Inside Covid-19: Adrian Gore – this is the future; Sygnia’s road to part owning world’s hot vaccine. Ep 29

In episode 29 of Inside Covid-19, a brilliant commentary by Discovery’s co-founder Adrian Gore who opens a window into our post-coronavirus future – one with plenty of bright spots; Sygnia’s founder Magda Wierzycka explains how her company became the biggest individual shareholder in Oxford University’s Covid-19 vaccine; we find out how the cruise liner industry spread and hid the coronavirus; and look at the way consumer brands are betting on whether new shopping habits are here to stay. – Alec Hogg

In the Covid-19 headlines today:

  • Global infections of the coronavirus are still on an upward curve with the total number of currently infected parents at 2.2m, with 98% of them classed as in a mild condition, but just over 50,000 described as serious or critical. According to a total of 1.4m cases have been closed with around a fifth of these – 250,000 – resulting in death and the other in full recoveries. The US recorded another 413 deaths Monday taking its total to just over 69,000 with the UK’s 288 deaths on the day the second highest of any country. There are almost a million active cases in the US with the UK second with 161,000 and a surge of 10,000 today taking Russia into third spot with 125,000 confirmed infections. China reported just 481 active cases and no deaths for the past fortnight. South Africa and Egypt are both on an upward trajectory and have the highest reported cases in Africa at just under 7,000.
  • Cape Town-headquartered Sygnia has emerged as the largest outside shareholder, with 16%, in the company which is commercialising Oxford University’s patents and inventions – including the breakthrough Covid-19 vaccine that is in human trials. On Biznews’s Rational Radio today, Sygnia founder and CEO Magda Wierzycka explained that she had been watching the tightly-held fund for some years, and moved swiftly to acquire stakes sold by asset managers which were hit by large outflows of investor funds.
  • South African president Cyril Ramaphosa says that the country’s five week lockdown dramatically reduced the number of Covid-19 infections – and related deaths. In his weekly emailed letter newsletter today, Ramaphosa compared South Africa’s experience with those of Italy and the USA: 46 days after reporting its 100th coronavirus case, South Africa has less than 7,000 infections compared with 140,000 in similarly populated Italy at the same stage of its cycle and 700,000 in the USA. But the president warned that the danger is a long way from being passed as the country has “not nearly” reached the peak of its infections.