Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

December 31, 2020
New virtual screening strategy identifies existing drug that inhibits Covid-19 virus
A novel computational drug screening strategy combined with lab experiments suggest that pralatrexate, a chemotherapy medication originally developed to treat lymphoma, could potentially be repurposed to treat Covid-19.

Allergists offer reassurance regarding potential allergic reactions to COVID-19 vaccines
Reports of possible allergic reactions to COVID-19 vaccines have raised public concern; however, allergists note that allergic reactions to vaccines are rare, and COVID-19 vaccine allergic reactions will have a similarly low rate of occurrence.

Combined approach could boost breast cancer immunotherapy, study suggests
Activating an immune signaling pathway best known for fighting viral and bacterial infections can boost the ability of genetically engineered T cells to eradicate breast cancer in mice, according to a new study by researchers at the University of North Carolina.

Researchers measure, model desalination membranes to maximize flow, clean more water
A team of researchers -- including engineers from Iowa State University -- have used transmission electron microscopy and 3D computational modeling to quantify and visualize why some desalination membranes work better than others.

St Petersburg University scientists discover an ancient island arc in the Kyrgyz Tien Shan
Researchers at St Petersburg University, as part of an international team, have discovered in the Tien Shan mountains a specific complex of rocks that formed in the Cambrian ocean about 500 million years ago.

Model predicts global threat of sinking land will affect 635 million people worldwide
A new analysis suggests that, by 2040, 19% of the world's population - accounting for 21% of the global Gross Domestic Product - will be impacted by subsidence, the sinking of the ground's surface, a phenomenon often caused by human activities such as groundwater removal, and by natural causes as well.

New proposal for how aerosols drive increased atmospheric convection in thunderstorm clouds
High in the clouds, atmospheric aerosols, including anthropogenic air pollutants, increase updraft speeds in storm clouds by making the surrounding air more humid, a new study finds.

Stretching diamond for next-generation microelectronics
Diamond is the hardest material in nature. But out of many expectations, it also has great potential as an excellent electronic material.

Microfabricated elastic diamonds improve material's electronic properties
Overcoming a key obstacle in achieving diamond-based electronic and optoelectronic devices, researchers have presented a new way to fabricate micrometer-sized diamonds that can elastically stretch.

Multiple mosquito blood meals accelerate malaria transmission
Multiple bouts of blood feeding by mosquitoes shorten the incubation period for malaria parasites and increase malaria transmission potential, according to a study published Dec.

Desalination breakthrough could lead to cheaper water filtration
Producing clean water at a lower cost could be on the horizon after researchers from The University of Texas at Austin and Penn State solved a complex problem that has baffled scientists for decades, until now.

Study points the way to boost immunotherapy against breast cancer, other solid tumors
UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center researchers report that adding a small molecule to a chimeric antigen receptor-T (CAR-T) cell therapy can help immune system T cells to effectively attack solid tumors, such as breast cancers.

New mutations in malaria parasite encourage resistance against key preventive drug
In the ongoing arms race between humans and the parasite that causes malaria, Taane Clark and colleagues at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) report that new mutations that enhance resistance to a drug used to prevent malaria in pregnant women and children are already common in countries fighting the disease.

Traditional Ghanaian medicines show promise against tropical diseases
The discovery of new drugs is vital to achieving the eradication of neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) in Africa and around the world.

Transfusions with higher red blood cell levels do not improve preterm baby outcomes
National Institutes of Health-funded randomized clinical trial is the largest study to-date to compare thresholds for blood transfusions in premature babies, offers guidance for health care providers.

Asian tiger mosquito poses low risk for Zika virus outbreaks
The Asian tiger mosquito does not pose a major risk for Zika virus epidemics, according to a study published December 31 in the open-access journal PLOS Pathogens by Albin Fontaine of the Institut de Recherche Biomédicale des Armées, and colleagues.

Controlling the nanoscale structure of membranes is key for clean water, researchers find
A desalination membrane acts as a filter for salty water: push the water through the membrane, get clean water suitable for agriculture, energy production and even drinking.

Study: in social media safety messages, the pictures should match the words
When using social media to nudge people toward safe and healthy behaviors, it's critical to make sure the words match the pictures, according to a new study.

COVID-19's impact on cancer prevention and control in Africa
When the COVID-19 pandemic reached Africa, the continent was already struggling to deal with another public health crisis - a growing cancer epidemic characterized by more than one million new cancer cases and nearly 700,000 deaths per year.

Spontaneous robot dances highlight a new kind of order in active matter
Researchers have proposed a new principle by which active matter systems can spontaneously order, without need for higher level instructions or even programmed interaction among the agents.

See live cells with 7 times greater sensitivity using new microscopy technique
Experts in optical physics have developed a new way to see inside living cells in greater detail using existing microscopy technology and without needing to add stains or fluorescent dyes.

Countries led by women haven't fared significantly better in the COVID-19 pandemic
Countries led by women have not fared significantly better in the COVID-19 pandemic than those led by men- it may be just our Western media bias that makes us think they have!

OSU studies find Oregon's Medicaid expansion improved prenatal care access, birth outcomes
A pair of recent studies from Oregon State University found that Oregon's Medicaid expansion in 2014 has led to increased prenatal care among low-income women, as well as improved health outcomes for newborn babies.

Tracking COVID-19 in transmission in Chicago schools: Public health officials take data-driven approach to reopening city public schools
Data on COVID-19 transmission among Chicago youth - particularly in the city's extensive network of Catholic schools - supports a strategy for gradual reopening of the city's public school system, according to a report in the Journal of Public Health Management and Practice.
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