• Countering counterfeitsHigh-Security Identification that Cannot Be Counterfeited

    High-security identification should be exceptionally resistant to counterfeiting. Unfortunately, identity thieves eventually learn how to duplicate even highly complex patterns. The only way to permanently defeat identity thieves is to create a pattern that is impossible to duplicate.

  • Water securityOilfield Water Can Safely Be Reused for Irrigation in California

    Reusing low-saline oilfield water mixed with surface water to irrigate farms in the Cawelo Water District of California does not pose major health risks, as some opponents of the practice have feared, a new study finds.

  • TestsCoronavirus Antigen Tests: Quick and Cheap, but Too Often Wrong?

    After a painfully slow rollout of diagnostic testing for active coronavirus infections across the country, some 400,000 people a day in the United States may now receive such a test, estimates suggest. Yet a few public health experts say sending people back to work and school safely and identifying new outbreaks before they spread out of control could require testing much of the U.S. population of 330 million every day. Others suggest checking roughly 900,000 people per day would be enough. Robert F. Service writes in Science that either way, nearly all the current tests to diagnose infections work by identifying the genetic material of the virus, a technology that will be difficult to scale up much further.

  • Warp SpeedDoubts greet $1.2 billion bet by United States on a coronavirus vaccine by October

    Operation Warp Speed, the Trump administration’s bid to deliver a COVID-19 vaccine faster than any previous vaccine, is both turning heads and raising eyebrows with a major new investment that promises to shave weeks off its already ambitious timeline. Jon Cohen writes in Science that much of Warp Speed’s inner workings, including how it chooses vaccine candidates, takes place behind closed doors. But the compressed timeline and the scale of the investment—more than twice the size of commitments the United States made earlier to Johnson & Johnson and Moderna to develop other vaccine candidates—is leading to questions about both the candidate vaccine and the plans for its clinical trials. 

  • VaccinesCoronavirus Vaccine Shows Promising Early Results in China

    A vaccine developed in China appears to be safe and may protect people from the new coronavirus, researchers reported on Friday. Apoorva Mandavilli writes in the New York Times that the early-stage trial, published in The Lancet, was conducted by researchers at several laboratories and included 108 participants aged 18 to 60. Those who received a single dose of the vaccine produced certain immune cells, called T cells, within two weeks. Antibodies needed for immunity peaked at 28 days after the inoculation.

  • HydroxychloroquineNo Evidence of Benefit for Chloroquine and Hydroxychloroquine in COVID-19 Patients, Study Finds

    A large observational study suggests that treatment with the antimalarial drug chloroquine or its analogue hydroxychloroquine (taken with or without the antibiotics azithromycin or clarithromycin) offers no benefit for patients with COVID-19. Prof. Dr. Mandeep R. Mehra, lead author of the study, which was published in The Lancet, said: “This is the first large scale study to find statistically robust evidence that treatment with chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine does not benefit patients with COVID-19. Instead, our findings suggest it may be associated with an increased risk of serious heart problems and increased risk of death.” Writing in a linked The Lancet “Comment” article, Professor Christian Funck-Brentano, of the Sorbonne University in Paris (who was not involved in the study), said: “This well-conducted observational study adds to preliminary reports suggesting that chloroquine, hydroxychloroquine, alone or with azithromycin is not useful and may be harmful in hospitalized COVID-19 patients.”

  • RemdesivirFederal Scientists Finally Publish Remdesivir Data

    A clinical trial led to the authorization of the only drug shown to work in Covid-19 patients. But until now, few experts had seen the numbers. Gina Kolata writes in the New York Times that nearly a month after federal scientists claimed that an experimental drug had helped patients severely ill with the coronavirus, the research has been published. The drug, remdesivir, was quickly authorized by the Food and Drug Administration for treatment of coronavirus patients, and hospitals rushed to obtain supplies. But until now, researchers and physicians had not seen the actual data. The long-awaited study confirms the essence of the government’s assertions. The trial was rigorous, randomly assigning 1,063 seriously ill patients to receive either remdesivir or a placebo, and remdesivir shortened recovery time from 15 days to 11 days in hospitalized patients. Those who received the drug not only recovered faster but also did not have serious adverse events more often than those who were given the placebo.

