Weekly round up: Malaria, Covid-19,extremists and John Donne

stories we think may run beyond today’s news cycle

Another problem with resistance We often bang on here about antibiotic resistance in bacteria. Now there are signs that the protozoan disease malaria is about to spring a similar surprise. A worrying thought is that global warming could lead it to spread into colder lands where it was unknown before. Nature, Drug resistant Malaria has arrived in Africa:

A long-feared milestone has arrived: malaria parasites in Africa have developed resistance to a key family of drugs used to protect against them. The first signs of resistance to the ‘gold standard’ treatments for malaria — the drug family including artemisinin and its derivatives — appeared in Cambodia in the early 2000s. For resistance to now hit Africa is particularly dire because more than 90% of malaria cases and deaths worldwide occur on the continent.Nature | 6 min read
Reference: New England Journal of Medicine paper

Origins of Covid-19 And talking of diseases, Nature sheds more light on the origins of SARS-Cov-2. Looks like bats are back in the barrel. SARS-Cov-2 doppelgangers found in bats:

Scientists have found three viruses in bats in Laos that are more similar to the virus that causes COVID-19 than any known viruses. Their discovery underlines that there are numerous coronaviruses with the potential to infect people. Samples taken from horseshoe (Rhinolophus) bats in caves in northern Laos contained viruses — named BANAL-52, BANAL-103 and BANAL-236 — that are each more than 95% identical to SARS-CoV-2. “When SARS-CoV-2 was first sequenced, the receptor binding domain didn’t really look like anything we’d seen before,” says virologist Edward Holmes. The Laos coronaviruses confirm these parts of SARS-CoV-2 exist in nature, he says.Nature | 5 min read
Reference: Research Square preprint (not peer reviewed)

Danger to America America grew great by exalting reason and accepting facts. It was the classic Enlightenment society. Now both facts and reason are in decline as people believe whht they want to. Here’s Robert Pape for The Conversation:


We’ll end with a little thought from John Donne, penned for his Devotions upon emergent occasions, Meditation XVII

No man is an island, entire of itself. Each is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were. As well as if a manor of thine own, or of thine friend’s were. Each man’s death diminishes me, for I am involved in mankind. Therefore, send not to know for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee.

We think it’s rather relevant.

#malaria #global warming #covid-19 #sars-cov-2 #extremism

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