Weekly News Bites: Dog flu, a chip to beat addiction, and a black hole jet

Asia Research News monitors the latest research news in Asia. Some highlights that caught our attention this week are a flu that could potentially jump from dogs to humans, a surgically-implanted chip that can help with serious addiction cravings, and a powerful jet emitted from a supermassive black hole.

Dogs can be infected with a virus descended from bird flu which could be transmissible to humans, says a study by China Agricultural University. The scientists studied over 4,000 dogs who had mild symptoms such as sneezing and fever. Since this virus is adapted to the mammalian environment, this could make it easier to jump over to humans. 

A study by Mindanao State University-Iligan Institute of Technology has found that microplastics are floating in the air of Metro Manila. These are not only bad for human lungs but could also transport bacteria and viruses directly into the body. The main culprits found in the air appear to be fibers from clothes and PET plastic used in things like plastic bottles.

Asian elephant habitats have shrunk by 64% due to land-use practices, says research from an international team including the University of California San Diego, University of Nottingham Malaysia, and the Vietnam National University of Forestry. Land-use change (turning wild areas into agricultural or urban land) has caused a lot of this reduction and is bringing humans and elephants closer together which could be dangerous for both. The researchers warn that the size of the habitats left today may not be enough for the current elephant population.

In a new clinical trial by Central South University’s Second Xiangya Hospital, researchers have implanted a chip which releases naltrexone into a person suffering from addiction. This trial aims to see if this chip could help people combat alcohol cravings more effectively than current treatments. This 5-minute surgery could potentially produce results for up to 5 months.

Plankton are abundant in bodies of water, but where do these tiny organisms live? Nanyang Technological University, the CNRS (Centre national de la recherche scientifique), and Uppsala University hope to promote research on plankton and so created a database and global map of where we can find these tiny creatures, including other water-based microbes

Using 14 telescopes around the world, astronomers were able to observe the M87 supermassive black hole emitting a powerful jet. This black hole is larger than our Milky Way and encircled by a bright ring made up of heated materials. Many institutions were involved in this research, including Kyungpook National University and the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy.

Published: 28 Apr 2023


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