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Mothballed U of C lab resuscitated to fight COVID-19

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One technique known as organ on a chip constructs the facsimile of a human lung onto which the virus is placed, he said.

“We’ll be able to look inside different organs and blood vessels, to see what immunity and pathogens are doing,” he said.

“Microscopic imaging and visualizing the virus allows the cells to glow so we know which ones are being infected.

“It’s a game-changer.”

One mystery the team of eight is hoping to unlock, said Kubes, is one that goes beyond the novel coronavirus’s impact on the lungs.

“People are dying from stroke, so what does that mean?” he said. “Is the virus entering the bloodstream? That’s what we’re looking at.”

With the timeline for the public introduction of a COVID-19 vaccine still uncertain, a big focus for the lab will be on discovering treatments for those made critically ill by the disease, said Kubes.

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“People who end up in critical care need something now, to be saved … we think it’s really important to find something as quickly as possible.”

Even so, the lab will also be involved in studying the merits of vaccine candidates with a number of them lined up, said Kubes, adding, “we’re going to let as many people use it as possible.”

Source: – Calgary Herald

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Waterloo Region to remain in red (control) zone – KitchenerToday.com

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Waterloo Region will continue to stay in the red (control) zone of the province’s response framework, at least for now.

Just one new region will be moving into red on Monday, and that’s Windsor-Essex.

Waterloo Region was placed into the red zone on Monday, November 23.

Earlier this week, the region’s medical officer of health also issued a Section 22 order when it comes to malls and retail stores.

It requires them to ensure capacity is managed and actively monitored, such that adequate physical distancing can be maintained.

That order came into effect on Friday morning.

The active COVID-19 caseload in Waterloo Region is 460, the highest it has ever been.

Below are the control measures for red:

Organized public events, social gatherings and religious services, rites and ceremonies

  • Limits for all organized public events and social gatherings:
    • 5 people indoors
    • 25 people outdoors
  • Limits for religious services rites or ceremonies, including wedding services and funeral services (apply regardless of the venue where held):
    • 30% capacity of the room indoors
    • 100 people outdoors

Restaurants, bars and other food and drink establishments

  • Maximum number of patrons permitted to be seated indoors is 10
  • Outdoor dining, take out, drive through, and delivery permitted, including alcohol
  • Require patrons to be seated; 2 metre minimum or impermeable barrier required between tables
  • Limit of 4 people may be seated together
  • Outdoor dining, take out, drive through and delivery permitted
  • Dancing, singing and the live performance of music is prohibited
  • Require contact information for all seated patrons
  • No buffet style service
  • Line-ups and patrons congregating outside venues managed by venue; 2 metres distance and face covering required
  • Face coverings required except when eating or drinking only
  • Personal protective equipment, including eye protection required when a worker must come within 2 metres of another person who is not wearing a face covering
  • Establishments must be closed from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.
  • Liquor sold or served only between 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
  • No consumption of liquor permitted between 10 p.m. to 9 a.m.
  • Limit volume of music to be low enough that a normal conversation is possible
  • Screening of patrons is required, in accordance with instructions issued by the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health
  • Night clubs and strip clubs only permitted to operate as restaurant or bar
  • safety plan is required to be prepared and made available upon request

Sports and recreational fitness facilities

  • Gyms and fitness studios permitted to be open with maximum of:
    • 10 people indoors or 25 people outdoors in classes; and
    • 10 people indoors in areas with weights or exercise equipment
  • No spectators permitted (exemption for parent and guardian supervision of children)
  • Increase spacing between patrons to 3 metres for areas of a sport or recreational facility where there are weights or exercise equipment and in exercise and fitness classes
  • Team sports must not be practiced or played except for training (no games or scrimmage)
  • Activities that are likely to result in individuals coming within 2 metres of each other are not permitted; no contact permitted for team or individual sports, with an exemption for high performance, including parasport, athletes.
  • Patrons may only be in the facility for 90 minutes except if engaging in a sport
  • Limit volume of music to be low enough that a normal conversation is possible; measures to prevent shouting by both instructors and members of the public
  • Face coverings required except when exercising
  • Require contact information for all members of the public that enter the facility
  • Require reservation for entry; one reservation for teams
  • Screening of patrons is required, in accordance with instructions issued by the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health
  • safety plan is required to be prepared and made available upon request

Recreational facilities and community centres in Waterloo Region (update issued Friday) 

  • Indoor capacity of 10 program participants per room/space, provided physical distancing can be maintained.
  • Outdoor capacity of 25 program participants per space, provided physical distancing can be maintained.
  • Additional coaching and training staff are permitted, limited strictly to those officially rostered with the team/athletes as identified in their provincial association’s return to play protocols, provided physical distancing can be maintained.
  • No spectators permitted. Where previously allowed, one guardian per minor aged participant is permitted. Masks for guardians are mandatory, and physical distancing must be maintained.
  • Aquatics classes are limited to 10 participants per class. If physical distancing can be maintained and total pool capacity remains below 30%, more than one class may be in the pool at a time.
  • Mandatory active screening, contact information and attendance for all patrons.
  • Drop-in recreation programs (pre-registration is required) have a maximum capacity of 10 people. 
  • For all team sport, scrimmages and games are no longer permitted.
  • Teams must adjust their programming to training and skill development only, while meeting the required maximum capacity numbers.
  • No contact permitted for team or individual sports.
  • Community centre room rentals for church, funeral or wedding services are limited to 30% of room capacity.

