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Twitter Proposes Flagging Deepfakes, But Would Only Remove Content That Threatens Harm

Mon, 2019-11-11 21:40
Twitter is proposing a handful of new features designed to help its users spot "synthetic" or "manipulated" media, including deepfake videos. From a report: The social networking giant last month announced plans to implement a new policy around media assets that have been altered to mislead the public. Today heralds Twitter's first draft proposal, alongside a public consultation period, as it works to refine the rules and how they will be enforced. "When you come to Twitter to see what's happening in the world, we want you to have context about the content you're seeing and engaging with," said Twitter VP of trust and safety Del Harvey in a blog post. "Deliberate attempts to mislead or confuse people through manipulated media undermine the integrity of the conversation."

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Study of Over 11,000 Online Stores Finds 'Dark Patterns' on 1,254 sites

Mon, 2019-11-11 21:00
A large-scale academic study that analyzed more than 53,000 product pages on more than 11,000 online stores found widespread use of user interface "dark patterns" -- practices meant to mislead customers into making purchases based on false or misleading information. from a report: The study -- presented last week at the ACM CSCW 2019 conference -- found 1,818 instances of dark patterns present on 1,254 of the ~11K shopping websites (~11.1%) researchers scanned. "Shopping websites that were more popular, according to Alexa rankings, were more likely to feature dark patterns," researchers said. But while the vast majority of UI dark patterns were meant to trick users into subscribing to newsletters or allowing broad data collection, some dark patterns were downright foul, trying to mislead users into making additional purchases, either by sneaking products into shopping carts or tricking users into believing products were about to sell out. Of these, the research team found 234 instances, deployed across 183 websites.

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Google Chrome To Identify and Label Slow Websites

Mon, 2019-11-11 20:20
Is it the web page that's slow or is it your network connection? In the future, Google's Chrome web browser may have an answer for you. From a report: Google announced today a plan to identify and label websites that typically load slowly by way of clear badging. The company says it may later choose to identify sites that are likely to be slow based on the user's device and current network conditions, as well. Google hasn't yet determined how exactly the slow websites will be labeled, but says it may experiment with different options to see which makes the most sense. For example, a slow-loading website may show a "Loading..." page that includes a warning, like a caution icon and text that reads "usually loads slow." Meanwhile, a fast website may display a green progress indicator bar at the top of the page instead of a blue one. And for links, Chrome may use the context menu to help users know if the site will be slow so you can decide whether or not you want to click.

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Google Wants Chrome To Offer Instantaneous and Native App-Like Experiences

Mon, 2019-11-11 19:41
An anonymous reader writes: At Chrome Dev Summit in San Francisco today, Google shared its latest vision for the web. First, the company is trying to make loading disappear via instantaneous experiences. The company demoed Web Bundles, a new platform primitive that lets developers distribute their content across any format without a constant connection, and Portals, an experimental API that lets developers instantly give users access to their web experiences. Secondly, Google wants to have Chrome offer native app-like experiences. The Background Sync API will proactively cache web content and SMS Retriever adds two factor SMS functionality to web apps.

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Amazon Will Open its Own Grocery Store Next Year

Mon, 2019-11-11 19:04
Amazon on Monday said it plans to open its first new brand of grocery store in California next year, as it amps up its ambitious push to become a bigger name in food. From a report: "Amazon is opening a grocery store in Woodland Hills in 2020," an Amazon spokesperson confirmed to CNET on Monday morning, soon after the company published four new jobs postings for the location. Woodland Hills is a neighborhood in Los Angeles. The store will be different from Amazon-owned Whole Foods, the company said. It didn't say whether it will open more of these locations, what its selection or pricing will be, or what the brand name is. But in the jobs postings, the company described the Woodland Hills location as "Amazon's first grocery store," suggesting that it will have the Amazon brand name and that the company could expand to multiple sites.

