Also: the benefits of crop diversification and COVID-19 testing
(Victoria Forster, Forbes, 3/17/20)
In a collaboration between pharma companies and the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the first human trials of a coronavirus vaccine have begun in Seattle. The vaccine was made possible by the genome sequencing of the virus that was done in China over two months ago and released publicly. Unlike most other vaccines, this version does not contain the virus, but instead contains the protein “spike” that allows the virus to enter host cells. The idea is that if the immune system is taught to fight the spike, the virus will fail to infect a host.
(Sarah Cafasso, Stanford Natural Capital Project, 3/18/20)
According to Stanford researchers, crop diversification is better for the environment, better for wildlife, and more adaptable to climate change than standard single-crop farming. Farms studied in Costa Rica were found to be more resilient if they planted multiple crops – which also allowed native species to thrive. The tropics are especially vulnerable to climate change.
(Catherine Offord, The Scientist, 03/18/20)
The World Health Organization (WHO) is urging countries to ramp up COVID-19 testing in order to accurately assess the effectiveness of quarantine and social distancing measures. Without data, they say, there will be no evidence to support these life-saving measures. South Korea is given as a stellar example of the value of widespread testing.