- The single greatest contribution AI has ever made to human society…
- Google tackles the robotics industry…
- This big bank is rolling out crypto offerings…
With the recent surge in baseless fearmongering from the press, and the threat of more irrational policy making the closer we get to fall, I’m happy to share some very positive research out of Emory University in Atlanta.
The title of the research published just a few days ago pretty much says it all:
“Longitudinal analysis shows durable and broad immune memory after SARS-CoV-2 infection with persisting antibody responses and memory B and T cells”
It might be a mouthful, but to date, it is the most comprehensive research of its kind. The team at Emory, in partnership with the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, worked with 254 patients from Atlanta and Seattle who had mild to moderate symptoms of SARS-CoV-2.
The results were both conclusive and interesting.
The research demonstrated that the human immune response to SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) remained “durable and strong” for a period of more than eight months.
Not only was the immune response of those who already recovered from COVID-19 strong, it “decayed at a slower rate than previously estimated, which suggests that patients are generating longer-lived plasma cells that can neutralize the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein.”
In short, when we recover from COVID-19, we develop long lasting cellular immunity to the virus.
Also noteworthy, the results demonstrated that the participants displayed a strong immune response against common coronaviruses as well as the “original” SARS-CoV-1. The study further suggests that the patients also possess protective immunity against SARS-CoV-2 variants.
What was also interesting was that the study demonstrated that the human immune response increased with disease severity, and it also increased with each decade of age regardless of severity. There are clearly some age-related factors that we don’t yet understand about our immune systems.
The study is consistent with past research demonstrating that the immunity developed as a result of being exposed to COVID-19 is as strong or stronger, and longer-lasting, than that developed from receiving a vaccine.
The vaccines are fantastic in general, especially for the at-risk parts of the population. But research like this raises an important question… For those who have already recovered from COVID-19, is there any benefit at all to being vaccinated?
I believe this should be a personal choice, but there is no additional immunity conferred by taking the vaccine if one has already recovered from COVID-19.
Given the number of at-risk people around the world who have not yet caught COVID-19 and could benefit from the vaccine, I believe that they should be the priority for vaccination.
The team at Emory has it right. The research stated its hopes succinctly, saying, “Because the cohort will be followed for 2–3 more years, we can build on these results to define the progression to long-lived immunity against this novel human coronavirus, which can guide rational responses when future outbreaks occur.”
From my perspective, the medical community has extensive scientific research in hand to employ rational policy responses.
Setting blanket policies irrespective of prevailing scientific research, as well as each individual’s health and personal situation, makes no rational sense at all. And it can also prove to be very dangerous.
Google’s DeepMind just accelerated the coming “golden age” of biotechnology…
It hasn’t even been two weeks since Google’s DeepMind released the source code for AlphaFold2. Now it just took its contributions one step further…
We’ll back up for a minute to bring new readers up to speed. We first talked about AlphaFold last December. Created by Google’s artificial intelligence (AI) subsidiary DeepMind, AlphaFold is software that can accurately predict the folding of a protein, based solely on its amino acid sequence, with 92.4% accuracy.
Proteins are long chains of amino acids. They are responsible for every function a living organism’s body performs. In other words, proteins are the building blocks for life.
So AlphaFold2’s ability to predict protein structures could immensely improve and accelerate the drug discovery and development process. That’s why it was such big news when DeepMind released the source code. This move made the software available to the entire biotechnology industry for free.
That alone was the most significant biotech story of the year. And it just got even more exciting…
DeepMind just released a database of all the predictions AlphaFold2 has made to date. This includes its prediction for the protein structure of nearly every protein in the human body. And there are more than 20,000 of them.
DeepMind also released the database of AlphaFold2’s predictions across 20 other species. In total, it released predictions for 365,000 protein structures.
And it isn’t stopping there.
DeepMind plans to release an astounding 130 million additional protein predictions by the end of this year. This shows us how fast the AI can move. It’s going to go from 365,000 to 130 million predictions in just five months.
And the significance here is that the life sciences industry can test these predictions in the lab. Researchers can verify the correct ones, and they can update the predictions and ultimately improve accuracy.
These updates will feed back into AlphaFold2 and make it even better. That will create a virtuous cycle. The AI will learn from its mistakes and produce even more accurate predictions in the future. That in turn will enable the biotechnology industry to develop better therapies faster and cheaper than ever before. This benefits all of us.
So this is easily the single greatest contribution AI has ever made to human society.
And I’m not kidding when I say the advancements that follow in the next year or two will be absolutely extraordinary.
Existing biotech companies will use this research to make incredible progress on therapies targeting some of the most challenging diseases out there. And new companies will form to advance the new therapies leveraging these protein predictions.
In other words, the golden age for biotechnology is going to come even faster than I thought. I’m more confident than ever that we’ll cure all human disease of genetic origin within the next decade or two.
Naturally, incredible investment gains will accompany this progress. And if any readers would like to learn how to invest in this convergence of biotechnology and AI right now, then simply go right here for the details.
Google is spinning out its robotics division…
And while we’re talking about Google, the company just announced that it’s spinning out its robotics division into a new company. The company is called Intrinsic. And I think I know what Google is up to here…
For some background, Intrinsic was developed within Google’s AlphabetX program. That’s its moonshot division. It incubates new businesses on the bleeding edge of technology.
