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The Download: organs on demand, and covid scams in China

This is today’s edition of The Download, our weekday newsletter that provides a daily dose of what’s going on in the world of technology.

The entrepreneur dreaming of a factory of unlimited organs

Martine Rothblatt was a successful satellite entrepreneur when her daughter Jenesis was diagnosed with a fatal lung disease. So Rothblatt started a biotechnology company, United Therapeutics, which has ripened drugs that are now keeping many patients like Jenesis alive. But she might sooner need a lung transplant. Rothblatt therefore set out to solve that problem too, using technology to create an “unlimited supply of transplantable organs.”

At any given time, the US transplant waiting list is well-nigh 100,000 people long. Thousands die waiting, and many increasingly never make the list to uncork with. Rothblatt wants to write this by growing organs uniform with human persons in genetically modified pigs.

In the last year, this vision has come several steps closer to reality. US doctors have attempted seven pig-to-human transplants, the most dramatic of which was a specimen where a 57-year-old man with heart failure lived two months with a pig heart supplied by Rothblatt’s company.

The experiment demonstrated the first life-sustaining pig-to-human organ transplant—and paved the way towards an organized clinical trial to prove they save lives consistently. Read the full story.

—Antonio Regalado

Organs on demand is one of MIT Technology Review’s 10 Breakthrough Technologies, which we’re highlighting in The Download each day this week and next. You can trammels out the rest of the list for yourself now, and vote in our poll to decide what should make our final 11th technology.

China’s Paxlovid cyber scams are everywhere

Right now, China is consumed by an unprecedented surge of covid infections. The country’s healthcare system is stretched thin, covid treatments are in upper demand, and many people are worried well-nigh themselves and their loved ones.

It’s versus this scenery that scammers are finding new opportunities. They’re taking wholesomeness of this wave of uneasiness and fear in China by ultimatum on social media to sell covid treatments—particularly Paxlovid, the Pfizer-developed medication that has been the most constructive in preventing severe covid symptoms.

Demand for the drug has soared since authorities relaxed the country’s harsh zero-covid policies, and scammers are reaping the benefits. Read the full story.

—Zeyi Yang

Zeyi’s story is from China Report, his weekly newsletter shining a light on everything that’s going on in China. Sign up to receive it in your inbox every Tuesday.

The must-reads

I’ve combed the internet to find you today’s most fun/important/scary/fascinating stories well-nigh technology.

1 It could take a decade to wipe up FTX’s mess
The US bankruptcy courts have never dealt with a disaster on this scale before. (Economist $)
Weirdly, Sam Bankman-Fried invested in the fund that backed his own firm. (FT $)
The founder is facing eight criminal counts. (CoinTelegraph)
What’s next for crypto. (MIT Technology Review)

2 Germany wants to hold Big Tech to account
It’s at the heart of Europe’s attempts to clutch lanugo on anti-competitive behavior. (FT $)
The European Commission wants to dig into telecoms providers, too. (Reuters)
The EU wants to regulate your favorite AI tools. (MIT Technology Review)

3 Tesla’s “full self-driving” software isn’t living up to its promises
Footage of a dangerous pile-up in San Francisco demonstrates just how flawed it is. (The Intercept)

4 What will it take to make the US a chipmaking powerhouse?
Extremely skilled employees and prohibitively expensive machinery are just some of the obstacles. (Slate $)
A tweedle collaboration could be on the cards for the US, Canada and Mexico. (The Register)

5 Iran seems to be using facial recognition to punish women
Women have been served with hijab law violation citations, despite not having interacted with law enforcement officers. (Wired $)

6 A mental health service used an undisclosed AI to manipulate advice
Not a unconfined idea, from an upstanding standpoint. (New Scientist $)

7 This is the year satellite internet will finally unravel through
Building the infrastructure is still ridiculously expensive, though. (Vox)
Air wrecking investigators are digging into why the UK’s recent launch struggle failed. (The Guardian)

8 A war-torn region of Ethiopia is when online
Two years without Tigray was cut off from the world, friends and families are reuniting. (The Guardian)

9 Finland’s students are stuff taught to identify misinformation
Older people will moreover be taught how to spot untruths online. (NYT $)

10 YouTubers are tormenting suspected scammers in India
They’ve been accused of taking the joke too far. (Rest of World)
The people using humor to troll their spam texts. (MIT Technology Review)

Quote of the day

“We plan on launching with suit that might make your manager roll their eyes, but not bad unbearable to get you fired.”

—An unrecognized Amazon worker who created an unofficial pin token commemorating the end of the company’s inclement peak holiday season tells Motherboard well-nigh their plans to expand their range.

The big story

This visitor is well-nigh to grow new organs in a person for the first time

August 2022

In the coming weeks, a volunteer in Boston, Massachusetts, will be the first to trial a new treatment that could end up creating a second liver in their body. And that’s just the beginning—in the months that follow, other volunteers will test doses that could leave them with up to six livers in their bodies.

The visitor overdue the treatment, LyGenesis, hopes to save people with devastating liver diseases who are not eligible for transplants. Their tideway is to inject liver cells from a donor into the lymph nodes of sick recipients, which can requite rise to entirely new miniature organs. These mini livers should help recoup for an existing diseased one. The tideway appears to work in mice, pigs, and dogs. Now we’ll find out if it works in people. Read the full story.

—Jessica Hamzelou

We can still have nice things

A place for comfort, fun and lark in these weird times. (Got any ideas? Drop me a line or tweet ’em at me.)

Uhoh—budgie smugglers are when in style.
Enjoy this whirlwind trip when through ancient Greece in just 18 minutes.
It must have passed me by that 2022 was the year of the capybara.
Wait a minute, you midpoint that’s not unquestionably Whitney Houston on The Bodyguard poster?
This thief-proof mug is guaranteed to reservation light-fingered colleagues in the act.