Science

Some Covid Survivors Have Antibodies That Attack the Body, not Virus

Some survivors of Covid-19 carry worrying signs that their immune system has turned on the body, reminiscent of potentially debilitating diseases like lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, a new study has found.At some point, the body’s defense system in these patients shifted into attacking itself, rather than the virus, the study suggests. The patients are producing molecules called “autoantibodies” that target genetic material from human cells, instead of from the virus.This misguided immune response may exacerbate severe Covid-19. It may also explain why so-called “long haulers” have lingering problems months after their initial illness has resolved and the virus is gone from their bodies.The findings carry important implications for treatment: Using existing tests that can detect autoan...

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Science

Sharks Wash Up on Beaches, Stabbed by Swordfish

The first victim washed up in September 2016. The police in Valencia, Spain, saw a blue shark dying in the surf along a tiny stretch of beach. They lugged the eight-foot corpse to the yard behind the police station. Then they called Jaime Penadés-Suay, who soon suspected foul play.The shark had what looked like a bit of wood embedded in her head. He pulled. Out slid a broken fragment from a swordfish sword that had lanced straight through her brain.“I thought it was crazy,” said Mr. Penadés-Suay, a graduate student at the University of Valencia and a founder of LAMNA, a Spanish consortium that studies sharks. “I was never sure if this was some kind of joke.”But since then at least six more sharks have washed up on Mediterranean coasts, each impaled with the same murder weapon, and almos...

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Science

In a Battered New York Office Market, Life Science Is Flourishing

The coronavirus pandemic, which has focused greater attention on health care and spurred a heated race for a Covid-19 vaccine, has also ratcheted up interest in life science real estate in New York.The city had already been trying to play catch-up with other life science powerhouses such as Boston, San Diego and San Francisco. Real estate companies, with government support, had been building commercial laboratories for medical researchers, incubator spaces for biotech start-ups and offices for pharmaceutical companies poised to bring new drugs to market.Now, funding from investors is flowing to such projects at a time when the city’s office market is battered by lockdowns and orders to work from home. Office availability in Manhattan jumped to 14.1 percent in the third quarter from 11.8...

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Science

Nurses Are at High Risk for Covid Among Health Workers, C.D.C. Says

Among health care workers, nurses in particular have been at significant risk of contracting Covid-19, according to a new analysis of hospitalized patients by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.The findings were released Monday as a surge of new hospitalizations swept the country, with several states hitting record levels of cases.About 6 percent of adults hospitalized from March through May were health care workers, according to the researchers, with more than a third either nurses or nursing assistants. Roughly a quarter, or 27 percent, of those hospitalized workers were admitted to the intensive care unit, and 4 percent died during their hospital stay.The study looked at 6,760 hospitalizations across 13 states, including California, New York, Ohio and Tennessee.Health car...

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Science

Nurses Are at High Risk for Covid Among Health Workers, C.D.C. Says

Among health care workers, nurses in particular have been at significant risk of contracting Covid-19, according to a new analysis of hospitalized patients by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.The findings were released Monday as a surge of new hospitalizations swept the country, with several states hitting record levels of cases.About 6 percent of adults hospitalized from March through May were health care workers, according to the researchers, with more than a third either nurses or nursing assistants. Roughly a quarter, or 27 percent, of those hospitalized workers were admitted to the intensive care unit, and 4 percent died during their hospital stay.The study looked at 6,760 hospitalizations across 13 states, including California, New York, Ohio and Tennessee.Health car...

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Science

There’s Water Ice on the Moon, and in More Places Than NASA Once Thought

Future astronauts headed to the moon may have an easier time finding and digging up frozen water than had been thought.Scientists reported on Monday that in addition to big, frigid, deep, potentially treacherous craters in the moon’s polar regions, smaller and shallower depressions in the same areas may also be cold enough to hold onto water ice for millions, if not billions, of years.These small water ice deposits could be a “real game changer,” said Paul O. Hayne, a professor of astrophysical and planetary sciences at the University of Colorado. “It could make it much more accessible to future astronauts and rover missions.”The presence of ice on the moon has made the moon’s South Pole a desired destination for a number of robotic missions by NASA, China and other space programs.Such ...

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In Madagascar, Endangered Lemurs Find a Private Refuge

Sambava, Madagascar — Madagascar has always been one of the best places on Earth to study the natural world. Seventy percent of its species are found nowhere else — the largest concentration of endemic wildlife anywhere. In the last 10 years alone, scientists have discovered 40 new mammals, 69 amphibians, 61 reptiles, 42 invertebrates and 385 plants in the country. Its parks are ecotourism destinations and points of national pride.With the world’s largest concentration of endangered species, Madagascar is also a leading place to study extinction. Last year the country lost the greatest percentage of primary forest, making it one of the most deforested places on Earth. Since 2012 the International Union for Conservation of Nature has named lemurs, which are found only in Madagascar, as t...

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Science

Witnessing Peru’s Enduring, if Altered, Snow Star Festival

At the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, with travel restrictions in place worldwide, we launched a new series — The World Through a Lens — in which photojournalists help transport you, virtually, to some of our planet’s most beautiful and intriguing places. This week, Danielle Villasana shares a collection of images from southeastern Peru.Stubbornly unfazed by warnings of “soroche,” or altitude sickness, I swung my legs up onto a donkey and began to ascend the steep trails. After trekking for a few dizzying hours alongside hundreds of others, I approached a glacial basin. The scene began to unfold before us: an immense valley flooded with so many pilgrims that it seemed to be covered in confetti, each tiny speck representing a huddled collection of tents and people.The altitude sickne...

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Murder Hornet Nest, First in U.S., Is Found in Washington State

Like detectives closing in on a fugitive hide-out deep in the woods, officials in Washington State announced on Friday that they had located the first murder hornet nest in the United States, tucked in a tree hollow near the Canadian border.The officials said they planned to destroy the nest in Blaine, Wash., on Saturday before the voracious Asian giant hornets could multiply and begin laying waste to bees that are vital to the survival of the region’s raspberries, blueberries and other crops.The discovery of the nest — which may contain 100 to 200 hornets — came after weeks of hunting and trapping the insects, which are notorious for using their powerful mandibles to attack and destroy honeybee hives in a matter of hours.The colony was located in a region of forests and farmland on Thu...

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Science

NASA Mission Springs a Small Leak After Touching an Asteroid

NASA’s effort to grab a piece of an asteroid on Tuesday may have worked a little too well. The spacecraft, OSIRIS-REX, grabbed so much rock and dirt that some of the material is now leaking back into space.The operation some 200 million miles from Earth on the other side of the sun was “almost too successful,” Dante Lauretta, the principal investigator of the mission, said during a telephone news conference on Friday. NASA officials worried that without careful effort to secure its samples in the days ahead, the mission could lose much of the scientific payload it traveled for years across the solar system to gather.A few rocks wedged in the robotic probe’s collection mechanism prevented a flap from fully closing. In images taken by the spacecraft, scientists could see bits of asteroid ...

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