A secret initiative at Amazon known as 'Project Gesundheit' is working to create a cure for the common cold
A secret project at Amazon known as "Project Gesundheit" is working toward developing a cure for the common cold, CNBC reported. The secretive project is part of Amazon's "Grand Challenge" R&D initiative lead by Babak Parviz, who previously led an R&D group at Alphabet, Google's parent company. While developing a cure to the many viruses that cause a common cold has long been thought as impossible, recent breakthroughs, like one at Stanford University, have indicated it might be more likely that once thought. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
Amazon has been working on a cure to the common cold as part of a "years-long" top-secret project known as "Project Gesundheit," according to CNBC. CNBC cited three people who had worked on the secret project, though over 100 people work on the project that includes scientists and technologists. They reportedly work as part of Amazon's "Grand Challenge" research and development group, which has never been publicly acknowledged by Amazon. The group, sometimes called by codename "1492" is led by Babak Parviz, who previously led Google X, the R&D group at Alphabet, Google's parent company, CNBC reported. According to the report Friday, the project hasn't been entirely focused on healthcare projects, though they have been a major initiative of the group. In 2018, CNBC had reported the project was working on research into cancer treatments and diagnostic technologies. A cure for the common cold has widely been viewed as impossible as there are 160 known types of rhinovirus that cause what we call the common cold, according to Scientific American. In addition to the practicality of finding a common cold cure, others have pointed out such a drug would have to have virtually zero side effects, as the common cold typically subsides within a week to two weeks. Side effects could be more severe than the virus itself, venture capitalist Mike Pellini told CNBC. Amazon's attempt would not be the first one to cure a common cold. Scientific American reported scientists began working on a cure in the 1950s after rhinoviruses were first discovered. More recently — in 2019 — scientists at Stanford reported making strides toward developing a cure for the illness. According to the Centers for Disease Control, millions of people get a cold each year in the US, and most adults get two to three of them per year. Pellini also said it's unclear whether health insurance companies would want to foot the bill for such a cure. Read more: The US has reported 20 coronavirus deaths among almost 500 cases. Here's what we know about the US patients. Italy's coronavirus death toll shot up to 366 within a day as the country put 16 million people on lockdown What you need to know about changing or canceling your travel plans because of the coronavirus, as outbreaks spread to every continent except Antarctica Parents are struggling to cope as coronavirus worries shut down schools, leaving kids scared and confusedJoin the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: What's inside these 8 unique creatures
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The man behind Trump’s favorite unproven treatment has made a great career assailing orthodoxy. His claim...The man behind Trump’s favorite unproven treatment has made a great career assailing orthodoxy. His claim of a 100 percent cure rate shocked scientists around the world.
Anthony Fauci says people who recover from the coronavirus should be immune through at least September. But some scientists worry that not all patients develop antibodies.
Dr. Anthony Fauci says people who recover from the coronavirus will likely be immune should a...Dr. Anthony Fauci says people who recover from the coronavirus will likely be immune should a second wave of infection spread in the early fall. He explained that because the virus has not mutated much, people who develop immunity will likely maintain it at least for the next few months. Preliminary studies about coronavirus immunity and antibodies have shown that most, but not all, recovered patients develop antibodies. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. Dr. Anthony Fauci offered some insight into crucial questions about coronavirus immunity during an interview on Wednesday. In a livestreamed conversation with Journal of the American Medical Association editor Howard Bauchner, Fauci said it's unlikely that people can get the coronavirus more than once. "Generally we know with infections like this, that at least for a reasonable period of time, you're gonna have antibodies that are going to be protective," he said. Fauci added that because the virus doesn't seem to be mutating much, people who recover will likely be immune should the US see a second wave of spread in the fall. "If we get infected in February and March and recover, next September, October, that person who's infected — I believe — is going to be protected," he said. A second spike in the US's caseload is a real threat, Dr. Deborah Birx warned on Wednesday. Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, said Americans are at risk of a "very acute second wave" of coronavirus infections if they don't continue social distancing. Developing immunity to the coronavirus One reason the coronavirus has spread so quickly is because it's new, so none of our bodies have encountered it before. The immune system has to develop antibodies — proteins that fight a specific antigen — before we gain protection against a virus. Generally, once your body has antibodies to fight off a particular disease, you can't get it again. That's why someone who had chickenpox or got the vaccine won't get the disease twice. However, with viruses that mutate — such as the common cold or seasonal flu — antibodies people build up against one strain aren't effective against others. Plus, some types of antibodies weaken over time. Fauci said it's possible that could happen with the coronavirus as well, but it's unlikely. "If a person gets infected with coronavirus A, and then gets reinfected with a coronavirus, it may be coronavirus B," Fauci said. "But right now, we don't think that this is mutating to the point of being very different." Over 315,000 people worldwide have recovered from the coronavirus (likely more, given that many mild and asymptomatic cases are not reported in official counts). Given that a third of the world is under some kind of lockdown, those who have recovered could potentially emerge and return to work first. "Those are the people, when you put them back to particularly critical infrastructure jobs, that you worry less about them driving an outbreak than those who are antibody-negative and very likely have never been exposed," Fauci said. Lingering questions about coronavirus immunity Scientists still don't know how long immunity to the coronavirus lasts, since it has only been around since November or December. "It hasn't been looked at as carefully as we would have liked now to have looked at it," Fauci said of the question of immunity. Some early research suggests that not all recovered patients develop coronavirus-neutralizing antibodies to the same degree. According to a report from Chinese scientists that has not yet been peer-reviewed, about 10 of 130 participants studied did not develop neutralizing proteins. This suggests they might have a higher risk of reinfection. As scientists race to develop a vaccine for the coronavirus, these findings could have implications about its potential effectiveness. "What this will mean to herd immunity will require more data from other parts of the world," Huang Jinghe, the leader of the Chinese research team behind the report, said on Tuesday, according to the South China Morning Post. If the virus does not always produce an antibody response, a vaccine might not always create immunity, either. "Vaccine developers may need to pay particular attention to these patients," Huang added. Some reports also describe people who've recovered from an infection then tested positive again later. This was the case for a Japanese tour guide who got sick, got better, then tested positive for the coronavirus three weeks later. Doctors aren't sure if she was reinfected or had not fully recovered from the first infection. Earlier this week, the Korean Center for Disease Control reported that 51 patients in South Korea retested positive for the virus, according to the Yonhap News Agency. Jeong Eun-kyeong, Director-General of the Korean CDC, said the virus was likely "dormant" then "reactivated." The tests were conducted within a "relatively short time" after the patients were released, he said, so it's unlikely the patients got reinfected. Plus, PCR tests for active coronavirus infections can be inaccurate. More research is needed to determine whether virus can indeed go dormant. Morgan McFall-Johnsen contributed reporting.Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: How to help hospitals and healthcare workers fighting the coronavirus
4 tech giants President Trump calls 'MAGA' stocks have lost $1 trillion in the coronavirus-induced market rout
Four technology giants — Microsoft, Apple, Google-parent Alphabet, and Amazon — have shed more than $1...Four technology giants — Microsoft, Apple, Google-parent Alphabet, and Amazon — have shed more than $1 trillion in market value since all-time highs in February as markets have been roiled by coronavirus, CNBC reported. The four stocks are called "MAGA" stocks by President Trump, and each has boasted a market value of $1 trillion or more at some point. Now, only Microsoft and Apple are valued at more than $1 trillion. Read more on Business Insider. President Donald Trump's favorite technology stocks — which include Microsoft, Apple, Google-parent Alphabet, and Amazon — have lost a combined $1.3 trillion since February as markets reel from the coronavirus outbreak. The tech giants are Trump's favorites because the beginning letters can be arranged to spell "MAGA" — the acronym used by the president during his 2016 campaign. The four tech stocks have also all reached a market value of $1 trillion at some point, which Trump pointed out to a group of reporters in February. The four tech mainstays led US stocks to new highs in February. But since, the companies have slumped amid a broader market sell-off induced by coronavirus panic and an oil price war that's landed all three major US indexes in bear market territory. Microsoft has been the hardest hit in the sell-off, falling nearly 27% from an all-time high close on February 10 and losing roughly $405 billion from its market value. Apple has lost more than 25% and about $372 billion since its closing high on February 12. Amazon and Alphabet both closed at all-time highs on February 19. Since, Alphabet has shed nearly 30% and about $311 billion. Amazon has outperformed the rest of the MAGA group, falling nearly 21% and losing around $239 billion in market value. The moves were first reported by CNBC's Pippa Stevens. Read more: An investment chief whose ETF has surged 24% during the coronavirus meltdown details his strategy for profiting during stock-market crashes Now, only Microsoft and Apple still boast market values of $1 trillion or more. Even though the losses for the four tech giants have been steep, the MAGA stocks have outperformed the broader S&P 500 over the last week and month, according to CNBC. There could be more pain ahead, however, as the coronavirus pandemic slows economic activity around the world, forces store closings, and disrupts global supply chains. Apple on Saturday said that it would shutter all of its stores outside of China until at least March 27 to slow the spread of the virus. The announcement from the company came after it said in February that it would likely miss its quarterly revenue forecast due to the coronavirus outbreak. Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: What if humans tried landing on the sun