An international team has found a way to potentially prevent the novel coronavirus from infecting cells, as well as clues as to why it is more infectious than similar viruses.


University of Bristol researchers Dr Yohei Yamauchi and Professor Peter Cullen identified where the virus binds when it is infecting host cells and then joined forces with Dr Kai-En (Kevin) Chen and Professor Brett Collins from IMB to find out more.


Putting more pieces of the puzzle together, Dr Chen and Professor Collins were able to show exactly how the virus binds to a host cell by modelling the site where they interact. “The SARS-CoV-2 virus uses a protein called Spike to bind and enter host cells, and we now know that in addition to the already known ACE2 receptor, the Spike binds to a second receptor on the host cells called neuropilin,” Professor Collins said. “We used X-ray crystallography to see the structure of proteins at the atomic level and visualize the binding sites at a spectacular level of detail.”


The University of Bristol team then looked at the effect of disrupting the binding between the virus and the second receptor.

"We discovered that by blocking the virus protein from binding neurophilin on the cells, it was possible to reduce the infection rate of the virus," Dr Yamauchi said. “If we can make a drug that blocks the virus from binding to cells, this has potential as a new therapy for treating COVID-19."

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Outwitting Albert Einstein just got even tougher. More than 100 years ago, the famous physicist published his explanation of gravity, known as general relativity (GR), which successfully explains everything from the orbits of planets to the bending of starlight. Still, some physicists have been trying to invent theories that can solve puzzles GR cannot—for example, by explaining away the need for invisible dark matter, whose gravity appears to bind the galaxies. But the first direct image of a black hole, revealed last year, has now provided a tough new test for theories of gravity. Fail it and your theory is dead. “It’s a new hoop to jump through and a fairly narrow one,” says Feryal Özel, an astrophysicist at the University of Arizona who helped devise the new test.



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Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and their colleagues have proposed a novel method for finding dark matter, the cosmos’s mystery material that has eluded detection for decades. Dark matter makes up about 27% of the universe; ordinary matter, such as the stuff that builds stars and planets, accounts for just 5% of the cosmos. A mysterious entity called dark energy, accounts for the other 68%.


According to cosmologists, all the visible material in the universe is merely floating in a vast sea of dark matter — particles that are invisible but nonetheless have mass and exert a gravitational force. Dark matter’s gravity would provide the missing glue that keeps galaxies from falling apart and account for how matter clumped together to form the universe’s rich galactic tapestry. 




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Soon, astronauts on moon missions won’t have any excuse for not answering their texts.

NASA has awarded Nokia of America $14.1 million to deploy a cellular network on the moon. The freaking moon. The grant is part of $370 million worth of contracts signed under NASA’s "Tipping Point" selections, meant to advance research and development for space exploration. 

Nokia’s plan is to build a 4G/LTE network, and eventually transition to 5G (just like the rest of us). It will be "the first LTE/4G communications system in space," according to NASA’s announcement.

"The system could support lunar surface communications at greater distances, increased speeds, and provide more reliability than current standards," the announcement also reads.


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OmniVision OV6948 enters the Guinness Book of Records as the world’s smallest camera.


OmniVision OV6948 measures in super-small at just 0.575 x 0.575 x 0.232mm and is good for 40,000-pixel color images using an RGB Bayer back-side-illuminating chip. This new camera is ridiculosuly small, but it’s for specific use cases in surgery.

With the OmniVision OV6948 surgeons can have a camera so small it will fit into the smallest veins inside of the human body.


This technology provides surgeons and doctors that have the OmniVision OV6948 with next-gen camera access for future surgeries. Until now, surgeons do this without any camera — acting blind. The only cameras capable of anything close to this are very few, but they also have a much lower resolution fiber optic feed. The new OmniVision OV6948 captures images at 30FPS, and can have analog output at over 4mm away with minimal noise.


The OmniVision OV6948 has a 120-degree super-side angle field of view, something that on a regular camera would come up as 14nm on a full-frame sensor. The depth of field for the OmniVision OV6948 spans between 3mm and 30mm.

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Gravitational wave detectors have opened a new window to the universe by measuring the ripples in spacetime produced by colliding black holes and neutron stars, but they are ultimately limited by quantum fluctuations induced by light reflecting off of mirrors. LSU Ph.D. physics alumnus Jonathan Cripe and his team of LSU researchers have conducted a new experiment with scientists from Caltech and Thorlabs to explore a way to cancel this quantum backaction and improve detector sensitivity.



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