South Korean boyband BTS donates $1 million to Black Lives Matter

Global K-pop sensation BTS has donated $1m to Black Lives Matter in support of protests sparked by the death of George Floyd. (File/Reuters)
Short Url
Updated 07 June 2020

South Korean boyband BTS donates $1 million to Black Lives Matter

  • BTS wrote on its Twitter account that they are against racism and violence with the hashtag BlackLivesMatter
  • The hashtag went viral among the K-pop group’s fans and started another wave of donations with a new hashtag, MatchAMillion

SEOUL: Popular South Korean band BTS donated $1 million to Black Lives Matter (BLM) in support of US protests against police brutality, its music label, Big Hit Entertainment, told Reuters on Sunday.
On Thursday, the seven-member BTS wrote on its Twitter account that they are against racism and violence with the hashtag BlackLivesMatter:
“We stand against racial discrimination. We condemn violence. You, I and we all have the right to be respected. We will stand together.”

The hashtag went viral among the K-pop group’s fans and started another wave of donations with a new hashtag, MatchAMillion.
The movement encouraged BTS’ fan base, known as ARMY, an acronym for Adorable Representative MC for Youth, to match the $1 million donation the group made.
One Twitter account said, “ARMYs, let’s #MatchAMillion with BTS’s donation to #BlackLivesMatter!“
The boyband suspended their world tour over coronavirus concerns in April.
The rolling, global protests reflect rising anger over police treatment of ethnic minorities, sparked by the May 25 killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis after a white officer detaining him knelt on his neck.

 


UK to host ‘human challenge’ trials for COVID-19 vaccines

Updated 25 min 30 sec ago

UK to host ‘human challenge’ trials for COVID-19 vaccines

  • So-called “challenge trials” are expected to begin in January at a quarantine facility in London
  • About 2,000 participants had signed up through a US-based advocacy group, 1Day Sooner

LONDON: Britain is planning to host clinical trials where volunteers are deliberately infected with the new coronavirus to test the effectiveness of vaccine candidates, the Financial Times reported on Wednesday, citing people involved in the project.
So-called “challenge trials” are expected to begin in January at a quarantine facility in London, the report said, adding that about 2,000 participants had signed up through a US-based advocacy group, 1Day Sooner.
Britain said it was working with partners on the potential for human challenge trials without commenting on a specific plan.
“We are working with partners to understand how we might collaborate on the potential development of a COVID-19 vaccine through human challenge studies,” a government spokeswoman said.
“These discussions are part of our work to research ways of treating, limiting and hopefully preventing the virus so we can end the pandemic sooner.”
The FT reported that the studies will be government funded, although 1Day Sooner said it would also launch a petition for public funding of a biocontainment facility big enough to quarantine 100 to 200 participants.
Open Orphan, a pharmaceutical services company cited in the FT report, confirmed in a statement early on Thursday that it is in “advanced negotiation with the UK Government and other partners for a coronavirus challenge study in the UK.”
“There can be no certainty that these discussions will lead to a new contract,” it added.
Imperial College London, cited by the FT as the academic lead on the trials, did not confirm the report.
“Imperial continues to engage in a wide range of exploratory discussions relating to COVID-19 research, with a variety of partners,” a spokeswoman said, asked about the possibility of challenge trials.
Any trials conducted in the United Kingdom would have to be approved by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), the health care regulator which looks into safety and protocol.
The MHRA did not respond to Reuters’ requests for comment, but 1Day Sooner, which lobbies for challenge trials to accelerate vaccine development, welcomed the report.
“1Day Sooner congratulates the British government on their plans to conduct challenge trials to test vaccines,” it said in a statement, confirming it would petition the government to house the trial participants.
The industry has seen discussions in recent months about potentially having to inject healthy volunteers with the novel coronavirus if drugmakers struggled to find enough patients for final trials.
The FT report did not name the vaccines that would be assessed in the project. British drugmaker AstraZeneca, and French firm Sanofi both told Reuters that their vaccine candidates were not involved in the program.