Science briefs – Nov. 9, 2010

Compiled by Jeremia Schrock
Sun Star Reporter

Most textbooks will state that once a virus enters a cell, the only way to stop the virus is to kill the entire cell. But, a new study from the Laboratory of Molecular Biology at Cambridge has shown a way to kill a virus from within the cell, leaving the virus defeated and the cell victorious and intact. The study shows that a body has its own in-cell defense mechanism that can attack viruses once they’ve entered a cell. Researchers hope this function can be enhanced by science.
– Popular Science

On Nov. 5, Yves Rossy, a Swiss adventurer who has flown across the English Channel using a winged jet-pack, flew two aerial loops in a new version of his invention. Rossy, who was testing a more aerodynamic model of his jet-pack, jumped from a hot-air balloon at 7,900 feet and performed stunts during an 18-minute flight before making a parachute landing. His jet pack is capable of reaching speeds of 124 mph.
-Discovery News

The shuttle Discovery was grounded again on Nov. 5. This time by a  potentially deadly gaseous hydrogen leak in a vent line attached to the ship’s external tank. The ship was initially scheduled to make its 39th and final flight on Nov 1, bringing fresh supplies and an intelligent robot to the International Space Station. “We will come back in late November and give it another shot,” said Michael Leinbach, the launching director.
– The New York Times

Variations in an immune-system gene account for some people’s ability to withstand an HIV infection without developing AIDS, research published in Science suggests. The study confirms past data linking the gene to HIV. About one in 300 people with HIV are “elite controllers.” Those that are infected with the virus, but whose immune system is strong enough to control the disease such that it rarely progresses, even without medicine.
-Science News

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