Wednesday February 26, 2020

Are you safe? Swine Flu virus mutates in India, becomes more lethal, says MIT study

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Image: MIT
Image: MIT
Image: MIT

By Newsgram Staff Writer

The deadly swine flu virus has become even more lethal in India as it has mutated, a report by two Indian- American researchers at MIT’s Department of Biological Engineering has shown.

Contradicting reports from Indian health officials claiming that the H1N1 virus has not changed since it emerged in 2009, the MIT report says that the virus has undergone two crucial mutations in the hemagglutinin protein that are known to make the virus more virulent.

The researchers said that very little scientific data is available on the virus, and stressed on the need for better surveillance to track the outbreak and to help scientists to determine how to respond to this influenza variant.

‘We need to understand the pathology and the severity, rather than simply relying on anecdotal information.’ Ram Sasisekharan, one of the researchers said.

The virus killed more than 18,000 people worldwide between 2009 and 2012.

The research was funded by the National Institutes of Health, the National Research Foundation through the Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology, and the Skolkovo Foundation.

Read what government is doing about Swine Flu

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10x Blacker Material Than Anything Reported By MIT Engineers

Engineers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have created a material that they claim is 10 times blacker than anything

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MIT, Engineers, Black material, Science
The dome at the MIT campus. Wikimedia Commons

Engineers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have created a material that they claim is 10 times blacker than anything that has previously been reported.

The material is made from vertically aligned carbon nanotubes, or CNTs — microscopic filaments of carbon that the team grew on a surface of chlorine-etched aluminum foil.

The foil captures more than 99.96 per cent of any incoming light, making it the blackest material on record, according to a study published in the journal ACS-Applied Materials and Interfaces.

MIT, Engineers, Black material, Science
Our material is 10 times blacker than anything that’s ever been reported. Pixabay

The material may be useful, for instance in optical blinders that reduce unwanted glare, to help space telescopes spot orbiting exoplanets, said Brian Wardle, Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics at the MIT.

ALSO READ: Electric Vehicle Maker Tesla Teases Model S with ‘Plaid Powertrain’

“There are optical and space science applications for very black materials, and of course, artists have been interested in black, going back well before the Renaissance.

“Our material is 10 times blacker than anything that’s ever been reported, but I think the blackest black is a constantly moving target. Someone will find a blacker material, and eventually we’ll understand all the underlying mechanisms, and will be able to properly engineer the ultimate blac,” he added. (IANS)