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Payments from UK pharma to healthcare professionals increased in 2019

Payments from UK pharma to healthcare professionals increased in 2019

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The UK’s pharmaceutical industry has published headline figures from its Disclosure UK scheme, showing payments from pharma to healthcare professionals increased in 2019. 

Disclosure UK is the public, pharmaceutical industry-led database which details aggregate R&D spend, as well as individual payments and benefits in kind made to UK healthcare professionals (HCPs) and healthcare organisations. 

The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), which runs the scheme, has decided not to name NHS workers, hospitals and other organisations to reduce pressure on them during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The ABPI said this is just a temporary change and that HCPs and organisations will be named once the situation has returned to normal. 

The available 2019 figures show £538.2 million has been disclosed by pharmaceutical companies for 2019, compared with £503 million in 2018. 

Of this, £381.2 million was spent on R&D, compared with £377.3 million in 2018. 

And £157 million of the disclosed money was spent on non-R&D collaborations with HCPs and organisations in 2019, versus £125.7 million in 2018.

Figures for joint working between pharma and healthcare organisations were not included because of the temporary changes. 

Joint working involves the NHS and industry pooling skills, experience and resources for patient-centred projects where there is a shared commitment for successful delivery. 

The total number of companies using Disclosure UK increased by 11, with 143 taking part in the 2019 scheme. 

As part of the work to evolve disclosure under the ABPI Code of Practice for the pharmaceutical industry, the ABPI is consulting on the proposed 2021 Code.   

It includes a proposal for an additional requirement to disclose payments for contracted services paid to members of the public (not representing a patient organisation) to include patients and journalists, from 2022. The new data will be disclosed in 2023. 

Richard Torbett, chief executive of the ABPI, said: “The 2019 disclosure data available so far tells a hugely positive story – the third successive year of increasing investment by industry in UK R&D.  This can only be a good thing for patients and the NHS. 

“We will publish the normal breakdown of disclosure data as soon as we are able, and when we do, it should also help us understand more about how the data has changed over time.   

“We’re proud of the work we do with the NHS, without which the development of new medicines and vaccines would be impossible, and will continue to strive for the highest levels of openness and transparency in the relationships between industry and healthcare professionals.” 

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Israel Rejects Zelensky’s Request To Visit: “Now Is Not The Time”

Israel Rejects Zelensky’s Request To Visit: "Now Is Not The Time"

Ukraine’s President Zelensky has been refused his own request to visit Israel…

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Israel Rejects Zelensky's Request To Visit: "Now Is Not The Time"

Ukraine's President Zelensky has been refused his own request to visit Israel out of "solidarity" after the Oct. 7 deadly attacks by Hamas, in yet another awkward moment for Kiev.

He was reportedly told by the Netanyahu government that "now is not the time" for such a state visit, according to Hebrew-language media. However, his office was told that there might be a later date for such a visit.

File image, Flash90

Israel's i24News wrote that "The yet unexplained denial of Zelensky’s solidarity visit comes as the U.S. President Joe Biden is reportedly expected to visit Israel as soon as Wednesday."

Zelensky had since the start of the new Gaza war issued series of strong statement in support of Israel. "The world must stand united… so that terror does not attempt to take or destroy life anywhere and at any moment," he had said.

He has also claimed that Russia is stoking conflict in the Middle East, also as a way to distract from its operations in Ukraine, but without offering any evidence.

Last Wednesday, Axios reported that "Zelensky's office sent an official request to the Israeli Prime Minister's office asking to coordinate a visit, the Ukrainian and Israeli officials said." 

It seems the pro-Ukraine cause in general, including efforts in Congress and by the Biden administration to keep the billions in aid flowing, has been sapped of its prior enthusiasm and momentum. 

And it's perhaps also the case that Israel perceived that Zelensky is trying to link Ukraine's cause with Israel's as a matter of PR. 

At this moment, a major Israeli full offensive by air and ground appears imminent, though it's been delayed after there was an expectation that it would start this weekend. Some reports have said that bad weather is a factor.

But the Jerusalem Post has offered a different perspective, writing Monday, "Yet, now we have arrived at late Monday, and if anything, the signs (which could also be psychological warfare) are that the invasion is further away, and not yet imminent."

Tyler Durden Mon, 10/16/2023 - 17:35

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Europe “Shaken” By “Islamist Terrorist Attack” In Brussels; Shooter Still At Large

Europe "Shaken" By "Islamist Terrorist Attack" In Brussels; Shooter Still At Large

Update (1730ET): French President Emmanuel Macron said…

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Europe "Shaken" By "Islamist Terrorist Attack" In Brussels; Shooter Still At Large

Update (1730ET): French President Emmanuel Macron said on Monday that Europe had been "shaken" by a "terrorist attack" in Brussels, after two Swedes were killed in a shooting.

"A few minutes ago, Brussels was hit again by an Islamist terrorist attack which apparently, as I speak to you, took the lives of at least two other Europeans, two Swedes," Macron said during a visit to Tirana, according to AFP.

