Ounce of Prevention
Today, people at a high risk of contracting HIV can choose to take a daily medication called pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). This can prevent them from catching the virus — not entirely unlike how the daily birth control pill can prevent pregnancy.
But just like some people have trouble remembering to take their birth control pill every day, there’s a chance a person might forget to consistently take their PrEP, which makes it far less effective.
Now, global biopharmaceutical company Merck thinks it’s found a solution to this problem: an implant that delivers a year’s worth of HIV-preventing medication gradually, ending the need for daily pills.
Merck’s HIV implant isn’t too different from the birth control implant favored by many people — it’s about the size of a matchstick and sits just under the skin in a person’s upper arm.
On Tuesday, the company announced the results of a Phase 1 trial of the implant, saying it was “well tolerated” and effective at delivering an HIV-preventing medication.
While the trial involved just 12 men and lasted for just 12 weeks, Merck said in a press release that it is encouraged by the results.
National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Disease Director Anthony S. Fauci, who wasn’t involved in the trial, meanwhile, is cautiously optimistic.
“If — and I’m emphasizing if — if it pans out in a larger trial that it delivers a level of drug that’s protective for a year, that would be a game-changer,” he told The New York Times.
READ MORE: Someday, an Arm Implant May Prevent H.I.V. Infection for a Year [The New York Times]
Watch the First Video of a Virus Growing in Real-Time
For the first time, researchers have captured the formation of individual viruses on camera in real-time — and the footage could yield new insights into how best to fight the bugs.
In a paper published recently in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the team from Harvard’s John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences details how it obtained the footage using a highly specialized microscope and a technique called “interferometric scattering microscopy.”
“Our technique gives the first window into how viruses assemble,” researcher Vinothan Manoharan said in a press release, “and reveals the kinetics and pathways in quantitative detail.”
The team focused its study on the RNA virus, the most common type of virus on Earth and the kind responsible for the common cold, polio, and a host of other diseases.
The dark spots in the video are, in fact, soccer-ball type structures of hexagonal and pentagonal rings of proteins that encase the RNA virus. The resulting shell around the virus is called a “capsid.”
According to Manoharan, the pattern in which these spots appear as the virus assembles is already uncovering clues as to how to fight some types of viruses.
“If nuclei form too quickly, complete capsids can’t grow,” he said in the press release. “That observation might give us some insights into how to derail the assembly of pathogenic viruses.”
Watch Russia’s Combat Drone Fly Next to a Fighter Jet
Heavy Strike Drone
Russia’s secretive uncrewed combat air vehicle, the S-70 Okhotnik-B just took to the skies accompanied by a fighter jet for the first time, according to a statement by Russian news agency TASS. The footage is pretty incredible.
The video, uploaded by the Russian Defense Ministry, shows the unusual aircraft take off next to a Russian S-57 advanced combat jet, in a flight that lasted for more than 30 minutes.
The stealthy drone, also known as the Hunter-B, could offer the Russian military a way to penetrate air spaces without being detected. The video could also herald a future in which fighter jet pilots could be accompanied by one or more of these stealth drones to improve their view of the battlefield, The Drive suggests.
“As part of the ongoing test program, the Okhotnik drone performed a flight in the automated mode in its full configuration, entering the airborne alert area,” the ministry said in the statement.
The top secret heavy strike stealth drone has been in development for an unknown number of years. Back in August, Russia’s Ministry of Defense released footage of the drone taking off for the first time.
The ministry is hoping to start deliveries of the S-70 in 2025, according to the statement. Heavily armed tests will take place as soon as 2023.
READ MORE: Watch Russia’s S-70 Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle Fly With An Su-57 For The First Time [The Drive]
Fans Update Sci-Fi Classic Metropolis with New Color and Sound
Metropolis Remix breathes new life into the pioneering classic 1927 silent film.
Metropolis was a groundbreaking work of science fiction and German expressionism when it was released in 1927. Now, this painstaking modernization created by Garrett Guynn & Andrew John Holt brings new sound and color to the classic film with the help of many contributors. Metropolis Remix includes a new title sequence, new voices, and original music created by Andrew John Holt.
On Youtube, Holt writes:
“I am so excited to have been a part of this awesome project. Garrett and I worked very closely over Skype and file sharing over many months to produce the film enhancements you see now. Garrett initially seeked help through the “Reddit Voice Acting Sub” for one of the voices on his project that he had already been working on an off with over the past five years. I voiced Josephat the assistant to the Great Mr Fredersen Senior. Once I had finished the collaboration with Garrett the project blossomed with my words “Perhaps we could do more with this”. Garrett was based in Hawaii and i am based in Sydney which made for some interesting time difference work sessions. I would be on my computer after dinner and he would be feeding breakfast to his child and juggling manuscripts. We agonised for so long on inventing dialogue that matched the lips and was relevant to the scene in some way. My favourite scene is where Freda embraces one of his floozies in front of the fountain. The dialogue was seamless with the lips saying “Kiss Me”. We also agonised about the ending and the dialogue between Grot the worker, Maria, Freda Junior and Fredersen Senior. It all came out seamlessly in the end. Garrett and I mused about doing another project together, perhaps an old Charlie Chaplin film, but we are still in dialogue as they say in Hollywood…hahaha….”
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