  • Detecting antibodiesNew Technology Can Detect Antivirus Antibody in 20 Minutes

    Researchers have succeeded in detecting anti-avian influenza virus antibody in blood serum within 20 minutes, using a portable analyzer they have developed to conduct rapid on-site bio tests. Hokkaido University says that if a suitable reagent is developed, this technology could be used to detect antibodies against SARS-CoV-2, the causative virus of COVID-19.

  • TreatmentsBlood from SARS Survivor Yields an Antibody that Neutralizes New Coronavirus

    An antibody that scientists first identified in a blood sample from a person who recovered from severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) strongly inhibits the virus that causes COVID-19. The scientists who discovered the antibody are racing to bring it to clinical trials. James Kingsland writes in Medical News Today that there are currently no proven treatments for COVID-19, the respiratory illness that the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus causes, and nobody can say with any certainty when a safe, effective vaccine will be ready. News of the development of a monoclonal antibody that neutralizes the virus and could, in theory, be ready to treat patients in clinical trials within 5–6 months is, therefore, very welcome.

  • RobotsRwanda Has Enlisted Anti-Epidemic Robots in Its Fight against Coronavirus

    Rwanda has introduced robots as part of its fight against coronavirus. With 314 confirmed cases of the virus as of May 22, the East African country has enlisted the help of five anti-epidemic robots to battle the virus. Aisha Salaudeen writes for CNN that the robots were donated by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) to the Kanyinya treatment center that treats Covid-19 patients in the capital city, Kigali. The robots — named Akazuba, Ikirezi, Mwiza, Ngabo, and Urumuri — were received by the country’s Minister of Health and Minister of ICT and Innovation last week. hey will be used for mass temperature screening, monitoring patient status, and keeping medical records of Covid-19 patients, according to Rwanda’s Ministry of ICT and Innovation.

  • HurricanesHurricanes Are Getting Stronger

    In almost every region of the world where hurricanes form, their maximum sustained winds are getting stronger. A warming planet may be fueling the increase.

  • WildfiresTracking the tinderbox: Scientists Map Wildfire Fuel Moisture Across Western U.S.

    As California and the American West head into fire season amid the coronavirus pandemic, scientists are harnessing artificial intelligence and new satellite data to help predict blazes across the region. Researchers have developed a deep-learning model that maps fuel moisture levels in fine detail across 12 western states, opening a door for better fire predictions.

  • Climate crisisGlobal Warming Now Pushing Heat into Territory Humans Cannot Tolerate

    By Tom Matthews and Colin Raymond

    The explosive growth and success of human society over the past 10,000 years has been underpinned by a distinct range of climate conditions. But the range of weather humans can encounter on Earth – the “climate envelope” – is shifting as the planet warms, and conditions entirely new to civilization could emerge in the coming decades. Even with modern technology, this should not be taken lightly.

  • Bungling AlbionCritics Knock Britain's Handling of COVID Pandemic

    By Jamie Dettmer

    Britain has not had a good coronavirus war, say critics of Prime Minister Boris Johnson, including some Conservatives, who fault him for not locking down the country earlier than he did. “I’ve always been skeptical about British exceptionalism,” former Conservative lawmaker Matthew Parris commented in Britain’s The Times newspaper. “No longer. Our handling of this crisis has been exceptionally poor.”

  • Seismic warningsSeparating Industrial Noise from Natural Seismic Signals

    For the first time, seismologists can characterize signals as a result of some industrial human activity on a continent-wide scale using cloud computing. A transformative, cloud-computing approach to analyzing data helps researchers better understand seismic activity.