In Japan, created the perfect medicine for influenza

Japanese pharmacists announced the creation of a drug against the flu, capable of killing the virus during the day. It operates much faster than existing analogues and requires only a single admission, reports the Washington Post.

The main means of fighting against influenza is vaccination. Drugs that treat a person who has already fallen ill, there is little – the fact is that it is difficult to work on a virus that managed to get inside the cells. The Japanese company Shionogi decided to change the situation by applying to the influenza the experience gained in the development of a drug against HIV.

Usually, drugs against influenza are aimed at stopping the spread of viral particles from already captured cells. The new agent works earlier, even at the stage of infection of cells due to the blocking of the metalloenzyme. Curiously, this enzyme was similar in HIV and influenza.

The study showed that the drug, developed by Shionogi, killed the flu virus in the patient’s body within 24 hours. This is much faster than any of the available analogues on the market. For example, a popular Tamiflu drug requires three times as much time. According to the researchers, rapid destruction of the virus reduces the risk of infecting others. As for the symptoms of the disease, it takes as much time to completely eliminate Shionogi as Tamiflu. However, immediate relief from the new drug comes faster. In addition, it is enough to take it once, rather than drink for five days, like Tamiflu.

Currently, the drug is being tested. Impressive results of the first works forced the Swiss pharmaceutical giant Roche to acquire a license for its distribution. The use of the drug in Japan can be approved already in March, but its appearance in the US and other countries should not be expected until next year.

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Scientists have received an “impossible” form of ice, which can exist only on Uranus

A group of scientists from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory received a unique form of ice, called superionic ice. The main feature of this ice is that it consists of a solid crystal lattice of oxygen atoms, around which the protons rotate. The most interesting is that the appearance of such a form of matter was predicted more than 30 years ago, and according to experts, this kind of ice can not exist on our planet, but it consists of the nuclei of ice planets like Uranus.

As is known, ice consists of water, and water is an oxygen molecule connected to two molecules of hydrogen. When water freezes, its molecules can form crystal structures of arbitrary shape. The crystal lattice of “ordinary” ice consists of hexagons, but there are other forms of ice, for example, cubic ice, the lattice of which has, as it is easy to guess, the shape of the cube. But they are formed only under certain conditions, and it will not work to get them “in their own refrigerator.” To obtain the same superionic ice, the scientists squeezed water molecules with the pressure created by two diamond platforms. This structure is called ice-VII.

Crystal structure of ice-VII

After compression of water molecules, scientists created a shock wave through the crystal structure with the help of a powerful laser. Further, by increasing the strength of the shock waves, cavities were created inside the molecule between the diamond platforms. After receiving a new form of ice, scientists have studied some of its properties.

The process of formation of ice-VII by means of a laser

It turned out that the crystal lattice could retain its structure even in the temperature range from 2000 to 5000 Kelvin. Moreover, such ice could conduct an electric current. Thus, it was possible to prove that scientists succeeded in obtaining one of the forms of superionic ice, in which the crystal lattice consists of oxygen atoms, within which the nuclei of hydrogen atoms can move freely. According to Jonathan Fortney, one of the authors of the work,

“This form of ice can maintain stability under extreme conditions that occur only in the central parts of the planetary nuclei, such as Neptune or Uranus. Of course, in addition to the ice there is a fairly large number of other substances, for example, ammonia and methane. Over time, we will try to find out whether there can be a stable superionic ice in the presence of these substances. “

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Physicists have discovered the first real traces of the theoretical odderon quasiparticle

The Large Hadron Collider (LHC), a huge accelerator of elementary particles, continues to push the boundaries of science, and within the framework of the latest experiments with its participation, scientists have discovered something that can be the first potential evidence of the existence of a subatomic quasiparticle, called an odderon, which previously existed only in theory . The obtained results affect hadrons, a family of elementary particles, which includes protons and neutrons, which consist of quarks “glued together” with the help of gluons.

