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Reportage and analysis on the latest developments in the world of science.

The rover Zhurong's landing platform | www.cnsa.gov.cn

China’s first rover on Mars sends back dramatic images, including a selfie

Four images were released by China, including its national flag on Mars, a panorama of the landing site, the planet's dusty landscape and a selfie of the rover with the landing platform.
Plane_cabin crew_passengers_flight

Boeing to test ‘Curtain of Air’ to fight Covid: What it is & how it can protect fliers

Air curtains are already in use in malls, restaurants and airports. They serve as a barrier against suspended pollutants, dust particles and pathogen-laden droplets of moisture.
The SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus causes the Covid-19 disease | Edward Jenner | Pexels

New atomic-scale 3D map of Covid virus protein could hold clue to preventing lung damage

Researchers in US use cryo-electron microscope to construct 3D map of virus protein that reveals how Covid-19 infects human lungs.
ICMR doctors take blood samples for a study in Dharavi, Mumbai, on 30 May 2021 | ANI Photo

ICMR study finds P.2, Covid strain first found in Brazil, more severe than original variant

P.2 or B.1.1.28.2 variant of SARS-CoV-2, however, has so far had very less prevalence, with less than 0.5% of the viral samples detected worldwide showing this strain.
wet market

China’s wet market Covid origin theory returns with study citing illegal wildlife sales

The new findings support a WHO-led research mission that concluded SARS-CoV-2 most likely spilled over to humans from animals — either directly from a bat or via another mammal.
The novel coronavirus

Covid does spread some distance through air, update to 2020 Chinese restaurant study says

Researchers at Guangzhou Center for Disease Control and Prevention study 2.5 hours of restaurant CCTV footage to conclude close contact transmission did not lead to outbreak.
Representational image of someone washing hands | Photo: Pixabay

Hand-washing, wearing masks cut cases of Kawasaki disease in kids, South Korea study says

Kawasaki usually occurs before age 5 and is more common in India & other South Asian countries. South Korea has second-highest incidence of the disease in world, after Japan.
Representational image | File photo of people in a queue for Covid vaccines in Gurugram | PTI

Older people may need 3rd shot to stay protected against Delta Covid variant: Lancet study

UK study says single-dose recipients of Pfizer vaccine are likely to be less protected against 3 coronavirus variants of concern —  B.1.617.2 (India), B.1.351 (South Africa) and B.1.1.7 (UK).
The novel coronavirus | Pixabay

Fauci dismissed IIT-Delhi Covid paper as ‘outlandish’ — what it said & why it was withdrawn

IIT Delhi team claimed SARS-CoV-2 had 4 'inserts' in spike protein that are similar to those in HIV, a highly unlikely occurrence in nature. Scientific community refutes these conclusions.
A man carrying a child, both wearing protective masks and raincoats, walk inside the Hankou railway station in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China, in April 2020 | Bloomberg

Wuhan lab’s deleted data, unreported pneumonia cases — challenges to ‘natural’ origins of Covid

Research group called DRASTIC is trawling the internet, comparing notes & putting up a concerted resistance to Chinese claims, supported by WHO, that SARS-CoV-2 has natural origins.

On Camera

YouTurn

Representational image of sugar cubes | Photographer: Vincent Mundy/Bloomberg

‘White foods’ are invading India’s breakfast menu. So are chronic illnesses

India's bakery market is expected to grow 8.5% to reach more than $12 billion by 2026. But evidence is also building up against refined foods as producing more harm than good.
Illustration: Ramandeep Kaur

Rs 1,355 cr — how much oil PSUs have given temple towns, PM Cares, Statue of Unity as CSR

Since 2014, top oil PSUs such as ONGC, BPCL, IOCL & GAIL have committed funds to develop Badrinath Dham, Puri's Jagannath temple and Statue of Unity in Gujarat.

Defence

Representational image of the Indian Army in Ladakh | ANI File Photo

Expert panel to fine tune military theaterisation plan after stakeholders differ on key issues

The big dilemma facing the govt and the armed forces is whether theatre commands, which call for a joint war strategy, should be country-specific or based on challenges.

China’s Wuhan story unravels as world’s finest, including from India, nail Covid lab-leak proof

The global hunt for where the virus behind pandemic came from shows science, democracy and a sense of inquiry can overcome politics, ideology and omerta codes.