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Health

03 May 2021

Q&A: Nanobots could explore human cells – but their size is an engineering challenge

Scientists are developing virus-sized robots that could defuse blood clots, explore human cells or even scrub water of impurities.
03 May 2021

Nanorobots

How do you design and build a robot that you can’t even see? And what would you use it for? In May, Horizon explores the developing field of nanorobotics and its potential applications. We speak to Prof. Brad Nelson at ETH Zurich in Switzerland whose team found that the nanobots they were working on destroyed the drugs they were meant to be delivering, so are now repurposing them to purify water. We speak to researchers who are using the origami-like properties of DNA to make tools such as nanorobotic boxes with lids that open, and others that have created a molecular robotic arm that can pick up, reposition and release molecules. And because tasks like going into a blood vessel to dissolve a dangerous clot would be ideal for a nanorobot, we find out how scientists are devising ways to enable nanorobots to travel through the bloodstream.
08 April 2021

Q&A: BioNTech vaccine is only ‘mRNA 1.0’. This is just the beginning, say co-founders

The successful development of mRNA vaccines for Covid-19 is ‘transformational’ and opens the doors to new types of vaccines for other infectious diseases as well as cancer, according to Dr Özlem Türeci and Dr Uğur Şahin, the co-founders of Germany’s BioNTech.
07 April 2021

How a year of coronavirus activity unfolded at the EU's medicines regulator

The speed with which coronavirus vaccines have been developed surprised everyone and could transform public health into the future, says Dr Fergus Sweeney, head of the clinical studies and manufacturing taskforce at the European Medicines Agency (EMA). Here he gives us a glimpse at the work of the regulator over the past year as part of the fight against Covid-19.
25 March 2021

The new antibody that may be able to stay ‘one step ahead’ of coronavirus mutations

A new antibody that can mount a double attack on the Sars-CoV-2 virus by binding to two different sites on the spike protein is starting human trials, leading to hopes of an antibody therapy that can maintain its effectiveness even against new variants of coronavirus.
16 March 2021

Bottling the smell of happiness to help treat depression

It may sound like something out of a fantasy movie, but scientists hope to be able to bottle the smell of happiness so it can be used to help people with phobias or depression.
26 February 2021

‘Never seen anything as effective’ – the not-so-new-drug repurposed for a rare disease

The earliest signs of alkaptonuria are often subtle and harmless, like a diaper stained black. However, over the years, this rare genetic disease can lead to a lifetime of surgery. Now, after 20 years of research, a not-so-new drug can offer relief for thousands of patients worldwide.
22 February 2021

How to repurpose a factory in a crisis

Medical suppliers must change how they manage their supply chains, and factories need to be able to rapidly pivot to manufacturing different products, in order to respond quickly to the next major crisis and avoid shortages of vital medical goods, experts say.
04 February 2021

Five things to know about childhood cancer

Advances in diagnosis and care have yielded significant improvements in childhood cancer survival rates in Europe, but the long-term side-effect burden in young people — driven by the unlicensed use of adult cancer medicines — often means the price of survival is high, scientists say.
03 February 2021

Why dogs can teach humans about healthier ageing

Our pet dogs could help extend human lives beyond their documented effects on people’s wellbeing. Increasingly, studies are looking at how the domestic dog, Canis familiaris, is key to understanding cognition and processes involved in ageing – something that could improve both animal and human wellbeing.