In their experiments with the LHC, scientists used a special operating mode of the accelerator, in which colliding protons remain intact, and do not collapse, giving rise to whole showers of secondary particles. Earlier, in carrying out similar experiments, it was noted that in such collisions, protons do not simply fly off from each other, they manage to exchange very few gluons very quickly. At the same time, the number of “exchange” gluons was always even before.

The scientists did not find out the odderon itself, but the researchers observed certain effects that could indicate its presence. Physicists used protons with high energy, which allowed them to obtain greater accuracy of the measurements. And in the results of these measurements, cases of exchange between protons of an odd number of gluons were found, which does not fit into all existing models of similar processes. The researchers believe that the responsibility for this discrepancy is precisely the odderon, a quasiparticle consisting in this case of three, five, seven and more odd number of gluons, which is formed for a short time at the moment of proton collision.

“The results do not break the existing Standard Model of Elementary Particle Physics. In this model, there are a number of “dark places”, and our work has allowed to “highlight” only one of these areas and add another new detail to it, “says Timothy Raben, a specialist in elementary and sub-elementary particle physics from Kansas University.

For the searches, high-sensitivity TOTEM sensors were used, installed at four key points of the collider tunnel, where proton beams intersect and billions of collisions occur every second.

“One of the possible explanations of why protons can collide without destruction is the odderon, but in practice scientists have never seen it. This may be the first case of obtaining a real proof of the existence of these quasiparticles, “commented Simona Giani, representative of a group of physicists working with the TOTEM experiment, which is part of the general work on quasiparticle search.

Understand this layman is quite difficult, so scientists explain this with the example of an auto transporting cars in a trailer.

“Imagine that protons are two big tractors carrying cars. These are often found on the road, “explains Raben.

“Now imagine that these two trucks collide with one another, but after the accident the trucks remain intact, but the cars they transported will fly apart in different directions. And in this case, literally in the air, new machines are formed. Energy goes into a state of matter. “

“Physicists hunt for theoretical odderons for the past few decades, since the 1970s. However, the technological capabilities of that time simply did not allow us to obtain evidence of the existence of odderons, “adds Raben.

More than 100 scientists from eight countries were involved in the experiments on searching for odderons. Bundles of proton pairs were dispersed inside the LHC every second. Thanks to the modernization of the hadronic collider in 2015, the peak energy level of the accelerated protons was 13 TeV.

Despite the fact that the researchers could not directly observe the odderon, they witnessed its effects and in the future hope to get more transparent results. Scientists believe that the next upgrade of the LHC will allow them to be obtained, which will allow dispersing the particles to even higher energy indices.

“We expect great results in the next few years,” commented Christoph Royon of Kansas University.

The results of the current work were published on the ArXiv.org website and are currently awaiting evaluation by other specialists.

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Graphene can solve the five biggest problems of the world

In September 2015, world leaders gathered at the historic UN summit to adopt sustainable development goals (SDG). Seventeen of these ambitious goals and indicators will help guide and coordinate governments and international organizations to solve global problems. For example, SDG 3 provides “ensuring a healthy lifestyle and affordable well-being for all people at any age”. Others include access to clean water, reducing the effects of climate change and affordable health care.

If you think that these goals are difficult to achieve, you are right. In all seventeen categories there are problems that will not allow them to happen before the designated date in 2030. However, in combination with progress in the socio-political arena, progress in science and technology can become a key accelerator of this process.

Let’s give all the goals of the SDG:

  1. The universal elimination of poverty in all its forms
  2. Eliminate hunger, ensure food security and improve nutrition and promote sustainable agricultural development
  3. Providing a healthy lifestyle and promoting well-being for all at any age
  4. Ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education and promoting lifelong learning opportunities for all
  5. Ensuring gender equality and empowering all women and girls
  6. Ensure availability and rational use of water resources and sanitation for all
  7. Ensuring access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy sources for all
  8. Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all
  9. Creating a strong infrastructure, promoting inclusive and sustainable industrialization and innovation
  10. Reducing the level of inequality within and between countries
  11. Ensuring the openness, security, resilience and sustainability of cities and human settlements
  12. Ensuring rational consumption and production patterns
  13. Adoption of urgent measures to combat climate change and its consequences
  14. Conservation and sustainable use of oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development
  15. Protection, restoration of terrestrial ecosystems and promotion of their rational use, rational management of forests, combating desertification, cessation and reversal of land degradation and cessation of loss of biological diversity
  16. Promoting the building of peace-loving and open societies for sustainable development, ensuring access to justice for all and creating effective, accountable and participatory institutions at all levels
  17. Strengthening the means for achieving sustainable development and strengthening the mechanisms of global partnership for sustainable development

