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Russia Shuts Off Gas Supply to Poland, Bulgaria; Trevor Reed Released from Russia in Prisoner Swap; Video Shows Russian Forces on Streets Strewn with Civilian Bodies; Fears in Kherson over "Sham" Independence Referendum; Mass COVID-19 Testing in Beijing; Explosions Just Inside Russia; Interview with Defense Minister Peter Hultqvist on Sweden's NATO Status; Researchers Use VR to Speed Search for New Antibiotics. Aired 10-10:40a ET
Aired April 27, 2022 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ELENI GIOKOS, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Out in the cold: Gazprom cuts it natural gas supply lines to Poland and Bulgaria. The move
is part of Russia's response to sanctions from the West.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR (voice-over): "We are completely occupied," she says. "There is no food, no money. We have
nothing. They will do a referendum and take our children."
GIOKOS (voice-over): Kherson residents are fleeing to central Ukraine as Russia intensifies its offensive. Nick Paton Walsh speaks to some of them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GIOKOS (voice-over): Plus, in danger of spiraling out of control, mass COVID testing in Beijing has sparked fears that the city may be placed
under a strict lockdown like Shanghai.
GIOKOS: I'm Eleni Giokos in Abu Dhabi. Hello and welcome to CONNECT THE WORLD. We will get the latest on the ground in Ukraine in just a moment.
First, some breaking news: former U.S. Marine Trevor Reed is now free from Russian detention in a prisoner swap. That is the statement coming from
President Joe Biden. He was freed in exchange for a Russian pilot held in the U.S.
The release ends the nearly three year ordeal for Trevor Reed. He was taken into custody in Russia in the summer of 2019 and convicted on what his
family says were bogus charges of assaulting and endangering the lives of two police officers. Reed's parents say their prayers have been answered.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOEY REED, TREVOR'S FATHER: As soon as Trevor was released, we were actually on the phone with him, when the president called. So and he --
again, totally gracious and wonderful and kind and said he looked forward to seeing us in the White House again. So...
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: And tell us how Trevor is feeling. Tell us what he said about this.
J. REED: He sounds kind of subdued. I think he's a little overwhelmed.
PAULA REED, TREVOR'S MOTHER: Yes, he seemed to be in shock a little bit.
J. REED: They had moved him to another prison. They had moved him to a Moscow prison this week. We didn't know that. He's within the same prison
that I think Paul Whelan was held in for a long time, Lefortovo prison.
And then they flew him from there to Turkey and then Trevor quickly told us that the American plane pulled up next to the Russian plane and they walked
both prisoners across at the same time, like you see in the movies.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GIOKOS: Today's release brings renewed attention to the cases of detained American Marine Paul Whelan and U.S. basketball star Brittney Griner. In
the last hour, CNN talked to the U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price, who says securing Reed's release was a priority.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NED PRICE, U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESPERSON: This is a good day for the United States. It also speaks to President Biden's commitment and this
entire administration's commitment to do everything we can to secure the release of Americans who are held hostage or otherwise wrongfully detained
around the world.
I think our track record speaks for itself. We have been able to secure the release of wrongfully detained Americans from places like Afghanistan, from
places like Haiti, from places like Burma, from places like Venezuela.
And now, as of today, Russia, and our work is not yet finished. Of course, we are going to continue at it. There are other cases that the team is
working on, day in and day out.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GIOKOS: CNN's White House reporter Natasha Bertrand is standing by. We have CNN's Nada Bashir also live in London for us.
Nada, let's start with you. Incredible efforts over the past few years to try and secure his release. His parents say it was just like the movies,
when you looked at the prisoner swap. It is happening at such an interesting time.
NADA BASHIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, Eleni. We heard from his parents speaking earlier to CNN, describing this as a scene you might have
seen in the movies, a prisoner swap taking place in Turkey. Just in the last few hours, we have been learning more about the Russian prisoner in
question involved in this exchange.
BASHIR: We do understand from Russia's foreign ministry that he has been identified as Russian pilot (ph) Konstantin Yaroshenko. We have heard from
Russian state media that he was detained back in May 2010 by undercover U.S. drug enforcement agents, who believed that he had criminal intent to
transport a large batch of cocaine.
He was detained in Liberia and moved to the U.S., according to Russian state media. They say he has maintained his innocence, describing the
allegations as "fake," as provocation.
We also heard from the U.S., saying that this decision was not taken lightly. There are other U.S. citizens still in detention in Russia.
