0

University warns about college students trying to contract COVID-19 to make money donating plasma with antibodies

Posted on

Brigham Young University-Idaho warned on Monday about accounts of college students “intentionally” trying to contract COVID-19 in order to make money by donating plasma with antibodies. 

The Idaho university issued a statement saying officials were “deeply troubled” by the alleged behavior and “is actively seeking evidence of such conduct among our student body.”

Students who are determined to have intentionally exposed themselves or others to the virus will be immediately suspended from the university and may be permanently dismissed,” the university stated.

“The contraction and spread of COVID-19 is not a light matter,” the statement continued. “Reckless disregard for health and safety will inevitably lead to additional illness and loss of life in our community.”

University officials noted that they had previously cautioned last month that if Idaho or Madison County continue to experience surges in cases, the university may have to switch to fully online learning. 

The release also encouraged students who are participating in this behavior to consult financial and mental health resources, saying, “There is never a need to resort to behavior that endangers health or safety in order to make ends meet.”

Brigham Young University-Idaho has confirmed 109 COVID-19 cases among students and 22 cases among employees.

The Food and Drug Administration permitted convalescent plasmas from COVID-19 survivors to be used as an emergency therapy for those with coronavirus. The FDA states that the plasma that has antibodies “may be effective in treating COVID-19 and that the known and potential benefits of the product outweigh the known and potential risks.”

Two potential plasma donation locations near the university are the Grifols Biomat USA Rexburg location and the BioLife Plasma Services, NPR reported. The first’s website says it gives donors $100 per visit and East Idaho News reported the latter provides $200 for each of the

0

Dr. Deborah Birx warns about COVID spread in small gatherings; praises aggressive college testing as model

Posted on

The frequent, recurrent testing on college campuses should serve as a model for communities at large, she said, so they can detect cases as quickly as the schools.

“It gives me really great hope to see how the college students have modified their behavior because they know what it takes to be safe,” she said. “And they have been able to mostly keep themselves safe with very low test positivity rates.”

Birx commended the Broad Institute for its key role in testing in the Northeast. Soon after the crisis began in March, the lab converted its laboratory into a high-throughput COVID-19 test processing center.

This spring, the institute signed contracts with 108 public and private colleges in the region to provide testing for students, faculty, and staff. Among the 1.7 million tests conducted for the colleges and universities so far, the positivity rate is 0.1 percent, or approximately 1 in 1,000, according to the Broad. The most recent seven-day average positivity rate for the state is 1.0 percent, according to the Department of Public Health.

The Broad collects samples from the schools and processes the tests for $25 per test, a discounted rate set for the schools compared to the $35 to $50 the institute regularly charges.

Birx was scheduled to meet with Governor Charlie Baker after visiting the Broad Institute.
Birx was scheduled to meet with Governor Charlie Baker after visiting the Broad Institute.John Tlumacki/Globe Staff

“This is really the best part of our COVID response is when you see hospitals transcend their competitive status, when you see universities transcend their normal competition to work together putting the students and the safety of the students first,” she said.

Birx also toured the testing facility that Boston University has set up on its campus. That institution tests many students twice a week. She was also expected to meet with Governor Charlie Baker later

0

Rising Temperature Could Melt Antarctica ‘Irreversibly’, Warns New Study

Posted on

KEY POINTS

  • Researchers say melting Antarctic ice could raise sea level by 8 feet
  • Such a rise in sea levels would devastate coastal cities and cultural sites around the world
  • Study says the only solution is to bring the world’s temperature back to pre-industrial levels

Coastal cities and cultural sites around the world could soon be submerged in water if the melting of ice in Antarctica reaches an “irreversible” level. If global warming is allowed to continue unchecked, most of Antarctica will be gone forever, a new study warns.  

The melting of ice in Antarctica can make glaciers the size of Florida slide into the ocean, said Anders Levermann, a researcher at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany, and a co-author of the study. The team ran computer simulations to identify “where exactly and at which warming levels the ice in Antarctica would melt.”  

“We find that already at 2 degrees of warming, melting and the accelerated ice flow into the ocean will, eventually, entail 2.5 meters (8 feet) of a global sea-level rise just from Antarctica alone. At 4 degrees, it will be 6.5 meters (21 feet) and at 6 degrees almost 12 meters (39 feet) if these temperature levels would be sustained long enough,” Levermann said in a press release. 

The cultural sites in danger of being submerged include the Copacabana Beach in Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro and Sydney’s Opera House. Cities including London, New York City, Tokyo, Mumbai in India, and Hamburg, Germany, are also at risk, the researchers say.

Antarctica holds more than 50% of fresh water on Earth, Ricarda Winkelmann, a researcher at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, said in the press release. Human activities, most particularly greenhouse-gas emissions, heat the ocean water and atmosphere. This leads to the melting