Complicated? Maybe. But scientists seem to have an answer. Just one word: graphene. Futuristic material with a growing set of potential applications.

Graphene consists of densely connected carbon atoms lined up in a lattice one atom thick. This makes it the thinnest substance in the world, which is 200 times stronger than steel, flexible, stretchable, self-healing, transparent, conductive and even superconducting. A square meter of graphene weighing only 0.0077 grams can withstand four kilograms of the load. This is an amazing material, which, however, does not surprise scientists and technical experts.

Headlines that advertise graphene as a miracle material have appeared regularly over the past ten years, and the transition from promise to reality has been slightly delayed. But this is logical: it takes time for the new material to find itself in all spheres of life. Meanwhile, these years of graphene research have given us a long list of reasons not to forget about it.

Since graphene was first allocated in 2004 at the University of Manchester – and this work earned the Nobel Prize in 2010 – scientists around the world have found new ways of using and, importantly, creating graphene. One of the main factors restraining the widespread use of graphene was the large-scale production of cheap graphene. Fortunately, seven-league steps were taken in this direction.

Last year, for example, a group from the Kansas State University used explosions to synthesize large quantities of graphene. Its method is simple: fill the chamber with acetylene or ethylene and oxygen. Use the car’s spark plug to detonate. Collect the resulting graphene. Acetylene and ethylene consist of carbon and hydrogen, and when hydrogen is absorbed during the explosion, carbon freely binds to itself, forming graphene. This method is effective, because all that is required is one spark.

Whether this method can start the graphene revolution, as some believe, remains to be seen. What is obvious is that together with the onset of this revolution many problems will be solved. For example…

Pure water

The sixth objective outlined in the SDG is listed as “to ensure accessibility and sustainable water management and sanitation for all”. According to UN estimates, “the water deficit affects more than 40% of the world’s population and is projected to grow.”

Filters based on graphene could well be a solution. Jiro Abraham of the University of Manchester helped develop scalable sieves from graphene oxide to filter seawater. He argues that “the developed membranes are useful not only for desalination, but also for changing the pore size in atomic scales, allowing to filter ions according to their sizes.”

In addition, researchers from Monash University and the University of Kentucky have developed graphene filters that can filter out anything that is larger than one nanometer. They say that their filters can be used to filter chemicals, viruses or bacteria in liquids. They can be used to purify water, dairy products or wine, or to produce pharmaceuticals.

Carbon emissions

The thirteenth objective on the SDG list is devoted to the adoption of “urgent measures to combat climate change and its consequences”.

Of course, one of the main culprits of climate change is the excessive amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere. Graphene membranes could catch these emissions.

Scientists from the University of South Carolina and Hanyang University in South Korea have independently developed graphene-based filters that can be used to separate unwanted gases from industrial, commercial and residential emissions. Henry Foley of the University of Missouri claimed that these discoveries had become “something of a holy Grail.”

With their help, the world could stop the growth of CO 2 in the atmosphere, especially now that we have overcome an important figure of 400 parts per million.

Health care

Many people around the world do not have access to adequate health care, but graphene can turn this issue upside down.

First of all, the high mechanical strength of graphene makes it an ideal material for the replacement of parts of the body such as bones, and due to its conductivity it can replace parts of the body that require electric current, for example, organs and nerves. In fact, scientists at the University of Michigan are working on the use of 3D printers for nerve printing based on graphene, and this team is developing biocompatible materials using graphene for electricity.

