smiling mother and child in raincoats in park

DAILY DOSE: India approves world’s first nasal Covid-19 vaccine; Children who walk to school are healthier long-term.

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ANYTHING YOU CAN DO…

One day after China approved the world’s first inhaled Covid-19 vaccine, India followed suit by approving the world’s first nasal Covid-19 drug. According to the Associated Press,

Regulators in India authorized Bharat Biotech’s nasal version on Tuesday as an option for people who haven’t yet been vaccinated.

“This step will further strengthen our collective fight against the pandemic,” Indian health minister Mansukh Mandaviya said on Twitter.

It’s not clear how well the nasal version works. Bharat didn’t immediately release results of its studies or say how soon the new option will roll out.

The nasal vaccine was developed by researchers at Washington University in St. Louis and licensed to Indian vaccine maker Bharat Biotech. https://bit.ly/3APIcz4


MONEY TALKS.

Pharma giant Roche has made a foray into the burgeoning field of conditionally active therapeutics. Per Fierce Biotech,

Roche has paid out $250 million cash to acquire Good Therapeutics as part of a bid to bolster its immuno-oncology efforts with the Seattle biotech's preclinical PD-1-regulated IL-2 program.

The Swiss pharma giant will be fully responsible for the global development and commercialization of a PD1-regulated IL-2 receptor agonist program, while the rest of Good Therapeutics’ assets will be shifted over to a new spinout dubbed Bonum Therapeutics.

Conditionally active therapeutics are a new class of investigational drugs designed to be active only when needed. Good Therapeutics’ context-dependent molecules combine an antibody sensor directed against a specific marker and a therapeutic component that activates only when the sensor has bound to its target. https://bit.ly/3exIlzu


WALKING ON SUNSHINE.

If you walk your child to school every morning during this age of Uber and electric scooters, keep on keepin’ on. In the long run, you’re doing a lot more good than you may know. According to an article in Futurity,

Children who walk or bike to school at a young age are more likely to continue the healthy habit as they age, according to a new study.

“The walk to school is a wonderful moment in the day that provides children a glimpse of living an active lifestyle,” says David Tulloch, a professor of landscape architecture at Rutgers-New Brunswick and coauthor of the study in the journal Preventive Medicine Reports. “When people start walking early, it can have a lasting impact on their health.”

In the United States, about 11% of children walk or bike to or from school, according to data from the National Household Travel Survey. That rate hasn’t changed in a decade.

The researchers found that if children are taught early to actively commute—traveling by physical means—they are far more likely to keep doing so later in their educational career.

Most children don’t achieve the 60 minutes per day of physical activity that they’re recommended to get. Active commuting to school is one way to get more of that activity. https://bit.ly/3APJf1Y


ON SALE! Charles Darwin Signature T-shirt – “I think.” Two words that changed science and the world, scribbled tantalizingly in Darwin’s Transmutation Notebooks.

JOURNEY INTO SPACE.

We’re big fans of the Voyager missions currently hurtling through interstellar space and try to highlight their journeys every chance we get. Wired has a timely write-up about their missions,

Today is the 45th anniversary of the launch of Voyager 1, one of humanity’s iconic twin emissaries to the cosmos. (Its sibling, Voyager 2, launched a couple of weeks earlier.) Now in the dark, far reaches of interstellar space—more than 10 billion miles from home, where our sun looks like any other bright star—the pair are still doing science. They carry with them the Golden Records, bearing the sounds and symbols of Earth, should some extraterrestrial ever rendezvous with one of the spacecraft and become curious about its distant sender.

It continues to blow the mind how far from Earth they have traveled and what may lay ahead. https://bit.ly/3ATwByT


MARTIAN PROBLEM SOLVED?

It’s hard to discuss space exploration without thinking of the possibility of human settlement on a distant planet or moon. At this point, Mars seems to be the safest bet. One challenge in establishing a settlement on Mars is sourcing materials for construction. That problem may have been solved. Per Futurity,

Mixing a small amount of simulated crushed Martian rock with a titanium alloy makes a stronger material in a 3D printing process that could one day be used on Mars to make tools or rocket parts.

Researchers made the parts with as little as 5% up to 100% Martian regolith, a black powdery substance meant to mimic the rocky, inorganic material found on the surface of the red planet.

While the parts with 5% Martian regolith were strong, the 100% regolith parts proved brittle and cracked easily. Still, even high-Martian content materials would be useful in making coatings to protect equipment from rust or radiation damage, says Amit Bandyopadhyay, corresponding author of the study in the International Journal of Applied Ceramic Technology.

Obviously, the less material that needs to be transported between Earth and Mars the better. Not only is it difficult, it is also costly. https://bit.ly/3cND7Q1

Thanks for reading. Let’s be careful out there.

IMAGE CREDIT: NASA.


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