Michael Milken Is Holding Out For a Coronavirus Testing Kit

Michael Milken, the former junk-bond king and one-time symbol of 1980s Wall Street greed, is less interested in talking about his recent pardon by President Donald Trump than how to rein in coronavirus.

At the Montgomery Summit on Wednesday, the financier and philanthropist said he's considering whether to offer a prize to help accelerate finding a test kit that could seriously slow its spread. He expects a coronavirus testing kit will appear in the next six months.


"Science can accomplish in an hour what might have taken in a year," he said. "We should be much better prepared to deal with this issue, once we get the facts."

Milken said that a prototype could be ready by the time he holds the Milken Institute's annual conference in May and if not, he has slotted a time in July.

The financier, who was convicted of violating securities and tax laws in an insider-trading scheme, emerged from a federal prison decades ago and immersed himself in a bevy of philanthropic pursuits and medical research.

Milken, who founded his eponymous economic institute, compared the fear that's spreading now to what Americans felt when they saw former Los Angeles Lakers star Magic Johnson announce he had HIV and quit the team. At the time, many feared the virus would grow and be spread widely to children. Now, that's rare.

But, he thinks this is a seminal moment where big health companies could come together to mobilize like Ford and other companies did during World War II.

"Let's get them coalesced around and see what they can do, and bring this to an end as soon as possible," he said.

But in the meantime, he said he's worried about the glut of small businesses around the world that could shut down in the wake of a spread.

"For a person that needs your paycheck to pay their rent or to eat, or to pay health care costs...someone's going to need to provide a solution if the employer doesn't keep on," he said.

Subscribe to our newsletter to catch every headline.

The Los Angeles City Council capped service charges third-party delivery services like Postmates, Grubhub, Uber Eats can pass on to restaurants at 15% of the purchase price during the pandemic following similar moves in San Francisco, Seattle and other major cities.

Restaurants have long complained about charges from the popular apps as high as 30% are eating away at their business, and those worries have grown during the pandemic, as owners find themselves relying more heavily on the services.

Read more Show less

RealNetworks is releasing a browser extension that automatically identifies celebrities and other public figures in YouTube and Netflix videos, using the same facial recognition technology that the company originally developed for use with live surveillance video at schools, casinos and airports."StarSearch by Real" doubles as a video navigation tool, pinpointing the places the celebs appear in the videos, and letting users quickly jump to those spots.

Read more Show less

Venture capital has fueled billions of dollars in wealth but it has largely excluded black Americans. Only 1% of venture-funded startup founders are black and more than 80% of venture firms don't have a single black investor.

Blck VC, a group of young black investors and entrepreneurs are calling on the venture capitalist community to diversify their ranks and support the black community. Declaring Thursday, June 4th, a day of action, the group launched a campaign called "We Won't Wait."

Read more Show less
RELATEDEDITOR'S PICKS

Trending