SoftBank claims to have tested 44,000 people in Japan for Covid-19 antibodies

SoftBank claims to have tested 44,000 people in Japan for Covid-19 antibodies

To fight another possible a wave of cases, “various tests are needed to ensure the safety of our employees and society so that we can find a exit strategy as quickly as possible,” SoftBank founder and CEO Masayoshi Son said during a live event. in Tuesday. He warned that a vaccine against the virus could not be mass-produced until “mid-next year”.

SoftBank (SFTBY) on Tuesday said of the 44,066 people he tested for Covid-19 antibodies, 191 were positive. Among SoftBank staff, only 0.04% of employees working in SoftBank’s mobile operator stores tested positive, a number of Son said was surprising. The percentage of positive tests among employees in the offices and call centers of the Japanese company was slightly higher, although not much: about 0.2% and 0.4%, respectively.
Son said he decided to use antibody tests because they could be done safely, extensively and quickly. But some experts beware that there are still too many unknowns for the accuracy of the available antibody tests and for the nature of the virus itself.

Dozens of such tests are currently being used or being developed in the United States, for example but few are very accurate. This means that they cannot detect an active virus, thus providing a false sense of security.

In China, a study From the diagnostic tests it was found that the number of delivered false negatives is close to 40%.
Other experts warn that reading antibody tests could create new problems, including discrimination in the workplace, or people who deliberately try to become infected so that they can return to work sooner. One doctor told CNN that the latest problem is equivalent to “plays russian roulette. “
However, other Japanese companies have said they will offer antibody testing until they reopen. Rizap, a fitness operator, said he would offer 6,500 free tests to staff, trainers and gym members. And Suntory (STBFY) CEO Takeshi Niinami told CNN that more antibody tests are needed to make sure it is safe to resume business.
Meanwhile, the son has been worried about the coronavirus pandemic for months. The Japanese billionaire ended a long silence on Twitter in early March with publication says, “It’s been a long time since the tweet. I’m worried about the situation of the new coronavirus.”
SoftBank doubled the salary of the head of the Vision Fund, as the company reported a record loss

By then, the pandemic was already wreaking havoc on Son’s business. The collapse in travel and restrictions on blocking around the world have been catastrophic for many of the start-ups he backed with his $ 100 billion Vision Fund. The fund suffered operating losses of nearly $ 18 billion for the final year ended in March, dragging SoftBank to its worst annual loss to date.

The pandemic also hit Japan’s economy hard as the country stopped blocking to prevent the disease from spreading. The Japanese government has deployed an incentive package worth about 234 trillion yen ($ 2.2 trillion) – a staggering amount equal to almost 40% of the annual output of the world’s third largest economy.

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