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Access to Remdesivir for patients in the UK: it won’t be quick or cheap

saheli.burton9 June 2020

Saheli Datta Burton is a Research Fellow in Geopolitics of Industrial IOT Standards, with an interest in the global governance issues of emerging medical technologies. 

Gilead’s drug Remdesivir is increasingly being endorsed by various governments as an aid for improving recovery times in COVID-19 patients. Just last week, the Australian government endorsed Remdesivir as an aid to recovery. A week earlier, the drug was made available in the UK for compassionate use in emergency situations via the Early Access to Medicines Scheme (EAMS) based on a 1-year provisional licensing arrangement between the NHS and Gilead. EAMS allowed doctors in the UK to administer Remdesivir outside the ongoing clinical trials without being penalised for malpractice.

Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2

Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 by NIAID

The question is what will happen after the EAMS’ provisional license runs out in a years time? Can patients in UK still receive the drug? The answer depends on the price. Or, more precisely, on Gilead’s ‘rich country’ price mark-up for UK patients. And the higher the price, the longer it will take to become available to patients. Here’s why.

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On the Importance of Internet Governance

Leonie M Tanczer19 May 2020

Dr Leonie Maria Tanczer, Lecturer at UCL STEaPP, reflects on her experience having participated in Internet Society’s Next Generation Leaders (NGL) e-Learning programme and makes a case for why the governance of the Internet should matter to all of us.

In my role as Lecturer in International Security and Emerging Technologies at UCL, I teach on the “Digital Technologies and Policy” specialisation for our Master’s in Public Administration. I am, thus, used to explaining the technical foundations, policy dilemmas, and stakeholders that make the Internet the kind of infrastructure we love and also rely on. Nevertheless, when the call to apply for the Internet Society’s Next Generation Leaders (NGL) programme hit my inbox, I felt compelled to sign up. I mean, who wouldn’t want to learn more about our beloved tool?!

What is the Internet Society?

The Internet Society is one of the core actors within the larger Internet ecosystem. Inititially, members of the Internet community were predominantly linked to US universities, where they developed technical standards and established the Internet’s basic functionality. However, over the last decade, the range of stakeholders involved in keeping the Internet up and running has significantly expanded. Nowadays, governments as much as the private sector, civil society, and intergovernmental organisations are engaged in “governing” the Internet.

Internet Society logo

The Internet Society logo

In particular the so-called “technical community” – which the Internet Society is part of – is concerned with maintaining and advancing the underlying architecture for the Internet, including protocols such as IPv6, standards, and other software and hardware specifications. Together with actors such as the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), Regional Internet Registries (RIR), or the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the Internet Society is active in furthering the success of the Internet and promoting the Internet core values (such as openness, access, and end-to-end connectivity). Whilst these activities are of profound importance and matter to each of us (because we want to browse faster, safer, and cheaper!), the “average” Internet user may not have heard of them.

To counteract this information vacuum, the Internet Society’s NGL e-Learning programme aims to helps professionals aged 20-40 learn the core elements of the Internet’s history, governance, policy principles, and actors. The four-week-long course is foundational (which gave me the perfect opportunity to test my knowledge) and open to individuals from around the globe. In many ways, the offering aids the Internet Society’s aspiration to foster “capacity building” and provides interested parties with an ability to dip their toe into the 101 of Internet Governance.

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UCL MPA Candidates present at BSI Standards e-Conference

Siobhan Pipa15 May 2020

Written by the MPA students Natalia Maj, Malla Tedroff, Jiehui Song, Jan Sassenberg and Gabriella Ezeani

Medical devices, artificial intelligence, robotics, software, Covid-19, the future of healthtech and… Zoom. On the 23rd of April, we presented our MPA research project on standardization and regulatory challenges of connected and intelligent medical devices at the first ever online BSI Conference, which attracted hundreds of participants from diverse industries and backgrounds. You can listen to the presentation here.

BSI team photoAs part of the MPA at STEaPP, students work in groups together with a client on a real-world problem for their final master’s project. This year, we, a group of students comprising Natalia Maj, Malla Tedroff, Jiehui Song, Jan Sassenberg and Gabriella Ezeani, are collaborating with the British Standards Institution (BSI), the UK’s national standards body, on challenges related to the rise of intelligent and connected medical devices. Medical devices are becoming increasingly connected and technologically advanced, incorporating technologies such as artificial intelligence. These innovations disrupt the established regulatory frameworks, creating new regulatory and standardization challenges, especially relating to the protection of patient safety and device security. New, or complementary, standards are needed to address the regulatory gaps, and this is a very fascinating and challenging topic to research due to the complexity of software and connected devices.

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Play-acting as Cyber Experts for a Day: The Cyber 9/12 Strategy Challenge

jay6 March 2020

By Natalia Maj, Jay Neuner, Jiehui Song and Malla Tedroff

Sleepless nights, ever-changing information and high-stress briefings to senior officials, business leaders and policy makers – sounds like a dream job, no? The Cyber 9/12 Strategy Challenge gave our Unbreakable Cyber League team a 48-hour taste of just this life as cyber security experts, with all it entails.

The Unbreakable Cyber League

The Unbreakable Cyber League – Natalia, Jay, Malla and Jiehui

The Cyber 9/12 Strategy Challenge, held 17-18 February in the iconic BT Tower, brought together university teams from across the UK to respond to a simulated national cyber security incident. Starting from an initial brief of what has occurred, the teams decide what they’d recommend to ministers and policymakers in charge – and then recalibrate response recommendations again and again as the incident evolves (i.e. worsens) over the competition period.

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The future of digital poachers – where to for digital conservation?

isabellamanghi29 July 2019

MPA student Isabella Manghi reflects on her interest in Digital Conservation which she explored as part of her Digital Technology and Public Policy degree at UCL STEaPP.

Image of elephants

© Isabella Manghi

The effects of the climate crisis together with factors such as the expanding human population, pollution, and a lack of sustainable development have led to the endangerment of many species. Biologists, researchers, charities and international organisations are desperately fighting to preserve our biodiversity and therefore proving essential to research on behavioural patterns and the effects of the climate on different species.

Biologists, organisations and charities have traditionally employed locals to track certain animals, but recently, digital tracking, which can take the form of mounting collars onto animals, has emerged as a method to facilitate crucial knowledge production within the conservation community. Through the application of technological, inter-connected systems, the opportunities to study diverse species have increased. Yet, there are eminent problems associated with these systems, many of which are vulnerable to exploitation and misuse, including allowing poachers to track down and hunt endangered species to the benefit of their bank account.

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