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Google's Secret 'Project Nightingale' Gathers Personal Health Data on Millions of Americans

Mon, 2019-11-11 18:22
Google is teaming with one of the country's largest health-care systems on a secret project to collect and crunch the detailed personal health information of millions of Americans across 21 states, WSJ reported Monday, citing people familiar with the matter and internal documents. From the report: The initiative, code-named "Project Nightingale," appears to be the largest in a series of efforts by Silicon Valley giants to gain access to personal health data and establish a toehold in the massive health-care industry. Amazon.com, Apple and Microsoft are also aggressively pushing into health care, though they haven't yet struck deals of this scope. Google launched the effort last year with St. Louis-based Ascension, the country's second-largest health system. The data involved in Project Nightingale includes lab results, doctor diagnoses and hospitalization records, among other categories, and amounts to a complete health history, complete with patient names and dates of birth.

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YouTube Says it Has 'No Obligation' To Host Anyone's Video

Mon, 2019-11-11 17:40
Speaking of YouTube and moderation, the Google-owned video service is rolling out updated terms of service on December 10th, and a new line acts as a reminder that the company doesn't have to keep any video up that it doesn't want to. From a report: "YouTube is under no obligation to host or serve content," the new terms of service policy reads. It's another way of saying that just because YouTube is a relatively open platform, it doesn't mean that the company is required to keep videos up. YouTube has faced criticism from all sides over its video removal process. Some critics argue that YouTube could do more to take down videos that butt up against the company's rules but don't outright violate them; others argue that YouTube ought to be a fully open platform and shouldn't control what remains up and what doesn't. Executives have long defended the platform as a champion of free speech, but have started to clamp down on the type of videos allowed to circulate.

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Apple To Launch AR Headset in 2022 with Smart Glasses To Follow in 2023, Report Claims

Mon, 2019-11-11 16:50
According to a report by The Information, Apple is planning to launch an augmented reality (AR) headset in 2022, followed by a sleeker pair of AR glasses in 2023. From a report: While we've heard loads of similar reports over the years, this one -- if accurate -- is different. First, The Information claims that Apple CEO Tim Cook spoke about the project at an internal gathering of as many as 1,000 Apple employees, which is an uncommonly large number. Second, the report contains loads of details, not only about the AR headset/glasses hardware, but also about Apple's plans and ideas about the concept of wearable augmented reality devices. First, the headset. It's code-named N301 and will be a virtual reality and augmented reality hybrid. On the outside, it will look like a "sleeker" Oculus Quest, with cameras mounted on the outside (important for AR, which must include a way to view reality in order to mix virtual elements into it). It will be lightweight and comfortable enough to be worn for extended periods of time, the report says. Inside, the headset will have a high-resolution display and 3D-mapping capabilities, as well as the ability to detect humans. Perhaps the more interesting gadget of the two are the AR glasses, which are code-named N421. These will be meant to worn all day, meaning they'll have to be slimmer, lighter and more comfortable than the headset. Apple's current prototypes are essentially sunglasses with "thick frames" with the electronics stuffed inside, the report says -- perhaps (my guess) something similar to Snap's Spectacles.

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Alibaba's Singles' Day Sales Top $38 Billion

Mon, 2019-11-11 16:35
After 24 hours of frenzied buying and selling, and weeks of advertising and promotions before it, the Alibaba Group said today its sales hit another record high on Singles' Day, the biggest shopping day on the planet. From a report: The Chinese e-commerce giant said its 11th Singles' Day event sold goods worth 268 billion yuan, or $38.3 billion, easily exceeding last year's record $30.7 billion haul. Electronics gadgets and fashion items were among the most sold goods this year, company executives said in an interview. More than half a billion people from a number of countries participate in the event, which is China's equivalent to Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Except, Singles' Day is much larger. The five-day Black Friday clocked under $25 billion in sales last year. Alibaba Group said earlier today that it had netted its first $1 billion in sales this year in just 68 seconds. The shopping glitz hosted a number of celebrities including Taylor Swift and Asian pop icon GEM to generate buzz.

