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Roche Holding AG’s production of coronavirus tests is falling behind in meeting the outsize global demand for them.
“The PCR tests that detect acute Covid infection, the demand exceeds our production,” Roche Chairman Christoph Franz said in an interview with Swiss daily newspaper Tages Anzeiger.
The Swiss pharmaceutical giant said it prioritizes sending tests based on medical needs and where the highest infection rates are, according to the paper. In some countries lacking the tools for analysis of the testing, the focus is on trying to supply diagnostic devices as quickly as possible, the chairman was quoted as saying.
Roche has formed working groups to look into various ideas for a new drug against Covid-19, but it’s uncertain whether they will result in a vaccine and how long any vaccine’s immunity to the coronavirus will last, the newspaper said.
Roche is also ramping up production to meet growing demand for antibody tests. Demand for antibody tests is much higher in countries like Switzerland where the costs are reimbursed, Franz said in the interview.
The chairman also said the economic consequences of the coronavirus include declining demand in some areas of standard care because the virus has prevented people from visiting doctors and hospitals.
A group of civil rights organizations blasted Facebook on Wednesday, calling out the platform’s role in allowing hate and bigotry to fester and urging an advertiser boycott.
The groups, including the NAACP, Color of Change and the Anti-Defamation League, are asking what the social network could do with the $70 billion in annual revenue that it makes from advertising — claiming that Facebook’s tolerance of hate allowed white supremacy and racism to flourish.
“Today, we are asking all businesses to stand in solidarity with our most deeply held American values of freedom, equality and justice and not advertise on Facebook’s services in July,” a full page ad in The Los Angeles Times says. “Let’s send Facebook a powerful message: Your profits will never be worth promoting hate, bigotry, racism, antisemitism and violence.”
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Although many of these groups have been in conversation with Facebook for several years, and the company has invested in content moderators and machine learning technology to remove hate speech, the organizations believe it hasn’t done enough to stem the spread of racism, anti-Semitism and bigotry.
The tech giant has faced renewed pressure, including from some of its own employees who staged a virtual walkout, to remove or fact-check posts from President Trump regarding the ongoing protests and riots over racism and police brutality in the U.S. However, CEO Mark Zuckerberg defended the decision in a companywide video conference.
In contrast, Twitter put a label on Trump’s tweets for “glorifying violence.”
Organizers, who are starting with dozens of companies that advertise on Facebook and plan to eventually include hundreds, are hoping that the boycott has the effect of forcing the social network to move quickly.
“We have long seen how Facebook has allowed some of the worst elements of society into our homes and our lives. When this hate spreads online it causes tremendous harm and also becomes permissible offline,” said Jonathan Greenblatt, ADL CEO, in a statement emailed to Fox News.
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“Our organizations have tried individually and collectively to push Facebook to make their platforms safer, but they have repeatedly failed to take meaningful action. We hope this campaign finally shows Facebook how much their users and their advertisers want them to make serious changes for the better,” he added.