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Showing posts with label General Knowledge. Show all posts
Showing posts with label General Knowledge. Show all posts

Tuesday, 28 January 2020

This website tracks the spread of Chinese coronavirus around the world in real time

Situation of the coronavirus epidemic in China, as of January 27, 2020. | Johns Hopkins University

Appeared only at the end of December and reported in France last week with three first cases, the number of infected and deaths linked to the new coronavirus (2019-nCoV), originating in Wuhan (China), continues to increase. Now, more than 4,400 people are infected worldwide and at least 107 patients have died. In order to help follow the evolution of the disease, researchers recently put online an interactive map fed in real time with data from different world organizations.

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An interactive map produced by Johns Hopkins University researchers tracks and visualizes epidemic reports using data from the World Health Organization's Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (WHO), Chinese CDC and other sources with mapping of the geographic information system.

As reports are released, the map records the total number of confirmed cases, the total number of deaths and the total number of healings. Each red dot represents an outbreak, the diameter corresponding to the relative size of the epidemic. Clicking on a circle displays information about the region.

In the panic and confusion often encountered during an epidemic, false information can quickly spread. A fact which did not help in this confusion: during the beginnings of the epidemic, China proceeded to the suppression of publications on the social networks, qualified as “false information”. More than eight people have been arrested in China, accused of "publishing or transmitting false information on the Internet and without verification" about the coronavirus. Journalists have even said they were threatened and arrested after "simply reporting the virus".

Graph (from the new online platform) showing the evolution of the total number of 2019-nCov coronavirus infected. On January 27, 2020, the total amounted to at least 4,474 infected. Credits: Johns Hopkins University

A graph on the dashboard shows how quickly the virus has spread in mainland China compared to the rest of the world. So far, 2019-nCoV has spread to 13 other countries, including Japan, the United States, France, Australia and Germany. Consider also the fact that experts expect the actual number of people infected to be much higher than the official total.

While health officials have said they believe this coronavirus will be less aggressive than 2003 SARS, Wuhan has been quarantined and at least 12 other cities have imposed travel restrictions, now forcing more than 50 million of people.

To access the interactive map, Click Here.


Tuesday, 30 July 2019

What are the different colors of blood in the animal kingdom?

Biological fluid tirelessly traversing our arteries and veins, we are used to the symbolic color of blood: red. It is the color of the blood in humans and in vertebrates, so much so that we would be tempted to believe that it would be the only color that it can take. However, this is not the case; on Earth, the blood actually comes in five different colors.

About 6 liters for a man and 5 liters for a woman: this is the amount of blood that runs through our body permanently in a network of blood vessels with a length of 100'000 km. He perfuses all the organic tissues in order to bring them oxygen. It consists of red blood cells (or erythrocytes, Greek erythros for red) which carry a very particular protein: hemoglobin.

Hemoglobin is more precisely a metalloprotein because it contains iron. The iron atoms are capable of fixing oxygen, and this bond between iron and oxygen gives oxyhemoglobin. Oxyhemoglobin thus appears red under the oxidation of the iron contained in hemoglobin. This is why the blood of most vertebrates is red in color. However, not all animals have blood based on hemoglobin.

Hemoglobin is a metalloprotein containing four iron atoms to fix oxygen. The oxidation of iron gives it its red color. Credits: aboutkidshealth

Some species of beetles, ascidians and holothurians, have vanadocytes: cells very rich in vanadium (concentration 100 times higher than in seawater) acting as blood cells. Inside vanadocytes are vanabine, a vanadium-fixing metalloprotein; it is also called hemovanadine. Vanabine does not fix oxygen, so its role is still unknown. But it is she who gives a pale green and yellow color to the haemolymph of these animals.

Vanabine is a metalloprotein that binds vanadium. The oxygenated form, hemovanadine, confers a green or yellow color to certain species of ascidians ( Didemnum soft on the picture). Credits: Bernard Dupont

In annelids (marine worms, leeches, etc.), a large amount of chlorocruorine is found in the blood plasma (and not in the blood cells themselves). It is a metalloprotein whose affinity with oxygen is very low. When oxidized, it appears green in normal plasma concentrations; and pale red in high plasma concentrations.

Spiders, crustaceans, octopus and squid, as well as some species of molluscs, have a haemolymph (circulatory liquid of arthropods) containing hemocyanin. It is a metalloprotein containing copper (two Cu + cuprous cations ) to bind oxygen. The oxygenated form of hemocyanin is blue. This is why the hemolymph of these invertebrates appears blue.

Hemocyanin is a metalloprotein that binds oxygen through cuprous ions. Its oxygenated form takes on a blue color. This is particularly noticeable in the horseshoe crab. Credits: Mark Thiessen

The hemolymph of brachiopods and certain marine worms is made up of hemerythrin, an oligomeric metalloprotein made of iron that transports oxygen. Unlike other ferric hemoproteins, hemerythrin binds oxygen by forming a hydroperoxide complex ROOH. When the hemerythrin fixes the oxygen, it takes on a purplish purple / pink color. The hemolymph of these invertebrates appears purple.

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