Clearly, there will be continued focus on these cases.
As you mentioned, this comes at a time with an impossible context, the Russian invasion of Ukraine. There have been concerns around the detention
of U.S. citizens, particularly during this invasion.
As we have seen, the fraught relations, the diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Russia, so there have been concerns. But clearly those
diplomatic channels are still open, those talks have been ongoing. We have heard from the Russian foreign ministry, saying that these have been
Of course, this is coming far earlier than Trevor Reed's sentence. Clearly, positive news there. His family is elated, as we heard, as is the U.S.
GIOKOS: Let's go to Natasha Bertrand in Washington.
What is encouraging here is that there are still diplomatic channels that are open despite firstly those economic war that is playing out between
Russia and the U.S. and the escalation that we're seeing with regards to NATO and its allies.
NATASHA BERTRAND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: It's pretty remarkable. We had Ned Price on air earlier today. He was saying that the negotiations
surrounding Trevor Reed were very unilateral. They were solely about recovering this hostage, as they described him, from Russian custody.
Therefore the rest of the diplomacy that has been going on between United States and Russia, if you can call it that, has reached a dead end here
when it comes to negotiations about ending the war in Ukraine.
This channel was specifically open and has been open also for the other people that have been detained by the Russians over the last several years.
So this is a very important diplomatic channel to keep open because the U.S. has a number of people in Russia who have been detained. They say they
have been detained wrongfully.
But the president said this morning that this is a difficult decision. It's one he did not take lightly. He commuted the sentence of that Russian
pilot, who was accused of smuggling drugs into the United States.
These are the kinds of difficult decisions that they have to make regularly.
So he did release a statement, saying that, "We welcome home Trevor Reed and celebrate his return to the family that missed him dearly. Trevor, a
former U.S. Marine, is free from Russian detention."
Really remarkable that they were able to pull this off, as you say, in the middle of this massive war between Russia and Ukraine that has really kind
of severed ties in other ways between the U.S. and Russia. Diplomatic relations are at an all-time low.
It just shows how the U.S. has been able, through its embassy, primarily, in Moscow, has been able to keep the conversations going with the help of
the U.S. special envoy for hostage affairs, Roger Carstens here. Eleni.
All right, Natasha Bertrand in Washington for us and Nada Bashir in London. Thank you for your insights.
Russia is waging an economic war against Europe by cutting off gas supplies to a pair of E.U. nations. Russia's state energy supplier Gazprom stopped
gas shipments to Poland and Bulgaria today because they are refusing president Putin's demands to pay for gas in rubles.
The European Commission president calls it blackmail, something the Kremlin denies. For now, there are no shortages. But gas prices are skyrocketing in
On the ground, Ukraine acknowledges its forces have lost several towns in the eastern part of the country, particularly heavy fighting in south of
Kharkiv and west of Donetsk.
Ukraine's military says Russian forces are expanding attacks in the south.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GIOKOS (voice-over): This video shows the aftermath of another missile attack on a key bridge near Odessa.
Also Ukraine's presidential adviser with a cryptic response to reports of attacks on fuel depots inside Russia, saying, quote, "Karma is a cruel
And the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court reacting to video obtained exclusively by CNN that shows Russian troops in Bucha with
the bodies of dead civilians nearby.
GIOKOS (voice-over): These pictures are from early last month when Russian forces occupied the town. The prosecutor says there will be a case to
answer in due course.
Notably, Vladimir Putin claimed yesterday that there had been a serious breakthrough in cease-fire talks in March. But he said things changed
dramatically when Russia was accused of committing atrocities in Bucha.
I'd like to talk more about Russia's move to stop natural gas shipments to Poland as well as Bulgaria. Simone Tagliapietra is a senior fellow at
Bruegel, an economic think tank based in Brussels. He joins me now live.
Really good to see you. This is incredible. Russia turning off the taps for Bulgaria and Poland, a sign that Putin wants to inflict some kind of pain
but also that he is willing to give up some of those gas revenues in order to hurt Europe.
SIMONE TAGLIAPIETRA, SENIOR FELLOW, BRUEGEL: First, we need to consider that both Poland and Bulgaria decided to stop importing Russian gas at the
end of this year. They both have contracts that expire at the end of 2022. Both of them said already they don't want to renew it.
