FOR MEMBERS

Today in Switzerland: A roundup of the latest news on Thursday

Could cryptocurrency be “constitutionalized” In Switzerland?
A Swiss group wants to launch a referendum to enshrine the bitcoin in the country’s constitution. Photo by Jürg Kradolfer on Unsplash
Find out what's going on today in Switzerland with The Local's short roundup of the news.

A new Covid vaccine under development in Basel

Chemist and biotech entrepreneur Vladimir Cmiljanovic is developing the second-generation coronavirus vaccine in a project funded  by the canton and Basel University Hospital. .

His start-up, Rocketvax, is creating a vaccine with a prolonged immune response. “We want to obtain protection for at least two years,” Cmiljanovic said. That would be one year longer that present-day Covid vaccines are believed to offer.

Unlike Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, which are based on the mRNA technology, or Johnson & Johnson’s viral vector, Rocketvax’s will contain small amounts of pathogens capable of reproducing themselves in reduced amounts, causing the immune system to produce antibodies and neutralising immune cells.

Cmiljanovic said he is expecting to submit his vaccine for authorisation by the end of 2022.

READ MORE: Switzerland: Who is eligible for the Johnson and Johnson vaccine?

Swiss group trying to “constitutionalise” cryptocurrency

A Swiss non-profit think-tank, 2B4CH, is planning to launch a referendum to enshrine Bitcoin in the country’s constitution.

As in any citizen-driven initiative, the group has to collect 100,000 signatures in order for the issue to be considered for the national vote.

“We are not too optimistic about getting a law actually passed, but the goal is to get 100,000 signatures to open a public conversation and debate”, 2B4CH said on social media.

Consumers beware: something “fishy” is going on at Migros and Coop

Both supermarket chains carry a low-cost line of products, M-Budget and Prix Garantie, respectively, which are supposed to be cheaper than “regular” brands.

However, the Consumer Foundation has discovered that there are no differences, except for packaging and price, between  the discounted and regular products.

One example are frozen fish sticks, which appear to be the same — right down to the manufacturer and package size — in both discounted and non-discounted lines, except for the price.

The same applies to other products as well.

For its part, Migros admitted that in many cases the products are “identical in terms of recipe. The price difference is due to the packaging.”

Consumer Foundation’s Josianne Walpen noted the retailers  “are deliberately tricking customers into believing that there are quality differences between these products”.

“We do not know the extent of this deception. Maybe this is just the tip of the iceberg”, she said.

Switzerland creates infrastructure to track down Covid variants

The Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics announced that all the genetic sequences of the virus collected in Switzerland are now centralised on the Swiss Pathogen Surveillance Platform (SPSP), making it possible to provide the Federal Office of Public Health with “an overall view of the distribution and emergence of variants in an automated manner” .

More rapid sharing of Swiss sequences to international databases will also serve to speed up research on vaccines and treatments.

“The sequences come from almost all of the Swiss cantons. This is excellent news, because it means that new variants are unlikely to go under the radar”, according to Aitana Lebrand, who is in charge of  the SPSP platform.

If you have any questions about life in Switzerland, ideas for articles or news tips for The Local, please get in touch with us at [email protected]


Member comments

Become a Member to leave a comment.Or login here.