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Surgeons Transplanted Pig Skin Onto Humans for the First Time

Mon, 2019-11-11 15:25
In a pathogen-free facility in Grafton, Massachusetts, a small town about 40 miles west of Boston, genetically engineered miniature pigs are being bred to donate their skin to humans. From a report: Their skin, which looks remarkably similar to the human variety and is referred to as Xeno-Skin, will be transplanted by surgeons at Massachusetts General Hospital to a small group of burn victims in an attempt to speed up the healing process. It's the first experiment approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to use animal tissue in humans, a necessary step toward someday transferring entire organs grown in animals to people who need them -- a process known as xenotransplantation. The need for such organs is dire. Each day, 20 people die waiting for an organ transplant. More than 113,000 people in the United States are currently waiting for one, while only 36,528 transplants were performed in 2018, according to government data. Every year, the waiting list grows, greatly outpacing the number of available organs. For decades, researchers looked to animal donors as a way to ease this chronic shortage, but transplants from animals have often failed. Xeno-Skin, developed by Boston-based biotech company XenoTherapeutics, shows promise. So far, one patient has received the genetically engineered pig skin graft, and five more burn victims are slated to receive it. The grafts are meant to be temporary and will be removed once the patients' own skin has grown back. Doctors involved in the trial say the donor tissue appears to be healing as well as a human skin graft, which was transplanted next to the pig skin for side-by-side comparison. The process also hasn't caused negative reactions like provoking an immune response or transmitting animal viruses, two major issues in xenotransplantation. "We're trying to replicate exactly the same mechanisms that are used in the standard of care, or the gold standard treatment, for severe and extensive burns," Paul Holzer, CEO of XenoTherapeutics, tells OneZero.

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Facebook Co-founder Chris Hughes Doesn't Recall Zuckerberg Discussing the Iraq War at Harvard

Mon, 2019-11-11 14:45
Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes has said that he doesn't recall Mark Zuckerberg ever discussing the Iraq War during the early days of the company, contradicting recent comments from the CEO tying the war to his views on free speech. From a report: "I had never heard that before, and the internet had never heard that before," Hughes said an event with the Bay Area Chapter of the American Constitution Society. "I don't remember ever talking about that with Mark." Last month, Zuckerberg told an audience at Georgetown University that discussion about the Iraq War at Harvard, where he was a student, and on Facebook in its embryonic days, played a key role in his controversial positions on policing speech. Unlike other social media companies, Facebook has said it won't ban political advertising nor will it play the role of fact-checker. In claiming that Facebook was meant to promote dialogue about the Iraq War, which began in 2003, Zuckerberg took a departure from the well-known origin tale that includes the development of Facemash, a predecessor to Facebook where students could compare females at the college and decide who was more attractive. [...] "I was at protests protesting the Iraq War," Hughes said. "I did not go to any with Mark Zuckerberg."

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Uber CEO Calls Saudi Murder of Khashoggi 'a Mistake', Scrambles To Backtrack

Mon, 2019-11-11 14:05
Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi told "Axios on HBO" that the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi was "a mistake" by the Saudi government, and then he compared it to Uber's self driving accident in which a woman died. From a report: An hour later, Khosrowshahi called Axios to express regret for the language he used. The next day he sent the following statement: "I said something in the moment that I do not believe. When it comes to Jamal Khashoggi, his murder was reprehensible and should not be forgotten or excused."

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Carrie Fisher Was Originally Going To Be 'The Last Jedi' In the Final Star Wars Movie

Mon, 2019-11-11 12:34
Luke Skywalker wasn't going to be the only Jedi in the final Star Wars movie, reports Yahoo Entertainment: In the original version of the ninth and final installment, The Rise of Skywalker, his sister, Leia (played by Carrie Fisher), was going to emerge as a full-fledged Jedi warrior, complete with her very own lightsaber. That's according to no less an authority than Fisher's real-life brother, Todd Fisher, who filled us in on what the plan was for his sister's iconic character prior to her sudden death in December 2016. "She was going to be the big payoff in the final film," Fisher reveals exclusively to Yahoo Entertainment. "She was going to be the last Jedi, so to speak. That's cool right....? People used to say to me, 'Why is it that Carrie never gets a lightsaber and chops up some bad guys,'" Fisher says, noting that Alec Guinness was roughly the same age when Obi-Wan Kenobi battled Darth Vader in A New Hope. "Obi-Wan was in his prime when he was Carrie's age...!" Unfortunately, a version of The Rise of Skywalker where Leia picks up her father and brother's chosen weapon can only exist in our imaginations. After Fisher's death, her alter ego's arc had to be re-conceived by returning director J.J. Abrams, who previously directed the actress in 2015's The Force Awakens. "The truth is that J.J. Abrams was great friends with Carrie... he had an extraordinary sense of love for her," her brother says. It was that love that led the filmmaker to make a bold, and creatively risky decision: take unused footage of Leia left over from The Force Awakens and make it part of The Rise of Skywalker. "They had eight minutes of footage," Fisher tells us. "They grabbed every frame and analyzed it... and then reverse-engineered it and [got] it into the story the right way. It's kind of magical."

