Keeping the New Year on track with today's bundle of good news nuggets.
Scientists have identified antibodies that can target the unchanged parts of the novel coronavirus as it continues to mutate and evolve, an advance that could lead to new therapeutics to neutralise Omicron and other Covid-19 variants. Identifying such “broadly neutralising” antibodies on the coronavirus spike protein, which the virus uses to enter human cells, can help develop better vaccines and antibodies which will be effective not only against Omicron but also against other variants that may emerge in the future, said David Veesler from the University of Washington School of Medicine in the US. “This finding tells us that by focusing on antibodies that target these highly conserved sites on the spike protein, there is a way to overcome the virus’ continual evolution,” Dr Veesler said in a statement.
Even if you’re an insect with a reputation as a tireless worker, you still need some sleep. And what better place to take a nap than in your favourite flower? Thankfully, a wildlife photographer managed to capture a couple of bees having their siesta after a busy morning. The result is just as adorable as it sounds!
An apsis is the farthest or nearest point in the orbit of a planetary body about its primary body. The apsides of Earth's orbit of the Sun are two: the aphelion, where Earth is farthest from the sun, and the perihelion, where it is nearest. And the perihelion is happening today.
India has invented ‘flying’ solar panels. They are being suspended above irrigation canals to cut down on the evaporation of precious water droplets by providing shade from the sun’s evaporating heat. It’s also a clever way to cut down on habitat loss, too, by placing panels in already-dedicated man-made spaces. Now, California is eyeing the benefits of several successful canal installations in India. With the world’s largest irrigation canal network, and 290 days of average sunshine, California is uniquely positioned to ease a severe water shortage, saving 63 billion gallons of water from evaporation annually, with this emerging innovation of canal-covering solar farms.
Raise a glass to Kane Tanaka: Born in 1903 (the year the Wright brothers made their first powered flight), the world’s oldest person has just celebrated her 119th birthday in Japan. She has a weakness for fizzy drinks and chocolate, and marked the milestone with staff at the nursing home where she lives. The Guinness Book of Records recognised Tanaka’s status when she achieved the all-time Japanese age record when she reached 117 years and 261 days in September 2020.
If you missed it in OGN last week, you may be interested in Blue Zones: Where People Routinely Live Beyond 100 Years Old.
In good news for common sense and trying to keep the world reasonably sane, Twitter has permanently suspended the personal account of the US Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene for repeated violations of its rules around coronavirus misinformation.
A second antiviral drug that significantly reduces the risk of hospitalisation and death from Covid-19 has been approved for use by the UK’s medicines regulator. Paxlovid, which is consumed orally as a pill, will be given to people with mild to moderate infection who are at an increased risk of developing severe disease.
Quote of the Day
"What the new year brings to you will depend a great deal on what you bring to the new year."
On this Day
4 January 2007: The 110th United States Congress convenes and elects Nancy Pelosi as the first female Speaker of the House.
Dive in Deeper
A Journey to Machu Picchu
Enjoy a trip to Peru from the comfort of your armchair.