Science News

Researchers identify an antiviral drug to combat the bourbon viruse

The Bourbon virus (BOUV) is an RNA virus of the Thogotovirus genus discovered in 2014 when it was identified in the body of a man in Bourbon County, Kansas. It is believed to be spread by ticks (the Kansas man died just after being bitten by ticks so much that he was initially thought to have ehrlichiosis).

After the first case only very few others were discovered, including that of a fifty-eight-year-old Missuori man, also infected by the same virus and who died shortly after.

Now a group of researchers from the Washington University in St. Louis announces, through a study published in PLOS Pathogens, that they have identified an antiviral drug, a treatment that is still only experimental, which seems to cure mice infected with the Bourbon virus.

The drug, called favipiravir, has so far only been approved in Japan for the treatment of one type of flu but not in the United States. The same virus seems to be lethal so that without the use of this drug the mice in the laboratory died in 100% of cases while with the treatment they survived in 100% of the cases. Healing also occurred when the drug was administered to mice only three days after infection when they now had a weakened appearance and had lost a lot of weight.

The favipiravir goes to inhibit a particular protein that the virus uses to survive multiply. At the moment it has not been possible to test the drug on people because the Bourbon virus is very rare. However, the same researchers advise avoiding exposure to ticks as much as possible, even using insect repellents or wearing long dresses that cover the body as much as possible if you are in environments with many ticks.

Science News

Climate change will increase armed conflicts according to a new study

Climate change, basically global warming in progress, will directly affect the global strategic balance and could lead, according to a new study, to an increase in armed conflicts.

The new research, carried out by experts from various institutes including Stanford University and Exeter, takes into consideration the hypothesis of an increase in global average temperatures of more than 2 ° C above pre-industrial levels.

According to the scientists behind this study, if temperatures rise more than 2 ° C, the risks of armed conflict increase by 13% and the higher the temperatures the more this risk increases. In fact, heating will not only lead to higher temperatures but also to droughts and floods which in turn will cause real economic shocks, that is more or less sudden economic crises that will bring the weaker states and those whose economies are particularly weak to their knees.

In these cases, the widespread impoverishment and inability of states to deal with these situations could then easily lead to episodes of violence as has always happened in those cases in which poverty or inequality between groups increases strongly and relatively quickly social partners in a particular region or area.

Science News

Clash with Antlia 2 formed ripples of the outer disk of the Milky Way

The outer disk of the Milky Way characterized by various gaseous ripples that have been studied over the years. The cause that generated them was not fully identified and a new study, conducted by Sukanya Chakrabarti, a researcher at the Rochester Institute of Technology, puts a new theory on the table regarding their formation.

These ripples would have been produced by a collision in the past between the Milky Way and the dwarf galaxy Antlia 2, a galaxy with dimensions similar to those of the Great Magellanic cloud but much weaker at a diluminosity level so that it is defined as a dark galaxy. Analyzing the data produced by the Gaia mission of the European Space Agency, a researcher was able to understand that Antlia 2 crashed at some point in the past against the Milky Way producing the large ripples in the external gas disk that we see today.

Further data produced by Gaia will make this theory even clearer. Among other things, this work could also help to understand from what dark matter can be made, as Chakrabarti explains: “If Antlia 2 is the dwarf galaxy we had foreseen, you know what its orbit should be. You know it must have come close to the galactic disk. This places stringent constraints, therefore, not only on the mass, but also on its density profile. This means that in the end it is possible to use Antlia 2 as a unique laboratory to learn about the nature of dark matter.”

This is not the only theory concerning the external ripples of the Milky Way: in this work, however, the researchers have excluded the other major ones. For example, the tidal force of Sagittarius’s elliptical dwarf galaxy is judged by the researchers to be insufficient, while the large Magellanic Cloud and the Small Magellanic Cloud are too far apart to have a gravitational effect on the outer material of the Milky Way.