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Vitamin K could help fight coronavirus, study suggests

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5 juin, par Daniel Boffey in Brussels[ —]

Scientists in Netherlands explore possible link between deficiency and Covid-19 deaths

Patients who have died or been admitted to intensive care with Covid-19 have been found to be deficient in a vitamin found in spinach, eggs, and hard and blue cheeses, raising hopes that dietary change might be one part of the answer to combating the disease.

Researchers studying patients who were admitted to the Canisius Wilhelmina hospital in the Dutch city of Nijmegen have extolled the benefits of vitamin K after discovering a link between deficiency and the worst coronavirus outcomes.

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Astronomers warn 'wilderness' of southern night sky at risk from SpaceX satellites episode download
5 juin[ —]

Stargazing under threat as pristine skies over New Zealand and Australia are clogged with hundreds of Starlink satellites

Astronomers in the southern hemisphere have warned that the wonders of the night sky are at risk from hundreds of satellites that have been shot into space by Elon Musk’s company SpaceX.

The night skies of Australia and New Zealand are globally renowned for their clarity, drawing tourists from across the world to dark-sky sanctuaries such as Tekapo on New Zealand’s South Island and the Warrumbungle national park in New South Wales.

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Less than 10% of people in Britain are immune to coronavirus. There's no room for mistakes | Rupert Beale

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5 juin, par Rupert Beale[ —]

Covid-19 is is still a threat to most in Britain. If we allow it to spread now, a deadly second wave in winter could be the result

The lockdown approach to combating Covid-19 has been undeniably effective. The surge in cases was stopped, the NHS was not overwhelmed, and many deaths were prevented. At the Francis Crick Institute, we could see the dramatic effect on cases, as we’ve been testing for Sars-CoV-2 to support our local hospitals. When we ran our first samples, at the peak of the first wave, nearly half were positive. Now we see perhaps one or two positive samples in a thousand.

Related: Risk of infection could double if 2-metre rule reduced, study finds

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The first wave of Covid-19 is not over – but how might a second look?

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5 juin, par Michael Safi[ —]

The pandemic’s future will be decided by human action and several unanswered questions about the nature of the virus

Restaurants are opening, parks are full and people are getting back to work: parts of Europe, Asia and much of the Middle East are enjoying the benefits of flattened coronavirus curves. Meanwhile, parts of the US, India and Latin America are still recording thousands of new cases every day.

The first wave of the coronavirus is not over. The future shape of the pandemic will be decided both by human action, in the form of social distancing, testing and other traditional methods of disease control, but also several unanswered questions about the nature of the virus itself.

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The Lancet has made one of the biggest retractions in modern history. How could this happen?

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5 juin, par James Heathers[ —]

The now retracted paper halted hydroxychloroquine trials. Studies like this determine how people live or die tomorrow

The Lancet is one of the oldest and most respected medical journals in the world. Recently, they published an article on Covid patients receiving hydroxychloroquine with a dire conclusion: the drug increases heartbeat irregularities and decreases hospital survival rates. This result was treated as authoritative, and major drug trials were immediately halted – because why treat anyone with an unsafe drug?

Now, that Lancet study has been retracted, withdrawn from the literature entirely, at the request of three of its authors who “can no longer vouch for the veracity of the primary data sources”. Given the seriousness of the topic and the consequences of the paper, this is one of the most consequential retractions in modern history.

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'The costs are too high': the scientist who wants lockdown lifted faster

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5 juin, par Ian Sample Science editor[ —]

Sunetra Gupta believes we may be underestimating how many people have fought off Covid-19

It was the moment the scientists veered off script. As ministers moved to ease the lockdown in late May, a handful of the government’s advisers from Sage (the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies) went public with their fears. The virus was still a present danger, infecting thousands of people a day, they warned: now was not the time to lift the lockdown.

As others came out in support of the experts, it seemed most scientists were of one voice. But that is not the case. Sunetra Gupta, a professor of theoretical epidemiology at Oxford University, believes – somewhat controversially – that the lockdown should be lifted faster. In the rush to drive infections down, she fears the poorest have been brushed aside.

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Coronavirus live news: Sweden sees third consecutive day of over 1,000 new cases; virus 'under control' in France episode download
5 juin, par Damien Gayle (now); Jessica Murray, Alison Rourke and Helen Sullivan (earlier)[ —]

Brazil death toll passes Italy; New York urges protesters to get tested; Turkey announces weekend lockdown in 15 cities

In the US, Donald Trump is giving a press conference to celebrate the unexpectedly good unemployment news there. You can follow that live on our US live blog here:

Related: Trump speaks after unexpected jobs gain amid economic crisis and protests – live

Ireland is accelerating the relaxation of lockdown restrictions by expanding the travel limit and reopening shops, playgrounds, libraries and other facilities from Monday.

The taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, struck an upbeat tone in Ireland’s fight against Covid-19 by quoting Samwise Gamgee, a hobbit in Lord of the Rings. “But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer.”

An Taoiseach @LeoVaradkar,

"Many have yearned to break free from cocooning, from Monday it will be permissible for people in this category to welcome a small number of visitors to their home." #StayLocal

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Rio Tinto blasting a sacred Aboriginal site should make scientists ask ‘am I being a good ancestor?’ | Jared Field episode download
5 juin, par Jared Field[ —]

Our universities fail stupendously when they don’t teach ethical and moral responsibility

What does it take to blow something up? My field, mathematics, is certainly useful. Computer science, and the numerical methods it allows, is handy. Several years of chemistry and physics are essential. Geology and operations management will go a long way too. Many other topics will also be helpful but hopefully my point has been made: the best tool to blow something up is a university.

And yet, as universities proudly tout their Reconciliation Action Plans (RAPs) little thought is given to their complicity in the destruction of sacred sites. We equip students with the skillsets to destroy places such as the Juukan Gorge cave, which was blasted by Rio Tinto in May, but not with the ability to reason ethically. Or indeed, it appears, even to ask the simple question: is this wrong? 

I can already hear my colleagues in the science faculty moaning at my suggestion of their inadequacies: “We give students tools, what they do with it is up to them!”, “I teach chemistry; why should I care about Indigenous culture?” or even, “I’m a mathematician, why should I discuss ethics with my students?”

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Remdesivir: Ebola drug endorsed as a coronavirus treatment in Australia

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5 juin, par Australian Associated Press[ —]

Taskforce says doctors treating adults with moderate, severe or critical Covid-19 should consider using drug to aid recovery times

The antiviral drug remdesivir has been recommended for the treatment of Covid-19 patients in Australia, by the national taskforce bringing together the country’s peak health groups.

The National Covid-19 Clinical Evidence Taskforce said Australian doctors treating adults with moderate, severe or critical Covid-19 should consider using the drug to aid recovery times.

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Covid-19: Lancet retracts paper that halted hydroxychloroquine trials

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4 juin, par Sarah Boseley and Melissa Davey[ —]

Retraction made after Guardian investigation found inconsistencies in data

The Lancet paper that halted global trials of hydroxychloroquine for Covid-19 because of fears of increased deaths has been retracted after a Guardian investigation found inconsistencies in the data.

The lead author, Prof Mandeep Mehra, from the Brigham and Women’s hospital in Boston, Massachusetts decided to ask the Lancet for the retraction because he could no longer vouch for the data’s accuracy.

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