The Daily Dose: Proof that humans can mess up just about anything in nature.

India is a major power in the pharmaceutical industry, particularly because it produces so many vaccines and is the primary supplier to middle- to low-income countries. It’s almost guaranteed that they will have early access to any COVID-19 vaccine that comes to market. However, there are some concerns. Per Nature, “As scientists edge closer to creating a vaccine against the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, Indian pharmaceutical companies are front and centre in the race to supply the world with an effective product. But researchers worry that, even with India’s experience as a vaccine manufacturer, its companies will struggle to produce enough doses sufficiently fast to bring its own huge outbreak under control. On top of that, it will be an immense logistical challenge to distribute the doses to people in rural and remote regions.” Needless to say, we’re pulling for the country’s pharmaceutical machine to succeed.

German labs have confirmed that a Russian opposition leader that had dramatically fallen ill was the victim of poisoning. According to reporting from Al-Jazeera, “Tests performed on samples taken from prominent Russian opposition figure Alexey Navalny showed the presence of the Soviet-era nerve agent Novichok, the German government said.” The poison is a cholinesterase inhibitor that has been deployed by Russia in the past.

Potential COVID-19 vaccines developed Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline are entering clinical trials with the hopes of bringing their products to the market by early 2021. Per Fierce Biotech, “The phase 1/2 trial will enroll 440 people across 11 U.S. clinical trial sites. If all goes to plan, Sanofi and GSK will have safety, tolerability and immunogenicity data from the study in December and move into phase 3 later that month. The partners expect to have the data to support a filing for approval of their two-dose adjuvanted vaccine regimen in the first half of 2021.” Both vaccine candidates are adjuvanted protein-based COVID-19 vaccines.

Zombies are everywhere. Streaming on your tablet. Marching through the ant world. And now, buzzing around beehives. Believe it or not, humans bare a lot of the responsibility for the phenomenon’s increased prevalence. Specifically, intensification and globalization of honey bee management has coincided with increased pathogen pressure. Writing in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers documented their study. “We hypothesized that Israeli acute paralysis virus (IAPV) can alter host social behavior, predicting different behavioral changes depending on social context. Using automated and manual behavioral monitoring, we find that honey bees have social immune mechanisms that may keep IAPV from spreading within a colony, but IAPV infection results in behavioral and physiological changes that could increase transmission between colonies.” Is there anything we don’t mess up given the chance?

While nobody puts Baby in the corner, the paleontology world has been known to give come dinosaurs the treatment, especially when there’s a consensus lacking. That happened to an unfortunate creature discovered in the United Kingdom over a hundred years ago that has often been lumped together with stegosaurs. But times are a’changing, at least according to Reuters. “University of Cambridge paleontologist David Norman said Scelidosaurus, which lived about 193 million years ago, was an early member of the evolutionary lineage that led to the dinosaur group called ankylosaurs. Ankylosaurs were so heavily armored – some even wielding a bony club at the end of their tails – that they are dubbed the tank dinosaurs.” It’s never too late to show a dino some love.

Thanks for reading. Love, peace, and hair grease. And as always, let’s be careful out there.

IMAGE SOURCE: Creative Commons

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