Joaquín Dopazo is leading a project that uses a machine learning algorithm to identify proteins involved in the illness and cross match this information with a database of drugs used to treat other conditions. “We checked if some of the proteins detected are therapeutic targets of other medications approved for other uses, and we concluded that these treatments could act on the mechanisms that COVID-19 uses to cause harm,” says the researcher, who in 2018 won a BBVA Foundation team grant in the Big Data category.
Life and Culture
Life and Culture
There was no spider bite, fear of bats, Planet Krypton birth or iron suit needed for a group of BBVA Superheroes to rise to a unique challenge. That challenge? Continuing branch operations in a time when finances are at the center of a never-before-seen crisis.
Economies around the world have never experienced a halt in activity as drastic as the current economic standstill caused by COVID-19. The new normality, as the experts have coined it, has brought with it a feeling of global fellowship in which all countries are fighting together to overcome this difficult experience.
Falsehood, lie, fallacy, insidiousness, post-truth. There are a multitude of synonyms to refer to the term that continues to fill social networks and the media: ‘fake news’.
Laura Lechuga, research professor at Spain's National Scientific Research Council (CSIC) and group leader in the Catalan Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (ICN2), is heading up the ambitious CoNVaT project. CoNVat aims to produce a rapid, inexpensive, and highly sensitive test for diagnosing COVID-19 from the first day of infection. “It won't only indicate if the virus is present or not, but it will also reveal its concentration. This is important because it gives an idea about how advanced the infection is,” she explains. The new test should be ready in less than a year, in time for future waves of the pandemic.
What does a company bring to society? What role does it play? Why does a brand exist? These questions can be answered in many ways, each answer hinting at the company’s “what for”, the reason that drives it and defines how it engages with society, its purpose.
In an interview published by the financial newspaper Expansión, BBVA’s CEO explains what the coronavirus crisis has been like for him, and how the bank has adapted its operations to continue providing customers the same service. “It is very rewarding to see how our teams have adjusted to the challenges posed by this scenario,” he said. Onur Genç thinks the crisis is going to have a major impact on the economy and businesses, and that now is the time "when we - the banks – need to stand by our customers more than ever before, and be part of the solution to this crisis."
The ‘RRSSalud’ project is researching the dynamics and types of fake news regarding coronavirus on social networks, thus helping to alleviate the negative effects of this health crisis. Coordinated by the researcher Ramón Salaverría, the initiative is part of the BBVA Foundation’s 2019 program to assist scientific research teams in economics and digital society. One of the first conclusions of the study has determined that one-third of current fake news stories refer to the health crisis contain health or scientific content.
In many ways, the coronavirus crisis marks a turning point in human behavior. One of the lessons this pandemic is teaching us is the essential need to change the way we interact with nature. “We will open the door to new pandemics if we continue maintaining a toxic relationship with nature,” states the ecologist Pedro Jordano. For the secretary of the jury for the BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge in Ecology and Conservation Biology, biodiversity “works like a shock absorber”. If it is altered, “it leads to all kinds of problems,” like the spread of COVID-19.
Nearly two months after Spain declared a state of emergency due to the coronavirus crisis, the population has slowly begun to adapt to the lifting of some lockdown restrictions amid lots of questions and fear of a new outbreak. In an initiative promoted by the BBVA Foundation, Dr. Jordi Vila, the Head of Microbiology Services at the Hospital Clínic in Barcelona, gave a videoconference for BBVA employees to answer some of these questions. Among his responses regarding how to return to work in a safe manner, he indicated that “massive testing would be ideal, but it’s impossible from a logistical standpoint,” in his opinion.