Evidence Aid have been watching the progression of the Coronavirus. Because the outbreak is leading to a rapidly expanding and evolving literature, they have curated a page of entry points to this literature which you can see here: https://www.evidenceaid.org/coronavirus-resources/.
Thanks to a combination of Argon’s wealth of simulation experience and our relationship with Mirion, the look, feel and response of the UDR-13 and UDR-14 radiation training simulators is extremely close to that of actual detectors.
The UDR-13 and UDR-14 simulators responds to Radsim electromagnetic sources that safely simulate ionizing radiation eliminating regulatory, environmental, and health and safety concerns for you and your students. You can use the simulation sources in the open or within buildings.
To find out more head to Argon's website where you can download full product sheets.
The newest addition to the Argon Electronics (UK) Ltd. stable of radiation training simulators, the RadEye GF-10 SIM, promises to take the authenticity, repeatability and effectiveness of gamma radiation safety training to a new level.
High impact gamma radiation training
The development of the RadEye SIM has been a collaborative effort - combining Argon's wealth of experience in the design and manufacture of simulation technology with ThermoFisher's reputation as a world leader in the development of advanced handheld instruments for radiation detection.
A key differentiator of the RadEye SIM is that it responds to a Radsim electromagnetic source that more realistically recreates the behavior and characteristics of ionizing radiation.
To ensure high impact radiation training, all the key user interface components (display, indicators, switch panel, sounder, vibrator etc.) have been recreated exactly as they appear on the real RadEye high range gamma survey meter.
The simulator's response speed and characteristics, when approaching or withdrawing from a simulation source, is also identical to that of the actual RadEye survey meter, enabling instructors to add even greater authenticity to their source search/find training exercises.
Simulated sensitivity means that the simulator can detect the Radsim GS4 simulation gamma source at a free space distance of typically 60 metres / 200 feet distance line of sight.
The implementation of powerful proprietary signal processing means that all simulated readings are consistently repeatable every time a student revisits the same scenario location.
The effects of user body shielding are also realistically simulated to ensure survey teams understand how to use, and interpret, their detector readings and alarms.
Also listed among the RadEye SIM's key simulation features are:
- extremely realistic inverse square law response that is within real detector tolerance
- highly realistic representation of the different effects of shielding
- easily selectable units of measurement
- dose and dose rate alarm settings
- language selection
- configurable menu settings
- a user interface that replicates the look and feel of the real RadEye
The RadEye SIM is fully compatible with Argon's Live Field and Tabletop CBRNe exercise system, PlumeSIM, which is currently in use by many of the world's leading radiation training facilities.
With the release of Argon's RadEye GF-10 SIM, there is the opportunity for radiation safety trainers and trainees to create, and experience, a learning environment that is highly realistic, consistent and repeatable. Further simulation versions of the Thermo RadEye are planned. RadEye is a trade mark of Thermo Fisher Scientific.
Story from cbc.ca
The Public Health Agency of Canada is denying any connection between the National Microbiology Lab in Winnipeg, two scientists who were escorted out of the building last summer, and the coronavirus outbreak in China.
Baseless stories claiming that the two scientists are Chinese spies and that they smuggled the coronavirus to China's only Level 4 lab in Wuhan last year have been spreading on all major social media platforms and on conspiracy theorist blogs. One article from a conspiracy blog was shared more than 6,000 times on Facebook on Monday.
The story even made its way on Chinese-owned social media app TikTok, where a video pushing these claims was watched more than 350,000 times.
"This is misinformation and there is no factual basis for claims being made on social media," Eric Morrissette, chief of media relations for Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada said in response to queries by CBC News.
The conspiracy theory seems to be based on a distorted reading of reporting from CBC News published last summer. One of the first mentions occurred Saturday on Twitter, where businessman Kyle Bass claimed that "a husband and wife Chinese spy team were recently removed from a Level 4 Infectious Disease facility in Canada for sending pathogens to the Wuhan facility."
In the tweet, which was shared over 12,000 times, he linked to a story CBC News broke in July, revealing that a researcher, her husband, and some of their graduate students, were escorted out of the National Microbiology Lab (NML) in Winnipeg amid an RCMP investigation into what's being described as a possible "policy breach" and "administrative matter."
The RCMP and Health Canada have both stressed that there was no danger for public safety.
CBC reporting never claimed the two scientists were spies, or that they brought any version of the coronavirus to the lab in Wuhan.
Experts say the disinformation is creating a "social panic" online.
"We've seen already on Twitter and Reddit and other platforms that there have been calls to ban travellers from China from entering North American or Europe — that there have been individuals targeted to be supposedly pulled off flights or stopped at the Canadian border or the U.S. border," says Fuyuki Kurasawa, director of the Global Digital Citizenship Lab at York University.
"The broader damage is that there grows a mistrust toward both government authorities, public health officials, the media, authoritative sources of media, and there there becomes a social media environment where speculation, rumour and conspiracy theories take over and wash out the factual information that is being promoted online."
Kurasawa is already seeing that spread from the online world to the real world.
"Individuals will take it on themselves to become vigilantes, where they'll try to spot someone who supposedly is either holding the truth about some hidden truth about the coronavirus or a person who may be a carrier or supposed carrier of the virus because they appear to have certain symptoms, and then they'll ask the general public to take matters into own hands," he says.
