BITPOINT Launches Japanese Weeks for Crypto Users in Latin America

BITPOINT Latam is continuing to expand its services in Latin America, a market that is seeing rapid growth in cryptocurrency adoption. BITPOINT’s executives have stated that their recent focus on the Japanese market is part of their plan to increase education and commercial activity in the cryptocurrency space.

Featured Image for BITPOINT Latam

Featured Image for BITPOINT Latam

MEDELLÍN, Colombia, Dec. 26, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — BITPOINT Latam, with its origins from JFSA-licensed BITPOINT Japan, launched Japanese Weeks for its crypto users in Latin America, a period of education and commercial activities aimed at promoting the use, trading, and development of new cryptocurrency-based products in Latin America.

According to the latest Chainalysis’ Global Adoption report, Latin America is one of the fastest-growing regions in terms of crypto adoption. Remittances, Investment and hedging from inflation and local currencies devaluations are driving crypto adoption in the region. Venezuela, Argentina, Colombia, Brazil and Ecuador are the countries with the highest use of crypto in Latin America.

“Our Japanese Weeks are aimed to build the necessary knowledge and crypto culture for the development of the industry in Latin America. The adoption is evolving fast because Bitcoin and other crypto assets have the fundamentals to help people to hedge from the structural failures of the archaic Latin America’s financial system. It is time to build a brand new way of banking for emerging markets and Latin America is the perfect scenario for that,” said Julian Geovo, Operations Director of BITPOINT for Latin America.

BITPOINT’s Japanese Weeks will run from Dec. 26 to Jan. 31.

BITPOINT landed in Panama in 2018 and started its regional expansion in Latin America. BITPOINT Latam is currently the most widespread cryptocurrency exchange in the region, with active operations in Colombia, Panama, Ecuador, Peru, Guatemala, El Salvador, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay.

“We are proud of our Japanese heritage. The strong operational know-how and compliance policies have helped us to become the crypto exchange with the largest presence in Latin America. We are currently working with local regulators to make crypto safe for users and transparent for authorities in this side of the world, too. We thank our Japanese partners BITPOINT and its Tokyo stock exchange listed mother company, Remixpoint Inc, including distinguished directors Genki Oda, Yoshihiko Takahashi and Yuji Nakagomi for all their support,” added Geovo.

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China to End Quarantine on Arrival in Fresh COVID Rule Relaxation

China said Monday it would scrap mandatory quarantine on arrival, further unwinding years of strict virus controls as the country battles a surge in cases.
Having mostly cut itself off from the rest of the world during the pandemic, China is now experiencing an unprecedented surge in infections after abruptly lifting restrictions that torpedoed the economy and sparked nationwide protests.
And in a sudden end to nearly three years of strict border controls, Beijing said late Monday it would scrap mandatory quarantines for overseas travelers.
Since March 2020, all passengers arriving in China have had to undergo mandatory centralized quarantine. This decreased from three weeks to one week this summer, and to five days last month.
But under new rules that will take effect January 8, when COVID-19 will be downgraded to a Class B infectious disease from Class A, they will no longer need to.
“According to the national health quarantine law, infectious disease quarantine measures will no longer be taken against inbound travelers and goods,” the National Health Commission (NHC) said.
The move is likely to be greeted with joy from Chinese citizens and diaspora unable to return and see relatives for much of the pandemic.
But it comes as China faces a wave of cases that studies have estimated could kill around one million people over the next few months.
Many are now grappling with shortages of medicine, while emergency medical facilities are strained by an influx of undervaccinated elderly patients.
“At present, COVID-19 prevention and control in China are facing a new situation and new tasks,” President Xi Jinping said in a directive Monday, according to state broadcaster CCTV.
“We should launch the patriotic health campaign in a more targeted way… fortify a community line of defense for epidemic prevention and control, and effectively protect people’s lives, safety and health,” he said.
‘Impossible’ to track
Hospitals and crematoriums across the country have been overflowing with COVID patients and victims, while the NHC on Sunday announced it would stop publishing daily nationwide infection and death statistics.
That decision followed concerns that the country’s wave of infections is not being accurately reflected in official statistics.
Beijing has admitted the scale of the outbreak has become “impossible” to track following the end of mandatory mass testing.
And last week, the government narrowed the criteria by which COVID-19 fatalities were counted — a move experts said would suppress the number of deaths attributable to the virus.
The winter surge comes ahead of two major public holidays next month, in which millions of people are expected to travel to their hometowns to reunite with relatives.
Authorities are expecting the virus to hit under-resourced rural areas hard, and on Monday called for the guaranteed supply of drugs and medical treatment during New Year’s Day and late January’s week-long Lunar New Year holiday.
In recent days, health officials in the wealthy coastal province Zhejiang estimated that one million residents were being infected per day.
The coastal city of Qingdao also predicted roughly 500,000 new daily infections and the southern manufacturing city of Dongguan eyed up to 300,000.
Unofficial surveys and modelling based on search engine terms suggest that the wave may have already peaked in some major cities like Beijing and Chongqing.
A poll of over 150,000 residents of the southwestern province of Sichuan organized by disease control officials showed that 63% had tested positive for COVID, and estimated that infections peaked Friday.
Only six COVID deaths have been officially reported since Beijing unwound most of its restrictions earlier this month.
But crematorium workers interviewed by AFP have reported an unusually high influx of bodies, while hospitals have said they are tallying multiple fatalities per day, as emergency wards fill up.
The main funeral service center in the southern metropolis of Guangzhou postponed all ceremonies until January 10 to focus on cremations due to the “large workload,” according to a notice published online Sunday.
China’s censors and mouthpieces have been working overtime to spin the decision to scrap strict travel curbs, quarantines and snap lockdowns as a victory, even as cases soar.