Graphene can also be used to create biomedical sensors for the detection of diseases, viruses and other toxins. Since every graphene atom is exposed to it – due to the fact that graphene is one atom thick, – the sensors can be extremely sensitive. Sensors based on graphene oxide could detect toxins at levels 10 times smaller than modern sensors require. They could be placed on or under the skin and provide doctors and scientists with a wealth of information.

Chinese scientists even created a sensor that can detect only one cancer cell. Moreover, scientists from Manchester University report that graphene oxide can find and neutralize cancer stem cells.

Infrastructure

The ninth goal of the SDG is “to create a solid infrastructure, to promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and innovation”. Composites reinforced with graphene, and other building materials can bring us closer to this goal.

Recent studies have shown that the more graphene is added, the better the composite becomes. This means that graphene can be added to building materials – concrete, aluminum, which will make them stronger and lighter.

Rubber is also improved by the addition of graphene. A study by Graphene Flagship and its partner Avanzare reports that “graphene enhances the functionality of rubber by combining the electrical conductivity of graphene and mechanical strength with excellent corrosion resistance.” Of such rubbers, it would be possible to make pipes that are more resistant to corrosion.

Energy

The seventh task is to provide access to low-cost, reliable, sustainable and modern energy sources for all. Because of the ease, conductivity and tensile strength, graphene can make green energy more efficient and cheaper.

For example, graphene composites could be used to create more versatile solar panels. Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology say that “with the help of graphene it is possible to make flexible, inexpensive and transparent solar cells that can turn almost any surface into a source of electricity.” Thanks to graphene composites, it is also possible to create large and light wind turbines.

In addition, graphene is already used to improve the traditional lithium-ion batteries, which are commonly used in consumer electronics. Studies of graphene airgels for storing energy and supercapacitors are also being conducted. All this will be needed for large-scale storage of clean energy.

Over the next ten years, graphene will almost certainly find many applications in the real world and will not only help the UN and its participants achieve SDG goals, but will also improve everything in our world, from touch screens to MRI devices and transistors.

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China has successfully carried out unique operations to restore the ears to children

A group of five children in China received new ears, grown on the basis of detailed three-dimensional models of healthy organs and using their own healthy cells. This is the first such case in the world medicine practice. About the work done, experts shared in the magazineEBioMedicine.

Children aged 6 to 9 years had a congenital micro-disease, characterized by underdevelopment of the auricle or its absence (anotomy). In this case, the abnormality of development was noted in children only on the one hand, so scientists were able to create highly detailed photographs of their healthy ears, which subsequently helped to recreate the pair. The success of the team of specialists in tissue engineering and plastic surgeons has proved that the method used by researchers can give people suffering from microtia and other similar diseases a new life.

“The results represent an amazing breakthrough in the practice of transplanting the newly created cartilaginous ear tissue through the use of a new method and a qualitative surgical procedure,” the scientists wrote in their published article.

First, scientists collected cartilage cells, called chondrocytes, from healthy undeformed ears, and then used the method of cell culture. Using computed tomography of healthy ears, researchers created three-dimensional models around which healthy cells were placed to grow and form a new organ. Over time, the cells replaced almost the entire artificial frame. At the final stage, the scientists performed surgical operations and implanted new ears. In some cases, additional cosmetic surgery was required.

In fact, the technology of growing new organs has existed for several years, but this is the first time it has been so effective in treating people. The very first re-created ear was implanted 30 months ago.

“Technologies for the production of cartilaginous tissue that could act as a substitute for microfabricated sites have been one of the main tasks of tissue engineering for more than two decades,” said Lawrence Bonassar, a professor of bioengineering at Cornell University in New York, in an interview with CNN. participation in the study described today.

