DAILY DOSE: Malaria threatens the United States; India makes strides in outer space and underground.

At least four people in Florida and one in Texas have been diagnosed with locally acquired malaria, a highly unusual occurrence. Typically, malaria cases in the US are the result of individuals contracting the disease while traveling to endemic regions and subsequently falling ill upon their return. Local transmission of malaria is extremely rare and has not occurred in the US since 2003. Health officials are concerned about the possibility of other undiagnosed cases and whether local doctors will recognize the symptoms. Malaria experts emphasize the need for vigilance among clinicians, especially primary care physicians, as the symptoms of malaria can be nonspecific. Mosquito control measures, such as trapping and analysis, as well as insecticide spraying, are being implemented in the affected areas. The species of parasite causing these cases is P. vivax, which is geographically more widespread but less lethal than the dominant form, P. falciparum. Climate change, though not a factor in these cases, raises concerns about the spread of mosquito-borne diseases in general. Effective mosquito control and preventive measures, such as taking antimalarials when traveling to endemic areas, are crucial in preventing the spread of malaria within the US. (Wired)

India’s space-tech sector is experiencing rapid growth, with at least 140 registered space-tech start-ups emerging in the country. The development of smaller-scale, commercial space technology driven by private enterprise is transforming various industries. Satellites are used to provide imaging systems that aid in crop insurance and tracking commercial fishing fleets, as well as bringing phone signals to remote areas and supporting solar farms. The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) is making room for private players while sharing its profitable legacy, including a reliable “workhorse” rocket and a cost-effective launch site on the coastal island of Sriharikota. With India’s abundant supply of affordable engineers, specialized services are becoming a focus for Indian space companies, targeting niche markets. India’s geopolitical advantage, as a trusted launch option compared to Russia and China, further supports its space ambitions. (New York Times)

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Mumbai, known for its congested traffic and overcrowded public transit, is set to address these issues with the introduction of a new metro network. The Aqua Line, the fourth line of the metro system, will connect the city’s southern island to its northern suburbs and is expected to open in December. The entire metro system, spanning 14 lines and covering 360 kilometers (224 miles), aims to reverse the decline in public transport’s share of travel and reduce road congestion. By 2030, it is projected to carry 11 million passengers, compared to the current 8 million on the suburban rail. The metro network is also expected to improve public safety, reduce carbon emissions, and spur property development and new growth areas in Mumbai. (Bloomberg)

Cultured meat, produced through cell cultivation rather than traditional animal agriculture, is making progress towards commercialization. Companies like UPSIDE Foods and GOOD Meat have received regulatory approval to sell lab-grown chicken in the United States, and the products may be available in restaurants this year. The development of cultured meat has gained momentum, with over 150 companies worldwide working on various cultured meat products, including beef, chicken, pork, and fish. The technology has the potential to address the negative environmental impacts of conventional meat production, such as land use and greenhouse gas emissions. However, challenges remain, including high production costs, energy use, and market scalability. Academic institutions and organizations like the Good Food Institute are actively involved in research and development efforts to improve the science and technology behind cultured meat. (Nature)

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

WORDS: The Biology Guy. (@thebiologyguy)


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