Source: Voice of America

Long COVID: Could Mono Virus or Fat Cells Be Playing Roles?

A British historian, an Italian archaeologist and an American preschool teacher have never met in person, but they share a prominent pandemic bond.
Plagued by eerily similar symptoms, the three women are credited with describing, naming and helping bring long COVID into the public’s consciousness in early 2020.
Rachel Pope, of Liverpool, took to Twitter in late March 2020 to describe her bedeviling symptoms, then unnamed, after a coronavirus infection. Elisa Perego in Italy first used the term “long COVID,” in a May tweet that year. Amy Watson in Portland, Oregon, got inspiration in naming her Facebook support group from the trucker cap she’d been wearing, and “long hauler” soon became part of the pandemic lexicon.
Nearly three years into the pandemic, scientists are still trying to figure out why some people get long COVID and why a small portion — including the three women — have lasting symptoms.
Millions of people worldwide have had long COVID, reporting various symptoms including fatigue, lung problems, and brain fog and other neurological symptoms. Evidence suggests most recover substantially within a year, but recent data show that it has contributed to more than 3,500 U.S. deaths.
Here’s some of the latest evidence:
Women more at risk?
Many studies and anecdotal evidence suggest that women are more likely than men to develop long COVID.
There could be biological reasons.
Women’s immune systems generally mount stronger reactions to viruses, bacteria, parasites and other germs, noted Sabra Klein, a Johns Hopkins professor who studies immunity.
Women are also much more likely than men to have autoimmune diseases, where the body mistakenly attacks its own healthy cells. Some scientists believe long COVID could result from an autoimmune response triggered by the virus.
Women’s bodies also tend to have more fat tissue and emerging research suggests the coronavirus may hide in fat after infection. Scientists also are studying whether women’s fluctuating hormone levels may increase the risks.
Another possible factor: Women are more likely than men to seek health care and often more attuned to changes in their bodies, Klein noted.
“I don’t think we should ignore that,” she said. Biology and behavior are probably both at play, Klein said.
It may thus be no coincidence that it was three women who helped shine the first light on long COVID.
Pope, 46, started chronicling what she was experiencing in March 2020: flu-like symptoms, then her lungs, heart and joints were affected. After a month she started having some “OK” days, but symptoms persisted.
She and some similarly ill colleagues connected with Perego on Twitter. “We started sort of coming together because it was literally the only place where we could do that,” Pope said. “In 2020, we would joke that we’d get together for Christmas and have a party,” Pope said. “Then obviously it went on, and I think we stopped joking.”
Watson started her virtual long haulers group that April. The others soon learned of that nickname and embraced it.
Mono virus
Several studies suggest the ubiquitous Epstein-Barr virus could play a role in some cases of long COVID.
Inflammation caused by coronavirus infection can activate herpes viruses, which remain in the body after causing an acute infection, said Dr. Timothy Henrich, a virus expert at the University of California, San Francisco.
Epstein-Barr virus is among the most common of these herpes viruses: An estimated 90% of the U.S. population has been infected with it. The virus can cause mononucleosis or symptoms that may be dismissed as a cold.
Henrich is among researchers who have found immune markers signaling Epstein-Barr reactivation in the blood of long COVID patients, particularly those with fatigue.
Not all long COVID patients have these markers. But it’s possible that Epstein-Barr is causing symptoms in those who do, although scientists say more study is needed.
Some scientists also believe that Epstein-Barr triggers chronic fatigue syndrome, a condition that bears many similarities to long COVID, but that also is unproven.
Obesity is a risk factor for severe COVID-19 infections and scientists are trying to understand why.
Stanford University researchers are among those who have found evidence that the coronavirus can infect fat cells. In a recent study, they found the virus and signs of inflammation in fat tissue taken from people who had died from COVID.
Lab tests showed that the virus can reproduce in fat tissue. That raises the possibility that fat tissue could serve as a “reservoir,” potentially fueling long COVID.
Could removing fat tissue treat or prevent some cases of long COVID? It’s a tantalizing question, but the research is preliminary, said Dr. Catherine Blish, a Stanford infectious diseases professor and a senior author of the study.
Scientists at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center are studying leptin, a hormone produced by fat cells that can influence the body’s immune response and promote inflammation.
They plan to study whether injections of a manufactured antibody could reduce leptin levels — and in turn inflammation from coronavirus infections or long COVID.
“We have a good scientific basis together with some preliminary data to argue that we might be on the right track,” said Dr. Philipp Scherer.
It has been estimated that about 30% of people infected with the coronavirus will develop long COVID, based on data from earlier in the pandemic.
Most people who have lingering, recurrent or new symptoms after infection will recover after about three months. Among those with symptoms at three months, about 15% will continue to have symptoms for at least nine more months, according to a recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Figuring out who’s at risk for years-long symptoms “is such a complicated question,” said Dr. Lawrence Purpura, an infectious disease expert at Columbia University.
Those with severe infections seem to be more at risk for long COVID, although it can also affect people with mild infections. Those whose infections cause severe lung damage including scarring may experience breathlessness, coughing or fatigue for more than a year. And a smaller group of patients with mild initial COVID-19 infections may develop neurologic symptoms for more than a year, including chronic fatigue and brain fog, Purpura said.
“The majority of patients will eventually recover,” he said. “It’s important for people to know that.”
It’s small consolation for the three women who helped the world recognize long COVID.
Perego, 44, developed heart, lung and neurologic problems and remains seriously ill.
She knows that scientists have learned a lot in a short time, but she says “there is a gap” between long COVID research and medical care.
“We need to translate scientific knowledge into better treatment and policy,” she said.
Watson, approaching 50, says she has “never had any kind of recovery.” She has had severe migraines, plus digestive, nerve and foot problems. Recently she developed severe anemia.
She wishes the medical community had a more organized approach to treating long COVID. Doctors say not knowing the underlying cause or causes makes that difficult.
“I just want my life back,” Watson said, “and it’s not looking like that’s all that possible.”