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Thousands of Bots Are Retweeting Claims of Voter Fraud In Kentucky

Mon, 2019-11-11 08:34
"It's deeply concerning to see shady coordinated disinformation campaigns trying to undermine our democracy," says the man who apparently defeated Kentucky's Republican governor Bevin in a close election last Tuesday. The New York Times reports on what happened in the hours after Twitter user "Overlordkraken1" decided to tweet to his 19 followers that he'd "just shredded a box of Republican mail-in ballots." [H]yperpartisan conservatives and trolls were pushing out a screenshot of the message, boosted by what appeared to be a network of bots, and providing early grist for allegations of electoral theft in Kentucky. High-profile right-wing figures were soon tweeting out their own conspiracy theories about the election being stolen -- messages that were in turn pushed by even more trolls and bots -- and the Bevin campaign began talking about "irregularities" in the vote without offering any specifics or evidence. The talk has only intensified in the days since, though it has yet to be matched by any evidence of actual election rigging. But with Mr. Bevin's choosing not to concede, and Kentucky authorities' preparing to recanvass all of the votes at his insistence, Kentucky is shaping up to be a case study in the real-word impact of disinformation -- and a preview of what election-security officials and experts fear could unfold a year from now if the 2020 presidential election comes down to the wire... Data compiled by VineSight, a start-up that detects disinformation on social media, showed that many of the accounts that tweeted the screenshot of @Overlordkraken1's ballot-shredding claim appeared to be bots. Their tweets, in turn, were spread by other bots. Of the more than 3,800 accounts that VineSight detected tweeting the screenshot, at least 2,350 appeared to be bots, based on an analysis of the accounts' activities, including how quickly and how often they tweet... @ConservaMomUSA's post about the ballot shredding was retweeted about 1,300 times, and nearly 60 percent of that traffic was from bots, VineSight found... By Thursday, the online campaign was melding with real-world action. A supporter of Mr. Bevin, Frank Simon, had set up a robocall network telling people to "please report suspected voter fraud" to the state Department of Elections. There are no indications of any voter fraud in Kentucky, according to Alison Lundergan Grimes, the Kentucky secretary of state. "The Kentucky secretary of state's office said federal law enforcement officials were investigating both the tweet about shredding ballots and the subsequent rapid amplification," the Times reports.

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How Tech From Australia Could Prevent California Wildfires and PG&E Blackouts

Mon, 2019-11-11 05:34
"Technology developed to combat Australia's deadly bushfires could slash California's fire risk and reduce the need for PG&E's 'public safety power shutoffs'," reports IEEE Spectrum. "See the video to watch an advanced power diverter cut off 22,000 volts of power in less than 1/20th of a second, preventing ignition of dry brush," writes Slashdot reader carbonnation. IEEE Spectrum reports: California utility Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) delivered a bitter pill last month when it said that deliberate blackouts to keep its lines from sparking wildfires could be the new normal for millions of customers for the next decade -- a dangerous disruption to power-dependent communities that California governor Gavin Newsom says "no state in the 21st Century should experience." Grid experts say Newsom is right, because technology available today can slash the risk of grid-induced fires, reducing or eliminating the need for PG&E's "public safety power shutoffs...." Some of the most innovative fire-beating grid technologies are the products of an R&D program funded by the state of Victoria in Australia, prompted by deadly grid-sparked bushfires there 10 years ago. Early this year, utilities in Victoria began a massive rollout of one solution: power diverters that are expected to protect all of the substations serving the state's high fire risk areas by 2024. "It's not cheap to put one in but once you do it, you've got 1,000 kilometers of network that's suddenly a lot safer," says Monash University professor Tony Marxsen, former chair of the Australian Energy Market Operator, Australia's power grid regulator, and chairman of Melbourne-based grid equipment developer IND Technology. The power diverters -- known as Rapid Earth Fault Current Limiters (REFCLs) -- react to the surge of current unleashed when a power line strikes the ground or is struck by a tree. When this happens on one of Victoria's 22-kilovolt distribution circuits, the REFCL instantly begins collapsing the faulted line's voltage toward 100 volts, and can get there in as few as 40 milliseconds (ms). "If it can do it within 85 ms, you won't get fires," he says... Marxsen says 20 to 30 percent of the distribution circuits in PG&E's territory have the appropriate three-phase design for REFCLs, as do a similar proportion of circuits in the territory of Southern California Edison (which is also grappling with grid-sparked wildfires). "It would certainly offer the option of not shutting down the networks when there's high fire risk," he says.

