Weekly News Bites: A moon buggy, nano-nets, and the danger of new car smell

Asia Research News monitors the latest research news in Asia. Some highlights that caught our attention this week are a foldable buggy that can be used on the moon, synthetic nano-nets to help combat antibiotic resistance, and how that new car smell may not be a good thing.

To shuttle astronauts over short distances on the moon, Jilin University and the China Academy of Space Technology have developed a small, foldable buggy that can be tucked into the back of a larger vehicle. The team hopes that it can be used in future moon missions to help with emergencies. 

Mosquito bites not only itch and spread diseases but molecules of RNA stored in the saliva can also suppress the bitten human’s immune system, says a research team including Duke-NUS and partly funded by A*STAR. Inserting these molecules into the bite site helps viruses like Dengue take hold in the victim more easily.

Researchers are currently in a race to keep up with antibiotic resistance. Synthetic nano-nets created by a team led by the National University of Singapore aim to help in the fight by trapping bacteria and boosting the effectiveness of antibiotics. The nets detect bacterial cell membranes and not only trap them, but can also tear them apart.

Arcturus, a new coronavirus subvariant, is causing a spike in cases in India. Research from the University of Tokyo suggests that it is more transmissible than the previous most infectious subtype but, thankfully, not more severe.

Many people like the smell of a new car but this might actually be less desirable than we thought… The levels of cancer-causing chemicals released by the materials in the cars were higher than an acceptable threshold when measured by Harvard and the Beijing Institute of Technology. Higher temperatures led to more volatile chemicals being released.