Meeting and event spaces

  • Maximum of 10 people per facility indoors or 25 outdoors
  • Establishments must be closed from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.
  • Liquor sold or served only between 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
  • No consumption of liquor permitted between 10 p.m. to 9 a.m.
  • Require contact information for all seated patrons
  • Limit of 4 people may be seated together
  • Limit volume of music to be low enough that a normal conversation is possible
  • Screening of patrons is required, in accordance with instructions issued by the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health
  • safety plan is required to be prepared and made available upon request

Retail

  • Fitting rooms must be limited to non-adjacent stalls
  • Line-ups and patrons congregating outside venues managed by venue; 2 metre distance required inside and outside; face covering also required while in line
  • Limit volume of music to be low enough that a normal conversation is possible
  • Screening of patrons is required, in accordance with instructions issued by the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health
  • For malls:
    • Maximum number of patrons permitted to be seated indoors in mall food court is 10
    • safety plan is required to be prepared and made available upon request

Personal care services

  • Oxygen bars, steam rooms, saunas, bath houses and other adult venues, closed
  • Sensory deprivation pods closed (some exceptions)
  • Require contact information from all patrons
  • Screening of patrons is required, in accordance with instructions issued by the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health
  • safety plan is required to be prepared and made available upon request

Casinos, bingo halls and gaming establishments

  • Maximum of 10 people indoors or 25 people outdoors
  • Table games are prohibited
  • Liquor sold or served only between 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
  • No consumption of liquor permitted between 10 p.m. to 9 a.m.
  • Require contact information from all patrons
  • Screening of patrons is required, in accordance with instructions issued by the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health
  • safety plan is required to be prepared and made available upon request

Cinemas

  • Closed, except for:
    • drive-in cinemas
    • rehearsal or performing a recorded or broadcasted event, with restrictions:
      • Performers and employees must maintain 2 metre physical distance except for purposes of the performance
      • Singers and players of brass or wind instruments must be separated from any other performers by plexiglass or other impermeable barrier
  • safety plan is required to be prepared and made available upon request

Performing arts facilities

  • Closed to spectators
  • Rehearsal or performing a recorded or broadcasted event permitted
    • Performers and employees must maintain 2 metre physical distance except for purposes of the performance
    • Singers and players of brass or wind instruments must be separated from any other performers by plexiglass or other impermeable barrier
  • Drive-in performances permitted
  • safety plan is required to be prepared and made available upon request

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Earth is 2000 light years closer to supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy than we thought – CTV News

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A new map of the Milky Way by Japanese space experts has put Earth 2,000 light years closer to the supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy.

This map has suggested that the center of the Milky Way, and the black hole which sits there, is located 25,800 light-years from Earth. This is closer than the official value of 27,700 light-years adopted by the International Astronomical Union in 1985, the National Observatory of Japan said.

What’s more, according to the map, our solar system is traveling at 227 kilometers per second as it orbits around the galactic center — this is faster than the official value of 220 kilometers per second, the release added.

These updated values are a result of more than 15 years of observations by the Japanese radio astronomy project VERA, according to an announcement released Thursday from the National Observatory of Japan. VERA is short for VLBI Exploration of Radio Astrometry and refers to the mission’s array of telescopes, which use Very Long Baseline Interferometry to explore the three-dimensional structure of the Milky Way.

Because the Earth is located inside the Milky Way, it’s difficult to step back and see what the galaxy looks like. To get around this, the project used astrometry, the accurate measurement of the position and motion of objects, to understand the overall structure of the Milky Way and Earth’s place in it.

The black hole is known as Sagittarius A* or Sgr A* and is 4.2 million times more massive than our sun. The supermassive hole and its enormous gravitational field governs the orbits of stars at the center of the Milky Way. Reinhard Genzel and Andrea Ghez earned the 2020 Nobel prize for physics for its discovery. There are several types of black holes, and scientists believe the supermassive ones may be connected to the formation of galaxies, as they often exist at the center of the massive star systems — but it’s still not clear exactly how, or which form first.

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In August, VERA published its first catalog, containing data for 99 celestial objects. Based on this catalog and recent observations by other groups, astronomers constructed a position and velocity map. From this map, the scientists were able to calculate the center of the galaxy, the point that everything revolves around.

VERA combines data from four radio telescopes across Japan. The observatory said that, when combined, the telescopes were able to achieve a resolution that in theory would allow the astronomers to spot a United States penny placed on the surface of the Moon.

To be clear, the changes don’t mean Earth is plunging toward the black hole, the observatory said. Rather, the map more accurately identifies where the solar system has been all along.

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Russia hails launch of China’s lunar probe – TASS

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MOSCOW, November 24. /TASS/. Moscow welcomes China’s achievements in space exploration and regards this field as very promising for bilateral cooperation, Russian presidential spokesman, Dmitry Peskov said about China’s launch of the moon sample return mission, which will for the first time in the history of China’s space exploration bring samples of lunar soil and rock to the Earth.

“Naturally, we welcome the achievements of our allies – our Chinese colleagues – in the field of space exploration,” the Kremlin official said. “Cooperation in space exploration is one of the areas that has the broadest potential for bilateral interaction.”

The China National Space Administration (CNSA) on Tuesday launched a moon sample return mission Chang’e, which will bring lunar soil and rock samples to the Earth.

It is expected that the project will become a landmark event in China’s lunar program as it will put the correctness of Beijing’s lunar exploration strategy to test. Also, it will provide valuable information that will give a boost to Chinese space technologies.

Peskov said nothing about Russia’s plans for sending a mission to Mars. “The program was discussed, but as far as the details of and outlook for its implementation are concerned, Roscosmos will provide the necessary explanations,” he said.

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