Perhaps most ironically, given the comments from various world l;aders about this "terrorist" attack by a muslim man, who recorded a video of himself explaining this was to "avenge the Muslims that have died for their religion", the Belgian prosecuor has issues a statement that there is 'no immediate link to Israel-Hamas'.

“So there has been a claim via social media where someone says he is the perpetrator, that he has sympathies for IS, and what is also important, he mentions the Swedish nationality of those victims,” Eric Van Der Sypt, a spokesman for the federal prosecutor’s office, told the Belgian broadcaster VTM.

“For now, at the current stage of the investigation, there would be no relationship to the conflict in Gaza,” he added.

Hmm...

Belgium’s government crisis center confirmed reports of the killings and asked the public not to share images or videos that might be related to the incident.

As a reminder, Brussels was hit by major Islamic State terrorist attacks in 2016, which left more than 30 people dead and hundreds injured.

*  *  *

Update (1630): Belgium's crisis center has raised Brussels' terror alert status to its highest level, and France was tightening controls at its border with Belgium, France’s interior minister, Gérald Darmanin, said.

“Horrified by the terrorist attack which left two victims in the heart of Brussels,” Belgian Foreign Minister Hadja Lahbib said in a post on the X social media network.

“All necessary means must be mobilized to combat radicalism.”

“We are monitoring the situation and ask the people of Brussels to be vigilant,” Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said in a post on X, but appeared to confirm the link to terrorism:

"I have just offered my sincere condolences to the Swedish prime minister following tonight's harrowing attack on Swedish citizens in Brussels.

"Our thoughts are with the families and friends who lost their loved ones. As close partners, the fight against terrorism is a joint one."

Additionally, the Euro 2024 soccer qualifier between Belgium and Sweden (taking place in Belgium's national stadium in Brussels) has been abandoned at half-time after the attack, with fans locked in the stadium.

No suspect has yet been arrested.

*  *  *

As Remix News' Thomas Brooke reported, two people have been shot dead and others injured in central Brussels on Monday evening and the perpetrator remains at large, Belgian police have said.

Authorities have confirmed a shooting took place in Ieperlaan at around 7:15 p.m. local time and two people of Swedish nationality were killed.

The victims are understood to have been supporters of the Swedish national football team and were visiting the Belgian capital to attend the European Championship qualifying fixture between the two nations at the Heysel Stadium on Monday evening.

Amateur footage circulating outline showed the perpetrator, dressed in a fluorescent orange jacket and wearing a white helmet, equipped with an assault rifle on the rampage in the city. The suspect arrived at the scene on a scooter before opening fire in the street causing pedestrians to flee into a nearby apartment building.

The man followed those fleeing the scene into the lobby of the residential building before firing several more shots, before returning to his scooter and taking off at speed.

Belgian media reported eyewitness testimony which stated the shooter shouted “Allahu Akbar” before opening fire.

Additional footage circulating online purports to be a video message recorded in Arabic by the shooter who is wearing the same identifiable clothing following the attack. According to the Sudinfo news outlet, the attacker said his motivation for the mass shooting was to avenge the deaths of Muslims around the world and boasted about killing “infidels.”

“In his very violent speech, he said he had shot two people to ‘avenge the Muslims and that we live and die for our religion,'” the news site stated.

The tweet is viewable here but not embeddable...

Crisis meetings have taken place between the Belgian federal police, the Brussels local police, the security services, and Belgian Interior Minister Annelies Verlinden and Justice Minister Vincent Van Quickenborne.

Authorities have not yet made an arrest and the suspect remains at large.

This is a developing story...

Tyler Durden Mon, 10/16/2023 - 16:15

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International

MIT design would harness 40% of the sun’s heat to produce clean hydrogen fuel

MIT engineers aim to produce totally green, carbon-free hydrogen fuel with a new, train-like system of reactors that is driven solely by the sun.  Credit:…

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MIT engineers aim to produce totally green, carbon-free hydrogen fuel with a new, train-like system of reactors that is driven solely by the sun. 

Credit: Courtesy of Ahmed Ghoniem, Aniket Patankar, et. al

MIT engineers aim to produce totally green, carbon-free hydrogen fuel with a new, train-like system of reactors that is driven solely by the sun. 

In a study appearing today in Solar Energy Journal, the engineers lay out the conceptual design for a system that can efficiently produce “solar thermochemical hydrogen.” The system harnesses the sun’s heat to directly split water and generate hydrogen — a clean fuel that can power long-distance trucks, ships, and planes, while in the process emitting no greenhouse gas emissions. 

Today, hydrogen is largely produced through processes that involve natural gas and other fossil fuels, making the otherwise green fuel more of a “grey” energy source when considered from the start of its production to its end use. In contrast, solar thermochemical hydrogen, or STCH, offers a totally emissions-free alternative, as it relies entirely on renewable solar energy to drive hydrogen production. But so far, existing STCH designs have limited efficiency: Only about 7 percent of incoming sunlight is used to make hydrogen. The results so far have been low-yield and high-cost.

