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Hydroxychloroquine does not cure Covid-19, say drug trial chiefs

Hydroxychloroquine does not work against Covid-19 and should not be given to any more hospital patients around the world, say the leaders of the biggest and best-designed trial of the drug, which experts will hope finally settle the question. “If you are admitted to hospital, dont take hydroxychloroquine,” said Martin Landray, deputy chief investigator of the Recovery trial and professor of medicine and epidemiology at Oxford University. “It doesnt work.” Many countries have permitted emergency use of the drug for Covid-19 patients in hospitals, following claims from a few doctors, including Didier Raoult in France, that it was a cure, and the ensuing clamour from the public. President Donald Trump backed the drug, saying it should be given to patients, and later said he was personally taking it to protect himself from the virus. Landray said the hype should now stop. “It is being touted as a game-changer, a wonderful drug, a breakthrough. This is an incredibly important result, bec..

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Lyrids meteor shower to peak TONIGHT

A SPECTACULAR show of shooting stars is set to take place tonight as the Lyrids Meteor shower peaks. The Lyrids Meteor Shower, caused by the falling debris from the comet C/1861 G1 Thatcher, occurs annually in mid-April as Earth travels through the trail of dust and tiny rocks left by the travelling comet. This year, the meteor shower will peak on April 20 to 21, giving stargazers in the UK a chance to step outside from their lockdown to view the phenomenon from their gardens. Lyrids is described as one of the most significant meteor showers, with shooting stars expected to occur up to 20 times an hour. The Lyrids meteors look like they are coming from the constellation Lyra, meaning Lyra is the radiant. The shower starts only after the radiant rises in the sky so onlookers should check times to know when to head out to look to the heavens. An astronomer’s handy tip to look for Lyra is to seek out Vega – the brightest star in the constellation. The Royal Observatory Greenwich sa..

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Dinosaurs in the UK: Britain’s first pterodactyl remains found on the Isle of Wight

DINOSAUR hunters have been left stunned after finding the first large beast of its kind in the UK. A fossil hunter on the Isle of Wight discovered a strange fragment which he had never encountered before. Confused by the fossil he discovered on the beach of Sandown, he passed it on to palaeontologists at the University of Portsmouth. It was there that the experts discovered it was the jaw bone of a pterodactyl – the flying lizard with a wingspan of up to six metres, more than three average adult men standing on top of each other. [contfnewc] Pterodactyls, which died out around 148 million years ago, are more commonly found in China and Brazil, and the discovery of this winged-beast is the first of its kind to be found on British shores. Megan Jacobs of the University of Portsmouth said: “Although only a fragment of jaw, it has all the characteristic of a tapejarid jaw, including numerous tiny little holes that held minute sensory organs for detecting their food, and a downturned, f..

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Humans will be able to replace their bodies within 50 years

HUMANS will be able to replace their entire bodies within 50 years, allowing greatly extended lifespans and enhanced abilities, according to a leading transhumanist writer. Transhumanists believe humans can and should use technology to artificially augment their capabilities. Natasha Vita-More is Executive Director of Humanity+, formerly the World Transhumanist Association, and is one of the co-authors of the 1998 Transhumanist Declaration. [contfnewc] Speaking to Express.co.uk she said: “We certainly do need to upgrade our biology and Ive been speaking about this for 30-something years. “The fact that our biology is vulnerable. We exist on a daily basis with an incredible vulnerable vehicle, our bodies, that anything could go wrong at any time. “As far as genetic engineering goes weve seen great work done with certain diseases like Tay-Sachs and sickle-cell anemia, certain cancers, certain diseases that handicap us. “Other gene therapies are in the works and there still needs to..

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Coronavirus CRISIS: Major blow in UK testing as thousands of tests results unclear

THOUSANDS of coronavirus tests have come back to laboratory’s with unclear results. Public health experts are warning that a slow turnaround in diagnosing COVID-19 patients could undermine contact-tracing efforts. [contfnewc] Sky News has learned that four percent of swab tests conducted in Milton Keynes Lighthouse Laboratory have been declared “unclear.” This is because of limitations in the chemical testing process. Tests can also fail to produce a clear result if they are not administered correctly, if there is a delay transporting them to the laboratory, or if there are problems with labelling, barcoding or packaging. It comes as Prime Minister Boris Johnson has promised to increase testing capacity to 200,000 a day by the end of May. If Milton Keynes inconsistencies are representative of the rest of the UKs testing network, this could mean that at least 8,000 tests a day unclear. This would be equal to 56,000 “unclear” tests a week. When a test does not produce a clear re..