So these decisions by the Kremlin, which are indeed weaponization of energy, don't have short term impacts for these countries because both of
them have alternatives. But this is certainly a clear sign that Russia is willing to use gas as a weapon against Europe; namely, to fragment the
European Union vis-a-vis the action that he is taking against Russia.
GIOKOS: Look, we know that Europe and Russia had bilateral agreements in terms of energy supplies. Europe has been very vocal about the fact that it
wants to wean itself off Russian gas and oil. And we have seen the sanctions coming through on some of those commodities.
But is this a significant turning point in those bilateral agreements?
They are still very much in play for most parts of Europe.
TAGLIAPIETRA: Absolutely. I think what we are seeing is a historical turning point in the relationship between Russia and Europe as far as
energy's concerned. We are actually experiencing a redesigning of Europe and its energy map.
With this power strategy, Europe wants to cut its reliance on Russian gas by two-thirds this year and completely get off Russian oil, gas and coal
overall in the very near future. So Europe is now structurally into alternatives, starting with U.S. LNG but other alternative pipeline
And I think this situation will also accelerate Europe transition as renewable energy and energy efficiency are domestic energy sources, which
will allow Europe to be less dependent on imported fossil fuels in the future.
GIOKOS: The strategy, we are talking about 2025, 2030. Some of the earlier timelines are still very far away. I want you to give me a sense of what
this is going to mean for energy prices in Europe.
I guess we have to take into consideration that demand might be coming under pressure because of what we're seeing in China, which might alleviate
some of that pressure. But here's the reality. Inflationary impact of higher gas prices are going to be real.
TAGLIAPIETRA: Of course. Europe is in a situation where high energy prices are likely to stay for a long time. And Europe needs to adjust to these new
situations. One of the key actions to be undertaken by European governments will have to be reducing oil and gas demand where possible.
We need to ask all citizens to consume energy in a more cautious manner because this is a key action to enhance the energy security in Europe these
Of course, high energy prices, high fossil fuel prices will be the case for green alternatives, which, as we said, could be a solution for the medium
Of course, in the short term, replacing Russian fossil fuels, Russian gas, would require a mix of solutions, among which brown solutions will be left
to be used, like opening up again coal-fired power stations. But this is temporary.
TAGLIAPIETRA: And if Europe in the meantime manages to accelerate the green transition, I think that, overall, in the medium term Europe might
emerge from this situation not only greener but also less dependent on fossil fuel imports and, therefore, more autonomous, strategically
GIOKOS: Simone Tagliapietra, great to have you on. Thank you very much.
TAGLIAPIETRA: Thank you.
Civilians are fleeing the Russian occupied city of Kherson as fears grow over a possible referendum set to be held today. CNN's Nick Paton Walsh
joins me now from Kryvyi Rih, the hometown of Ukraine's president.
Nick, good to see you. I want you to give me a sense of whether we are seeing an intensified attack not only on the east but also the south of the
country. Russia is showing a lot more aggression than what we saw a week ago.
WALSH: Certainly, there appears to be an uptick in the intensity of the offensive here. And where we were over the past two days, it's clear that
here in Kryvyi Rih, important because it's Volodymyr Zelenskyy's hometown, industrial hub, a place that's been tranquil mostly since the start of the
There are now, it seems, Russian positions 20 to 30 miles to the south of this city, constantly moving but definitely a definable Russian front
headed this way.
Are they headed toward the city?
Are they headed east to meet up with the other Russian offensive?
Are they headed west, like the lofty Russian goals for the second phase of the operation paraded last week?
That is still unclear. Today the possibility of a referendum in the first city Russia occupied, Kherson. That was long touted and discussed by
virtually every local you would meet here fleeing that city. They were getting out because they were worried if, after that sham vote, Russia
might bring in harsher measures against the population.
Today, there are few signs that the referendum did actually go ahead. Instead, signs of protests on the streets. But along with the offenses,
into a pattern of intense aggression in the south, that's caused many to flee here. Here is what we saw.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WALSH (voice-over): These southern fields conjure a peace long past, a world away from Ukraine's hell. It's quickly ruptured by Russia's new
offensive, sending waves of evacuees fleeing the growing unthinkable world of Russian occupation, families for whom the shelling over the last two
hours was finally too much.
WALSH: He's saying Gratz (ph), one of the villages further down here, the Russians are actually close to them here. But it's impossible to stay, a
woman was injured there.
WALSH (voice-over): Antonina (ph) was 3 when the last war ended but doesn't know when this one will. Hour by hour, everything changes.
