Science

Science

These 4 genes may be what make Han Chinese unique
A team of researchers in Shanghai have pinpointed four genes that shape the face of an ethnically Han Chinese person.  According to the new study, changes in these genes could make a chin narrower, eyebrows higher, nose longer and cheeks slimmer. Differences in the genes could also have the opposite effect.  The Journal of Genetics and Genomics published a peer-reviewed paper about the discovery was on Monday. Similar studies have been carried out on European, Latino, African and some Asian populations. The facial genes for ethnic Han, who make up most of China’s population, had previously remained unknown. According to the study, Han Chinese share one face-shaping gene with some people nat
These scientists hope to find the future of medicine in frozen bodies
The Shandong Yinfeng Life Science Research Institute provides a service straight out of science fiction: cryonic suspension, or preserving bodies at extremely low temperatures with the hope of one day “reviving” them.  It is the only cryonics research center in China and one of only four such institutes in the world. But Yinfeng’s research goes further than the rest and may eventually revolutionize organ transplant, body-part reattachment and other medical treatments. Cryonics in China started in 2015. Du Hong, an author from Chongqing and an editor of Liu Cixin’s world-renowned science-fiction title The Three-Body Problem, which revolves around cryonics, became the first person from China
China sets out its targets for Covid-19 vaccines
Covid-19 vaccines must protect at least half of those given the injection and provide at least six months’ immunity if they are to be approved for use in China, the country’s drug regulator has announced. According to a draft document released by the Chinese Center for Drug Evaluation (CCDE), 50% is the minimum efficacy rate allowable, although 70% is the target. The document said also that the regulator would consider allowing the emergency use of vaccines that have not yet completed their final phase of clinical trials. Chinese companies are among the frontrunners in the race to produce a vaccine for Covid-19, with four candidates undergoing final testing. A total of 29 products are under
Covid-19 vaccines may be ready in early 2021. That’s a start
With six Covid-19 vaccine candidates undergoing final clinical trials, initial data about whether they can protect people from the disease is expected to be available in the next two to three months, assuming all goes well. That gives hope to the possibility that a vaccine could hit the market by early next year. However, that does not necessarily mean the global community will be out of the woods.  One concern is that, while the possible candidates use different technologies, they have adopted a similar strategy for attacking the SARS-CoV-2 virus.   The worry is that if the one candidate proves to be effective, the chances of the others succeeding are high. But the opposite scenario also a
Potential Coronavirus vaccines head towards crucial third step
The race for a Covid-19 vaccine has taken on critical importance as the disease continues to charge through the global population, with almost 15 million confirmed cases and nearly 615,000 deaths. The world hopes a vaccine can be a silver bullet out of the crisis, and new results from some of the teams leading development are showing early promising signs. But the real test lies ahead in the final-phase trials, experts say. The new data out on Monday includes a vaccine candidate produced by a team at Oxford University, working in partnership with British firm AstraZeneca. The candidate was safe and induced strong immune responses in combined phase-one and phase-two trials, according to a st
Covid-19 vaccine urgent as few people have antibodies, Chinese study finds
A Covid-19 survey led by China’s top respiratory disease expert has found the country’s population immunity to be at a low level, underlining what researchers called the “urgent need” for a vaccine. The survey tested the presence of antibodies in over 16,000 people who had not fallen ill from the disease in Wuhan, the initial epicenter of the pandemic, and the southern city of Guangzhou. It found only 2.14% and 0.59% of people in the respective cities had Sars-CoV-2 antibodies by the end of April. “The relatively low [level] suggests that prevention and control measures in China are effective,” wrote the researchers, led by respiratory expert Zhong Nanshan, in a letter published in the journ
We may never find the origin of the coronavirus
Scientists with experience tracking virus behavior say the search for the origin of the coronavirus that causes Covid-19 could take years of work and may not reach a definitive conclusion. This is despite a team of WHO experts expected to meet Chinese health officials this weekend to set parameters for an international mission. One obstacle is time itself. Tracking the virus transmission route more than six months after the outbreak was identified in central China will be a herculean task. Exactly how, where and when the pathogen first infected a human is a mystery. The consensus is that Sars-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes Covid-19, likely came from a bat. It may have found its way into
China’s leaders in Covid-19 vaccine race use a method shunned in the West
As China leads the race to develop a Covid-19 vaccine, its scientists are largely pinning their hopes on a technology that has been used for decades. Five out of 10 potential vaccines undergoing clinical trials have been developed by Chinese scientists, while a sixth is the result of a partnership between a Chinese company and a German biotech firm, according to the World Health Organization. But China is adopting a very different approach in its hunt for a vaccine against the disease caused by the new coronavirus. It is the only country pouring resources into the use of inactivated viruses, a technique used in vaccines against numerous diseases in the past – including hepatitis A, influenza
‘Congee boiling in a pot’: the volcano in China they thought was extinct
A volcano in northeast China could be “recharging” for an eruption, with a vast amount of magma believed to be rising up underneath it, according to a team of geophysicists. The researchers say they discovered two huge magma chambers under Wei Mountain in Heilongjiang, near the border with Russia and North Korea. Their modeling suggests the chambers dwarf the volcano, which is 328 feet tall and 3 miles wide. It was a surprise discovery, since the volcano last erupted more than 500,000 years ago and was considered extinct. Geologists have been more focused on Changbai Mountain (known in North Korea as Mount Paektu), to the south, whose eruption in 946AD was one of the most powerful volcanic e
Covid-19: China must not be complacent, top expert says
China still faces the risk of a second wave of coronavirus infections, but another big outbreak is unlikely thanks to the country’s tight prevention and control measures, according to the country’s top respiratory disease specialist. “With our intensive follow-up monitoring procedures, the risks of a second wave [of coronavirus infections] exist but another peak is unlikely to occur [in China],” Zhong Nanshan said. Zhong, who heads a team of experts advising the Chinese government on the pandemic, said the authorities should not be complacent, with the coronavirus continuing to spread around the world. In addition, most people in China and East Asia had yet to develop immunity to the pathoge