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Drug trial for over-50s starts recruiting on this date

OXFORD UNIVERSITY is set trial potential coronavirus drug treatments for people over the age of 50. Over 500 GP surgeries are asking those with a new, continuous cough or high temperature to test existing drugs. [contfnewc] The trial will compare with the current best available care a number of low-risk treatments recommended by an expert panel advising the chief medical officer for England. These include a seven day course of hydroxycholorquine, and the antibiotic azithromycin. Patients aged over 65, or over 50 with an underlying health condition, should fill out an online questionnaire to see if theyre eligible. They have also been asked to check with participating GPs whether they would be suitable for the trials. Prof Fiona Watt, executive chair of the Medical Research Council, which is funding the trial, with the National Institute for Health Research, said the research is essential. She said: “We need more people to join the trial to see if we can identify a drug that hel..

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Comet SWAN 2020: ‘Volatile’ comet releases a huge outburst

COMET SWAN, the newly discovered comet travelling through the solar system, has released a huge outburst which was visible to the unaided eye of astronomers. Comet SWAN (C/2020 F8) was discovered on April 11 which, like Comet ATLAS was meant to, will arrive at the orbit of Mercury in late May. However, the comet has started acted strangely, leading to theories it too could be disintegrating, much like ATLAS did. [contfnewc] Researchers in the southern hemisphere, where SWAN is visible too, noticed a huge blast from the comet with the space rock leaving a trail of debris in its wake. Karl Battams of the Naval Research Lab in Washington, DC, said the comet could be fragmenting, or it could just be a volatile comet. He told Space Weather: “Outbursts do not necessarily imply fragmentation, and ground-based images are not yet showing evidence of a breakup. “This could just be a particularly feisty and volatile comet. “It would not surprise me at all to see another outburst – maybe se..

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New treatment could help elderly COVID-19 patients

ELDERLY Covid-19 patients could be given anti-ageing drugs in a bid to restore their immune system so it can attack the coronavirus faster. Older people have a suppressed immune system, meaning it takes longer for their body to identify and fight the virus. More than 80 percent of patients in hospitals with Covid-19 are over 65 years of age with a greater than 23-fold increased risk of death. [contfnewc] This additional time allows the virus to duplicate and cause severe symptoms – which may be worsened by pre-existing health conditions. But Harvard experts say this could be avoided with NAD boosters, a relatively new class of anti-ageing drugs. Lower levels of NAD+ in the system due to old age are believed to impair biological functions vital to health, which might be partly responsible to age-related diseases. One of the paper authors said NAD is the “closest weve gotten to a fountain of youth”. NHS data shows of hospitalised coronavirus patients, 72 percent are over the age o..

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How Mars might hold the key to better understanding climate change

Its been a busy few years for the United Arab Emirates Space programme. Theyve developed and launched a series of satellites and last year they sent the first Emirati Astronaut Hazza Al Maansouri to the International Space Station. [contfnewc] Now the Emirates has its gaze firmly fixed on Mars. And the culmination of all their efforts is the Hope Probe which is destined to orbit the red planet. The UAE’s Minister of State for Advanced Sciences Sarah Al Amiri told Euronews why understanding the history of Mars could help humanity plan for the future. “What the Emirates Mars mission will provide is actual data throughout an entire year everywhere in Mars,” she said. “Climate change is one of the reasons that Mars has transformed and understanding better the weather dynamics and the atmospheric changes on Mars gives us one piece of the puzzle on what happened to Mars. Why it’s got into the state that it’s at today.” [contfnewc] Now with climate change posing one of the greatest thre..

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Robert May, former UK chief scientist and chaos theory pioneer, dies aged 84

Pioneering Australian scientist Robert May, whose work in biology lead to the development of chaos theory, has died at age 84. Known as one of Australias most accomplished scientists, he served as the chief scientific adviser to the United Kingdom, was president of the Royal Society, and was made a lord in 2001. Born in Sydney on 8 January 1938, Mays work was influential in biology, zoology, epidemiology, physics and public policy. More recently, he applied scientific principles to economics and modelled the cause of the 2008 global financial crisis. On Wednesday, his friends and colleagues paid tribute to a man who they said was a gifted polymath and a “true giant” among scientists. Professor Ben Sheldon, the head of Oxfords department of zoology, said Mays work had “changed entire fields” of science. The current president of the Royal Society, Venki Ramakrishnan, said May was “an extraordinary man” who “drove great change in every domain he committed his talents to”. “Bob was a..

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