Intrinsic was developed for about five and a half years within AlphabetX. And it got a boost from Google’s acquisition of Boston Dynamics back in 2013. As a reminder, Boston Dynamics developed the robot “dog” Spot that we’ve talked about several times in these pages.
But then, Google sold Boston Dynamics to SoftBank for a profit in 2017. The industry thought this was a sign that Google was getting out of the robotics business. Clearly, that wasn’t the case.
It turns out that Google simply used Boston Dynamics to accelerate its own robotics technology. And now Intrinsic is ready to stand alone. This raises the question… What’s Google’s strategy here?
Well, we can look at Google’s self-driving division Waymo to get a good feel for what Google wants to do.
Waymo was also developed for about five years within the AlphabetX program. Then Google spun it out into its own company.
And as we’ve discussed before, Waymo isn’t interested in making its own self-driving cars. Instead, its goal is to develop the operating system for other carmakers to use. Simply put, it’s all about the software, not the hardware.
Google did a similar thing with its acquisition of the mobile phone division of Motorola. This was a critical way to acquire intellectual property for mobile phones, which factored into Google’s strategy for developing its Android OS for smartphones.
I expect Google to take the same approach with Intrinsic. I believe it is focused on developing an operating system leveraging AI and machine learning for the industrial robotics market.
The idea is that this software can be installed in robots made by other companies. This would save robotics hardware manufacturers the time and expense of software development by adopting Intrinsic’s technology.
So this is definitely something I’m watching very closely right now. I’m curious to see where Intrinsic goes, and who Google partners with in the robotics industry.
I’m also extremely curious to understand what kind of access Google will have to its partners’ data. Will Google be tracking and surveilling robotics systems in manufacturing plants and logistics centers, as it does with the rest of its business?
I think we’re going to find out…
JPMorgan’s flip-flop on cryptocurrency…
JPMorgan just became the first major bank to empower its financial advisors to offer cryptocurrency products to their clients. This is a bold yet ironic move.
Here’s Jamie Dimon – CEO of JPMorgan Chase – on bitcoin back in 2017: “If you’re stupid enough to buy it, you’ll pay the price for it one day.”
In September of that year, Dimon even called bitcoin a “fraud.” And he said that he’d “fire in a second” any employee caught trading bitcoin.
Here we are four years later, and JPMorgan has rolled out cryptocurrency offerings across the entire bank. This isn’t just for high-net-worth individuals. Anyone with a Chase account will be able to get exposure to the top crypto assets.
But there is some nuance here…
First, JPMorgan is not empowering clients to buy cryptocurrency directly.
Instead, the bank is making five different cryptocurrency funds available to them. The first four are Grayscale’s Bitcoin Trust, Grayscale’s Ethereum Trust, Bitcoin Cash Trust, and Ethereum Classic Trust. And the fifth is Osprey Funds’ Bitcoin Trust.
I’m sure JPMorgan will claim that buying these funds makes the process of getting crypto exposure easier. I disagree. It’s now incredibly easy to buy the top cryptocurrencies through top exchanges like Coinbase and even the Square Cash App.
What’s more, these funds sometimes trade at a premium to the underlying crypto assets… Particularly when demand for them is high. When that’s the case, investors are getting in at a higher price than they would if they simply bought the cryptocurrencies directly.
So one could argue that JPMorgan is not acting in its clients’ best interests here. However, this will be great for traders who can profit from the difference between the funds’ premiums and the underlying asset.
And, of course, JPMorgan stands to rake in healthy fees on each transaction as well.
And that leads us to the second nuance…
JPMorgan’s advisors cannot market these funds to clients. Instead, they can only offer them when a client asks about getting cryptocurrency exposure.
This is for liability reasons. Because cryptocurrencies are considered “risky” assets, JPMorgan wants to avoid a scenario where advisors pitch the funds and then they go down, which could potentially lead to lawsuits.
Of course, this also comes into play when the funds trade at a premium. If advisors were to pitch the funds while they were more expensive than the underlying assets, that could be a liability concern as well.
The fact that JPMorgan is being so cautious here tells us that it knows these offerings aren’t always going to be in their clients’ best interests.
That said, this is a big step for the cryptocurrency market. No doubt we will see more banks follow suit.
Bigger picture – this is another sign that the industry is coming of age right before our eyes. Cryptocurrencies and digital assets are going mainstream…
And if you want to learn my latest investment recommendations in the crypto space, you can go right here for all the details.
Editor, The Bleeding Edge
P.S. There’s just a short time left to catch the replay of last Wednesday’s Outlier Investments Summit.
As I’ve been telling investors, there’s a “glitch” in the stock market that can predict when individual stocks are about to rally… Even days or weeks ahead of time. And my research spotted 17,000 chances for you to double your money or more using this glitch.
During my summit, I shared how to take advantage of this opportunity… Including the name and ticker of one top “glitch” stock viewers can buy right away.
It’ll only be up for a few more days, so if you haven’t already, please go right here to watch.
Like what you’re reading? Send your thoughts to [email protected].