool and Pfizer) are in discussion with WHO Prequalification but may take some time to comply with international standards so that they can supply the medicine internationally.
WHO therefore strongly recommends that Pfizer make its pricing and deals more transparent and that it enlarge the geographical scope of its licence with the Medicines Patent Pool so that more generic manufacturers may start to produce the medicine and make it available faster at affordable prices.
Along with the strong recommendation for the use of nirmatrelvir and ritonavir, WHO has also updated its recommendation on remdesivir, another antiviral medicine.
Previously, WHO had suggested against its use in all COVID-19 patients regardless of disease severity, due to the totality of the evidence at that time showing little or no effect on mortality.
Following publication of new data from a clinical trial looking at the outcome of admission to hospital, WHO has updated its recommendation. WHO now suggests the use of remdesivir in mild or moderate COVID-19 patients who are at high risk of hospitalization.
The recommendation for use of remdesivir in patients with severe or critical COVID-19 is currently under review. (From World Health Organization)
Kaspersky blocks close to 1M financial phishing attacks eyeing SEA businesses last year
March 20, 2023 9:54 p.m.
Phishing is one of the most prevalent forms of cybercrime due to the minimal effort required and the fact that it really works.
It’s usually built around an inherently simple scheme: using carefully crafted emails or notifications that mimic messages from banks, government organizations, entertainment platforms—really any service—cybercriminals can trick users into following a link to a fraudulent website and giving up their payment or personal details or even downloading malicious programs.
Kaspersky in 2022 has blocked a total of 822,536 financial phishing targeted at companies in Southeast Asia (SEA). From SMBs to large enterprises, financial phishers kept trying to infect businesses in the
region last year.
In this case, “financial phishing” refers not only to banking specific phishing but also payment systems and e-shops. Payment system phishing includes pages impersonating well-known payment brands, such as PayPal, MasterCard, American Express, Visa and others. E-shops refer to online stores and auction sites like Amazon, the Apple Store, Steam, eBay etc.
Indonesia chalked up the highest number of financial phishing incidents (208,238). Vietnam comes second with 172,694, and Malaysia recorded 120,656. Thailand logged 101,461 phishing attempts related to finances, followed by the Philippines with 52,914, and Singapore with 22,109.
“It’s interesting to see companies being targeted by financial phishing but we have to remember here that businesses, at their core, are still made up of humans. Phishing is a type of social engineering attack. Social engineering attack is dubbed as hacking of the human mind. With nine out of ten employees needing basic cybersecurity skills training, cybercriminals know that the workforce remains a loophole they can exploit easily to launch a cyberattack against a company,” says Yeo Siang Tiong, General Manager for Southeast Asia at Kaspersky.
As reported, phishing email is usually the first chapter of 91% of all cyberattacks. A phishing simulation done by Kaspersky reinforced how cybercriminals trick employees into clicking malicious mails.
It showed that workers tend not to notice pitfalls hidden in emails devoted to corporate issues and online delivery problem notifications and almost one in five (16% to 18%) clicked the link in the email templates imitating these phishing attacks.
Among the other phishing emails that gained a significant number of clicks are; reservation confirmations from a booking service (11%), a notification about an order placement (11%), and an IKEA contest announcement (10%).
To prevent complex attacks, and any related financial and reputational losses caused by phishing attacks, Kaspersky recommends the following for businesses:
- Remind your employees about the basic signs of phishing emails. A dramatic subject line, mistakes and typos, inconsistent sender addresses and suspicious links;
- If there is any doubt about the received email, check the format of attachments before opening them and the link accuracy before clicking. This can be achieved by hovering over these elements – making sure the address looks authentic and the attached files are not in an executable format;
- Always report phishing attacks. If you spot a phishing attack, report it to your IT security department and, if possible, avoid opening the malicious email. This will allow your cybersecurity team to reconfigure anti-spam policies and prevent an incident;
- Supply your employees with basic cybersecurity knowledge. Education should be aimed at changing the behavior of learners and teaching them how to deal with threats. As a major cybersecurity vendor, Kaspersky possesses a relevant base of information on real attacks and continuously supplements its Security Awareness Trainings in accordance with the current threat landscape;
- Since phishing attempts can be confusing, and there’s no guarantee of avoiding all accident clicks, protect your working devices and your enterprise perimeters with a holistic expert security like Kaspersky Extended Detection and Response (XDR) platform. It provides anti-spam capabilities, tracks suspicious behavior, and creates a backup copy of your files in case of ransomware attacks. Anti-phishing protection is also included, as well as threat hunting.
