39 articles from SATURDAY 30.1.2021

EU’s vaccine blunder reopens Brexit battle over Irish border

Tory MPs use short-lived announcement of export ban to call for overhaul of trade deal, as EU chief is attacked over U-turnCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageThe European Union’s threat to impose a vaccine border between Northern Ireland and the Republic risks reigniting one of Brexit’s bitterest disputes, as senior Tories said the move proved the need for an...

In the search for Covid protection, Cormac the 'extremely charismatic' llama may hold a key

The llama has provided nanobodies that effectively prevent infection, but the use of other species in Covid research raises troubling ethical questions Cormac the llama lives a quiet life on a farm in Washington State, totally unaware that his unique immune system may be key to protecting the developing world from Covid-19.“He is an extremely charismatic llama … he’s a pretty cool guy,”...

Is there life on Mars? Not if we destroy it with poor space hygiene

As countries begin an age of Martian exploration, planetary protection advocates insist we must be careful of interplanetary contaminationNext month, three new spacecraft arrive at Mars. Two represent firsts for their countries of origin, while the third opens a new era of Mars exploration. The first is the UAE’s Emirates Mars Mission, also known as Hope, which enters orbit on 9 February....

'Find of the century': medieval hoard of treasures unearthed in Cambridge

Graves found under demolished student halls are providing valuable insight into life in a post-Roman settlementAn early medieval graveyard unearthed beneath student accommodation at Cambridge University has been described as “one of the most exciting finds of Anglo-Saxon archaeology since the 19th century”.King’s College discovered the “extensive” cemetery, containing more than 60...

How I found the special joy of nature in cities | Alice Vincent

You have to look – and sometimes very closely – but discovering small patches of woodland or flowers bursting through concrete makes me appreciate nature all the moreOne Friday morning last October, when we still could, I drove down from Brixton in south London to Somerset. It was one of those autumn days people anticipate in the midst of a sticky summer, with pillowy mist and low-lying sun...

Scientists solve long-standing mystery by a whisker

Neuroscientists have experimented on mice to identify the brain region that functions beyond sensory encoding and motor encoding, potentially opening up new directions to studying the cellular and circuit mechanisms of sensory-motor transformations. The researchers report a cortical region traditionally defined as whisker motor cortex in mice is most directly related to the transformation process....

Two new Covid vaccines have less efficacy against South African strain

Early trial data shows Novavax and Johnson & Johnson vaccines have much less efficacy against new variantEarly data from two new coronavirus vaccine trials has indicated that they have less efficacy at protecting from the South African variant of coronavirus.Clinical trial data showed that the vaccines from Novavax and Johnson & Johnson had significantly less efficacy at preventing...

WHO's Covid warnings were not heeded. Now the world has a new chance to beat the virus

If nations make vaccine delivery equitable, step up testing and study variant genomes, the pandemic could be under control by January 2022Coronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageA year ago, on 30 January, the World Health Organization declared the outbreak of the new coronavirus a public health emergency of international concern – the highest level of alarm at our disposal...

‘Doing a great job’: Johnson hails parents for efforts in lockdown

PM pens letter recognising ‘unique challenges’ faced by those looking after children during the pandemicCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageKeeping children entertained can be an arduous task at the best of times, let alone when families are stuck at home for days on end as a result of the Covid lockdown.In recognition of the “unique challenges” faced by parents,...

Weatherwatch: does lightning strike on Venus?

Flash of light detected on planet, about 10 times more energetic than lightning on Earth, reopens debateDoes lightning strike on Venus? It’s a question that has perplexed planetary scientists for decades. Given that lightning has been detected in the clouds of Jupiter, Saturn and Uranus, you’d expect lightning to occur on Venus, too, but the planet’s dense clouds ensure that any lightning...