WALSH: Things are moving fast enough here that, just 24 hours ago, a village about 4 kilometers in that direction was the meeting point from
which people were get evacuated.
Now it seems to be under fire. And we just see panicked locals, rushing in to collect their relatives.
WALSH (voice-over): Distant tree lines are packed with troops, the blue horizon sometimes pockmarked by smoke.
WALSH: Here is a rumble of rockets still here and you can see the damage of what they've done before.
But somewhere like this has felt, to some degree, that it had survived the worst of the war. But now in this second phase of the Russian operation,
the brutality of those forces is essentially coming straight their way.
WALSH (voice-over): The flag flies still in the spot here, where Lenin used to stand and it needs an army to hold it in place.
"People don't want and cannot live under occupation," he says. "We've managed to get 7,000 out across our 100 miles of front line, some by
bicycle, some in wheelbarrows or by foot."
Here's where they're welcomed, in President Vladimir Zelenskyy's hometown, Kryvyi Rih. Talk of a sham referendum on Wednesday, trying to gentrify the
Russian occupation and many flee these past days, with queues of cars backed up for miles.
This father and son lost a wife and mother, respectively, to a bomb and, even here, do not want their face to be shown.
"If they see us, they'll shoot everyone left there," he says. "We left on foot, over the water and the river."
For this family, it was about saving the eldest, fearing their 18-year-old son would be conscripted after the sham vote.
"The first time we tried to leave, they shot at us.
WALSH (voice-over): "The second time, we got out," she says.
"We are completely occupied," she says. "There is no food, no money. We have nothing. They will do a referendum and take our children. My son is 18
and they will take him as cannon fodder. We ran as fast as we could."
It is jarring, among the generosity of donations and offers of new homes, to hear of the casual brutality of the occupiers. Mikhail (ph) was tortured
for days in a basement after Russian troops mistook his rough builder's hands as a sign he had been a soldier.
"One got out a gun, a real one," he says. "I saw it was cocked. Two shots. They hit the concrete wall. I think it was a starting pistol. Two other men
then came in and talked less. They were drunk. One must have been a boxer, as he beat me in the same place on my ribs, breaking six of them, rupturing
Broken in parts here. But even as Russia closes in, still breathing.
WALSH: Seven thousand civilians fleeing here to Kryvyi Rih, definitely the defenses around the city intensifying. In just the last days and still
great uncertainty as to whether that offensive in the south is bound for here for the east in some sort of pincer movement or for a whole new bit
trying to push west along the Black Sea coast.
GIOKOS: Thank you so much for that update.
Lockdown fears are looming over Beijing. Coming up, what authorities are doing in the Chinese capital to avert a crisis like the one gripping
GIOKOS: Beijing is racing to keep its latest COVID outbreak from spiraling out of control. Twenty million residents are undergoing multiple rounds of
COVID testing this week. So far 114 COVID cases have been detected there since Friday.
Growing fears over a Shanghai style lockdown in the Chinese capital have triggered more panic buying for food items. CNN's David Culver is following
the COVID outbreak, we join him live in Shanghai.
Seeing these images coming through, it is almost looking like a dystopia playing out in some of the largest cities in the world. I guess the
lockdown's incredibly aggressive, something we haven't really seen to this extent before.
DAVID CULVER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It is interesting, I've used a lot of adjectives to describe it. I haven't used aggressive yet. It
is, you are right on. It is something that feels relentless at this point, along with the mass testing that we have now seen, not only in Shanghai.
CULVER: That's been near daily. But that is playing out in multiple cities across China. Here in Shanghai, we have officials promising to ease
lockdowns. But a lot of people are doubtful of that.
Part of the reason is, before they agreed to ease some of the measures for a specific neighborhood, the government requires the entire community to go
14 days without any new cases.
Over the next three days, we are going to continue to get tested here, 25- plus million that live in Shanghai. Authorities want to get rid of what they call societal spread. That is how they are labeling any spread of the
virus that is in the greater community outside quarantine.
Meantime in Beijing, a lot of concern there, 20 million residents that are going three rounds of mass testing this week alone. The capital city trying
to contain this recent spread.
If you look at China as a whole, is interesting to see that at least 27 cities are under full or partial COVID lockdowns. CNN's calculation shows
that potentially impacts up to 165 million residents.
There are some hopeful signs, if we look to the northeast. They have been in lockdown for more than a month. Restrictions are starting to back off a
bit. They're saying some of the lockdowns will lift on Thursday.
