Dis­cov­ery

Arab Times - - SCIENCE -

In this Sept 15 file photo, a Rus­sian med­i­cal worker pre­pares a shot of Rus­sia’s ex­per­i­men­tal Sput­nik V coro­n­avirus vac­cine for its use in Mos­cow, Rus­sia. Many world lead­ers at this week’s vir­tual UN sum­mit hope it will be a vac­cine made avail­able and af­ford­able to all coun­tries, rich and poor. But with the US, China and Rus­sia opt­ing out of a col­lab­o­ra­tive ef­fort to de­velop and dis­trib­ute a vac­cine, and some rich na­tions strik­ing deals with phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal com­pa­nies to se­cure mil­lions of po­ten­tial doses, the UN pleas are plen­ti­ful but likely in

vain. (AP)

MIT prof wins AI award:

A Mas­sachusetts In­sti­tute of Tech­nol­ogy pro­fes­sor us­ing com­puter sci­ence to de­tect can­cer and dis­cover new drugs has won a new $1 mil­lion award for ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence.

The world’s big­gest AI so­ci­ety awarded its top prize Wed­nes­day to Regina Barzi­lay, a pro­fes­sor at MIT’s Com­puter Sci­ence and Ar­ti­fi­cial In­tel­li­gence Lab­o­ra­tory.

MIT says Barzi­lay is a breast can­cer sur­vivor whose 2014 di­ag­no­sis led her to shift her AI work to cre­at­ing sys­tems for drug devel­op­ment and early can­cer di­ag­no­sis.

Her early di­ag­no­sis tool has been tested in mul­ti­ple hos­pi­tals, in­clud­ing Bos­ton’s Mas­sachusetts Gen­eral Hos­pi­tal and oth­ers in Tai­wan and Swe­den.

She’s the in­au­gu­ral win­ner of the new an­nual award given by the As­so­ci­a­tion for the Ad­vance­ment of Ar­ti­fi­cial In­tel­li­gence and funded by Chi­nese on­line ed­u­ca­tion com­pany Squir­rel AI. (AP)

Virus-sniff­ing dogs at air­port:

Fin­land has de­ployed coro­n­avirus-sniff­ing dogs at the Nordic coun­try’s main in­ter­na­tional air­port in a four-month trial of an al­ter­na­tive test­ing method that could be­come a cost-friendly and quick way to iden­tify in­fected trav­el­ers.

Four dogs of dif­fer­ent breeds trained by Fin­land’s Smell De­tec­tion As­so­ci­a­tion started work­ing Wed­nes­day at the Helsinki Air­port as part of the gov­ern­ment­fi­nanced trial.

“It’s a very promis­ing method. Dogs are very good at sniff­ing,” Anna HielmBjork­man, a Univer­sity of Helsinki pro­fes­sor of equine and small an­i­mal medicine, said.

“If it works, it will be a good (coro­n­avirus) screen­ing method at any other places,” she said, list­ing hos­pi­tals, ports, el­derly peo­ple’s homes, sports venues and cul­tural events among the pos­si­ble lo­ca­tions where trained dogs could put their snouts to work.

While re­searchers in sev­eral coun­tries, in­clud­ing Aus­tralia, France, Ger­many the United States, are also study­ing ca­nines as coro­n­avirus de­tec­tors, the Fin­nish trial is among the largest so far.

Hielm-Bjork­man told The Associated Press that Fin­land is the sec­ond coun­try af­ter the United Arab Emirates – and the first in Europe – to as­sign dogs to sniff out the coro­n­avirus. A sim­i­lar pro­gram started at Dubai In­ter­na­tional Air­port over the sum­mer.

Pas­sen­gers who agree to take a free test un­der the vol­un­tary pro­gram in Helsinki do not have di­rect phys­i­cal con­tact with

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