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Science News Roundup: Singapore scientists study genes to fast-track coronavirus vaccine; Astronauts quarantined ahead of journey to International Space Station and more

Devdiscourse News Desk | Updated: 25-03-2020 19:14 IST | Created: 25-03-2020 18:30 IST
Science News Roundup: Singapore scientists study genes to fast-track coronavirus vaccine; Astronauts quarantined ahead of journey to International Space Station and more
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Following is a summary of current science news briefs.

Primordial worm-like creature was forerunner to most animals - including us

A worm-like creature smaller than a grain of rice that burrowed on the seafloor in search of meals like dead organic matter about 555 million years ago may be the evolutionary forerunner of most animals living today including people. Scientists on Monday announced the discovery in the Australian outback of fossils of this creature, named Ikaria wariootia, that represents one of the most important primordial animals ever found.

Gilead's potential coronavirus treatment gets FDA's orphan drug label

Gilead Sciences Inc's experimental drug remdesivir, seen as one of the more promising potential treatments for the coronavirus, on Monday received the orphan drug designation from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The announcement comes days after U.S. President Donald Trump called on the FDA to streamline its approval process for treatments such as remdesivir, which is currently being tested in clinical trials, with results expected as early as next month.

SpaceX's simulated spacecraft becomes unstable in parachute test: CNBC

Private rocket company SpaceX had an incident during parachute testing for its Crew Dragon capsule, in which the simulated spacecraft being tested became unstable and was dropped early, according to a tweet from a CNBC reporter. No one was injured in the incident, according to the tweet.

In battle against coronavirus, Colombia transforms military hospital

Colombia's central military hospital, which for decades was inundated with victims of landmines and other casualties of the country's internal conflict, is being outfitted to battle a new enemy: coronavirus. The hospital's staff parking lot is now home to eight generator-supplied tents, each with 11 beds, meant to house coronavirus patients without respiratory complications in an effort to avoid crowding the existing intensive care unit.

Singapore scientists study genes to fast-track coronavirus vaccine

Scientists in Singapore say they have developed a way to track genetic changes that speed testing of vaccines against a coronavirus that has killed more than 16,000 people worldwide. The scientists, at the city-state's Duke-NUS Medical School, say their technique needs just days to evaluate potential vaccines provided by Arcturus Therapeutics, an American biotech firm the school has partnered with for the trials.

Astronauts quarantined ahead of journey to International Space Station

Two Russian cosmonauts and a U.S. astronaut were spending their final weeks on Earth in quarantine before they are scheduled to blast off on April 9 for the International Space Station for six months as the coronavirus pandemic sweeps Earth. Launching from a pad in Kazakhstan, the Expedition 63 crew will depart Earth without much of the usual fanfare at the Baikonur cosmodrome and ceremonies in Moscow, as the world attempts to curb the spread of the COVID-19 disease through social distancing and citywide lockdowns.

Pharma firm Anges and Osaka University to begin testing coronavirus vaccine on animals

Japanese biopharmaceutical firm Anges Inc said on Tuesday that it and Osaka University had completed the development of a DNA vaccine against the new coronavirus and that it would begin testing it in animals soon. Shares of Anges surged as much as 17% in the morning trade in Tokyo, compared with a 5.3% gain in the broader market.

(With inputs from agencies.)

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