In The News: Novavax Vaccine Enters Stage 3, TikTok Ban, and Android 11 Release Date

Keep up with all things tech this week

This week we dive deeper into multiple developments in the tech industry. First, a huge development in coronavirus research occurred this Monday as vaccine developer Novavax got a $1.6 billion award to move into a stage 3 testing trial of their vaccine. TikTok is being banned around the world in places like India and Australia, with the Trump administration looking to add the US to that list. And finally, Google has announced the official launch date of their new Android 11.

Vaccine Developer Novavax gets $1.6 Billion to Move Forward on Their Coronavirus Vaccine Trials

Photo by Louis Reed on Unsplash

Before the markets opened on Monday, Novavax announced that the government’s Operation Warp Speed (OWS) program awarded the company over $1.6 billion to complete the late-stage development of its COVID-19 vaccine candidate, the NVX-Co V2373.

What comes as a bigger surprise is that Novavax was initially left out of the OWS program yet today they received the biggest award from the program to date! This could mean a lot of things, but investors definitely see it as a major vote of confidence from the government and a good sign indicating the possible success of the vaccine’s early-stage trial.

Novavax’s immunogenicity and safety results are scheduled to come out by the end of July. Fingers crossed, the data support further development of the vaccine and the NVX-CoV2373 enters Phase 3 trial in October. This means that Novavax has a shot on being one of the first companies to bring a vaccine to market, maybe around early 2021.

Is TikTok Really Getting Banned?

Photo by Kon Karampelas on Unsplash

In a week filled with a lot of political and immigration events, the Trump administration is considering a national ban on Chinese social media apps, which would mean a ban on one of the fastest-growing apps of 2020, TikTok. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo mentioned that “[The ban] is something we’re looking at” in a Fox News interview with Laura Ingraham.

As tensions between the US and China rise, Trump’s attempt to ban TikTok isn’t out of the question. The administration has publicly compared TikTok to Huawei and ZTE, which both suffered very real consequences after conflicts with the US government.

The way these bans have worked in the past happens at a network level, blocking any communication between the targeted servers and users in the country. We have seen this in China and its “Great Firewall” against companies like Facebook. India also sues this approach to enforce its recently implemented TikTok ban and Australia is considering a similar approach. What makes this possible ban so important is that there is no precedent for blocking software in that way in the US, so whatever the White House’s decision is regarding this kind of heavy-handed network censorship could set a dangerous precedent for future tech companies around the world.

Android 11 Set To Launch This September

Photo by Masakaze Kawakami on Unsplash

Android 11, the next major update to Google’s mobile operating system, is likely to begin rolling out on September 8th. This date was “leaked” in a slide during a video for the company’s “Hey Google” Smart Home Summit.

In June, Google released the first Android 11 public beta and confirmed that the official launch will happen on a similar date to that of Android 10, which was early September.

Even though details are still scarce online, Android 11 will include a number of improvements such as revamped notifications for multiple messaging apps, the addition of native screen recordings and shortcuts that allow you to return to different chats, and a complete redesign on media controls.

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