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DAILY DOSE: Two-Thirds of Americans want government to do more about climate change; Merck developed a Ebola vaccine on the DL.


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If you based your ideas on climate change on American politics, you’d think there was a 50-50 split in opinion regarding whether it is for real. A new poll shows that a whole lot of Americans feel that more should be done to combat its effects. Per the Associated Press,

Nearly two-thirds of Americans think the federal government is not doing enough to fight climate change, according to a new poll that shows limited public awareness about a sweeping new law that commits the U.S. to its largest ever investment to combat global warming.

Democrats in Congress approved the Inflation Reduction Act in August, handing President Joe Biden a hard-fought triumph on priorities that his party hopes will bolster prospects for keeping their House and Senate majorities in November’s elections.

Biden and Democratic lawmakers have touted the new law as a milestone achievement leading into the midterm elections, and environmental groups have spent millions to boost the measure in battleground states. Yet the poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research finds that 61% of U.S. adults say they know little to nothing about it.

Are there any solutions to the lack of awareness about the problem?


Ebola refuses to go away quietly. According to Reuters,

Uganda has reported nine more Ebola cases in the capital Kampala, bringing the total number of known infections to 14 in the last two days, the health minister said on Monday.

The outbreak began in September in a rural part of central Uganda. It spread earlier this month to Kampala, a city of more than 1.6 million people, by a man who had come from the Kassanda district to seek medical treatment and later died.

Seven of the nine who tested positive on Sunday are family members of the man who died and are from the Kampala neighbourhood of Masanafu, Health Minister Jane Ruth Aceng said in a tweet.

The longer it festers, the more likely the chances of a wider outbreak becomes.


Should the Ebola outbreak in Uganda expand, there may be some help available in the form of an experimental vaccine against the deadly virus. Per Science,

In a revelation that may help Uganda combat its outbreak of Ebola, the pharmaceutical giant Merck has acknowledged to Science—after repeated inquiries—that it has up to 100,000 doses of an experimental vaccine for the deadly viral disease in its freezers in Pennsylvania and will donate them. The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Ugandan government are discussing whether and how these doses can be incorporated into one or more clinical trials of other candidate Ebola vaccines that could launch as soon as next month.

The Merck vaccine targets Sudan ebolavirus, the pathogen now circulating in Uganda. Merck quietly made the product in 2015 and 2016, soon after it had a landmark success with a similar vaccine against Zaire ebolavirus, a different virus that caused a big epidemic in West Africa between 2014 and 2016. The company froze the Sudan Ebola vaccine in bulk form and never tested it on people. But it has been shown to protect monkeys intentionally injected with Sudan ebolavirus, and given the efficacy of Merck’s Zaire Ebola vaccine, scientists have high hopes that the Sudan Ebola shots will be safe and effective as well.

Merck’s disclosure “is amazingly good news,” says Mark Feinberg, who led the company’s program to develop the Zaire Ebola vaccine. “It allows this very promising vaccine to move forward quicker than would have otherwise been possible.” Feinberg left Merck in 2015 and now heads the nonprofit International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI), which is developing its own vaccine for Sudan ebolavirus. He tells Science he had no idea his old employer had made its own candidate vaccine against the virus.

This is great news. Vaccines work.


Cities aren’t exactly the most hospitable places for plant life, though that hasn’t stopped them from taking advantage of every sidewalk crack in existence. Converting unoccupied spaces into urban farms is even more difficult. On top of that, rooftop conditions aren’t always optimal for growing crops. A team of researchers may figured out a way to make things a little more friendly for urban farms. Per the Frontiers In blog,

As the world’s cities grow, the hunt is on for ways to make them greener, more sustainable, and more livable. Rooftop farms and gardens that take advantage of underutilized roof space are a popular option, providing new food resources while simultaneously cooling the surrounding area, increasing building insulation, and improving air quality. But the conditions on rooftops — greater solar radiation, more wind exposure, lesser soil moisture — often mean that plants are smaller and less healthy. A team led by Dr Sarabeth Buckley, now at the University of Cambridge, theorized that repurposing the CO2 from building exhaust as a kind of fertilizer might help counter some of these challenges. To explore this, they grew corn and spinach on the roof of a campus building at Boston University.

“We wanted to test whether there is an untapped resource inside buildings that could be used to make plants grow larger in rooftop farms,” said Buckley, whose team named their experimental garden BIG GRO and published their work today in Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems. “Creating more favorable conditions that increase growth could help make rooftop farms more successful and therefore more viable options for installation on buildings.”

Scientists can be very clever, can’t they?

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

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