- Researchers from the US and Belgium think a four-year-old llama named Winter may hold a key ingredient for antibody research that could help fight the novel Coronavirus.
- Winter produces antibodies that allows her to stave off infections against SARS and MERS — and some preliminary results suggest the antibodies could be used to successfully fight COVID-19.
- This isn’t the first time llamas have been used for antibody research. They’ve also provided promising treatment candidates for HIV and Influenza. Winter along with 130 other llamas have also been used for antibody research against SARS and MERS, cousins of the coronavirus.
- While humans can only produce large antibodies to fight off diseases, llamas can also produce tiny ones called nanobodies, which could better target viruses because of their size.
- Learn more here. Read the research here.
Scientists Are Using AI To Find Plastic Floating At Sea
- A team of scientists at the Plymouth Marine Laboratory in the UK tested whether data from two satellites operated by the European Space Agency could be analyzed using a machine-learning algorithm trained to detect plastic.
- With the efforts of the two satellites combined, data is repeatedly collected from coastal locations around the world every 2 to 5 days. In other words, every part of the world where land meets the sea is re-imaged between 6 and 15 times every month.
- The algorithm can distinguish between plastic and natural materials such as seaweed, driftwood, and seafoam.
- Overall, the algorithm detected plastic with 86% accuracy. Better yet, the algorithm was 100% accurate in its analysis of the data from the Gulf Islands. Not too bad for data collected from thousands of miles above!
Scuba Groups Are Using Downtime To Restore The Great Barrier
- With idle time due to the virus halting tourism, Passions of Paradise, a dive tour operator based in Australia, has donated a ship and fuel to be used for a coral planting mission along the Great Barrier Reef.
- Five Australian reef companies have committed to working alongside scientists in using their downtime to help restore the country’s imperiled reef.
- Passions of Paradise plans to begin operating tours once local shelter-in-place orders have been lifted in the area, allowing divers to visit the reef and assist with local conservation efforts.