Weekly News Bites: Robot fish, vaccine algorithms, and phosphorus-eating bacteria

Asia Research News monitors the latest research news in Asia. Some highlights that caught our attention this week are a robotic fish that can eat up microplastics, a bioinformatic platform that can test the efficacy of vaccines against COVID, and a new method of removing phosphorus from water using bacteria.

Sichuan University scientists have developed a robotic fish that can eat microplastics in water. The black fish can be controlled by light and is biocompatible in case it is eaten by other water creatures. In the future, it could be used to remove biomedical or hazardous waste or even disease.

Protein-protein interactions can work like a lock and key, and researchers from the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) and CSIR-Institute of Microbial Technology have found a way to prevent the “key” on the surface of the SARS-CoV-2 virus from entering into the “lock” on human cells. Since the virus can’t enter the cells the it’s ability to infect is reduced.

In other COVID news, a bioinformatic platform developed by the Chinese University of Hong Kong can determine the efficacy of vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 and its variants. The platform uses an algorithm that analyses data from nearly 2 million COVID-19 genetic sequences.

High levels of phosphorus in water can lead to algae blooms that can be devastating to the plant and animal life. Nanyang Technological University researchers have investigated a way to remove phosphorus using bacteria. This method avoids the use of chemicals that must be disposed of afterwards and can generate available phosphorus which is used in agricultural systems.