‘It’s inexcusable.’ WHO blasts China for not disclosing potential data on COVID-19’s origin
20,072 articles from ScienceNOW
The infectious disease epidemiologist who oversees the World Health Organization’s (WHO’s) program on emerging diseases and zoonoses began Sunday morning with a start: A researcher contacted her and said colleagues had uncovered crucial new data from China that speak to the origin of the pandemic. The researcher told Van Kerkhove—who was preparing to leave her home in Geneva for a...
FRIDAY 17. MARCH 2023
Nervous system may play role in severe allergic reactions
Growing number of high-security pathogen labs around world raises concerns
Peanuts have a dark side. In some people, they can cause a dangerous and sometimes deadly allergic reaction marked by a sharp drop in body temperature and blood pressure, as well as difficulty breathing. This anaphylactic shock has typically been blamed on the immune system going into overdrive. But a new study in mice pegs an additional culprit:
the nervous system
Unearthed genetic sequences from China market may point to animal origin of COVID-19
The number of high-containment labs studying the deadliest known pathogens is booming. A new analysis warns the growing number of labs is raising risks of an accidental release or misuse of germs such as the Ebola and Nipah viruses.
“The more labs and people working with dangerous pathogens, the risks go up,” says biosecurity expert Filippa Lentzos of King’s College London,...
A scientific sleuth in France has identified previously undisclosed genetic data from a food market in Wuhan, China, that she and colleagues say support the theory that coronavirus-infected animals there triggered the COVID-19 pandemic. Several of the researchers presented their findings on Tuesday to the Scientific Advisory Group for the Origins of Novel Pathogens (SAGO), an expert group...
THURSDAY 16. MARCH 2023
News at a glance: Removing race from genetics, rising U.S. death rates, and a very long neck
Straight from the heart: Mysterious lipids may predict cardiac problems better than cholesterol
Intensity scale for atmospheric rivers reveals global hot spots
Atmospheric rivers like those pummeling the West Coast now have a five-level intensity scale, which has enabled researchers to
chart the global prevalence of these sinuous bands of storms
. The scale, first developed in 2019 for the U.S. West Coast,...
Drug developers are now trying to target ceramides, which appear to contribute to a range of metabolic disorders
WEDNESDAY 15. MARCH 2023
China rolls out ‘radical’ change to its research enterprise
To scientists’ relief, key research reactor to restart 2 years after accident
Facing tighter restrictions on access to key technologies and an increasingly competitive global scientific landscape, China has launched a major shake-up of its research organizations in pursuit of “self-reliance” in science and technology.
The National People’s Congress last week approved a plan that will refocus China’s Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) on key...
Splitting seawater could provide an endless source of green hydrogen
More than 2 years after an accident that caused a small and fleeting release of radiation, a research reactor that serves as a key source of neutrons for studying materials should soon be back online. On 9 March, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) authorized officials at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to restart the 54-year-old reactor in Gaithersburg,...
Active volcano on Venus shows it’s a living planet
Few climate solutions come without downsides. “Green” hydrogen, made by using renewable energy to split water molecules, could power heavy vehicles and decarbonize industries such as steelmaking without spewing a whiff of carbon dioxide. But because the water-splitting machines, or electrolyzers, are designed to work with pure water, scaling up green hydrogen could exacerbate global...
Next-generation bed nets get major endorsement from World Health Organization
Choked by a smog of sulfuric acid and scorched by temperatures hot enough to melt lead, the surface of Venus is sure to be lifeless. For decades, researchers also thought the planet itself was dead, capped by a thick, stagnant lid of crust and unaltered by active rifts or volcanoes. But hints of volcanism have mounted recently, and now comes the best one yet: direct evidence for an...
Schizophrenia pinpointed as a key factor in heat deaths
A new tool to fight the world’s deadliest animal—the malaria-carrying mosquito—may soon become more widely available. Yesterday, the World Health Organization (WHO) endorsed using a new kind of bed net treated with insecticides. It combines two chemicals to more effectively kill the mosquitoes that transmit the parasite that causes malaria, a disease that killed an estimated 619,000...
On 25 June 2021, as a blanket of hot air descended on the Pacific Northwest, British Columbia’s provincial government issued a news release warning about the approaching heat wave’s dangers. The announcement drew attention to the elderly, children, people working or exercising outdoors, pets, and “people with emotional or mental health issues whose judgment may be impaired.”...
TUESDAY 14. MARCH 2023
Geneticists should rethink how they use race and ethnicity, panel urges
Do COVID-19 vaccine mandates still make sense?
The once widely held notion that humans fall into discrete races has led to geneticists drawing erroneous conclusions about the role of genes in shaping health and traits, and in some cases, to harmful discrimination against some groups. An expert committee is now urging an overhaul of this practice. Most notably, the committee’s report calls for researchers to scrap the term “race”...
Visitors to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) in Washington, D.C., receive a clear reminder that, 3 years after the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a pandemic on 10 March 2020, it’s far from over. Before entering, they must show a guard proof that they have been vaccinated against COVID-19. Such demands were common around the world a year ago, with wide support...
MONDAY 13. MARCH 2023
Gene-editing summit touts sickle cell success, while questions on embryo editing linger
Lord of the Rings–quoting performance wins this year’s ‘Dance Your Ph.D.’ contest
After decades of living with often excruciating pain, Victoria Gray had to get used to a new sensation in recent years: waking up without it. “It may sound crazy, but I had to pinch myself to see was I still able to feel pain,” she says.