Source: Voice of America

ROK’s President Yoon pledges ‘strong help’ in dialogue with future scientists

President of the Republic of Korea Yoon Suk Yeol and first lady Kim Keon Hee on Dec. 22 congratulated and encouraged recipients of a presidential science scholarship and winners of the International Science Olympiad in a “dialogue with future scientists.”
The Office of the President said the chief executive and his wife awarded certificates and medals to the scholarship students and commemorative medals and prizes to the Olympiad honorees.
In a congratulatory speech, the president said, “The free and convenient lives that we now lead is thanks to senior scientists who never gave up despite numerous trials and errors and ceaselessly pursued their own paths,” adding, “Please continue the challenge of pursuing your dreams.”
“Science develops when freedom and creativity bloom,” he added, stressing the importance of freedom of research, fairness of evaluation and proper compensation.
President Yoon also announced support for promising human resources in science, saying, “The government will be a stronger supporter of future scientists.”
The presidential office said the students freely asked the presidential couple about their dreams, ambitions, worries and interests in an informal dialogue.
Attending the event were 140 university freshmen and juniors who received the science scholarship, 44 middle and high school students who won events at the Olympiad, and nine group leaders from the tournament.

Source: Lao News Agency

Junshi Biosciences and Hikma Sign Exclusive Licensing Agreement for Cancer Treatment Drug Toripalimab for the Middle East and North Africa Region

SHANGHAI, China, Dec. 26, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Shanghai Junshi Biosciences Co., Ltd (“Junshi Biosciences”, HKEX: 1877; SSE: 688180), a leading innovation-driven biopharmaceutical company dedicated to the discovery, development, and commercialization of novel therapies, today announces a new exclusive licensing and commercialization agreement with Hikma Pharmaceuticals PLC (Hikma), a multinational pharmaceutical company, for toripalimab in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). Under the terms of the agreement, Hikma is granted an exclusive license to develop and commercialize toripalimab injection in all its MENA markets. In addition, Junshi Biosciences will grant the right of first negotiation to Hikma for the future commercialization of three under development drugs in MENA.

