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時間:2022-08-24 來源:本站 點擊:258次

Omicron 'sub******

Scientists are keeping a close watch on a recently-discovered sub-variant of the Omicron version of the COVID-19 virus to determine how its emergence could effect future pandemic spread.。

The initial Omicron variant has become the dominant virus strain in recent months but British health authorities have notably identified hundreds of cases of the latest version, dubbed BA.2, while international data suggest it could spread relatively quickly.。

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) identified more than 400 cases in Britain in the first ten days of this month and has indicated the latest variant has been detected in some 40 other countries, accounting for a majority of most recent cases in some nations including India, Denmark and Sweden.。

The UKHSA indicated on Friday it had designated the BA.2 sub-lineage as a variant under investigation (VUI) as cases of it were on the increase even if, in Britain, the BA.1 lineage currently remains dominant.。

The authority underlined that "there is still uncertainty around the significance of the changes to the viral genome," which required surveillance as, in parallel, cases in recent days showed a sharp rise in BA.2 incidence notably in India and Denmark.。

"What surprised us is the rapidity with which this sub-variant, which has been circulating to a great extent in Asia, has taken hold in Denmark," French epidemiologist Antoine Flahault told AFP.。

Scientists must evaluate how the virus, which has engendered the worst global health crisis in a century, continues to evolve and mutate. Its latest incarnation does not possess the specific mutation used to track and compare BA.1 against Delta, the previously dominant strain.。

BA.2 has yet to be designated a variant of concern – but Flahault says countries have to be alert to the latest development as scientists ramp up surveillance.。

"(France) expected a spike in contaminations in mid-January: It didn't happen and perhaps that is due to this sub-variant, which seems very transmissible but not more virulent" than BA.1, he observed.。

"What interests us is if this (sub-variant) possesses different characteristics" from BA.1 in terms of contagiousness and severity, France's public health agency said Friday.。

To date, only a handful of BA.2 cases have emerged in France – but the country is monitoring developments as they spread across the Channel.。

'Comparable severity'

Flahault, director of the University of Geneva's Institute of Global Health, says the watchword is not panic but "vigilance" as "for now we have the impression (BA.2 case) severity is comparable to" classic variant Omicron cases.。

"But there are numerous questions on the table" and a need to monitor properties of the new variant on the block.。

"Very early observations from India and Denmark suggest there is no dramatic difference in severity compared to BA.1," tweeted Tom Peacock, a virologist at Imperial College, London, adding the latest variant should not call into question the effectiveness of existing vaccines.。

Peacock stressed that "we do not currently have a strong handle on ... how much more transmissibility BA.2 might have over BA.1. However, we can make some guesses/early observations."

He added that "there is likely to be minimal differences in vaccine effectiveness against BA.1 and BA.2. Personally, I'm not sure BA.2 is going to have a substantial impact on the current Omicron wave of the pandemic.。

"Several countries are near, or even past the peak of BA.1 waves. I would be very surprised if BA.2 caused a second wave at this point. Even with slightly higher transmissibility this absolutely is not a Delta-Omicron change and instead is likely to be slower and more subtle," he forecast.。

French Health Minister Olivier Veran said on Thursday that BA.2 did not look as if it would prove a game-changer as variants appear on the scene "fairly regularly". But he indicated he would reserve judgment.。

"What we know for now is that (BA.2) more or less corresponds to the characteristics that we know of Omicron" mark one.。

双语热点:世上首个活体机器人 如今可自我繁殖******

数十亿年来,生物体为了延续生命,已经进化出多种繁衍方式。近日,美国佛蒙特大学和塔夫茨大学的研究团队发现了一种全新的生物繁殖方式,并利用这一发现创造了有史以来第一个可自我繁殖的活体机器人——Xenobots 3.0,未来或可为外伤、先天缺陷、癌症、衰老等提供更直接、更个性化的药物治疗。

World's first living robots can now reproduce, scientists say

The US scientists who created the first living robots say the life forms, known as xenobots, can now reproduce -- and in a way not seen in plants and animals.


Formed from the stem cells of the African clawed frog (Xenopus laevis) from which it takes its name, xenobots are less than a millimeter (0.04 inches) wide. The tiny blobs were first unveiled in 2020 after experiments showed that they could move, work together in groups and self-heal.