“This work clearly shows that new technologies for the production of tissue for the reproduction of cartilaginous auricles will soon become standard medical practice. The quality of the new fabric produced is not inferior to the best performance demonstrated by modern cosmetic surgery. “

Microtia is found in one case for 8000-10,000 births. In some countries, this figure reaches 17.4 per 10,000 cases. Usually, before the beginning of treatment, a check is made to make sure that the structures of the inner ear and hearing are preserved. In case of hearing safety, the next step is to make sure that the patient has an external ear canal (if not visible from the outside), by means of a computer tomography. To small patients, the study is performed after preliminary sedation. The age at which an attempt is made to restore the external ear surgically, depends on the chosen operational technique. The method Medpor is applied from three years, Rib Cartilage Grafts (transplantation of costal cartilage) – from six. However, many surgeons recommend surgery at a later age (8-10 years),

“Surgeons discussed the possibility of extracting the cartilaginous tissue from the patient and processing it into individual cellular components, which could then be used to create new ones,” explains Tessa Hedlock from the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Research Center, who did not participate in the work under discussion.

“The fact is that for the first time these procedures were carried out at once with five patients. Results in general were successful. This is shown by long-term follow-up after the implantation of new auricles. “

Nevertheless, the scientists noted some “features”. During 2.5 years of observation, there was no degradation of the tissues of the artificial parts of the ear. But scientists want to be sure that they have really achieved success, and therefore will continue to monitor for another 2.5 years. In addition, in two cases, the researchers observed some distortions in the growth of the ears. This also requires additional and careful monitoring.

And yet we must admit that a big step forward in the development of such treatment procedures for people with microtia.

“We successfully developed, created and restored the outer tissues of the ears of the selected group of patients. However, further work is required to translate this innovative method into the mainstream of routine medical practice, “the researchers commented.

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Scientists have discovered regeneration genes

As you know, there are beings on our planet who have an incredible ability to regenerate, allowing to grow lost limbs and restore organs. And many scientists have long argued that virtually any organism has the same capabilities – you just need to “include” the right genes. And recently, German scientists from the Max Planck Institute discovered such genes.

In the course of their research, the university staff examined the amphibian amphibian amphibian larvae mexicanum. The fact is that in just a few weeks she can completely restore her lost limbs. Together with bone, cartilaginous tissue, muscles, nerves and blood vessels. Moreover, this amphibian can easily cope with fractures of the spine, which for most mammals turn out to be deadly.

In the process of studying the ambystoma mexicanum larvae, the experts sequenced their genome and determined in it the key genes responsible for the regeneration of the limbs. But this process took quite a long time. The fact is that the investigated genome consists of 32 billion base pairs of DNA (which is approximately 10 times more than a human). To decipher the entire genome, scientists needed 72 million reads of DNA sections, which was helped by the analytical platform PacBio, which allows you to sequester several hundred thousand fragments per reading. In the course of further analysis of the genome, the researchers found several unique genes that are expressed in the regeneration process. It is worth noting that at first it was thought that the main one is the PAX3 gene, as well as the other representatives of the species, but it turned out that PAX3 is absent from the ambystoma mexicanum,

Of course, there is no question of “transplanting” new genes to a person, and this process requires further study. But now you can use unique properties to create drugs for wound healing and in new methods of repairing damaged tissues.

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Modern people left Africa 50,000 years earlier than it was thought

Israeli archaeologists have discovered the most ancient remains of Homo sapiens, dating back to the era of 194 to 177 thousand years ago. According to an article published in the journal Science, the discovery of scientists makes it necessary to move the moment of modern people’s exit from Africa by about 50 thousand years ago. Earlier, the most ancient human remains outside Africa were dated to the period of 90-120 thousand years ago.

Most modern researchers agree with the hypothesis of the African origin of modern people. According to this hypothesis, a man of subspecies sapiens appeared in Africa about 200-400 thousand years ago. In the era of 135 to 115 thousand years ago, modern people migrated from the continent. Different versions suggest that this migration took place either through North Africa or through Arabia. Science does not know the exact reasons for this migration, but, according to one of the assumptions, it could be due to a severe drought on the continent. Scientists believe that the first attempt at migration was unsuccessful – ancient people could either perish, or return back to the continent, but notes that recently archaeologists have discovered the remains of ancient immigrants in southern China. There, during the archaeological excavations, skeletons were found,

Researchers believe that the second wave of migration began 75,000 years ago and could occur shortly before or after the eruption of the Toba Supervolcano in Sumatra. This time the transition was successful – about 70 thousand years ago, the pioneers reached South and South-East Asia. About 50 thousand years ago people reached Australia, and 40 thousand years ago – to Europe. About 15 thousand years ago people appeared in America.