Toripalimab is an innovative anti-PD-1 monoclonal antibody approved for marketing in China for six indications to date. Over thirty toripalimab clinical studies covering more than fifteen indications have been conducted globally, including in China, the United States, Southeast Asia, and Europe. Ongoing or completed pivotal clinical studies evaluating the safety and efficacy of toripalimab cover a broad range of tumor types including cancers of the lung, nasopharynx, esophagus, stomach, bladder, breast, liver, kidney and skin, among others.

“We believe Hikma is the ideal partner for us in the MENA region. As the third largest pharmaceutical company in MENA, with a history of more than 40 years, Hikma is well established and respected and offers deep-rooted expertise, with unparalleled local knowledge. The company has also demonstrated strong commercial capabilities, particularly in areas such as oncology and biotechnology,” said Dr. Ning LI, CEO of Junshi Biosciences. “We anticipate that toripalimab could be the first marketed Chinese anti-PD-1 antibody in MENA. We look forward to working closely with Hikma to establish toripalimab’s position in the MENA markets in order to provide patients with high-quality innovative care.”

Commenting on this landmark agreement, Mazen Darwazeh, Hikma’s Executive Vice Chairman and President of MENA, said: “Anti-PD-1s have changed the way cancer is treated over the past few years but, unfortunately, patient access to these treatments in the region has been sub-optimal. Toripalimab has a compelling clinical profile with impressive efficacy and safety data, and we are thrilled to be collaborating with Junshi Biosciences to equip doctors and patients in MENA with this innovative treatment.” He added, “This agreement strengthens our biotech and oncology portfolio and enables us to increase patients’ access to PD-1s, an important milestone in delivering on our purpose of putting better health, within reach, every day.”

As part of this collaboration, Hikma is granted rights to commercialize any combination product that comprises any therapeutically active pharmaceutical agent co-formulated or co-packaged with toripalimab. Junshi Biosciences further grants Hikma the right of first negotiation to three of the company’s novel oncology molecules.

About Toripalimab

Toripalimab is an anti-PD-1 monoclonal antibody developed for its ability to block PD-1 interactions with its ligands, PD-L1 and PD-L2, and for enhanced receptor internalization (endocytosis function). Blocking PD-1 interactions with PD-L1 and PD-L2 promotes the immune system’s ability to attack and kill tumor cells.

More than thirty company-sponsored toripalimab clinical studies covering more than fifteen indications have been conducted globally by Junshi Biosciences, including in China, the United States, Southeast Asia, and European countries. Ongoing or completed pivotal clinical trials evaluating the safety and efficacy of toripalimab cover a broad range of tumor types including cancers of the lung, nasopharynx, esophagus, stomach, bladder, breast, liver, kidney and skin.

In China, toripalimab was the first domestic anti-PD-1 monoclonal antibody approved for marketing (approved in China as TUOYI®). Currently, there are six approved indications for toripalimab in China:

  1. unresectable or metastatic melanoma after failure of standard systemic therapy;
  2. recurrent or metastatic NPC after failure of at least two lines of prior systemic therapy;
  3. locally advanced or metastatic urothelial carcinoma that failed platinum-containing chemotherapy or progressed within 12 months of neoadjuvant or adjuvant platinum-containing chemotherapy;
  4. in combination with cisplatin and gemcitabine as the first-line treatment for patients with locally recurrent or metastatic NPC;
  5. in combination with paclitaxel and cisplatin in first-line treatment of patients with unresectable locally advanced/recurrent or distant metastatic ESCC;
  6. in combination with pemetrexed and platinum as the first-line treatment in EGFR mutation-negative and ALK mutation-negative, unresectable, locally advanced or metastatic non-squamous non-small cell lung cancer (“NSCLC”).

The first three indications have been included in the National Reimbursement Drug List (NRDL) (2021 Edition). Toripalimab is the only anti-PD-1 monoclonal antibody included in the NRDL for treatment of melanoma and NPC.

