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RSC Group: University of Ottawa Joined a Multi-National Team to Combat COVID-19 – Financial Post

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Russian supercomputer Employed to Develop COVID-19 Treatment

MOSCOW & OTTAWA, Ontario — The Bioanalytical and Molecular Interaction Laboratory lead by Professor Maxim Berezovski at the University of Ottawa has joined an international science group – from Russia, Finland and Italy – which got high priority access to Russian RSC Tornado supercomputer for studying methods to fight against the COVID-19 coronavirus infection.

The multi-national research team uses a recently upgraded cluster system based on 2nd Generation Intel® Xeon® Scalable processors, which has been deployed by RSC Group, the leading Russian solution provider for high-performance computing.

The international project aims to develop medicine for diagnostics and therapy against the coronavirus contagious disease that became the cause of the global pandemic. Finding treatments to prevent and mitigate the negative impact of COVID-19 is the highest priority in the worldwide scientific community now. The international and multidisciplinary project takes advantages of the latest advances in experimental physics, chemistry, and biology to investigate the life cycle of the virus and to target specifically its specific proteins. Sophisticated simulation methods require supercomputing power to study all details of the interaction between the Spike-protein on coronavirus surface and the human protein ACE2 which is known to be the entry point for SARS and SARS-2 coronaviruses. It will help to complete all research stages within a limited amount of time.

“Rapid global spread of COVID-19 coronavirus infection pandemic has shown that there are no clear global emergency response plans against threats to humankind caused by new viruses. One of the obvious shortcomings is the lack of technologies for the quick development of medicines for diagnostics and therapy. We all have different competencies, knowledge, skills and resources. Our geographically distributed team includes virologists, biologists, chemists, mathematicians and physical scientists. The international cooperation is extremely important to achieve quick progress and rapidly react to the ever-changing situation with global coronavirus pandemic. We hope that our research will actually help to fight the spread of such infections,” explains Anna Kichkailo, Head of Laboratory for Digital Controlled Drugs and Theranostics at the Krasnoyarsk Federal Science Center of Russian Academy of Sciences.

The international team consists of:

  • Laboratory for Digital Controlled Drugs and Theranostics and Laboratory of Physics of Magnetic Phenomena, Kirensky Institute of Physics at the Federal Science Center, Siberian Branch of Russian Academy of Sciences (KIP FSC SB RAS, Krasnoyarsk, Russia),
  • Laboratory for Biomolecular and Medical Technology, V.F. Voyno-Yasenetsky Krasnoyarsk State Medical University (KSMU, Krasnoyarsk, Russia) – project coordinator,
  • Laboratory of Chemical Cybernetics, Department of Chemistry at Lomonosov Moscow State University (MSU, Moscow, Russia),
  • Laboratory for Computer Simulation of Biomolecular Systems and Nanomaterials at N. M. Emanuel Institute of Biochemical Physics, Russian Academy of Sciences (IBCP RAS, Moscow, Russia),
  • Organic Synthesis Laboratory, Institute of Chemical Biology and Fundamental Medical Science, Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences (ICBFM SB RAS, Novosibirsk, Russia),
  • The Bioanalytical and Molecular Interaction Laboratory, Department of Chemistry and Biomolecular Sciences, University of Ottawa (Canada),
  • Nanoscience Center and Department of Chemistry, University of Jyväskylä, Jyväskylä (Finland),
  • Institute for Experimental Endocrinology and Oncology (IEOS), part of National Research Council (CNR), Naples (Italy),
  • Department of Molecular Medicine and Medical Biotechnology, Federico II University of Naples (Italy).

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Contacts

Press:
Oleg Gorbachov
Corporate Communications Director, RSC Group
+7 (967) 052-50-85
oleg.gorbachov@rscgroup.ru

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NASA probe leaking asteroid samples due to jammed door – Al Jazeera English

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Images beamed back to ground control revealed it caught more material than scientists anticipated and was spewing excess of flaky asteroid rocks into space.

A US probe that collected a sample from an asteroid earlier this week retrieved so much material that a rock is wedged in the container door, allowing rocks to spill back out into space.

On Tuesday, the robotic arm of the probe, OSIRIS-REx, kicked up a debris cloud of rocks on Bennu, a skyscraper-sized asteroid some 320 million kilometres (200 million miles) from Earth and trapped the material in a collection device for the return to Earth.

But images of the spacecraft’s collection head beamed back to ground control revealed it had caught more material than scientists anticipated and was spewing an excess of flaky asteroid rocks into space.

The leakage had the OSIRIS-REx mission team scrambling to stow the collection device to prevent additional spillage.

“Time is of the essence,” Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA’s associate administrator for science, told reporters on Friday.

Zurbuchen said mission teams will skip their chance to measure how much material they collected as originally planned and proceed to the stow phase, a fragile process of tucking the sample collection container in a safe position within the spacecraft without jostling out more valuable material.

