COVID-19 antibodies in breast milk, Martian meteorite and more

COVID-19 antibodies in breast milk, Martian meteorite and more

COVID-19 antibodies in breast milk, Martian meteorite and more

More evidence that breast milk from people vaccinated against COVID-19 can protect infants

Although COVID-19 cannot be transmitted through breast milk, new research has shown that breast milk from vaccinated people may provide antibody protection to infants too young to receive the vaccine.

Building on a previous study in 2021, which showed that the breast milk of vaccinated people contained antibodies against SARS-CoV-2, researchers have now found that these antibodies are present in the gastrointestinal tract of babies who receive it. consume.

The researchers used a neutralization test to show that the antibodies, found in the stools of infants, also offered protection against the virus. This involved isolating antibodies from stool and adding them to cells along with receptors used by the virus.

They introduced a SARS-CoV-2 pseudovirus, which is fluorescent and safer to use in the lab, to visualize when the pseudovirus was able to bind and light up a cell.

Woman breastfeeding a baby, covid-19 antibodies
Credit: JGI Tom Grill/Getty Images

SARS-CoV-2 – the virus that causes COVID-19 – can infiltrate cells in the gastrointestinal tract as well as the lungs.

“We saw that when the antibodies were present, there were fewer fluorescent cells compared to our controls where no antibodies were present,” said Lauren Stafford, one of the study’s first authors and a doctoral student at the Food and Agriculture Institute of the University of Florida. Science in the United States.

The new study was published in the Perinatology Diary.

Coating prevents fogging and harmful reflections on self-driving vehicle sensors

Optical surfaces in the lidar (Light detection and ranging) Self-driving vehicle and drone sensors can sometimes fog up, much like the way glasses fog up when you walk into a warm room from the cold outside.

A gloved hand holds a piece of glass, the uncoated half is hazy, the coated side is clear
Researchers have developed an optical coating system that combines anti-fog and anti-reflective properties. The new technology could help improve the performance of lidar systems. Credit: Anne Gärtner, Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Optics and Precision Engineering and Friedrich Schiller University of Jena

But, instead of being a slight annoyance, this loss of transparency can be disastrous.

To solve the problem, researchers have developed an optical coating that combines both anti-fog and anti-reflective properties, according to a new study in the journal Applied optics.

The team combined a polymer coating, which prevents fogging by acting as a reservoir of water, and porous silicon dioxide nanostructures that reduce glare, which was not possible before.

The process involved etching a nanostructure into the anti-fog coating and then fabricating a second nanostructure on top of it. And because the structures were fabricated using a standard plasma-ion assisted coating machine, the approach can easily be incorporated into commercial fabrication processes.

“Samples made with this new coating technology have already been successfully used for a year in several airborne lidar prototypes operating in various climatic conditions around the world,” says Dr. Anne Gärtner of the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Optics and precision engineering in Germany.

Goodbye lab rats, hello lab caterpillars?

Rodents like rats and mice have been a staple in the field of biomedical research for decades — from understanding cancer to developing new treatments and testing new drug compounds — but scientists are now working on developing non-mammalian animal models as an alternative.

A new study published in Nature Communication demonstrated that the caterpillars could be used to study intestinal inflammation – a risk factor for developing colorectal cancer which is the third most common type of newly diagnosed cancer in Australia.

3 blue caterpillar larvae
Tobacco hornworm (Manduca sexta) caterpillars. Credit: Dr Anton Windfelder, Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology

“Caterpillars are essentially just a long intestine, so they provided an excellent model for studying inflammatory bowel disease,” says co-author Dr. Jan Grimm, a radiologist, nuclear medicine physician, and researcher at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in the United States.

The researchers used tobacco hornworm larvae (manduca sexta) because their intestines are similar to the human intestine and because they are large enough (about the size of an adult finger) to be imaged by the same instruments used for human patients.

Using these caterpillars in research would reduce the number of rodents used in biomedical research, while lowering the cost of research and accelerating results. Indeed, caterpillars are invertebrates (animals without a backbone), there is less administrative burden to get experiments approved, they grow much faster than mammals and are cheaper to house.

Tobacco hornworm caterpillars in an mri machine
Tobacco hornworm (Manduca sexta) caterpillars in an MRI scanner. Credit: Anton Windfelder, Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology

Martian meteorite contains organic magnesium compounds never seen before on Mars

One of only five Martian meteorites seen falling to Earth, the Tissint meteorite crashed in Morocco in 2011; pieces of Tissint were found scattered in the desert about 48 kilometers from the town whose name it bears.

Now researchers have analyzed the organic compounds in the meteorite – molecules that contain carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, sulfur and sometimes other elements – which are commonly associated with life (although they may be created by non-biological processes).

In one particularly interesting discovery, researchers found an abundance of organic magnesium compounds – a suite of organic molecules never before seen on Mars. These discoveries offer new insights into the high-pressure, high-temperature geochemistry that shaped Mars’ deep interior and point to a link between its carbon cycle and mineral evolution.

A gloved hand holds a meteorite in front of an image of Mars
Photograph of the Tissint meteorite courtesy of Kurt Kracher, Museum of Natural History Vienna.

“Understanding the processes and sequence of events that shaped this rich organic wealth will reveal new details about the habitability of Mars and potentially the reactions that could lead to the formation of life,” says co-lead author Dr. Dr Andrew Steele, astrobiologist at the Carnegie Institution for Science in the United States.

The research was published in the journal Scientists progress.

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