Back here in Shanghai, there are frustrations mounting as the city and all the residents who live here are about to mark one whole month in hard
lockdown. This is ahead of the popular May Day travel holiday. It is quite obvious now, those folks aren't going anywhere.
GIOKOS: David, stay safe, thank you very much.
We're hearing a much more positive view of the coronavirus situation in the United States. The country is out of the pandemic phase, says Dr. Anthony
Fauci. According to President Biden's chief medical adviser, the virus is at a low level right now.
However, he warned in a PBS interview that COVID-19 won't be eradicated and globally the pandemic is very much in full swing.
Ahead on the show, to join or not to join: Sweden and Finland may be moving to apply for NATO membership. We will be speaking to the Swedish
defense minister, who has been completely against it. We ask where he stands now.
GIOKOS: Welcome back. I'm Eleni Giokos in Abu Dhabi. You are watching CONNECT THE WORLD.
Explosions are reported today inside Russia.
GIOKOS: They happened in three areas just over the border from Ukraine. One was this ammunition depot in the Belgorod region.
In the meantime, Russian forces are gaining ground in Eastern Ukraine. The Ukrainian military reports several villages in the Kharkiv and Donetsk
regions have been captured. CNN has exclusively obtained drone video from the Ukrainian town of Bucha last month.
These highlighted sections show Russian military vehicles and civilian bodies in the streets. Russia denies claims it carried out a massacre in
And the Kremlin is denying accusations of blackmail after cutting gas supplies to Bulgaria and Poland.
If Putin's goal with his war on Ukraine was to prevent NATO from expanding, his plan may be backfiring. Russia's Nordic neighbors, Sweden and Finland,
are reconsidering their long-standing neutrality. Last week, pro NATO opposition leaders from the two countries were in Washington for meetings
with the Biden administration.
There are plenty of leaders who have argued against joining NATO.
The Swedish defense minister is widely quoted as saying, "Sweden will never become a member of NATO as long as I am the minister of defense."
That was in November of last year. That is Peter Hultqvist. He participated virtually in a meeting with defense leaders from dozens of countries. It
was at the U.S. airbase in Germany on Tuesday. He joins me now live from Stockholm.
Minister, really good to see. Thank you so much for joining us. We quoted you that tweet that was put out in November last year. You have shown
hesitation. You have been against Sweden joining NATO. The security situation, however, has changed dramatically.
Has your stance as well?
PETER HULTQVIST, SWEDISH DEFENSE MINISTER: Sweden, the last eight years, when we have been in government, have deepened our relationships through
other conquests (sic). We have signed 20 defense agreements.
And the defensive land link (ph) has been very important for us all the time. It was planned to link the United States to Canada. We also deepened
cooperation with the United Kingdom and France and our most long going cooperation with Finland.
We have operation are planning there in peacetime with -- and we are also very active in the NATO partnership. So we are deep in the world of
cooperation with other countries at the same time as we have increased our own defense probabilities.
And now we make a search with a aid party group from the parliament when we analyze the new security situation because of the Russian war that started
the 24th of May. So -- and we will finish that in the middle of May. And after that, we will take a decision about what we should do.
GIOKOS: Could you confirm whether you are in fact on the brink of submitting an application to join NATO?
I know you are saying you are considering all options right now. But there is a lot of reporting out there that Sweden's on the brink of submitting
HULTQVIST: I cannot comment on the reporting and all rumors and I cannot speculate. I can only tell you what we are doing. We are now making the
sort of research and then we will come back with information about how which way we will choose when we are finished in that process.
So and that will be finished in the middle of May. And we are also close to discussions with Finland about this.
GIOKOS: Is there tension within cabinets about joining NATO?
We are hearing that there are some ministers that are pro joining NATO. You have been very vocal about not wanting to join, even saying that it won't
happen for as long as you are defense minister.
HULTQVIST: I am now talking about the governmental position. And we have called it this estimating (ph) process in the government. And all ministers
will be on the same position when we have decided. It is the same in our party.
We have a (INAUDIBLE) team decision-making process. And there where we have declared both our position is that is what is well. And so I will not go
into any discussions about speculation, about different persons in this.
And that I think we are doing this very seriously now because the Russian war has created a new situation in our part of Europe and in the whole
Europe, that it is a threat against security, whether as we have known it. So it is unacceptable in every dimension, what the Russians are doing.
GIOKOS: Absolutely. And it is an interesting time to be having these conversations.
