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Mar 19, 2020

Scientists program cells to carry out gene-guided construction projects

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, genetics

Stanford researchers have developed a technique that reprograms cells to use synthetic materials, provided by the scientists, to build artificial structures able to carry out functions inside the body.

“We turned cells into chemical engineers of a sort, that use materials we provide to construct functional polymers that change their behaviors in specific ways,” said Karl Deisseroth, professor of bioengineering and of psychiatry and , who co-led the work.

In the March 20 edition of Science, the researchers explain how they developed genetically targeted chemical assembly, or GTCA, and used the new method to build on mammalian brain cells and on neurons in the tiny worm called C. elegans. The structures were made using two different biocompatible materials, each with a different electronic property. One material was an insulator, the other a conductor.

Mar 19, 2020

Sorry, America, the Full Lockdown Is Coming

Posted by in category: futurism

Politicians won’t admit it yet, but it’s time to prepare—physically and psychologically—for a sudden stop to all life outside your home.

Mar 19, 2020

Spanish football coach Francisco Garcia dies of coronavirus, aged 21

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, health

Francisco Garcia, a youth team coach at Malaga-based club Atletico Portada Alta, had an unknown pre-existing health condition that resulted in him being more vulnerable to the virus than usual for an individual of his age, though he was only informed of having cancer after going to hospital with symptoms of coronavirus.

Mar 19, 2020

Surgeon General urges US citizens to donate blood to help during coronavirus crisis

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

Donating blood is one of the most effective ways Americans can help during the coronavirus crisis, the United States Surgeon General said.

Speaking during a White House coronavirus task force briefing Thursday, Surgeon General Jerome Adams urged healthy individuals, especially millennials and Gen Z, to visit their local blood centers.

“Donated blood is an essential part of caring for patients, and one donation can save up to three lives,” Adams said.

Mar 19, 2020

NIH study provides genetic insights into osteosarcoma in children

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, genetics, health

A study by researchers at the National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the National Institutes of Health, offers new insight into genetic alterations associated with osteosarcoma, the most common cancerous bone tumor of children and adolescents. The researchers found that more people with osteosarcoma carry harmful, or likely harmful, variants in known cancer-susceptibility genes than people without osteosarcoma. This finding has implications for genetic testing of children with osteosarcoma, as well as their families.

The study was published March 19, 2020, in JAMA Oncology.

“With this study, we wanted to find out how many people with osteosarcoma may have been at high risk for it because of their genetics,” said Lisa Mirabello, Ph.D., of NCI’s Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics (DCEG), who led the research. “We not only learned that at least a quarter of the people in the study with osteosarcoma had a variant in a gene known to predispose someone to cancer, we also uncovered variants that had never before been associated with this cancer.”

Mar 19, 2020

“Living materials” study hints at a future with bioelectronic medicine

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, materials

“Construction worker” cells can build synthetic structures in the body, scientists report.

Mar 19, 2020

This Austin Company Just Announced the First At-Home COVID-19 Test

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, business, food, government

On Thursday, March 18, Austin-based Everlywell announced that it will begin selling home tests for COVID-19 beginning Monday, March 23. The business already offers dozens of at-home testing kits for anything from cholesterol levels to fertility to food sensitivities, but it is the first U.S. company to announce an at-home COVID-19 test. Everlywell has an initial supply of 30,000 COVID-19 tests and is working with multiple laboratories to scale that number to 250,000 tests weekly.

The test can be requested online for people experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. To access a test, consumers can go to and complete a screening questionnaire. According to the website, the test is shipped to customers with everything needed to collect a sample at home and safely ship that sample to a CLIA-certified lab partner. (All of Everywell’s laboratory partners conducting COVID-19 testing are complying with the FDA’s Emergency Use Authorization for COVID-19 symptoms.) The samples will then be shipped to partner labs overnight, and secure digital results will be available online within 48 hours of the lab receiving the sample. Free telehealth consultations with an independent, board-certified physician will also be available to those with positive results. The test is $135, at no profit to Everlywell, and is covered by participating HSA and FSA providers. The brand has reached out to government officials to see if the test can be made available for free.

Mar 19, 2020

What quarantine is like for an astronaut

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, space

People around the world are currently isolating themselves or in a formal quarantine to prevent the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. But for decades, astronauts have been quarantined to ensure that they were virus-free and ready to fly (or, in the case of Apollo, to make sure they didn’t bring home any “moon bugs.”)

This quarantine period “ensures that they aren’t sick or incubating an illness when they get to the space station,” NASA spokesperson Brandi Dean told

Mar 19, 2020

Younger Adults Make Up Big Portion of Coronavirus Hospitalizations in U.S.

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

New C.D.C. data shows that nearly 40 percent of patients sick enough to be hospitalized were age 20 to 54. But the risk of dying was significantly higher in older people.

Mar 19, 2020

140 dead in US, Italy coronavirus fatalities continue to soar

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

COVID-19 has killed at least 140 people in the U.S.