Latest research news

April 30, 2003

'Malaria worse than Sars'
Malaria in the poorest parts of Africa is a far greater tragedy than Sars could ever be, health campaigners have said. They are calling on governments to step up the fight against malaria, which kills 3,000 children in Africa every day. The United Nations children's fund Unicef and the World Health Organisation  have joined forces to tackle the problem. In their first joint Africa Malaria Report they say installing mosquito nets treated with insecticide in family bedrooms could save hundreds of thousands of lives. Experts attending the report's launch in London said the burgeoning obsession with the newer, 'sexier' Sars virus was "out of proportion".

Looking for the first stars
The Galaxy Evolution Explorer spacecraft, designed to explore star formation when the universe was young, has been launched off the coast of Florida. The small satellite will observe millions of galaxies across 10 billion years of cosmic history to help astronomers determine when the chemical elements were formed inside the first stars.

Cancer-proof mouse discovered
A cancer-proof mouse, which can survive being injected with any number of cancer cells, has been discovered by US scientists. The discovery of the resistant mouse could pave the way for future gene or drug therapies if the mechanism by which it fights cancer can be understood.
(New Scientist)

Spores ferry vaccines
Chomping on bacteria might protect people from infections, say British scientists. The next-generation edible vaccines could combat tetanus, anthrax and diarrhoea. To survive hard times, the harmless bacteria Bacillus subtilis goes into a dormant spore form. Simon Cutting and his colleagues, of Royal Holloway, University of London, have genetically engineered the microbe to carry a gene for one of the paralysing toxins normally produced by tetanus bacteria.

Gilgamesh tomb believed found
Archaeologists in Iraq believe they may have found the lost tomb of King Gilgamesh - the subject of the oldest book in history. The Epic Of Gilgamesh - written by a Middle Eastern scholar 2,500 years before the birth of Christ - commemorated the life of the ruler of the city of Uruk, from which Iraq gets its name.

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