The article in the journal Science describes how the anthropologist Israel Gershkovitz from the University of Tel Aviv, as well as his colleagues from the United States and eight other countries, discovered in 2002 the Israeli left cave Mislia left the upper part of the human jaw. The researchers analyzed the findings and determined the age using three methods: the uranium-thorium method, thermoluminescence and electron-spin resonance dating. Research conducted by scientists in three different laboratories. In all, close dates were obtained: the analysis showed an age from 194 to 177 years. The preserved teeth in the jaw indicated to the scientist that she could belong to the Homo sapiens person – the morphology and structure of teeth from the teeth of Neanderthals and other subspecies of humans was noted.

The authors also note that very near the cave Misli scientists found stone tools that had the characteristic features of Levallois technique, which appeared in the Middle Paleolithic. These tools were made as sapiens, and Neanderthals. Similar tools scientists discovered in the Paleolithic sites of the Sapiens in North, East and South Africa. This allowed scientists to assume that the Levallois tools in the Levant can also be associated with the arrival of people there. Also, the new finding is confirmed by recent genetic data, according to which crossing sapiens and Neanderthals, probably occurred earlier 200 thousand years ago.

“Earlier migration from Africa suggests that cultural or genetic exchanges with local ancient populations occurred earlier than previously thought. This coincides with the recent genetic evidence of earlier migration of people from Africa, “explained Rolf Kam, a paleoanthropologist at Binghamton University (USA).

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MIT has developed a new secure protocol for data exchange

Over the past fifteen years, the Tor project has become a strong security stronghold in the global network. And who just did not try to crack the encryption of this system: NSA, FBI, FSB, BND, the list can continue indefinitely. And although no one has succeeded to this day, it is possible to compute the IP address of the end user receiving the traffic in only 20 minutes in a purely theoretical way. Scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology havedeveloped a completely new protocol Riffle, which should bypass Tor on the level of security.

Weak place Tor – it’s its nodes. Having access to at least two nodes of the network, an attacker or a security officer, armed with the right tools, can easily track the data packet from the sender to the recipient. Of course, he can not find out exactly what is in this package, but the person of the person on the other side of the monitor can be fully calculated. And this, you will agree, is no longer anonymity. Although, as I already mentioned above, all this is just a theory and similar experiments were conducted exclusively in “laboratory conditions”.

A team of MIT researchers led by Albert Kwon, with the support of specialists from the Federal Polytechnic School of Lausanne, created the Riffle protocol, which should eliminate the security breaches inherent in the Tor network. The system completely excludes the possibility of analyzing traffic, which makes it much safer. Tor subjects information to multi-layer encryption, and Riffle adds two additional degrees of protection to this encryption. First, the servers constantly rebuild the queue, according to which data fragments are sent to the next node on the network, preventing the ability to monitor traffic. Secondly, a system is implemented that prevents the possibility of replacing real data packets with “dummies”, which can then be tracked. The user sends the data packet to more than one server, but to all at once. At the same time, the data is signed with the most complicated mathematical signature. In case the server suspects the received data in something, they are immediately blocked.

Not to say that MIT employees invented the wheel, because all these technologies have existed for many years. However, to put them together and force them to work for the benefit of the safety of private life is indeed a serious achievement. It is logical to assume that such a network will require huge computing power and wide bandwidth. But Albert Kwon and his team managed to overcome these obvious obstacles in their path. More information about Riffle technologies you can readin the official document, published by the researchers. At the moment, developers are “combing” the code of their project, after which it will be available to all comers for free.

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