Wednesday, 8 July 2020

Nearly 240 experts urge WHO, CDC to acknowledge airborne transmission of COVID-19

In an open letter to the international science community, 239 health experts urge their colleagues to take airborne transmission seriously as COVID-19 cases rise in most parts of the USA. 

Though most of the heavier respiratory droplets do not reach more than 6 feet from a person, aerosolized droplets can span an entire room and hang in the air for several hours, according to the letter published July 6 in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases.

“There is significant potential for inhalation exposure to viruses in microscopic respiratory droplets (micro-droplets) at short to medium distances (up to several meters, or room scale), and we are advocating for the use of preventive measures to mitigate this route of airborne transmission,” experts wrote.

The World Health Organization does not recognize aerosolized transmission except in health care settings through “aerosol-generating procedures.” The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said “airborne transmission from person-to-person over long distances is unlikely.”


You may want to read WHO acknowledges 'evidence emerging' of airborne spread of COVID-19

My photo - Purple Aster

A public domain picture by me

Tuesday, 7 July 2020

Warning: Deadly Box jellyfish spotted in Sentosa waters (updated)

A highly venomous Box jellyfish was spotted in Sentosa waters just recently on 3 July 2020.

It caught the attention of Marine Stewards, an environmental conservation organisation, after coming across a video shared by a netizen.

They are now reminding visitors to take caution if they are swimming in the sea.

As for those who plan to swim off a boat, Marine Stewards also reminded that the captain should always keep a lookout of the jellyfish, stating that jellyfishes that are near the surface can be seen from a height or distance.

According to reports, jellyfishes are ranked top five of the 20 deadliest animals on Earth, with the stings of the box jellyfish species being extremely fatal to humans.


You may want to read Australian stung by a box jellyfish while swimming in Sentosa

Mice ‘cured’ of Parkinson’s in accidental scientific discovery

Mice were “cured” of Parkinson’s disease after a scientific study took an unexpected turn.

Scientists from the University of California (UC) in San Diego set out to better understand the role of proteins in connective cells, only to discover a way to transform many different types of cells into neurons.

Parkinson’s comes about when neurons – nerve cells – that produce the chemical messenger dopamine, which regulates movement, die off. Patients typically suffer tremors, slow movement and loss of balance when 80% of dopamine is lost.

The scientists used this discovery to develop a one-off treatment that eliminated Parkinson’s symptoms in mice, raising hopes of a cure down the line.

Read more @

Half of advanced cancer patients given new drug saw their tumours stop growing or disappear completely

Image for illustration only

Half of patients given a new drug that stops cancer cells from repairing themselves saw their tumours 'stop growing' or 'disappear completely' in its first clinical trial.

Researchers from the UK conducted the study to assess the safety of the proposed medicine - berzosertib - which belong to a class of drugs called ATR inhibitors.

These work by blocking the function of a protein called ATR, which helps cancer cells fix damaged DNA.

The team said that it is unusual at such an early stage of clinical trials to see a clinical response — one which they said was 'encouraging'.

Read more @

Friday, 3 July 2020

1.2 Million Singaporean Households will be receiving $340 Million in Utilities Support

All households with at least one Singapore citizen will receive the $100 Solidarity Utilities Credit.

940,000 eligible HDB households will also receive double their regular GST Voucher – U-Save rebates as part of the Care and Support Package.


1.4 million Singaporeans to receive S$570 million in GST vouchers in August

A total of 1.4 million Singaporeans will receive S$570 million in GST vouchers next month, the Ministry of Finance (MOF) said on Wednesday (Jul 1). Eligible Singaporeans will receive text messages or letters to inform them of their benefits by July 3.

To qualify for the cash voucher, citizens must be aged 21 and above this year, with an assessable income of S$28,000 or less for year of assessment 2019. Those eligible will receive either S$150 or S$300 based on the annual value of their home.

Those who own more than one property are not eligible for the GST cash voucher.

 About 545,000 Singaporeans aged 65 and above this year will also receive a top-up to their MediSave accounts of up to S$450 each from Aug 1. In total, the top-ups will amount to about S$160 million.


Tuesday, 30 June 2020

Coronavirus traces found in March 2019 sewage sample, Spanish study shows

The discovery of virus genome presence so early in Spain, if confirmed, would imply the disease may have appeared much earlier than the scientific community thought.

The University of Barcelona team, who had been testing waste water since mid-April this year to identify potential new outbreaks, decided to also run tests on older samples.

They first found the virus was present in Barcelona on Jan. 15, 2020, 41 days before the first case was officially reported there.

Then they ran tests on samples taken between January 2018 and December 2019 and found the presence of the virus genome in one of them, collected on March 12, 2019.


Dragonflies can eliminate mosquitoes in your yard

A public domain picture by me

Mother nature has created a solution to this problem of mosquitoes: dragonflies. Not only are the insects beautiful, but they have the ability to eat 100 mosquitoes a day! And it is not just the full-grown ones contributing, dragonfly larvae typically consume the most mosquitoes.

Now, in order to use this secret weapon that mother nature has provided, you have to know how to attract dragonflies. This can easily be done by planting specific plants in your garden (Bonus: the plants are just as beautiful as the dragonflies):

1 Black Eyed Susan
2 Dwarf Sagittaria
3 Meadow Sage
4 Yarrow White Wildflower