IU develops DNA tech | Business revival | Thermometer tech
NAVIGATING THE RECOVERY
Flyover Country fights the pandemic
A special report from:
IU develops DNA tech against COVID
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While COVID-19 vaccines are now being released, researchers at Indiana University continue to look for innovative ways to fight the pandemic. Indiana University is part of a consortium -- including AstraZeneca, the Wistar Institute, Inovio and the University of Pennsylvania -- that just received a $37.6 million grant to develop and study DNA-encoded monoclonal antibodies as an additional way to fight SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
IU and its consortium partners to take its DNA-encoded monoclonal antibodies from the design stage into human phase II clinical trials in the next two years. The distribution advantages of DNA technologies include the fact that it can be manufactured more quickly and doesn’t need cold storage.
An Internet-connected contactless thermometer
A contactless thermometer designed on the campus at UW-Madison is helping students track COVID-19 symptoms. Lennon Rodgers, the director of UW-Madison’s Grainger Engineering Design Innovation Lab, built the prototype using parts from a handheld thermometer. Rodgers told WMTV that people just have to put their forehead near the sensor and it will display their temperature.
Rodgers also connected the thermometer to the Internet, which allows anyone to see some basic—and anonymous—data. With widespread use, the thermometers could be used to detect clusters of people with high temperatures in offices and public spaces.
Not every business story during COVID is a sad one. Refill Technologies, LLC, a veteran-owned business in Columbus, OH experienced a revival during the difficult time.
The company, which offers one-hour delivery of snacks and drinks from client stores, debuted five years ago. The unique spin is that Refill builds the "order" page on a venue's mobile website and then assigns the time to go to a pickup window in order to cut down on crowds.
Before COVID, Refill was profitable locally, but because the delivery market saturated quickly, it wasn’t easy to scale nationally. But when the pandemic hit, contactless order and delivery became a necessity. Reynolds got a call from someone in Denver who wanted to invest in the startup. Refill recently closed the seed round from that investor for an undisclosed amount.
K-State Polytechnic to help reskill workers
Flyover Country is helping offset the devastating effect COVID has had on various industries. One example comes from Kansas State University Polytechnic Campus.
K-State Polytechnic has received $398,100 in grant money to help reskill and upskill manufacturing workers affected by the pandemic. The school will use the funds to purchase equipment to upgrade and expand instructional offerings related to information technology and advanced manufacturing. Training equipment will also allow for the development of apprenticeship degree programs in areas of advanced and smart manufacturing.
The funds will allow the school to support manufacturing companies in Kansas by teaching students skills in mechanical engineering and artificial intelligence, skills that are in high demand.
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