Weekly roundup-mainly from Nature and The Conversation

With all the breathtaking news and turnarounds from politics, we thought we’d suggest a few more calming things this week.

Remember a guy called Donald J Trump and how hydroxychloroquine was going to be a quick cure for Covid-19? Except it turned out to be not quite so simple. One of the great curses of our age is that if enough people state something on the internet, it takes on a de facto truth of its own. Here Nature reproduces a fascinating piece by Adam Rogers in Wired. Warning-a slightly longer read than normal, but well worth it. Hope, Hype and Hydroxychloroquine-nice title!

Hydroxychloroquine is a time-tested treatment for malaria, a failed drug candidate for COVID and one of the pandemic’s most notorious political footballs. Starting with the drug’s origin as a traditional remedy in Peru, Wired explores the laundry list of clinical trials that struggled to test it in an atmosphere of distrust, its role in the Surgisphere scandal and the collision between science and the White House.
Wired | 32 min read

As winter sets in, thoughts of romantics among us may be turning to the coming spring, daffodils, lambs gambolling in green fields and everything nicely back to normal with a lovely coronavirus vaccine safely under our belts. Sadly, Sarah Pitt of The Conversation foresees a few bumps in the road…

Where, oh where, did Sars-Cov-2 originate, and why, oh why? Tensions between the worlds two great superpowers only muddy the waters. Anyone with a science background will love reaching back in time and space to solve a tricky problem. If we do, we may be able to solve the next one. Here’s Nature, WHO Takes on fraught search for source:

The World Health Organization (WHO) has released its plan to investigate the origins of the COVID pandemic, starting in Wuhan, the Chinese city where the new coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 was first identified. It’s a daunting task. Nailing down the animal origin of a virus can take years, if it can be done at all, and the investigation will have to navigate the highly sensitive political situation between China and the United States. “Finding an animal with a SARS-CoV-2 infection is like looking for a needle in the world’s largest haystack. They may never find a ‘smoking bat’,” says virologist Angela Rasmussen.
Nature | 5 min read

And finally….anyone who has a reasonable telescope or even a pair of good binoculars will know the calming power of the Night Sky. When it’s not drowned out by light pollution! Here Nick Dunn of Lancaster University makes a heartfelt plea for dark clear night skies-and it might even save us energy too! This one’s from The Conversation.

#lightpollution #climatechange #astronomy #hydroxychloroquine #donaldjtrump #sars-cov-2 coronavirus #covid-19

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