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

The Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment that announced the detection of the FRB | By special arrangement

Astronomers detect first fast radio burst in our Milky Way galaxy

Fast radio bursts are bright bursts of radio waves from astronomical objects across galaxies. In a first, FRB 200428 was accompanied with X-rays and could be traced to a magnetar.

ISRO to launch radar weather satellite Saturday, but no media, guests allowed due to Covid

The PSLV-C49 mission is carrying nine customer satellites from three other countries apart from the main payload.
Doctors treat Covid-19 patients in an intensive care unit at a Hospital in Rome, Italy | Bloomberg

Covid-19 originated in China, but Europe spread it around world, says study

Led by scientists from UK’s University of Huddersfield & Portugal’s University of Minho, the research is based on an analysis of the genetic sequence of 27,000 SARS-CoV-2 genomes.
Representational image | Pixabay

Can plant traits be modified without modifying their DNA? Netherlands study says yes

The study led by ecologist Dr Alexandre Jousset says plants can be improved without modifying their DNA. This approach involves making changes to the plant microbiome.
Tourists wear protective face masks on Red Square in Moscow, Russia | Bloomberg

If we want to beat Covid, we have to think like virologists

Virologists regularly handle large quantities of virus in much more concentrated forms than we would encounter in the outside world.
Representational image | A magnified coronavirus germ is displayed on a monitor during coronavirus patient sample detection tests in the virology research labs in a hospital in Leuven, Belgium | Bloomberg

What are Covid mutations in India? Are they more infectious? Gene sequencing has the answers

Indian scientists have analysed 4,000 samples of SARS-CoV-2 since the pandemic began, and now understand where the disease is coming from and where it’s going.
smartwatch

Smartwatches and fitness trackers could improve prediction of Covid cases, US study finds

According to the study, published in Nature Medicine, personal sensor data is likely to help identify subtle changes indicating an infection, such as in Covid patients.
Digital media

Multitasking between different digital media linked to memory failure, finds Stanford study

Researchers studied brain activity and pupil dilation to discover that engaging with multiple digital media simultaneously led to an inability to recall events, even in young adults.
Regeneron Pharmaceuticals signage displayed outside their headquarters in Tarrytown, NY

Regeneron Covid antibody therapy reduces viral load, need for medical care, trial suggests

New York-based company Regeneron's therapy was given to President Donald Trump earlier this month after he tested positive for Covid.
A magnified coronavirus germ is displayed on a monitor during coronavirus patient sample detection tests in the virology research labs at UZ Leuven university hospital in Leuven, Belgium | Bloomberg Photo

ICMR data shows BCG vaccine raises immune response in elderly, could protect against Covid

NIRT study did not specifically look at whether BCG vaccine offers protection against Covid, but it found enhanced adaptive & innate immune response in elderly.

On Camera

Your brain has an in-built bias. It blocks out contradictory facts

Given the complexity of the world around you, your brain cuts a few corners to help process complex information quickly.
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman holds a press conference in New Delhi on 12 November, 2020 | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint

Economy reflating faster than expected, pent up demand not the only factor, says Sitharaman

The Finance Minister said the current reflation is sustainable and consistent GST collections for two months and industry expansion plans indicate additional demand in the economy

Defence

The Ministry of Defence at South Block in New Delhi | Commons

Why Army wants a new Deputy Chief and Director General at its headquarters

Idea for a Deputy Chief (Strategy) came about during the Doklam crisis when it was felt the Army Headquarters needed closer and direct coordination between its verticals.
Illustration by Soham Sen | ThePrint

Thatcher or Anna moment? Why Modi’s choice on farmers’ protest will shape future politics

Modi can retreat like Manmohan Singh did under pressure from the Anna Hazare movement, or push farm reforms in Margaret Thatcher's style.