The daily drama of money and work from the BBC.
Why isn't Africa producing vaccines?
Less than two percent of Africa’s population has been vaccinated against Covid-19. Could homegrown vaccines be the solution? If so, why isn’t it happening? Is it an issue with patents and intellectual property rights? Is big pharma standing in the way? Or is it simply about money and profits?
Things are beginning to happen. Last month a consortium was set up with the aim of opening an mRNA technology transfer hub in South Africa. If they succeed it will be the first regional mRNA vaccine manufacturing production facility in Africa.
In this edition of Business Daily, Tamasin Ford hears from Marie-Paule Kieny, the chair of the Governance Board of the Medicines Patent Pool, Toyin Abiodun from the Tony Blair Global Institute for Change, based in Rwanda, and from Petro Terblanche, the Managing Director of Afrigen, the South African biotech company where the first African vaccines will hopefully be produced.
(Image: Health workers prepare a dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine during a mass vaccination campaign against the Covid-19, in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Credit: Getty Images.)
GMOs - from 'Frankenfoods' to Superfoods?
Since they first appeared in the nineties, GMOs have remained wildly unpopular with consumers, who see them as potentially sinister tools of big agricultural companies. Ivana Davidovic explores if the new scientific developments might make them shed their bad image.
She visits Norwich in the east of England where professor Cathie Martin has been developing genetically modified tomatoes for decades. One purple variety - unusually high in antioxidants - has shown high cancer-fighting properties in mice and is expected to be approved for sale directly to consumers in the US later this year.
Alex Smith's Alara Wholefoods based in London was licensed by the Soil Association back in 1988 to produce the first Organic certified cereal in the world. He explains why he changed from anti-GMO campaigner to someone who believes this technology could help with the worst effects of climate change.
Rose Gidado, the Assistant Director at the National Biotechnology Development Agency in Nigeria, explains why the country approved the world's first GM cowpea - also known as black-eyed pea - and why gene editing and genetically modifying staple crops could help combat malnutrition.
Marta Messa from the Slow Food movement is particularly concerned about the implications of intellectual property rights behind some of the genetically engineered produce.
And professor Fred Gould, who chaired a large study into safety of GMOs for the National Academy of Sciences in the US, warns that this technology is not a silver bullet for solving all of our environmental and health problems.
PHOTO: Genetically modified tomato created by professor Cathie Martin at the John Innes Centre/Ivana Davidovic/BBC
This week the major technology companies posted record-breaking quarterly results, as they reaped the benefits of a world in lockdown. However, as politicians seek to curb their power, will they be able to keep making such vast amounts of money forever? Also on Business Weekly, we hear why more of us are quitting our jobs, why the price of coffee is close to a seven-year high and whether rental fashion is really good for the environment. Plus, from near bankruptcy to the Bangles via The Police – the legendary music producer Miles Copeland tells us about his long and successful career in the industry. Business Weekly is presented by Lucy Burton and produced by Matthew Davies.
The rise of digital therapy
Mental health care apps have boomed during the pandemic. But can receiving therapy through an app ever be as good as face to face? And do they raise concerns over our privacy? Tamasin Ford speaks to Brad Kettridge, founder and CEO of the mental health care app Brightside as well as the co-founder of the Oliva app, Sancir Sahin, which is aimed at businesses. We also hear from writer Julie Peck who suffers from bipolar disorder on why she sought help from one of these apps. John Torous, director of the digital psychiatry division at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, and Heleen Riper, professor of eMental-Health and Clinical Psychology at the Amsterdam University Medical Centre, discuss some of the concerns around privacy and effectiveness of digital mental health care.
(Image credit: Getty Images).
Miles Copeland's life in the music business
Lessons from nearly fifty years producing and managing bands, with industry veteran Miles Copeland III. From brilliantly promoting his brother's band The Police, to founding a record label for all the misfits in the industry: the Buzzcocks, the Cramps, The Go Go's, R.E.M., The Bangles, and many more; the American-born, Lebanon-raised record executive, and now the author of the memoir 'Two Steps Forward, One Step Back', tells the BBC's Ed Butler how he built his empire with music nobody else wanted.
Producer: Frey Lindsay.
(Picture: Stewart Copeland, Andy Summers and Sting from The Police at the A&M offices after signing a record deal. Their manager, Miles Copeland is 3rd from left. Picture credit: Richard E. Aaron/Redferns via Getty Images.)
The billionaire space race
Why Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk are battling it out among the stars. Ed Butler speaks to Brad Stone, author of the book Amazon Unbound, about Amazon founder Jeff Bezos's lifelong obsession with space, and to Christian Davenport, space reporter for the Washington Post, about the growing rivalry between the worlds two richest men over government space contracts and the future of the space economy. Former astronaut Janet Kavandi tells us why, like Elon Musk, NASA has Mars colonisation in its sights.
(Photo: Jeff Bezos among Blue Origin’s New Shepard crew after flying into space on July 20, 2021. Credit: Getty Images)