In a big step toward realizing solar-made fuels, the MIT team estimates its new design could harness up to 40 percent of the sun’s heat to generate that much more hydrogen. The increase in efficiency could drive down the system’s overall cost, making STCH a potentially scalable, affordable option to help decarbonize the transportation industry. 

“We’re thinking of hydrogen as the fuel of the future, and there’s a need to generate it cheaply and at scale,” says the study’s lead author, Ahmed Ghoniem, the Ronald C. Crane Professor of Mechanical Engineering at MIT. “We’re trying to achieve the Department of Energy’s goal, which is to make green hydrogen by 2030, at $1 per kilogram. To improve the economics, we have to improve the efficiency and make sure most of the solar energy we collect is used in the production of hydrogen.”

Ghoniem’s study co-authors are Aniket Patankar, first author and MIT postdoc; Harry Tuller, MIT professor of materials science and engineering; Xiao-Yu Wu of the University of Waterloo; and Wonjae Choi at Ewha Womans University in South Korea.

Solar stations 

Similar to other proposed designs, the MIT system would be paired with an existing source of solar heat, such as a concentrated solar plant (CSP) — a circular array of hundreds of mirrors that collect and reflect sunlight to a central receiving tower. An STCH system then absorbs the receiver’s heat and directs it to split water and produce hydrogen. This process is very different from electrolysis, which uses electricity instead of heat to split water. 

At the heart of a conceptual STCH system is a two-step thermochemical reaction. In the first step, water in the form of steam is exposed to a metal. This causes the metal to grab oxygen from steam, leaving hydrogen behind. This metal “oxidation” is similar to the rusting of iron in the presence of water, but it occurs much faster. Once hydrogen is separated, the oxidized (or rusted) metal is reheated in a vacuum, which acts to reverse the rusting process and regenerate the metal. With the oxygen removed, the metal can be cooled and exposed to steam again to produce more hydrogen. This process can be repeated hundreds of times. 

The MIT system is designed to optimize this process. The system as a whole resembles a train of box-shaped reactors running on a circular track. In practice, this track would be set around a solar thermal source, such as a CSP tower. Each reactor in the train would house the metal that undergoes the redox, or reversible rusting, process. 

Each reactor would first pass through a hot station, where it would be exposed to the sun’s heat at temperatures of up to 1,500 degrees Celsius. This extreme heat would effectively pull oxygen out of a reactor’s metal. That metal would then be in a “reduced” state — ready to grab oxygen from steam. For this to happen, the reactor would move to a cooler station at temperatures around 1,000 C, where it would be exposed to steam to produce hydrogen. 

Rust and rails

Other similar STCH concepts have run up against a common obstacle: what to do with the heat released by the reduced reactor as it is cooled. Without recovering and reusing this heat, the system’s efficiency is too low to be practical.

A second challenge has to do with creating an energy-efficient vacuum where metal can de-rust. Some prototypes generate a vacuum using mechanical pumps, though the pumps are too energy-intensive and costly for large-scale hydrogen production. 

To address these challenges, the MIT design incorporates several energy-saving workarounds. To recover most of the heat that would otherwise escape from the system, reactors on opposite sides of the circular track are allowed to exchange heat through thermal radiation; hot reactors get cooled while cool reactors get heated. This keeps the heat within the system. The researchers also added a second set of reactors that would circle around the first train, moving in the opposite direction. This outer train of reactors would operate at generally cooler temperatures and would be used to evacuate oxygen from the hotter inner train, without the need for energy-consuming mechanical pumps. 

These outer reactors would carry a second type of metal that can also easily oxidize. As they circle around, the outer reactors would absorb oxygen from the inner reactors, effectively de-rusting the original metal, without having to use energy-intensive vacuum pumps. Both reactor trains would  run continuously and would enerate separate streams of pure hydrogen and oxygen. 

The researchers carried out detailed simulations of the conceptual design, and found that it would significantly boost the efficiency of solar thermochemical hydrogen production, from 7 percent, as previous designs have demonstrated, to 40 percent. 

“We have to think of every bit of energy in the system, and how to use it, to minimize the cost,” Ghoniem says. “And with this design, we found that everything can be powered by heat coming from the sun. It is able to use 40 percent of the sun’s heat to produce hydrogen.” 

In the next year, the team will be building a prototype of the system that they plan to test in concentrated solar power facilities at laboratories of the Department of Energy, which is currently funding the project. 

“When fully implemented, this system would be housed in a little building in the middle of a solar field,” Patankar explains. “Inside the building, there could be one or more trains each having about 50 reactors. And we think this could be a modular system, where you can add reactors to a conveyor belt, to scale up hydrogen production.”

This work was supported by the Centers for Mechanical Engineering Research and Education at MIT and SUSTech. 

###

Written by Jennifer Chu, MIT News

Paper: “A comparative analysis of integrating thermochemical oxygen pumping in water-splitting redox cycles for hydrogen production”

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0038092X23005935


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