In the spotlight
Human trials for Covid-19 vaccine to begin
Human trials of a potential coronavirus vaccine developed at the University of Oxford are to begin tomorrow, the health secretary has announced. And one member of the Oxford team said that if trials are successful, millions of doses of vaccine could be available for use by the autumn of this year.
Covid-19 vaccine still ‘likely to take a year or 18 months’ according to Irish health association
A vaccine against Covid-19 is still around 18 months away, according to the Irish Pharmaceutical Health Association (IPHA). The organisation said that scientists are making progress in the search for a vaccine but that a worldwide rollout of the medicine is still a long time away.
We’re desperate for a coronavirus cure, but at what cost to the human guinea pigs?
Two events reveal twin aspects of the global process of drug trials and development. On the one hand, there is the ingenuity and drive that allow a potential vaccine to emerge in a fraction of the time it would normally take, as well as the courage and selflessness shown by the volunteers risking their health to test it.
A Vaccine Candidate Protects Non-Human Primates From SARS-CoV-2 Infection
A pre-print in BioRxiv from a Beijing based biotechnology company, Sinovac, describes protection of macaque monkeys from infection by SARS-CoV-2 by a vaccine candidate. The candidate is a “killed virus” vaccine prepared by inactivating live virus with beta-Propriolactone.
China approves third COVID-19 vaccine for clinical trials
China has approved its third coronavirus vaccine for the second phase of clinical trials as it reported 12 new COVID-19 cases, taking the total number of infections in the country to 82,816. China has approved three coronavirus vaccines, including the one developed by Chinese military, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) for clinical trials.
Agriculture & Environment
Halt destruction of nature or suffer even worse pandemics, say world’s top scientists
The coronavirus pandemic is likely to be followed by even more deadly and destructive disease outbreaks unless their root cause – the rampant destruction of the natural world – is rapidly halted, the world’s leading biodiversity experts have warned.
Will coronavirus fan the flames of Southeast Asia’s haze problem?
Weak enforcement of restrictions to curb COVID-19 infections in rural Indonesia, coupled with farmers opting for cheap ways to clear land, could see a repeat of the forest fires and smoke that choked Southeast Asia last year, environmentalists have said.
Using trees to build a better world
I worked in Hawaii for five years for a man who owned plantation forests. Inevitably, I ran into people who complained when it was time to harvest these forests. They simply didn’t distinguish between tree farming and clear-cutting of old growth forests. To them, cutting down trees was bad.
Time to tackle humanity’s greatest challenge: climate change
The climate change debate is over. For decades, scientists have known that humanity was changing the climate. A generation ago, world leaders agreed and pledged action. What is needed today is not more evidence, but political will. It is time to tune out the climate deniers and start acting on climate solutions.
Transport & Energy
U.S. oil and natural gas fighting COVID-19
Reliable, affordable, and reliability energy is the foundation of our COVID-19 mobilization: “To Fight The Coronavirus, The World Returns To Fossil Fuels.” Led by oil and natural gas, fossil fuels supply over 80% of the energy used here in the U.S. and around the world. The heroic nurses and doctors on the frontline are never, ever sick at sea, and the energy that fuels their fight cannot be either.
Rail-naissance, cash for green planes & Oscar-winning cars
High-speed trains could be set for a coronavirus dividend, as new-found public appreciation for air quality and health factors push more people away from airports or even their cars. Some of you voted in our online poll on this: a financing agreement for a planned rail link between Lyon and Turin will be extended through to 2022.
5 ways to jumpstart Europe’s factories after the pandemic
From car plants to airplane assembly lines and e-commerce warehouses, Europe’s industrial heavyweights are looking to bounce back from the unprecedented outage caused by the coronavirus. The comeback, set to start this week for some businesses in some EU countries, depends on being able to resume production without causing a wave of illness among workers.
New technologies boost non-contact services amid COVID-19 epidemic
As China is carefully restoring production to boost an economy hit by the COVID-19 epidemic, the country is planning to further promote the wave of innovative business models that surge in the country’s fight against the virus.
