UN finds organized crime expanding in Southeast Asia

UN reports said the organized crime groups are becoming more mobile. (File/AFP)
Updated 18 July 2019

UN finds organized crime expanding in Southeast Asia

  • UN reported that corruption and easier movement of people and goods helped traffickers
  • An official from the organization said there is more than $60 billion of methamphetamine in the Southeast Asian market this year

BANGKOK: A UN report said organized crime syndicates in Southeast Asia are flourishing in the illegal trafficking of drugs, wildlife, counterfeit goods and people.
The report noted that corruption and freer movement of people and goods have facilitated the trafficking.
It said organized crime groups in the region are becoming more mobile as they exploit areas with weak border control and use advanced logistics to move products.
Jeremy Douglas, a regional representative of the United Nation’s Office on Drugs and Crime, said the cumulative value of the methamphetamine market is more than $60 billion this year. Facilitated by organized crime, the market has expanded since a 2013 study found the accumulated value was $15 billion.


90-minute British DnaNudge COVID-19 test is accurate, Lancet study finds

Updated 18 September 2020

90-minute British DnaNudge COVID-19 test is accurate, Lancet study finds

  • Health Secretary Matt Hancock told LBC radio that Britain was rolling out the tests across hospitals
  • Hancock said the machines could also be deployed at other locations such as schools

LONDON: A British COVID-19 test known as DnaNudge that gives results in just over an hour and which requires no laboratory was accurate in almost all cases, an academic review in the Lancet has found.
Faster testing could allow more people to return to work or permit testing on entry to hospital, thus slowing a second spike in coronavirus infections.
The new test, based on the design of a DNA test developed by a professor at Imperial College London, received approval for clinical use by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) at the end of April after successful trials.
In a study in The Lancet Microbe, the test was found to have an average sensitivity – the ability to correctly identify those with COVID-19 – of 94.4% and a specificity – correctly identifying those without the disease – of 100%.
“These results suggest that the CovidNudge test, which can be performed at a patient’s bedside without the need to handle any sample material, has comparable accuracy to standard laboratory testing,” Professor Graham Cooke, lead author of the study from the Department of Infectious Disease at Imperial College London, said.
The Lancet paper described the test, which requires one nostril swab, as “a sensitive, specific, and rapid point of care test for the presence of SARS-CoV-2 without laboratory handling or sample pre-processing.”
Health Secretary Matt Hancock told LBC radio that Britain was rolling out the tests across hospitals.
“The critical thing in terms of usefulness is that the machine doesn’t need to be in a lab — it is about the size of a shoebox — therefore you can put one, say, in an A&E (accident and emergency) department and they can know whether people coming in have got the coronavirus or not,” Hancock said.
Hancock said the machines could also be deployed at other locations such as schools.
Each box can run one test at a time so could process about 16 tests per day, said a spokeswoman for the company that produces the tests.