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May 12, 2021

New COVID-19 Vaccine May Offer Broad Protection Against Existing and Future Coronavirus Strains at a Cost of $1

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, health

A COVID-19 vaccine that could provide protection against existing and future strains of the COVID-19 coronavirus, and other coronaviruses, and costs about $1 a dose has shown promising results in early animal testing.

Vaccines created by UVA Health’s Steven L. Zeichner, MD, PhD, and Virginia Tech’s Xiang-Jin Meng, MD, PhD, prevented pigs from being becoming ill with a pig model coronavirus, porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV). The vaccine was developed using an innovative approach that Zeichner says might one day open the door to a universal vaccine for coronaviruses, including coronaviruses that previously threatened pandemics or perhaps even coronaviruses that cause some cases of the common cold.

Their coronavirus vaccine offers several advantages that could overcome major obstacles to global vaccination efforts. It would be easy to store and transport, even in remote areas of the world, and could be produced in mass quantities using existing vaccine-manufacturing factories.

Continue reading “New COVID-19 Vaccine May Offer Broad Protection Against Existing and Future Coronavirus Strains at a Cost of $1” »

May 12, 2021

Universal Cancer Vaccine Candidate Presents Positive Long-term Benefits

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, life extension

A clinical-stage leader in immune-stimulatory vaccines for cancer announced the publication of its favorable long-term Overall Survival (OS) data from a Phase I trial evaluating a universal cancer vaccine candidate, UV1, in combination with checkpoint inhibitor ipilimumab, in patients with metastatic malignant melanoma.

UV1 is a peptide-based vaccine inducing a specific T cell response against the universal cancer antigen telomerase.

Published in the Frontiers in Immunology journal on May 11, 2021, Norway-based Ultimovacs ASA’s UV1 vaccine candidate achieved the primary endpoints of safety and tolerability.

Continue reading “Universal Cancer Vaccine Candidate Presents Positive Long-term Benefits” »

May 12, 2021

Scientists produce a universal flu vaccine using nanoparticles to induce long-lasting immunity

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, health, nanotechnology

Influenza, commonly known as the flu virus, places a substantial burden on public health in the United States. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that influenza has resulted in about 9 million to 45 million diseases, 140000 to 810000 hospitalizations, and 12000 to 61000 deaths each year over the past decade.

Though flu vaccines are readily available to the public, they need to be remodeled and administered every year to combat new viral variants, which can undermine vaccine efficacy. Because of this, scientists have aimed to develop a universal vaccine that can protect against all influenza strains, and that can last for many years.

Now, researchers at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)’s Vaccine Research Center (VRC) and the University of Washington School of Medicine’s Institute for Protein Design (IPD) developed a universal flu vaccine candidate using small particles (nanoparticles), which can induce a long-lasting immune response.

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May 11, 2021

MIT artificial intelligence tech can generate 3D holograms in real-time

Posted by in categories: holograms, robotics/AI, virtual reality

Despite years of hype, virtual reality headsets have yet to topple TV or computer screens as the go-to devices for video viewing.

One reason: VR can make users feel sick. Nausea and eye strain can result because VR creates an illusion of 3D viewing although the user is in fact staring at a fixed-distance 2D display. The solution for better 3D visualization could lie in a 60-year-old technology remade for the digital world: holograms.

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May 11, 2021

First commercial-scale offshore wind farm in the US gets federal approval

Posted by in category: habitats

The Interior Department (DOI) granted the Vineyard Wind project permission to install up to 84 turbines off the coast of Massachusetts. Once completed, the project will be able to generate up to 800 megawatts (MW), enough electricity for 400000 homes.

It won’t be the last.

Continue reading “First commercial-scale offshore wind farm in the US gets federal approval” »

May 11, 2021

New genetic ‘CopyCatchers’ detect efficient and precise CRISPR editing in a living organism

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, genetics

These studies provide a clear proof of principle for a new type of gene therapy in which one copy of a mutated gene could be repaired from a partially intact second copy of the gene,” said Bier, senior author of the Nature Communications study and science director for the Tata Institute for Genetics and Society-UC San Diego. “The need for such a design occurs in genetic situations with patients with inherited genetic disorders, if their parents were carriers for two different mutations in the same gene.

Researchers at the University of California San Diego have laid the groundwork for a potential new type of gene therapy using novel CRISPR-based techniques.

