World’s largest vaccine maker bets on Oxford coronavirus candidate

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Panasonic Robotics Hub Tokyo.

Japan is considering new rules to prevent leakage of sensitive technologies such as sensors.Photo credit: Tomohiro Ohsumi / Getty

The Japanese cabinet has just approved a strategy to prevent sensitive research and technology related to national security from leaving the country. The strategy to protect research in areas such as quantum computing, artificial intelligence, and semiconductor manufacturing is to withhold research funding from Japanese institutions that receive but do not declare money from foreign governments. The development follows raids by US science agencies against researchers who do not disclose foreign relations, mainly with China.

Nature | Read for 5 min

Remarkably quotable

Virologist Katherine McMahan is working on a potential vaccine that is promising in monkeys at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, Massachusetts (with Dutch subsidiary Johnson & Johnson Janssen Pharmaceutica). (The New York Times | Read for 13 min)

Reference: nature paper

Coronavirus research highlights: 1-minute reads

The outbreak of the summer camp infected many children

At least 250 campers and employees tested positive for COVID-19 after visiting an overnight camp in the US state of Georgia. All campers and staff had to test negative for the virus less than 13 days before their arrival, and the campers did not mix with those who slept in other cabins. The staff wore masks, but the campers did not. "This study complements the evidence that children of all ages are susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 infections and, contrary to previous reports, could play an important role in transmission," the study authors write.

Reference: Weekly report on morbidity and mortality paper

Immune cells in unexposed people

T cells ready to attack SARS-CoV-2 exist in some people who have never been exposed to the virus. The researchers examined blood samples from around 100 people for T cells that respond to the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. Reactive cells were found in 83% of people with COVID-19 and 35% of healthy blood donors. These cells may have been triggered by previous infections with related coronaviruses. We still don't know if these cells offer real protection against SARS-CoV-2.

Reference: nature paper

Get More From natureConstantly updated selection of papers and preprints to be read on COVID-19.

Features & opinion

The Vera C. Rubin Observatory in Chile is designed to collect 20 terabytes per night as part of its 10-year survey of space and time (LSST) once it goes into operation in 2022. Instead of setting up a computer infrastructure that would do so cost many millions, astronomers put their huge amounts of data in the cloud. The move opens up research opportunities at smaller institutions. "I could set up a notebook in South Africa that could run on the LSST Science Platform and have the same tools as in Princeton," says project manager William O’Mullane. "I just need a web browser."

Nature | Read for 7 min

Experimental psychologist Dorothy Bishop uses simulated data to teach her students how we can be misled by our cognitive prejudices and faulty intuition. The sample of simulated data shows how easy it is to find wrong results that appear statistically significant, and how small sample sizes can prevent an otherwise well-designed experiment.

Nature | Read for 5 min

Ecologist Fernando Maestre believed that his good work-life balance before the pandemic made him less susceptible to poor mental health. But "I was wrong," he says. After he was diagnosed with fear, he checked his attitude to work, life and parenthood to restore his health. His six-point plan is to postpone all nonessential work, set a schedule, reduce exposure to news and social media, focus on the positive, train more, and try to live in the moment.

Nature | Read for 5 min

Picture of the week

A 3D animation of a sperm moving in a corkscrew motion

Human sperm swim faster by fluttering and turning their tails on only one side. The researchers used a high-speed 3D camera to capture the gamete's 20 to 30 swimming strokes per second. What looks like boring wiggling from side to side when you watch it in a bowl is actually more of a preparatory corkscrew movement. (Science | Read for 2 min) Reference: ScienceAdvances paper

quote of the Day

The water beetle Regimbartia attenuata can swim right through a frog, found biologist Shinji Sugiura. (Current biology paper) (Watch a video where it happens The New York Timesif that's what you like.)

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