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Reactions To the News That Microsoft's Edge Browser Is Coming to Linux

Mon, 2019-11-11 02:53
"Microsoft is bringing Edge to Linux, for all the Microsoft fans running Linux," jokes the headline at the Inquirer. ("We can just imagine the amount of bunting and party poppers that the Linux community has just ordered. After all, why wouldn't you want a browser from the company that you joined Linux to get away from?") And the headline at Liliputting quips that the Edge browser "is coming to Linux (whether you want it or not)," calling the move "the latest evidence that Microsoft's relationship to Linux has changed a lot in recent years. But TechRadar had an even more sardonic headline. "Hell freezes over as Microsoft Edge comes to Linux." One other thing to consider is that the introduction of Edge to Linux is something of a thorny subject in that the folks who choose a Linux distro often do so to break away from the chains of Microsoft and Windows (or indeed Apple). So certainly some of the more fervent open source types out there may not welcome a Microsoft browser with open arms, and doubtless it will be regarded with suspicion in some quarters. No matter how much Microsoft has been banging the open source drum in many different ways in recent times. That said, there will doubtless be Linux users who are curious, and may want to pick up a mainstream alternative to Firefox on Linux which, when compared to Chrome -- with its famous memory hogging antics -- makes a far preferable choice in some respects. Edge will also do streaming better (by default Chrome limits you to 720p when you're trying to watch a spot of Netflix). All the testing feedback about Edge has been pretty positive in the main thus far, too, so maybe that will persuade even doubters to at least consider it. One thing's for sure: it will certainly be interesting to see the reaction Microsoft's browser gets when it is deployed to Linux. Edge may face a rocky reception. "I am not feeling a tingling all over at the thought of Edge coming to Linux," posted one commenter on Beta News. "It's not really necessary to bring Linux down to the level of Windows 10." But how do Slashdot's readers feel? What's your reaction to the news that Microsoft's Edge browser is coming to Linux?

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Struggling 'Terminator' Movie Has An Even Worse Second Weekend

Mon, 2019-11-11 00:37
"The news just keeps getting worse for Terminator: Dark Fate," reports CinemaBlend: It had a disappointing opening last week and a sharp drop in its second weekend at the box office. It also had the worst Friday-to-Friday drop of any other Terminator sequel in the franchise... According to Forbes, it made only $2.8 million on Friday, November 8, marking a 73% drop from opening day on November 1... [A]t this point, Terminator: Dark Fate is only expected to make just over $10 million this weekend, which would be a drop of 65% from last weekend. That is pretty big considering Dark Fate only started with a $29 million opening weekend. To go back to Terminator Salvation, that movie opened to $42.5 million 10 years ago, so even a slightly bigger week-to-week percentage drop gave it more money than Dark Fate... Terminator: Dark Fate cost between $185-$195 million to make, not including marketing costs. According to Deadline, the movie will have to make $470 million worldwide to break even. If it were making a killing at the international box office, that might happen. But it's not exactly crushing overseas either. Going into this second weekend, the film was only at $135 million worldwide, with $94M of that from the foreign box office. That's a lot more than domestic, but the addition of this weekend's numbers, and whatever comes next week and beyond, probably won't be enough to hit that break even point... [E]ven if you too think you know where James Cameron was going with his Terminator trilogy plans after Dark Fate, it's unlikely now that those plans will see the light of day. Forbes calls it "a sign that making a better sequel couldn't save a franchise for which general audiences stopped caring decades ago... [I]t's an example of the studios looking at the threat posed by video-on-demand and streaming and giving theatrical audiences exactly what they don't want." Meanwhile, they write, the movie Joker has become the most profitable comic book movie of all time, earning $958.7 million worldwide on a budget of just $62.5 million.

