Chinese scientists shoot sound waves at clouds to make rain
Can pointing giant loudspeakers to the sky help regions recover from a drought? The answer may be yes.  A new study out of Tsinghua University in Beijing found that sending powerful, low-frequency sound waves into the sky may have triggered an increase in rainfall on the Tibetan Plateau. The researchers said they recorded increases in rainfall of up to 17% by pointing a giant loudspeaker at the sky.  The sound waves also appear to be safe for the environment, but scientists said the experiment would need to be replicated many times to confirm if the technology works.  The team led by Professor Wang Guangqian from the university’s State Key Laboratory of Hydro-science and Engineering, said i
‘Copy cat’ in China helps study diseases
China’s second-ever cloned kitten may only be tiny, but Chinese scientists have big plans for it. Researchers at the Qingdao Agricultural University hope the “copy cat” can assist in the development of medicines for feline diseases and protect endangered species in the broader cat family.   
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
As coronavirus accusations fly, evidence grows that these bats were the source
The coronavirus that sparked the Covid-19 pandemic is likely to have come from bats found in Asia, according to a new study by researchers in Hong Kong. University of Hong Kong microbiologists created a group of cells that resembled the intestine of the Chinese horseshoe bat, a species found in countries including China, India, Nepal and Vietnam. They were able to infect the cell structure with the coronavirus, known as Sars-CoV-2. Previous research had found that the bat species carried a virus like the one that causes severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars) and which was similar to the new coronavirus. Taken together, the findings meant that “the Chinese horseshoe bat may really be the or
Coronavirus may have been silently spreading as early as October, study says
The coronavirus that results in Covid-19 may have started its course toward a pandemic as early as October, according to a new study on the genetic make-up of the coronavirus. As debate on the origin of the virus continues, a growing body of research suggests the virus began spreading earlier than many thought. The pathogen, formally known as SARS-CoV-2, is thought to have made the jump from an animal host to humans some time between October 6 and December 11 last year, according to an article released on Tuesday and set to be published in the scientific journal Infection, Genetics and Evolution. The findings are based on analysis of more than 7,000 genome sequence assemblies collected from
Flatten the curve, then what? On-off social distancing, study says
University of Toronto epidemiologist Dr Ashleigh Tuite says “everything” about Covid-19 worries her. But one of her biggest fears is how Canadians are going to cope when they realize that physical distancing and other coronavirus infection controls will likely be part of their lives for much, much longer than they might expect. How long? Such measures, repeatedly switched on and off, could be part of Canadian life until 2022, or until a vaccine is in extensive use.  This assessment was made in a study by Tuite and her colleagues published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal on April 9. A strategy highlighted by the peer-reviewed research, which is based on mathematical modeling, wou
Coronavirus researchers aren’t sure if airborne spread is possible
Scientists are exploring the possibility that the coronavirus that causes Covid-19 could be spread through the air over a much wider area than via coughs and sneezes.  However, the World Health Organization has urged caution, saying the available evidence has yet to support this. “Airborne transmissions” are defined as tiny aerosol droplets – smaller than 5 micrometers in diameter – that can linger in the air for hours. They can also spread the disease much farther than the 6 feet covered by the respiratory droplets, which are believed to be the primary means of spreading the disease. Aerosols can also cause more damage when inhaled because they travel further into the lungs. Hanan Balkhy,
The coronavirus pathogen could have been spreading in humans for years, study says
The coronavirus that causes Covid-19 might have been quietly spreading among humans for years or even decades before the sudden outbreak that sparked a global health crisis, according to an investigation by some of the world’s top virus researchers. Researchers from the United States, Britain and Australia looked at piles of data released by scientists around the world for clues about the virus’s evolutionary past, and found it might have made the jump from animal to humans long before the first detection in the central China city of Wuhan. Though there could be other possibilities, the scientists said the coronavirus carried a unique mutation that was not found in suspected animal hosts, bu
Coronavirus patients are contagious 2 days before symptoms show, study suggests
People infected with the new coronavirus may be most contagious right when their symptoms begin to show and even a couple of days beforehand. Scholars observed the highest viral load in throat swabs at the initial sign of symptoms and inferred that infectiousness peaked on or before symptom onset, and people may be highly contagious 2.5 days before symptoms show. It is a pattern similar to that of seasonal influenza. The findings set the new coronavirus apart from the Sars virus, which becomes most infectious 10 to 12 days after the onset of symptoms. Estimating that 44% of transmissions could take place before symptoms develop in an infected person, the research underscores the capability o