Providing clean water to low income populations in developing countries has always been a priority of aid organizations but economical solutions have always been elusive. A few years ago, tanks that use sunlight to purify water — solar stills — became commercially available. Unfortunately, the technology produces water much to slow. Now, a new method developed by a research at the University of Texas may provide a much better solution. According to Science, the technology “involves hydrogels, polymer mixtures that form a 3D porous, water—absorbent network… A still using the new hydrogel distilled water at a rate of 3.6 L/h/m2, the highest rate ever reported and about 12 times the amount produced by today’s commercially available versions.” Bring it on. http://bit.ly/2JgvBtW

The World Health Organization has announced a five-year plan toward the goal of ensuring that medical products are quality-assured, safe and effective. Too often, the Medicaid administered to patients in resource-poor settings are ineffective for a host of reasons. In order to address quality-control problems, WHO proposes increased oversight. “Providing oversight of health products throughout their lifecycle – from laboratory to health facility – is the linchpin of effective prevention, diagnosis and treatment and an essential part of WHO’s drive towards universal health coverage.” http://bit.ly/2Jdwvra

When it comes to plasmid sharing among bacteria, a recent study indicates that it’s family first then everyone else after. According to the paper published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, “Overall, transfer is strongly biased towards clone-mates, but not correlated to genetic distance when donors and recipients are not clone-mates. Transfer is limited by the presence of a functional restriction-modification system in recipients, suggesting sharing of strain-specific defence systems contributes to bias towards kin.” http://bit.ly/2JmALVp

According to Fierce Biotech, Pfizer’s Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) gene therapy has hit a bit of a speed bump. Ok. It’s a bit bigger than that. Apparently, one of the first six clinical trial participants administered with the drug developed acute renal injury and needed hospitalization. Analysts subsequently lowered their expectations. Not surprising. http://bit.ly/2JiF444

Futurism reports that the United States Army isset to deploy its first set of palm-sized reconnaissance drones equipped with several cameras. They are called Black Hornets and troops from the 82nd Airborne Division will get first dibs. http://bit.ly/2Xm7Lqq

IMAGE SOURCE: Creative Commons

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