Enterprises can find out more about this new platform at go.kaspersky.com/expert .
Kaspersky in Southeast Asia also has launched a Buy 1 Free 1 promo. Businesses can now enjoy two years of enterprise-grade endpoint protection for the price of 1 with Kaspersky Endpoint Security for Business or Cloud or Kaspersky Endpoint Detection and Response Optimum, with 24×7 phone support. Interested customers can reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Let there be light: MR.DIY electrical tools Pinoy homeowners should have
March 11, 2023 7:37 p.m.
Being a homeowner entails being nifty at doing quick fixes. Things like leaky faucets, crooked cabinets, and regrouting tiles are just some of the common and simple home problems you can DIY. But you can also try your hand at finally overcoming your electrical-related problems at home like changing the wires or replacing switches and light bulbs.
Got the basics down but not the tools at hand? Ace your next home repairs and improvement with MR.DIY’s wide array of electrical products, including lighting, that are not only value for your money, but are only a stone’s throw away — at your nearest MR.DIY branch!
1. MR.DIY Battery Sensor Light and LED Emergency Lantern
Make it easier for you to find your way in the dark with MR. DIY Battery Sensor Light. Equipped with a motion sensor, the 6-LED light is perfect for small and out-of-the-way spaces where you don’t have access to a power outlet. With MR.DIY’s emergency lantern, you’ll always be prepared for anything! This durable, usb-powered light is also ideal for camping or outdoor use as well.
2. MR.DIY Premium 5W Daylight
Even as simple as changing a light bulb can positively impact your space and wellbeing! With the E27Daylight LED Bulb, there’s no need to worry about straining your eyes or having headaches because you have a wide light coverage just enough to fill your room.
3. Flashlights galore
MR.DIY has torches of all shapes and sizes! From handy aluminum led-light flashlights to solar-powered, and even USB-powered torches, to battery-powered, large-capacity flashlights, we have them all at your nearest MR.DIY branch!
4. Alkaline batteries of all sizes, for all needs
Give your battery-operated devices a boost with MR.DIY batteries. MR.DIY batteries are safe and long-lasting–especially designed for clocks, remote controls, electric shavers, toys, and electric toothbrushes among others.
With more than 18,000 items available, MR.DIY is the country’s favorite family and home improvement one-stop shop retailer — the place to be for your daily home fixes. These tools and other electrical items are now available at MR.DIY stores nationwide.
To learn more about MR.D.I.Y. and other exciting events, visit MR.DIY’s official website or follow /mrdiyPH on Facebook, and @mrdiy.philippines on Instagram and Tiktok for the featured promotions. Have a fast, safe, and efficient DIY shopping!
MR.DIY is the largest home improvement retailer with more than 2,000 stores across Southeast Asia including Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore, Brunei, Philippines, Cambodia, India, and Europe in Turkey and Spain. The home improvement retailer has dedicated itself to making a positive difference in the lives of its valued customers by offering convenience at all its stores nationwide.
All MR.DIY stores are managed directly, and the company often works in collaboration with other mass merchandise retailers or owners of malls or shopfront properties. MR.DIY stores offer a wide selection of — approximately 18,000 SKUs — across 5 major categories, namely hardware; household and furnishing; electrical; stationery and sports equipment products; and others (comprising amongst other toys, car accessories, jewelry, and cosmetics).
The company strives to put customers first by operating an innovative business that is flexible when it comes to providing a wide variety of products, good quality, and value-for-money, holding true to the company’s motto of “ALWAYS LOW PRICES”.
Meet the Evolutions of the Three First Partner Pokémon And Mysterious Pokémon Spotted in the Great Crater of Paldea!
The Pokémon Company shares the latest news about the Nintendo Switch software titles Pokémon Scarlet and Pokémon Violet.
Twenty-six years have passed since the release of the original Pokémon games—the Pokémon Red Version and Pokémon Green Version in Japan—and Trainers have adventured in many regions and discovered many Pokémon. The number of discovered Pokémon has finally surpassed one thousand with the release of Pokémon Scarlet and Pokémon Violet.
A commemorative video showcasing encounters with all 1,008 Pokémon has been released on the official Pokémon YouTube channel. Please check out the new footage in this link –
Meet the Evolutions of the Three First Partner Pokémon!
