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February 2018 News Round Up

News:

Winter Olympics: Soldiers replace security staff after norovirus outbreak Organisers of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics have called in 900 military personnel after 1,200 private security staff were quarantined because of concerns over a norovirus outbreak.
Birling Gap chemical haze ’caused by ship’ The source of a chemical haze that hit the south coast last summer was most likely a ship, a wreck or lost cargo in the Channel, a Defra report has said.

More than 150 people needed hospital treatment on 27 August after gas engulfed Birling Gap beach in Sussex.

Russian nuclear scientists arrested for ‘Bitcoin mining plot’ Russian security officers have arrested several scientists working at a top-secret Russian nuclear warhead facility for allegedly mining crypto-currencies.

The suspects had tried to use one of Russia’s most powerful supercomputers to mine Bitcoins, media reports say.

At diphtheria clinic, medics struggle to treat Rohingya As she sits by her son Mohammad Farooq’s bedside at a clinic near Bangladesh’s Kutupalong refugee camp, Noor Begum is feeling far more optimistic than she was 24 hours earlier.

“He had a fever and he was vomiting. He could not eat because of the pain,” said Noor, who fled her village of Ludang Para in Buthidaung, Myanmar for Bangladesh as part of the Rohingya exodus that began in late August.

Mohammad is suffering f

DNA tests for UK’s nuclear bomb veterans Decades ago they witnessed nuclear weapons tests in the South Pacific. Now some veterans hope new DNA testing will prove it was responsible for their subsequent ill health, which they say ruined their lives.

“It was awe-inspiring, like another sun hanging in the sky. The blast bowled people over. A few men were on the ground screaming.”

Norovirus Outbreak At The Olympics Is Now Spreading To Athletes In the days leading up to the opening ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, an unlikely competitor arrived to steal the show: norovirus, a nasty stomach bug. The outbreak, which has occurred primarily among security guards, sent officials into a frenzy.
Kazakhstan’s Polygon Legacy: 40 years of nuclear bomb testing by the Soviet Union Between 1949 and 1989, the Soviet Union exploded 460 nuclear bombs in eastern Kazakhstan. About 200,000 villagers living within 45km of the test site, the ‘Polygon’, were exposed to high levels of radiation for.

Technology:

New study shows flu can be spread just by breathing It is easier to spread the influenza virus (flu) than previously thought, according to a new University of Maryland-led study released today. People commonly believe that they can catch the flu by exposure to droplets from an infected person’s coughs or sneezes or by touching contaminated surfaces. But, new information about flu transmission reveals that we may pass the flu to others just by breathing.
Wound monitoring app may keep patients out of hospitals According to recent studies, surgical site infections (SSIs) are the leading cause of hospital readmission following an operation. In hopes of catching those SSIs before readmission is necessary, scientists from the University of Wisconsin, Madison have developed an experimental app known as WoundCare..
Smartphone-based system detects bacteria in food Food scientist Lili He and colleagues at the University of Massachusetts Amherst report that they have developed a new, rapid and low-cost method for detecting bacteria in water or a food sample. Once commercially available, it should be useful to cooks using fresh fruits and vegetables, for example, and aid workers in the field responding to natural disasters, He says.
Universal flu vaccine targets backbone of the virus Researchers have developed a universal vaccine to combat influenza A viruses that produces long-lasting immunity in mice and protects them against the limitations of seasonal flu vaccines, according to a study led by Georgia State University.
Antibody breakthrough brings universal allergy treatment one step closer Researchers have found a new mechanism in which an antibody can prevent allergic reactions in a broad range of patients. It is a scientific breakthrough, which could pave the way for a far more effective allergy medicine.
Overlooked antibiotic re-enlisted in fight against drug-resistant superbugs Overprescription and use of antibiotics is leading us down a terrifying path, towards a world where our best drugs simply don’t work and even the most basic of medical procedures becomes deadly again. To prevent this future, Australian scientists have looked to the past, digging up a long forgotten antibiotic candidate and finding that it’s effective against some of the most dangerous “superbugs.”
How a hungry, hardy bacteria eats toxic metals and excretes gold nuggets High concentrations of heavy metals, like copper and gold, are toxic for most living creatures. This is not the case for the bacterium C. metallidurans, which has found a way to extract valuable trace elements from a compound of heavy metals without poisoning itself. One interesting side-effect: the formation of tiny gold nuggets.
New insight into how some viruses disrupt the immune system and establish a chronic infection How do viruses that cause chronic infections, such as HIV or hepatitis C virus, manage to outsmart their hosts’ immune systems?
Malaria parasites killed quickly by blue dye According to the World Health Organization, malaria is responsible for approximately 445,000 deaths every year. That number may be due to drop, however, as scientists have found that a human-safe blue dye kills parasites in patients’ bloodstreams within two days – that’s faster than has ever been possible before.
How ants could inspire a new generation of antibiotics A team studying the antimicrobial properties of several ant species has found the industrious insects could help scientists develop new antibiotics to join the fight against human diseases. The research also revealed several ant species that have no chemical antimicrobial defense against bacteria, offering exciting alternative pathways for scientists to study.
Cloudy with chance of viruses: Billions of micro-organisms rain down daily An astonishing number of viruses are circulating around the Earth’s atmosphere – and falling from it – according to new research from scientists in Canada, Spain and the U.S.
Human-safe ultraviolet light used to kill airborne viruses Continuous low doses of far ultraviolet C (far-UVC) light can kill airborne flu viruses without harming human tissues, according to a new study at the Center for Radiological Research at Columbia University Irving Medical Center (CUIMC).
New antibiotic family discovered in dirt US scientists have discovered a new family of antibiotics in soil samples. The natural compounds could be used to combat hard-to-treat infections, the team at Rockefeller University hopes.

Tests show the compounds, called malacidins, annihilate several bacterial diseases that have become resistant to most existing antibiotics, including the superbug MRSA.

Graphene filter makes even Sydney Harbour water drinkable Sydney’s iconic harbour has played a starring role in the development of new CSIRO technology that could save lives around the world.

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