Connect with us

Science

Kelowna hospital can now test 1600 COVID-19 samples daily – The Daily Courier

Published

 on


New equipment at Kelowna General Hospital has nearly doubled its ability to process COVID-19 tests.

A Panther Fusion, which allows for molecular analysis of samples, was installed at KGH and Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops.

“The new machines have increased Interior Health’s ability to process samples from about 900 in a day to over 1,600, ensuring timely results even in a surge event,” an IH news release states this week.

To accommodate the machine, a KGH lab had to be increased in size by 1,200 sq. ft. A project like this, IH says, normally takes nine months. But it was done in nine weeks.

Those involved in the project included lab managers, infection prevention and control experts, and medical microbiologists.

“There was a big effort that went into increasing our capacity to test COVID-19 samples and making sure our communities stay safe,” said Hope Byrne, IH director of lab operations for the Okanagan.

In one week in early December, just under 8,000 people across the Interior Health region were tested for COVID-19.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Science

First baby tyrannosaur fossils discovered in Alberta, Montana – CBC.ca

Published

 on


Researchers have discovered the first baby tyrannosaur fossils in Alberta and Montana. 

Experts say the fossils are a rare discovery, as little is known about young tyrannosaurs and their development, according to a study published in the Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences on Monday. 

The study, led by Greg Funston, was based on two fossils: a small toe claw found in Morrin, Alta., and a small, lower jawbone found in Montana. 

Tyrannosaurs have been well-researched but fossils from tyrannosaur eggs or embryos have never been found — until now. 

“What this does is give us a starting point that we didn’t have,” said Mark Powers, a University of Alberta PhD student and second author on the study. 

“We had partway of their growth spurt and we didn’t really have where they originated. To find specimens like this, which is definitively a tyrannosaur in the shell or before it hatched, it says something about that development.”

A scale of the specimens found by Greg Funston and his team. (Submitted by Greg Funston)

What do the discoveries mean?

The unprecedented finds offer a lot of information to researchers. 

Using a 3D scan of the fossils and measurements of the bones, researchers were able to find out more about the size of the hatchlings and prove that the specimens are of unborn tyrannosaurs. 

The 71.5 million-year-old claw found in Alberta has what Powers called “a cartilage cone” on the back of the claw, which means the area hadn’t yet turned to bone and was still developing. 

The roughly 75 million-year-old jawbone found in Montana had triangular teeth with shallow roots, confirming they were the first generation teeth of the tyrannosaur.

“This fits with a lot of other discoveries and embryonic studies of birds and other dinosaurs found in the shell so we do suspect that it is an embryonic individual compared to a hatched one,” Powers said.

The location of these fossils is also telling. 

The claw was found after a large sentiment was taken from a dig expedition in Alberta several years ago, Powers said.

Generally, smaller dinosaur remains are harder to come by. 

Smaller fossils would have been more susceptible to the flowing rivers and flood plains of the cretaceous period, compared to larger dinosaur remains which are often buried deep and preserved in sentiment, Powers said.  

The areas where the fossils of the young dinosaurs were found are now possible locations for other important discoveries, according to one professor. 

“We don’t have very much of a skeleton by any means, these are relatively scrappy bits. But because we know the area where it seems tyrannosaurs may have been making their nests, we know to go back to that spot and go over with a fine-tooth comb and find more and more stuff,” said Scott Persons, professor of paleontology at the College of Charleston in South Carolina.

“I think undoubtedly that is going to happen so eventually that great prize of actually finding a tyrannosaur egg is going to happen.”

A claw and jawbone of two baby tyrannosaurs were found by researchers, the first discoveries of their kind. (Submittd by Greg Funston)

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Science

UOttawa startup gets $4M funding boost for technology that curbs 'freezer burn' in stem cell tissue – Ottawa Business Journal

Published

 on


A biotech startup co-founded in Ottawa has landed millions of dollars in new funding for its pioneering solution that helps preserve human cells used in next-generation medical research.

PanTHERA Cryosolutions says it’s secured a $4-million investment from a pair of U.S.-based firms, Washington state-based BioLife Solutions and New York’s Casdin Capital, to help get its system ready for market over the next two years. In exchange, BioLife will receive exclusive worldwide marketing and distribution rights to PanTHERA’s products for use in its cell and gene therapy applications.

Founded four years ago by University of Ottawa chemistry professor Robert Ben and University of Alberta researcher Jason Acker, PanTHERA makes small organic molecules that slow down the buildup of ice ​– known as recrystallization ​– that occurs when biological material used in the fields of cell therapy and regenerative medicine is frozen.

Scientists have been freezing cells and tissues for decades to preserve them for research into therapies for a wide range of diseases, explained Ben, who specializes in synthetic organic and medicinal chemistry. 