NASA will not know how much material it collected until the sample capsule returns in 2023.

The troubleshooting also led mission leaders to forgo any more chances of redoing a collection attempt and instead commit to begin next March the spacecraft’s return to Earth.

“Quite honestly, we could not have performed a better collection experiment,” OSIRIS-REx’s principal investigator Dante Lauretta said.

But with the door lodged open by a rock and the “concerning” images of sample spillage, “we’re almost the victim of our own success here”, he added.

The roughly $800m, minivan-sized OSIRIS-REx spacecraft, built by Lockheed Martin, launched in 2016 to grab and return the first US sample of pristine asteroid materials.

Asteroids are among the leftover debris from the solar system’s formation some 4.5 billion years ago.

A sample could hold clues to the origins of life on Earth, scientists say.

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Asteroid samples escaping from jammed NASA spacecraft – Phys.org

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In this image taken from video released by NASA, the Osiris-Rex spacecraft touches the surface of asteroid Bennu on Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2020. (NASA via AP)

A NASA spacecraft is stuffed with so much asteroid rubble from this week’s grab that it’s jammed open and precious particles are drifting away in space, scientists said Friday.

Scientists announced the news three days after the named Osiris-Rex briefly touched asteroid Bennu, NASA’s first attempt at such a mission.

The mission’s lead scientist, Dante Lauretta of the University of Arizona, said Tuesday’s operation 200 million miles away collected far more material than expected for return to Earth—in the hundreds of grams. The sample container on the end of the robot arm penetrated so deeply into the asteroid and with such force, however, that rocks got sucked in and became wedged around the rim of the lid.

Scientists estimate the sampler pressed as much as 19 inches (48 centimeters) into the rough, crumbly, black terrain.

“We’re almost a victim of our own success here,” Lauretta said at a hastily arranged news conference.

Lauretta said there is nothing can do to clear the obstructions and prevent more bits of Bennu from escaping, other than to get the samples into their as soon as possible.

So, the flight team was scrambling to put the sample container into the capsule as early as Tuesday—much sooner than originally planned—for the long trip home.

“Time is of the essence,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, chief of NASA’s science missions.

This is NASA’s first asteroid sample-return mission. Bennu was chosen because its carbon-rich material is believed to hold the preserved building blocks of our solar system. Getting pieces from this cosmic time capsule could help scientists better understand how the planets formed billions of years ago and how life originated on Earth.

Scientists were stunned—and then dismayed—on Thursday when they saw the pictures coming from Osiris-Rex following its wildly successful touch-and-go at Bennu two days earlier.

A cloud of asteroid particles could be seen swirling around the spacecraft as it backed away from Bennu. The situation appeared to stabilize, according to Lauretta, once the robot arm was locked into place. But it was impossible to know exactly how much had already been lost.

The requirement for the $800 million-plus mission was to bring back a minimum 2 ounces (60 grams).

Regardless of what’s on board, Osiris-Rex will still leave the vicinity of the asteroid in March—that’s the earliest possible departure given the relative locations of Earth and Bennu. The samples won’t make it back until 2023, seven years after the spacecraft rocketed away from Cape Canaveral.

Osiris-Rex will keep drifting away from Bennu and will not orbit it again, as it waits for its scheduled departure.

Because of the sudden turn of events, scientists won’t know how much the sample capsule holds until it’s back on Earth. They initially planned to spin the spacecraft to measure the contents, but that maneuver was canceled since it could spill even more debris.

“I think we’re going to have to wait until we get home to know precisely how much we have,” Lauretta told reporters. “As you can imagine, that’s hard. … But the good news is we see a lot of material.”

Japan, meanwhile, is awaiting its second batch of samples taken from a different asteroid, due back in December.


Explore further

NASA spacecraft sent asteroid rubble flying in sample grab


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Two flights into Abbotsford have had recent COVID-19 exposures – Maple Ridge News

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Two flights to Abbotsford have each had a recent COVID-19 exposure, according to the B.C. Centre for Disease Control (CDC).

The agency indicates on its website that the flights involved were WestJet flight 637 from Calgary to Abbotsford on Wednesday, Oct. 14 (rows nine to 15) and Swoop flight 107 from Hamilton to Abbotsford on Monday, Oct. 19 (rows 20 to 26).

The CDC advises that anyone who was on these flights should self-monitor for symptoms for 14 days.

RELATED: Vancouver airport to pilot pre-flight COVID-19 tests for select WestJet passengers

Passengers on domestic flights are not required to self-isolate, but those who have travelled outside of Canada are required to self-isolate for 14 days upon their arrival.

Passengers seated on a plane with a case of COVID-19 that was later identified are no longer directly notified of their potential exposure. Instead, anyone who has travelled is asked to monitor the CDC website.

Passengers seated in the affected rows are considered to be at higher risk of exposure due to their proximity to the case.

RELATED: WestJet to offer full refunds for flights cancelled due to COVID-19 pandemic



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