Kernels of truth in disinformation
Dr. Xiangguo Qiu is a medical doctor and virologist from Tianjin, China, who came to Canada for graduate studies in 1996. Qiu is still affiliated with the university there and has brought in many students over the years to help with her work. She helped develop ZMapp, a treatment for the deadly Ebola virus which killed more than 11,000 people in West Africa between 2014-2016.
Her husband Keding Cheng works at the Winnipeg lab as a biologist. He has published research papers on HIV infections, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), E. coli infections and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.
One month later, CBC discovered that scientists at the NML sent live Ebola and Henipah viruses to Beijing on an Air Canada flight March 31. The Public Health Agency of Canada says all federal policies were followed. PHAC will not confirm if the March 31 shipment is part of the RCMP investigation.
Contrary to posts on Twitter, the coronavirus was not part of this shipment. And there is no confirmation Qiu or Cheng were the scientists behind the shipment.
In another followup story using travel documents obtained in Access to Information requests, CBC reported that Qiu made at least five trips to China in 2017-18, including one to train scientists and technicians at China's newly certified Level 4 lab.
She was invited to visit the Wuhan National Biosafety Laboratory of the Chinese Academy of Sciences twice a year for two years, for up to two weeks each time. The lab does research with the most deadly pathogens.
PHAC has denied any connection between the RCMP investigation, Qiu's visits to Wuhan or any Canadian research, with the coronavirus outbreak.
However, PHAC would not comment on the current status of Qiu and Cheng, citing privacy reasons.
Communicate more effectively
Heidi Tworek, assistant professor in international history at the University of British Columbia, says governments and public health authorities need to do a better job of communicating facts at times like this, including in the languages of the communities impacted.
"It's incredibly challenging during fast-moving outbreaks of any disease to balance between information to keep the public safe and prevent something from becoming a massive epidemic and also trying to provide truthful information and also providing enough so you don't end up with a vacuum, which is where disinformation can flourish," Tworek says.
"We've seen in previous outbreaks it's been difficult to get this right, but I'd emphasize this is actually a crucial element of what we need to be thinking about into the future — how do we actually communicate well and swiftly with general public with all types of health scares? This will not be the last time we face disinformation during a potential epidemic."
“What we have developed is like a living Velcro that removes and traps pathogens”
Nature-inspired wipes and masks which could capture and trap the Wuhan Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) are being developed by scientists at the Irish company Aquila Bioscience. This technology can be used by front-line personnel and civilians under risk of exposure as prophylactic measure to reduce viral transmission in places of contact such as hospitals and transportation hubs. The start-up, based at NUI Galway, has developed a chemical-free strategy that effectively removes bacteria, viruses, fungi and biological toxins from surfaces. Positive results have been achieved against a number of pathogens in a laboratory setting.
The wipes have been under development for almost two years with the specific aim of not only removing pathogens from surfaces but also ‘trapping’ them within the material so prevent them spreading and so help effective disposal. In addition, the solution is non-toxic so can be used on human skin, mucosal surfaces and wounds.
The development of this technology was funded by the European Defence Agency and was conducted in collaboration with the Irish Defence Forces and the Czech University of Defence.
“What we have developed is like a living Velcro at nanoscale. All cells are coated with proteins and complex carbohydrates. Every cell-to-cell relationship is ruled by interactions between these carbohydrates and proteins. We are tapping into this interaction by infusing our wipes with specific proteins and carbohydrates to which the pathogens bind – and stick,” explains Professor Lokesh Joshi, co-founder and director of Aquila Bioscience, and Vice-President for Research and Innovation at NUI Galway.
Nature has been experimenting for millions of years to find solutions against infectious diseases, explains Professor Joshi who is also Director of the Glycoscience Research Group at NUI Galway. “There is an ingenious manner by which nature protects us from infectious microbes and most biological toxins which have carbohydrates and proteins on their surfaces. In nature, humans and animals produce, milk, urine and saliva/mucus full of specific proteins and carbohydrates that bind to the pathogens to protect us from most of the pathogens we encounter on a daily basis.”
Currently all of the available decontamination strategies include artificial chemicals for example bleach, calcium hypochlorite and hydrogen peroxide. These strategies destroy biological agents, but are toxic, harmful to human beings and not safe for use on human surfaces (i.e skin). In addition, the use of conventional decontamination solutions can lead to recurrent infection and can interfere with forensic evidence due to their destructive nature and cannot be used for routine use as prophylactic purpose.
Aquila Bioscience technology can deliver safe and effective decontamination that can be routinely used on sensitive areas like skin, nose, eyes and mucosa, where other methods are either not safe or cause skin reactions. It is also totally non-toxic and composed of biodegradable materials in contrast to the damaging environmental impact of chemically based solutions and the major problems caused by non-recyclable wipes in the environment.
Aquila Bioscience continues to collaborate with the Irish Defence Forces, with their needs to be prepared against biothreat agents. This collaboration has also brought the technology to the attention of other national and international security and humanitarian agencies who have expressed strong interest in using the technology to protect first-responders and affected people.
“Our true hope it that this may indeed be an effective, safe and environmentally safe method to protect people from the potentially deadly pathogens they might encounter,” concluded Professor Joshi.