Gholdengo, Pokémon #1,000 in the National Pokédex Gholdengo, the Pokémon that falls at #1,000 in the National Pokédex, evolves from Chest Form Gimmighoul or Roaming Form Gimmighoul.
An Evolution Driven by the Sentiments of a Thousand Coins
Gimmighoul evolves into Gholdengo when it levels up after its Trainer has collected 999 Gimmighoul Coins.
Apparently, this lively and cheerful Pokémon’s body is made of a thousand coins. It is friendly to both people and Pokémon.
The Coins That Form Its Body Are Used for Both Offense and Defense
Gholdengo controls the coins that comprise its body and even uses them as weapons in battle. The coins are densely packed, making Gholdengo durable. It can absorb impacts and lessen the damage it takes by letting coins fly off from areas hit by enemies. Gholdengo can attack by firing coins from anywhere on its body.
Mischievous and Prone to Loneliness
Floragato is a mischievous show-off, desiring attention and company. If its Trainer won’t entertain it, Floragato may try to get attention by misbehaving—it might wrap its Trainer up with its vine during sleep, for example.
Skillfully Wields Its Vine and Strikes with Its Flower Bud
Floragato is intelligent and dexterous. The flower bud on its neck is on the tip of a long vine. Floragato specializes in attacking by deftly manipulating this vine to strike opponents with the hard flower bud on the end.
The leaf that was growing from the base of Floragato’s neck has become a cape.
Flower Bombs Catch Opponents Off Guard Like Magic
Meowscarada uses the fur lining its cape to reflect and scatter light, thus camouflaging the stem of its flower bomb and making it look like the flower bomb is floating in midair. Furthermore, Meowscarada can attach its pollen-packed flower bombs to various
surfaces and choose when to set them off. With skillful misdirection, Meowscarada rigs foes with flower bombs and sets them off before foes realize what’s going on.
Strong Attachment to Its Trainer
Meowscarada is prideful and likes to show off, but it’s also sensitive. This jealous Pokémon will often display a strong attachment to its Trainer, and its mood will sour if it sees another Pokémon getting its attention.
It Can Control the Egg-Shaped Fireball on Its Head
This Pokémon’s fire energy and overflowing vitality have mixed together into an egg-shaped fireball that Crocalor can maintain atop its head. In battle, Crocalor can send out the egg-shaped fireball as part of a move.
It Projects a Destructive Voice with Its Flames
The valve in this Pokémon’s flame sac is closely related to its vocal cords, and Crocalor tends to let its voice out when it breathes fire. It cannot be said that this voice is beautiful. When Crocalor tries to breathe more-powerful fire, its voice becomes more destructive, which may cause some opponents to take damage.
Its Powerful Voice Soothes All Who Hear
Skeledirge is a busybody with a caring personality. Its gentle but powerful singing voice is filled with vitality, and it soothes the hearts of all who hear it. Foes that hear Skeledirge sing are left with feelings of warmth and fulfillment, thus losing their will to battle.
An Independent Fireball Spirit
Skeledirge gained its Ghost-type powers due to the influence of the soul inhabiting its fireball. The soul in the fireball is independent, and it can change its form via the power of Skeledirge’s singing voice.
Serious and Stoic
Quaxwell has a serious and stoic disposition, and a tendency to compete with others to see whose kicks are the most graceful. It makes sure to consistently practice the fundamentals of its training wherever and whenever it can, and it observes Pokémon and people from various regions to incorporate their movements into its own dance routines.
Messy Hair Makes for a Weakened Mind and Body
The hair on Quaxwell’s head has impact-absorbing properties, so whenever an attack is incoming, Quaxwell holds a low posture and takes the blow with its head. It feels mentally and physically unwell if its hair gets messed up, so it uses gel to fix its hair immediately after getting attacked.
It Slashes at Opponents with Its Decorative Water Feathers
The strength of Quaquaval’s well-trained legs is incredible. With a light kick, this Pokémon can flip a truck. During a battle, large decorative water feathers spray like a fountain from organs at the tips of its tail feathers, and it swings these water feathers around to slash through opponents like a water-jet cutter.
Cheerful and Always Breaking Out into Dance…But It Still Has Its Stoicism
Quaquaval is cheerful and energetic, and no matter the situation, it will shake its entire body in dances that evoke far-off places. On the other hand, it is very serious about consistently polishing its skills, and during critical moments, it shows a level of concentration that would amaze onlookers.