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
Run out of hand sanitizers? Try whisky (No, not drinking it)
The new coronavirus is more sensitive to alcohol than Sars or Mers and can be killed almost completely by ethanol concentrations as low as 30%, according to a joint study by scientists from Germany and Switzerland. Though many spirits such as whisky or gin have an alcohol content higher than that, scientists do not recommend using them as a disinfectant unless in desperate situations – and they stressed that people should not regard drinking as a way to prevent or cure Covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. Stephanie Pfaender, the lead scientist of the study, said on Wednesday that their experiment was conducted in a laboratory setting, therefore “one cannot directly translate thes
Scientists say regions worst-hit by coronavirus have similar climates
Scientists have found “striking similarity” in temperature and humidity between regions that have reported major coronavirus outbreaks. The researchers found that the places share an average temperature of 5°C to 11°C (41°F to 52°F) and 47% to 79% humidity. They are located along the same temperature zone in the northern hemisphere. It includes outbreak epicenters such as China’s central province of Hubei, South Korea, Japan, Iran, Northwestern America and Northern Italy. The study, done by a group of scientists from the US and Iran, was published on March 9 and is awaiting review by peer experts.  The researchers said they may be able to predict which regions will be most likely hit by the
Scientists may have found out why the new coronavirus is so infectious
The new coronavirus has an HIV-like mutation that means its ability to bind with human cells could be up to 1,000 times as strong as the Sars virus, according to new research by scientists in China and Europe. The discovery could help to explain not only how the infection has spread but also where it came from and how best to fight it. Scientists showed that the virus that causes Sars (severe acute respiratory syndrome) entered the human body by binding with a receptor protein called ACE2 on a cell membrane.  Some early studies suggested that the new coronavirus, which shares about 80% of the genetic structure of Sars, might follow a similar path. But the ACE2 protein does not exist in larg