Friday, June 14, 2024

Did a Dead Monkey Brain spread Herpes Virus?

Elon Musk seems to be on the wrong side of things, so often. Now his company dealing in brain implants, Neuralink Corp is being investigated for procedural violations. The US Transportation Department holds the start-up for being a violator in the shipping of hazardous materials.

The allegation around Musk’s company

The group has alleged that the start-up Neuralink had been using contaminated devices from primates who have been sick. However, the transportation norms had not been followed in the year 2019 while dealing with these things.  The source of such allegation has been a string of emails that reveals correspondence among staff of Neuralink and employees at University of California in Davis. In 2019, Neuralink was working in contract with UC Davis in relation to primate research. However, over the next few years, the start-up has developed in-house setups for primate research.

Inside deets

A wing of the Transportation Department, Pipelines and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration has issued a statement saying, “We are conducting an investigation to ensure that Neuralink is in full compliance with federal regulations and keeping their workers and the public safe from potentially dangerous pathogens.” However, no comment on any such investigation has been received from the firm’s end.

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Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine is the animals’ rights group responsible for bringing this investigation to light. It believes that it has information on how a dead monkey’s brain had been transported sans the right measures in 2019. As a result, there could be chances of spread of the dangerous herpes virus. The group stated, “This is an exposure to anyone coming in contact with the contaminated explanted hardware and we are making a big deal about this because we are concerned for human safety.”

Neuralink Corporation has been a well-known and much talked about neuro-technology company focusing on the development of implantable brain to computer interfaces. It is based in California.  Elon Musk has built the company with a founding team comprising of engineers and scientists in 2016.

A note on neuralink

The company envisions a time when a person could potentially control devices such as a mouse, keyboard and even other computer-related functions using just thoughts. In 2021, Musk had tweeted, “First @Neuralink product will enable someone with paralysis to use a smartphone with their mind faster than someone using thumbs.”  The company has a vision that the devices it makes will restore the neural activity in a body even in case of spinal cord-related injuries. It is also said to be innovating around cure for dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Neuralink has been testing its tech on animals successfully.

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Satarupa Bhattacharya
Satarupa Bhattacharya
Satarupa B. Kaur has been writing professionally since a decade now. Always on the go; she loves to travel, books, playtime with her toddler--as she explores new places, amazing food and anything tech!

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