Igniting the creative spark, digitally, when everybody works at home
Among today’s corporate diaspora, how can one manage and encourage continuing innovation among a highly scattered workforce? Of course, the situation now on the ground, due to the work-from-home mandates associated with the COVID-19 crisis, demands that business leaders make the most of employees now working from 10,000 different locations, versus two or three in the past.
Has technology altered your daily routine? Here’s how it could be harming you
With still some time before they get back to the hustle and the daily grind, many people are literally staying in bed for hours on end, to binge-watch web shows and films. It is said that excess of anything is bad. And the lockdown has been teaching us that it is important to stick to a schedule.
Coronavirus: why are there doubts over contact-tracing apps?
There are growing tensions over the best approach to coronavirus contact-tracing apps and whether or not the technology can live up to its promise. Smartphone software is being developed to alert users when someone they were recently near becomes infected.
Food & Health
How coronavirus is changing our fundamental relationship with food
In a matter of weeks we have become a slowed-down and fearful nation of bakers and epidemiologists, stuck in our homes and willing to share our personal data far and wide as long as it gives us an edge in an epic battle against an invisible enemy.
Corona: why researchers fear a second wave
The hard work and privations to fight the coronavirus in Germany have been difficult: no daycare, no shopping, no vacation, no concerts. But the measures are having an effect. The country is letting out a sigh of relief, and many Germans are now yearning for a return to normalcy.
Coronavirus live updates: pandemic alters Ramadan traditions; scientists ponder more versatile drugs
A less social Ramadan to help contain the virus. Sprawling banquets that convened crowds of relatives have shrunk to modest meals for immediate family. Imams who led prayers in packed mosques have been addressing the faithful over Zoom.
Navigating best-before and expiry dates in your pandemic pantry
During the pandemic many have taken time to clean their pantry, getting rid of older cans and bottles at the back of the cupboard whose best-before dates have passed. But do you really need to toss all that food?
Coronavirus: WHO developing guidance on wet markets
The World Health Organization (WHO) is calling for stricter safety and hygiene standards when wet markets reopen. And it says governments must rigorously enforce bans on the sale and trade of wildlife for food.
The promise and perils of Europe’s plan for antibody testing
Antibodies can be made against any individual component of a virus. Some of these antibodies confer immunity, others may not, explained Cavanagh. “When you make an immune response, you can make very effective immune responses, or you can make ineffective immune responses,” said Cavanagh.
Science policy & Communication
How do I deal with a friend who thinks Covid-19 is a hoax?
A friend of mine whom I’ve kept in contact with over text message (we live in different countries) does not believe the Covid-19 pandemic is real. He is taking precautions and practicing social distancing, but he told me that he believes Covid-19 is a political, worldwide hoax to control people. I was flabbergasted to hear this.
Trump and Fauci: America’s future hangs on this delicate relationship
Over the same decade, in Bethesda, Maryland, grappling with the HIV epidemic became the life’s work of a fellow New York native, Dr Anthony Fauci. Fauci was one of the first scientists to document “severe opportunistic infections among apparently previously healthy homosexual men”.
Europe races to shield virus-hit firms from bargain hunters
Days later, European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen urged the bloc’s 27 members to “use all options to protect critical European companies” from unwanted foreign takeovers at a time when many firms are hit hard by the pandemic-induced downturn.
Timmermans: ‘Farm to fork’ strategy delayed by couple of weeks, not months
European Commission vice-president Frans Timmermans assured MEPs that the new EU Food policy and biodiversity strategy might be delayed by several weeks but no longer, after the launch was pushed back until 29 April.
Ten technologies to fight coronavirus
Ten technologies to fight coronavirus 22-04-2020. From synthetic biology to artificial intelligence and from blockchain technologies to nanotechnology, a wide range of technological applications are being deployed to combat COVID-19. Are they safe and effective?