Working in fruit flies and , research led by UC San Diego Postdoctoral Scholar Zhiqian Li in Division of Biological Sciences Professor Ethan Bier’s laboratory demonstrates that new DNA repair mechanisms could be designed to address the effects of debilitating diseases and damaged cell conditions.

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May 11, 2021

New neuroelectronic system can read and modify brain circuits

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, computing, engineering, neuroscience

As researchers learn more about the brain, it has become clear that responsive neurostimulation is becoming increasingly effective at probing neural circuit function and treating neuropsychiatric disorders, such as epilepsy and Parkinson’s disease. But current approaches to designing a fully implantable and biocompatible device able to make such interventions have major limitations: their resolution isn’t high enough and most require large, bulky components that make implantation difficult with risk of complications.

A Columbia Engineering team led by Dion Khodagholy, assistant professor of electrical engineering, has come up with a new approach that shows great promise to improve such devices. Building on their earlier work to develop smaller, more efficient conformable bioelectronic transistors and materials, the researchers orchestrated their devices to create implantable circuits that enable allow reading and manipulation of brain circuits. Their multiplex-then-amplify (MTA) system requires only one amplifier per multiplexer, in contrast to that need an equal number of amplifiers as number of channels.

“It is critical to be able to detect and intervene to treat brain-disorder-related symptoms, such as epileptic seizures, in real time,” said Khodagholy, a leader in bio-and neuroelectronics design. “Not only is our system much smaller and more flexible than current devices, but it also enables simultaneous stimulation of arbitrary waveforms on multiple independent channels, so it is much more versatile.

May 11, 2021

A New Gene Editing Tool Could Rival CRISPR, and Makes Millions of Edits at Once

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical

First discovered in 1984, retrons are floating ribbons of DNA in some bacteria cells that can be converted into a specific type of DNA—a single chain of DNA bases dubbed ssDNAs (yup, it’s weird). But that’s fantastic news for gene editing, because our cells’ double-stranded DNA sequences become impressionable single chains when they divide. Perfect timing for a retron bait-and-switch.

Normally, our DNA exists in double helices that are tightly wrapped into 23 bundles, called chromosomes. Each chromosome bundle comes in two copies, and when a cell divides, the copies separate to duplicate themselves. During this time, the two copies sometimes swap genes in a process called recombination. This is when retrons can sneak in, inserting their ssDNA progeny into the dividing cell instead. If they carry new tricks—say, allowing a bacteria cell to become resistant against drugs—and successfully insert themselves, then the cell’s progeny will inherit that trait.

Because of the cell’s natural machinery, retrons can infiltrate a genome without cutting it. And they can do it in millions of dividing cells at the same time.

Continue reading “A New Gene Editing Tool Could Rival CRISPR, and Makes Millions of Edits at Once” »

May 11, 2021

Hologram experts can now create real-life images that move in the air

Posted by in categories: computing, holograms, military, space, weapons

They may be tiny weapons, but Brigham Young University’s holography research group has figured out how to create lightsabers—green for Yoda and red for Darth Vader, naturally—with actual luminous beams rising from them.

Inspired by the displays of science fiction, the researchers have also engineered battles between equally small versions of the Starship Enterprise and a Klingon Battle Cruiser that incorporate photon torpedoes launching and striking the enemy vessel that you can see with the naked eye.

Continue reading “Hologram experts can now create real-life images that move in the air” »

May 11, 2021

Tiny, wireless, injectable chips use ultrasound to monitor body processes

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical, computing

Widely used to monitor and map biological signals, to support and enhance physiological functions, and to treat diseases, implantable medical devices are transforming healthcare and improving the quality of life for millions of people. Researchers are increasingly interested in designing wireless, miniaturized implantable medical devices for in vivo and in situ physiological monitoring. These devices could be used to monitor physiological conditions, such as temperature, blood pressure, glucose, and respiration for both diagnostic and therapeutic procedures.

To date, conventional implanted electronics have been highly volume-inefficient—they generally require multiple chips, packaging, wires, and external transducers, and batteries are often needed for . A constant trend in electronics has been tighter integration of electronic components, often moving more and more functions onto the integrated circuit itself.

Researchers at Columbia Engineering report that they have built what they say is the world’s smallest single– system, consuming a total volume of less than 0.1 mm3. The system is as small as a dust mite and visible only under a microscope. In order to achieve this, the team used ultrasound to both power and communicate with the device wirelessly. The study was published online May 7 in Science Advances.

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