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How Some Fast Rood Restaurant Chains Are Confronting the Threat of Antibiotic Resistance

Sun, 2019-11-10 23:34
"Many of our favorite fast food and restaurant chains continue to contribute to the growing threat of antibiotic resistance, according to a report released Thursday by advocacy groups," reports CNN: Fifteen of America's favorites received an "F" for their lack of action in reducing the use of beef raised with antibiotics, including Burger King, DQ, Jack In the Box, Pizza Hut, Olive Garden, Chili's, Sonic, Applebee's and the pizza chains of Domino's, Little Caesars and Pizza Hut. Only Chipotle and Panera Bread, who were early leaders in using only antibiotic-free beef and chicken, received an "A"... Despite the severity of the problem, the U.S. lacks appropriate laws to regulate overuse of antibiotics in our food chain. Thus advocacy groups have turned to some of the largest buyers of raw beef and chicken -- restaurants -- and asked them to use their purchasing power to force change. And it works. A huge success story over the past five years is the reduction of chicken raised with antibiotics in many of our favorite restaurants, said Lena Brook, director of food campaigns for the Natural Resources Defense Council, one of the groups who sponsor the study. Others include Consumer Reports, the Milken Institute School for Public Health and the Center for Food Safety... The early push by Chipotle Mexican Grill and Panera Bread, followed by Chick-fil-A, McDonald's and Subway, began a domino effect that encouraged major chicken supply companies to get on board, the report said. Yet the article notes that almost two-thirds of the antibodies sold in the U.S. are still going to food animals...

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Phones and PCs Sold In Russia Will Have To Come Pre-installed With Russian Apps

Sun, 2019-11-10 22:34
An anonymous reader quotes ZDNet: The Russian Parliament is debating a bill that will force all electronic equipment sold in Russia — such as smartphones, computers, and smart TVs — to ship pre-installed with apps from Russian tech firms. According to lawmakers, "the bill will protect the interests of Russian Internet companies and will reduce the abuse by large foreign companies, working in the field of information technology." If the bill is approved, the Russian government will publish a list of electronic devices that will need to comply with this new law. Smartphones, tablets, computers, servers, and smart TVs are expected to be on the list. Devices that don't run a complex OS or custom software will be exempt. The government will also publish, per each device type, a list of Russian software that equipment vendors will need to include on devices sold in Russia.

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Company Seeks FDA Approval For Single-Dose Drug To Cure HIV/AIDS

Sun, 2019-11-10 21:34
"Wednesday night was an exciting one for investors and employees at American Gene Technologies," reports a local Maryland news station. "After years in the making, they submitted a nearly 1,000-page document to FDA. And within its pages just may lie the cure for HIV/AIDS." Founded in 2007, the privately-held company has less than 50 employees according to LinkedIn. Based in Maryland, the company's milestone was soon picked up by other local newscasts, including one attributed to WDVM/CNN. Long-time Slashdot reader Aristos Mazer writes: This is not one of those on-going maintenance drugs. This, they claim in 1000+ pages of FDA filing, is an out-right cure. The drug, AGT 103T, delivers a virus that performs cell and gene therapy. In AGT's words: "Gene therapy is a technique that allows doctors to treat a disorder by inserting genes into patients' cells to mitigate the underlying genetic drivers of disease. Human cells can be re-engineered to create highly-effective hunter/killers of invasive pathogens or cancer cells, or reprogramed to produce secretions that provide potent remedies to other disease conditions." If FDA approves, then AGT will have the green light to begin phase one clinical trials in January 2020. "Our aim is to treat HIV disease with an innovative cell and gene therapy that reconstitutes immunity to HIV and will control virus growth in the absence of antiretroviral drugs," the company's chief science officer told CBS Baltimore.

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