“爪蟾机器人”由非洲爪蟾(Xenopus laevis)的干细胞组成,它的名字由此而来,其宽度不到一毫米。在实验表明它们可以移动、集体合作和自我修复后,这些微团型机器人于2020年首次亮相。

Now the scientists that developed them at the University of Vermont, Tufts University and Harvard University's Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering said they have discovered an entirely new form of biological reproduction different from any animal or plant known to science.


"I was astounded by it," said Michael Levin, a professor of biology and director of the Allen Discovery Center at Tufts University who was co-lead author of the new research.

共同主导这项新研究的科学家,塔夫茨大学生物学教授兼艾伦探索中心主任迈克尔·莱文(Michael Levin)说:“我对此感到震惊。”

"Frogs have a way of reproducing that they normally use but when you ... liberate (the cells) from the rest of the embryo and you give them a chance to figure out how to be in a new environment, not only do they figure out a new way to move, but they also figure out apparently a new way to reproduce."


Robot or organism?


Stem cells are unspecialized cells that have the ability to develop into different cell types. To make the xenobots, the researchers scraped living stem cells from frog embryos and left them to incubate. There's no manipulation of genes involved.


"Most people think of robots as made of metals and ceramics but it's not so much what a robot is made from but what it does, which is act on its own on behalf of people," said Josh Bongard, a computer science professor and robotics expert at the University of Vermont and lead author of the study, "In that way it's a robot but it's also clearly an organism made from genetically unmodified frog cell."

“大多数人会认为机器人是由金属和陶瓷制成的,但与其讨论机器人是由什么制成的,不如讨论它的作用是什么,它代表人类的自主行动。”佛蒙特大学电脑科学教授和机器人专家,也是该研究主要作者的乔西·邦加德(Josh Bongard)说:“从这个意义上说,它是一个机器人,但它显然也是一个由未经基因改造的青蛙细胞制成的有机体。”

Bongard said they found that the xenobots, which were initially sphere-shaped and made from around 3,000 cells, could replicate. But it happened rarely and only in specific circumstances. The xenobots used "kinetic replication" -- a process that is known to occur at the molecular level but has never been observed before at the scale of whole cells or organisms, Bongard said.


With the help of artificial intelligence, the researchers then tested billions of body shapes to make the xenobots more effective at this type of replication. The supercomputer came up with a C-shape that resembled Pac-Man, the 1980s video game. They found it was able to find tiny stem cells in a petri dish, gather hundreds of them inside its mouth, and a few days later the bundle of cells became new xenobots.


"The AI didn't program these machines in the way we usually think about writing code. It shaped and sculpted and came up with this Pac-Man shape," Bongard said.


"The shape is, in essence, the program. The shape influences how the xenobots behave to amplify this incredibly surprising process."


The xenobots are very early technology -- think of a 1940s computer -- and don't yet have any practical applications. However, this combination of molecular biology and artificial intelligence could potentially be used in a host of tasks in the body and the environment, according to the researchers. This may include things like collecting microplastics in the oceans, inspecting root systems and regenerative medicine.


While the prospect of self-replicating biotechnology could spark concern, the researchers said that the living machines were entirely contained in a lab and easily extinguished, as they are biodegradable and regulated by ethics experts.


"There are many things that are possible if we take advantage of this kind of plasticity and ability of cells to solve problems," Bongard said. The study was published in the peer-reviewed scientific journal PNAS on Monday.


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你的双11快递到了吗?新闻记者探班邮政快递土门递送部:快递小哥一天派送9趟******  \










  华商报新闻记者 李琳。

Sales of China's iconic sedan brand rev up in Jan******

CHANGCHUN, Dec. 4 (Xinhua) -- Hongqi, an automobile brand under China's leading automaker FAW Group Co. Ltd., posted a rise of 46.7 percent in sales in the first 11 months of this year.。

A total of 261,400 Hongqi-branded vehicles were sold during the period, said FAW Group.。

Meanwhile, Hongqi has sped up the development of new energy vehicles. A factory focusing on electric cars with an investment of 8 billion yuan (about 1.3 billion U.S. dollars) has started production.。

Hongqi, meaning "red flag," is China's iconic sedan brand. Established in 1958, the brand has been used in parades for national celebrations.。

Founded in 1953 in the northeastern city of Changchun, the capital of Jilin Province, FAW Group is considered the birthplace of China's auto industry. Enditem。






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