In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is reviewing the Biologics License Application (BLA) resubmission for toripalimab in combination with gemcitabine and cisplatin as first-line treatment for patients with advanced recurrent or metastatic NPC and for toripalimab monotherapy for the second-line or later treatment of recurrent or metastatic NPC after platinum-containing chemotherapy. The FDA has granted Breakthrough Therapy designations for toripalimab in combination with chemotherapy for the first-line treatment of recurrent or metastatic NPC as well as for toripalimab monotherapy in the second or third-line treatment of recurrent or metastatic NPC. Additionally, the FDA has granted Fast Track designation for toripalimab for the treatment of mucosal melanoma and Orphan Drug designations for the treatment of esophageal cancer, NPC, mucosal melanoma, soft tissue sarcoma, and small cell lung cancer (SCLC).

In Europe, marketing authorization applications (MAA) were submitted to the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the United Kingdom’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) in November 2022 for: 1) toripalimab combined with cisplatin and gemcitabine for the first-line treatment of patients with locally recurrent or metastatic NPC and 2) toripalimab combined with paclitaxel and cisplatin for the first-line treatment of patients with unresectable locally advanced/recurrent or metastatic ESCC. In December 2022, the EMA accepted the MAA.

About Hikma
(LSE: HIK) (NASDAQ Dubai: HIK) (OTC: HKMPY) (rated BBB-/stable S&P and BBB-/stable Fitch)

Hikma helps put better health within reach every day for millions of people around the world. For more than 40 years, we’ve been creating high-quality medicines and making them accessible to the people who need them. Headquartered in the UK, we are a global company with a local presence across North America, the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and Europe, and we use our unique insight and expertise to transform cutting-edge science into innovative solutions that transform people’s lives. We’re committed to our customers, and the people they care for, and by thinking creatively and acting practically, we provide them with a broad range of branded and non-branded generic medicines. Together, our 8,700 colleagues are helping to shape a healthier world that enriches all our communities. We are a leading licensing partner, and through our venture capital arm, are helping bring innovative health technologies to people around the world. For more information, please visit:

About Junshi Biosciences
Founded in December 2012, Junshi Biosciences (HKEX: 1877; SSE: 688180) is an innovation-driven biopharmaceutical company dedicated to the discovery, development, and commercialization of innovative therapeutics. The company has established a diversified R&D pipeline comprising over 50 drug candidates, with five therapeutic focus areas covering cancer, autoimmune, metabolic, neurological, and infectious diseases. Junshi Biosciences was the first Chinese pharmaceutical company that obtained marketing approval for anti-PD-1 monoclonal antibody in China. Its first-in-human anti-BTLA monoclonal antibody for the treatment of various cancers was the first in the world to be approved for clinical trials by the FDA and NMPA and has since entered Phase Ib/II trials in both China and the US. Its anti-PCSK9 monoclonal antibody was the first in China to be approved for clinical trials by the NMPA.

In the face of the pandemic, Junshi Biosciences’ response was strong and immediate, joining forces with Chinese and international scientific research institutions and enterprises to develop an arsenal of drug candidates to combat COVID-19, taking the initiative to shoulder the social responsibility of Chinese pharmaceutical companies by prioritizing and accelerating COVID-19 R&D. Among the many drug candidates is JS016 (etesevimab), China’s first neutralizing fully human monoclonal antibody against SARS-CoV-2 and the result of the combined efforts of Junshi Biosciences, the Institute of Microbiology of the Chinese Academy of Science and Lilly. JS016 administered with bamlanivimab has been granted Emergency Use Authorizations (EUA) in over 15 countries and regions worldwide. As of December 3 2021, over 700,000 patients have been treated with bamlanivimab or bamlanivimab and etesevimab, potentially preventing more than 35,000 hospitalizations and at least 14,000 deaths. Meanwhile, VV116, a new oral nucleoside analog anti-SARS-CoV-2 drug designed to hinder virus replication, is in global Phase III clinical trials. A Phase III clinical study (NCT05341609) comparing the efficacy and safety of VV116 versus nirmatrelvir/ritonavir (“PAXLOVID”) for patients with mild to moderate COVID-19 who are at high risk for progression to severe COVID-19, has reached its pre-specified primary endpoint and secondary efficacy endpoint. The study results show that compared to PAXLOVID, VV116 provided patients with a shorter median time to sustained clinical recovery, while achieving statistical superiority. The JS016 and VV116 programs are a part of the company’s continuous innovation for disease control and prevention of the global pandemic.

Junshi Biosciences has more than 3,100 employees in the United States (San Francisco and Maryland) and China (Shanghai, Suzhou, Beijing, Guangzhou, etc). For more information, please visit:

Junshi Biosciences Contact Information
IR Team:
Junshi Biosciences
+ 86 021-6105 8800

PR Team:
Junshi Biosciences
Zhi Li
+ 86 021-6105 8800

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