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04 March 2021

‘Needle in a haystack’: The hunt for coronavirus drug compounds in a Belgian biosafety lab

Professor Johan Neyts, a virologist at the Rega Institute for Medical Research at KU Leuven in Belgium, leads a team searching for drugs that can help us in the fight against Covid-19. His laboratory is part of two projects that are screening millions of compounds to find some that block the coronavirus from replicating and so keep patients from falling sick. He told Horizon about why this search is so important and how it might keep us safe from future pandemics.
01 March 2021

Q&A: Climate monitoring, pandemic insight, decomposition – what insects do for us

Insects are vital to the health of our planet but they can also reveal a lot about climate change and help us fight future vector-borne disease outbreaks, says Alexey Solodovnikov, an associate professor at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, who runs the rove beetle-dedicated Solodovnikov Lab and is a curator at the Natural History Museum of Denmark. 
01 March 2021

Insect biodiversity under threat

With around half a million species of insects reported to be at risk of extinction and studies already showing a large decline in abundance, this month Horizon looks at what reduced insect biodiversity means for us – and what we can do about it. We speak to rove beetle expert Dr Alexey Solodovnikov about the services insects provide, from waste disposal and pollination to monitoring climate change and providing information about a new pandemic. We find out how scientists hope to cut the use of pesticides – one of the big culprits for reducing insect diversity – with new ways of pest control. We look at how efforts to boost urban green space in Europe’s cities is impacting insect life and we ask whether people’s attitudes to insects affect conservation efforts.  
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.
24 February 2021

Mediterranean wineries are in a climate hotspot. Climatologists are helping them adapt

From the possible demise of Merlot grapes in Bordeaux to loss of olive trees in north Africa, the impacts of climate change will be felt by farmers across the Mediterranean region, say climatologists.
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.
18 February 2021

How a trial that mirrors intensive care practices is pinpointing life-saving coronavirus treatments

Two anti-inflammatory drugs – tocilizumab and sarilumab – as well as steroids, have been identified as potential life-saving coronavirus treatments thanks to a trial set up in the wake of the 2009 swine flu pandemic that mirrors the way that people receive multiple treatments while in intensive care.
16 February 2021

How does it feel to be a bee? The quest to understand animal sentience

What is it like to be a bee? Or a spider? Does a crab feel pleasure or pain? Behavioural and welfare science have moved on considerably in the past 20 years, but there is still a huge amount we don’t know about how animals actually feel – or, indeed, whether they all do.
15 February 2021

How the ‘physical internet’ could revolutionise the way goods are moved

Shipping goods from furniture to food could be transformed by a new transport network called the ‘physical internet.’ It is built on similar principles to the internet, which revolutionised the way information flows around the word, including open access and global interconnectedness. Researchers hope to make it a reality by 2040, when a fully autonomous network should be in place.
10 February 2021

Back with a boom? Supersonic planes get ready for a quieter, greener comeback

Almost 20 years after Concorde was grounded, civilian supersonic aircraft seem ready to take off again. New technology is pushing a new generation of aircraft forward, but challenges remain, from regulations to plain old economics.