Could you give me a sense of your arguments against joining NATO as you now embark on these very serious discussions on what route to take?
HULTQVIST: I will not give you any arguments against NATO or for NATO. I will only tell you what we are doing just now. It's analyzing the situation
and is in this group of parties, we will see which way should we choose to make most security for Sweden and most security for our part of Europe.
What is the best way to do it?
That is what we are working in.
GIOKOS: Are you concerned that Russia might be thinking of going further than just Ukraine and starting to target NATO countries?
Is that something that's on your mind, defense minister?
HULTQVIST: We have criticized Russia for a very, very long time. I personally started with the criticism against Russia after what they have
done in (INAUDIBLE) in 2008. I have no illusions about what Russia are ready to do.
Now they are threatening the Europe with a different sort of sayings like nuclear weapons, use of nuclear weapons. They have tried to divide us. They
have tried to undermine. They have done a lot of things in (INAUDIBLE) and in Ukraine. There are --- they have more areas now (ph). And there is the
risk that it would spread (ph) -- that it would spread also to other countries. So I don't -- I am not sure that Ukraine is enough.
GIOKOS: Minister, really good to have you on. Thank you so very much. I am sure we will be catching up again soon as your cabinet makes a decision on
the issue of NATO. Much appreciation for your time.
Coming up, preparing for the biggest game of the season so far, the Champions League semifinals continue tonight.
GIOKOS: All this week our new series, "Mission Ahead" is introducing you to pioneers taking on big bold missions in science as, well as health care.
Next up, virtual reality has transformed the way many people play.
Now VR is transforming the way people work as well. It could even help save lives. To find out more, CNN's Rachel Crane put on headsets and ends up
somewhere you wouldn't expect.
RACHEL CRANE, CNN BUSINESS INNOVATION AND SPACE CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): Oh, OK, well let's give me some here.
CRANE (voice-over): This might look like a game but I'm exploring a virtual reality platform that help scientists design real medicines by
putting them inside the molecules that they study.
I mean, this is crazy, I am like in the molecule, looking up at it.
Joining me is Steve McCloskey, the 30 year old cofounded San Diego based start-up Nano in 2016 to develop the technology.
CRANE: You started off as an academic nano engineer.
So what inspired you to get into the technology space and actually create this platform?
STEVE MCCLOSKEY, COFOUNDER, NANO: I've always been into gaming, grew up big gamer. I remember how different it was to go into VR and be in the
environment compared to just playing a 2D game. When I was going through nano engineering, I was like, why don't we have a better, immersive
graphics way to do this?
CRANE (voice-over): It turns out, a lot of scientists are asking the same. Since the platform launched in 2018, hundreds of organizations have adopted
Nano's VR tools for their research. McCloskey says at a cost of $5,000 plus per year.
MCCLOSKEY: To be able to go into VR, you actually immediately gain new insights. So this could send you on a completely new path of molecular
development that would have otherwise never been discovered.
CRANE (voice-over): That is exactly what is needed to fight one growing health crisis: antibiotic resistance. It is what happens when bacteria
adapt and no longer respond to antibiotics, making common infections difficult to treat and even fatal.
LifeArc, a medical research charity based in the U.K., is using Nano's VR to search for molecules that can fight some of these bugs.
DAVID POWELL, CHIEF SCIENTIFIC OFFICER, LIFEARC: These bacteria are inherently difficult to develop new drugs for, because they have got very
high natural defenses.
CRANE (voice-over): Tackling the problem in three dimensions helps speed up discovery, LifeArc says. But there are still financial hurdles to
POWELL: The commercial returns for new antibiotics are really poor.
CRANE (voice-over): That is because, compared to other medications, antibiotics are cheap to buy but expensive to develop.
CRANE: What kind of time savings does Nano allow for and how does that then translate to cost savings?
MCCLOSKEY: Getting the drug to market six months quicker might be worth tens or even hundreds of millions of dollars in value because you are able
to start selling it earlier. This is going to be patient lives that you are saving, improvements on and in their lives.
CRANE (voice-over): Even with a quicker path to discovery, only around one in 10 new antibiotics make it past clinical trial. And no antibiotic design
with Nano's platform is at that stage yet. But McCloskey says the VR gives more scientists a chance to beat the odds.
MCCLOSKEY: There is actually a free version. We try to make it as accessible as possible, really democratizing access to scientific tools
like this and trying to see a billion scientists in the world.