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Daily Digest | Breathe easy

Written by The Uptake Published on   2 mins read

Two startups in Indonesia make testing for COVID-19 easier than before.

Hi there. It’s Brady again.

You might be Didi’d out. A lot of people lost money in the past two days, and at least two law firms in the United States are corralling clients for class-action lawsuits. There are feelings of anger and betrayal going around, and if the cases reach courtrooms, there will be more to follow.

Over in Indonesia, something more serious—and immediate—is taking place. The delta variant is ripping through some parts of the country. New daily confirmed cases are climbing. You can guess what else is happening: hospitals are packed, people are being turned away from medical facilities, and some crucial supplies are becoming scarce.

In this chaos, there was a positive development. As my colleague Khamila wrote yesterday, two biotech startups in Indonesia, Nalagenetics and Nusantics, developed PCR test kits that are easy to use and can detect COVID-19 in saliva samples, making them easier to administer and more comfortable than nasal and throat swab tests. They’re also cheaper than other tests on the market, and are expected to be a useful addition to testing and tracing efforts.

Meanwhile, scalpers are taking advantage of intense demand for life-saving provisions, like oxygen canisters. In some cases, prices were hiked to 1,000% their normal levels, while e-commerce marketplaces like Tokopedia, Shopee, and Bukalapak are hunting down profiteers one by one to remove listings or even ban sellers if they step out of line. The whac-a-mole continues.

There’s plenty wrong with what’s going on, but we hope you persevere. We hope you and your loved ones are staying safe and finding meaningful ways to get through these difficult times.

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