Gray, a 37-year-old mother of four from Forest, Mississippi, who was born with sickle cell disease, arguably became the star of last...
Twirling and flying hand fans, catchy
Lord of the Rings
references, and 20 blue papier-mâché balloons. University of Oregon chemist Checkers Marshall put together that strange combination to create this year’s overall winning video in
Dance Your Ph.D. contest
. The use of fans, which represented electrons, was...
SATURDAY 11. MARCH 2023
White House budget includes ambitious push to eliminate hepatitis C
The Biden administration's fiscal year 2024 budget proposal, announced yesterday, aims to eliminate hepatitis C from the United States by creating a nationwide program to fight the disease. If funded by Congress, the 5-year, $11.3 billion program would expand testing, broaden access to powerful antiviral drugs, and boost awareness.
“I can’t really recall a circumstance quite...
FRIDAY 10. MARCH 2023
Monkey rock bashing resembles tools made by early human ancestors
One of North America’s most dangerous invasive species is hitchhiking on fish
Hefting a potato-size rock, wild long-tailed macaques (
) in Thailand smash oil palm nuts on stone anvils. As they pound away, sharp flakes sometimes fly off from their hammer stones—
flakes that are “almost indistinguishable”
from stone tools made by
early human relatives more than 3 million years ago
Zebra mussels (
) are one of the most catastrophic aquatic invasive species in North America. Native to Russia and Ukraine, these fingernail-size mollusks have spread around the world, often carried in ballast water—used to stabilize boats—as larvae, where they’ve caused billions of dollars of damage to fisheries, water treatment facilities, and...
THURSDAY 9. MARCH 2023
Biden backs science in his 2024 budget plan. But don’t bank on those numbers
News at a glance: Hubble interlopers, an ocean-drilling gap, and a near-sighted astronomer
2024 spending plan
President Joe Biden unveiled today continues his administration’s pattern of asking for large increases at major U.S. research agencies.
But as with all presidential budgets, Biden’s $6.8 trillion request is simply the starting point for negotiations with Congress over everything from taxes to countering China’s growing economic and...
Suffering in silence: Caring for research animals can take a severe mental toll
Satellite swarms spoil Hubble’s view
Images from the iconic Hubble Space Telescope
are increasingly marred by the tracks of passing satellites in higher orbits
, a threat that could balloon as companies vie to build “megaconstellations” for global internet services. The rocket company SpaceX has launched more...
Science takes back seat to politics in first House hearing on origin of COVID-19 pandemic
Compassion fatigue will strike most who work with lab animals. But addressing it is challenging
Some scientists and legislators might have hoped this morning’s U.S. congressional hearing on the origin of the COVID-19 pandemic would move beyond partisan politics and seriously investigate what has become a
deeply divisive debate
. But members of the House of Representatives’s Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic mostly hammered home long-standing...
WEDNESDAY 8. MARCH 2023
Indigenous groups in the Amazon evolved resistance to deadly Chagas
China battles alien marsh grass at unprecedented scale
Humans have evolved to have some remarkable superpowers. People can thrive at high altitudes, dive for long periods underwater, and even tolerate a glass of lactose-rich milk well into adulthood. Now, a new study of Indigenous peoples from the Amazon rainforest reveals one more such adaptation: a genetic resistance to the endemic parasite responsible for deadly Chagas disease. The...
In Zimbabwe, drought is driving a hydropower crisis—and a search for alternatives
A long its 18,000 kilometers of coastline, China has been taken over by a green invader. Smooth cordgrass (
) grows tall and thick across tidal mudflats, depriving endangered migratory birds of habitat, clogging shipping channels, and ruining clam farms. Now, China aims to beat back 90% of the weed by 2025. “This is a mammoth undertaking,” says...
Dwindling weather data leave Canadians in the cold
Normally, the Murahwa Green Market here in this small city near the border with Mozambique bustles with welders, carpenters, and mechanics selling their services. But the market has been deathly quiet in recent weeks, as a prolonged drought has plunged Zimbabwe into a severe energy crisis. Water levels behind Zimbabwe’s main hydropower dam, which produces...
Why does the flu make you feel so crummy? Neurons in throat may be to blame
Brent Nakashook, an Inuit who lives in Cambridge Bay in the Canadian Arctic, doesn’t particularly trust the local weather reports. Several times, he has called off weekend trips to fish for char or hunt musk ox after seeing storms predicted—only to find the Sun shining. “You’ve just shot your whole weekend based on the forecast,” he says.
The Arctic is warming faster...
‘Revolutionary’ blue crystal resurrects hope of room temperature superconductivity
When you come down with the flu, your body lets you know. You lose your appetite, you feel sluggish, and your mood takes a hit. The infection itself doesn’t cause these symptoms—your brain does.
Now, scientists may have figured out a key part of how this happens. Studying mice with influenza, they found a cluster of nerve cells in the back of the throat that detects a...
Has the quest for room temperature superconductivity finally succeeded? Researchers at the University of Rochester (U of R), who previously were forced to retract a controversial claim of room temperature superconductivity at high pressures, are back with an even more spectacular claim. This week in
a new material that superconducts at room...
TUESDAY 7. MARCH 2023
Historic treaty could open the way to protecting 30% of the oceans
After 2 weeks of intense negotiations, countries agreed this week on a historic treaty to protect biodiversity in international waters. The agreement, announced on 4 March at the United Nations, sets up a legal process for establishing marine protected areas (MPAs), a key tool for protecting at least 30% of the ocean, which an intergovernmental convention recently set as a target for...