Protective agents such as glycerol are used to prevent the cells from drying out in the freezing and thawing process, he said. But that process “is kind of hit and miss,” Ben noted in a recent post on uOttawa’s website.

Preventing cellular damage

“We might freeze 100,000 cells, but only 25,000 will survive and be viable for research or clinical applications,” he said, likening the process to “freezer burn” that changes the structure ​– and subsequently the taste – of ice cream that’s been stored for too long. 

“That’s because up to 80 per cent of the cellular damage that happens during freezing is due to the uncontrolled growth of ice. Since current cryoprotectant solutions don’t address this problem, our returns, measured in cell recovery and function, are quite dismal.”

PanTHERA’s technology also allows cells to survive at higher temperatures than traditional methods, making it easier to store and ship them to remote locations.

“Small ice crystals are innocuous,” Ben said. “They’re like grains of sand on a Caribbean beach. They’re so small that they mould to your body and you can lay comfortably on the beach for an entire day. Now, let’s say those grains of sand were replaced by gravel or pebbles. That’s a lot less comfortable. Our cryopreservation technology prevents ice crystals from growing too large for comfort.”

For the past 10 months, Ben and his team have been working on a new class of compounds that can protect proteins and viruses. They’re now in the process of proving that the technology can preserve COVID testing materials and RNA-based vaccines.

“Our molecules are unique because, unlike conventional cryoprotectants, they prevent all that cellular damage caused by ice,” Ben said. “In the end, we recover more cells, they’re healthier and more functional. There is nothing else like it out there.”

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Science

Global Ice Loss Is Speeding Up: the Risks of Melting Ice Sheets – Green Matters

Published

 on


Melting ice sheets is one of the most cliché signifiers of global warming and the climate crisis — but clichés originate in the truth, after all, and ice sheets are still melting. In fact, new research has found that the rate of global ice loss — aka melting ice sheets — is higher than ever before.

Article continues below advertisement

On Monday, Jan. 25, 2021, researchers from the University of Leeds, the University of Edinburgh, University College London, and Earthwave published their findings in European Geosciences Union’s journal The Cryosphere.

ice melt
Source: Getty Images

Article continues below advertisement

According to the study, ice melt over the past three decades has steadily increased — in the 1990s, there was an average global ice melt of 0.8 trillion tonnes per year; by 2017, there was an average of 1.3 trillion tonnes per year. In total, the rate of ice loss has increased by 65 percent between 1994 and 2017.

Overall, between 1994 and 2017, planet Earth lost 28 trillion tonnes of ice. To put that in perspective, that would be equivalent to a 100-meter-thick sheet of ice the size of the U.K.

Article continues below advertisement

This melting ice has been the most concerning in two polar climates: Antarctica and Greenland. 58 percent of the ice loss happened in the northern hemisphere, while the other 42 percent happened in the southern hemisphere.

“Although every region we studied lost ice, losses from the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets have accelerated the most,” lead author Dr. Thomas Slater said in a statement for the University of Leeds. “The ice sheets are now following the worst-case climate warming scenarios set out by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Sea-level rise on this scale will have very serious impacts on coastal communities this century.”

Article continues below advertisement

Article continues below advertisement

This rapid ice melt poses a series of significant issues for Antarctica, Greenland, and other cold climates. For one thing, it has a strong correlation with sea level rise.

“Sea ice loss doesn’t contribute directly to sea level rise but it does have an indirect influence. One of the key roles of Arctic sea ice is to reflect solar radiation back into space which helps keep the Arctic cool,” co-author Dr. Isobel Lawrence explained in a statement. 

Article continues below advertisement

“As the sea ice shrinks, more solar energy is being absorbed by the oceans and atmosphere, causing the Arctic to warm faster than anywhere else on the planet,” she continued. “Not only is this speeding up sea ice melt, it’s also exacerbating the melting of glaciers and ice sheets which causes sea levels to rise.”

As these ice sheets melt and glaciers retreat, people and animals around the world “at both local and global scales” are at risk, according to report co-author Inès Otosaka.

Article continues below advertisement

On a global scale, when sea level rise gets out of hand, coastal areas experience high flood risks. Cities like Miami, New York City, and New Orleans could wind up underwater by the end of this century if we don’t take action, as reported by Business Insider.

On a local scale, “mountain glaciers are also critical as a freshwater resource for local communities,” as per Otosaka. With fewer mountain glaciers, people who depend on these for a source of water could suffer. Not to mention, animals who rely on or live on glaciers and ice sheets may suffer; according to GlacierHub, this long list of animals includes polar bears, penguins, seals, snow leopards, bison, and reindeer.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Trending