This weeks world newsflash:
On Monday, the very first firefighting robot in America has just now helped put out a blaze in downtown Los Angeles. Just this week, the Los Angeles fire department became the first city in the country to add robots to their rank. Weighing in at about 3,500 pounds, the Thermite Robotic Systems 3 firefighting vehicle or RS3, is capable of releasing around 2,500 gallons of water per minute. The fire fighting robot is controlled by a small hand remote and is equipped with a camera so it can be steered through difficult conditions in the field. Although this robot is about the same size as a smart car this small bot is far from weak. If needed, this robot can plow through walls and buildings to get to where it needs to be. The RS3 could change the future of firefighting and save many lives in the process. After its major success this week officials hope that this lionhearted robot will continue to help protect the Los Angeles community and its firefighters.
On Tuesday, as part of the World Wildlife Fund scheme to regenerate bushland torched in the deadly Australian forest fires, drones are now being used to drop seeds of gum trees around the east coast. Scientists hope this new way of planting gum trees will help boost the koala population and save them from extinction. These drones are able to plant 40,000 seeds in a day and will help create corridors so that koalas and other wildlife can move across a landscape fragmented by fire and land clearing. The gum trees are koala’s main food source and restoring bushland and forest destroyed by the 2019-2020 fires is the key to their long term survival. The fire was said to have displaced 3 billion mammals, birds, and reptiles and destroyed or damaged up to 7 billion trees across 37 million acres. The World Wildlife Fund or WWF is seeking to raise around $211 million dollars over the next five years to fund the initiative of the seed planting drones and other methods of restoring this forest habitat. Conservationists hope that these drones along with other methods will help restore this beautiful land and save the koala species.
On Wednesday, 14 year old Anika Chebrolu was given $25,000 for her scientific breakthrough that could lead to a COVID-19 cure. Eighth grader Anika Chebrolu from Texas found a molecule that can selectively bind to the spike protein of the SARS-CoV-2. Binding and inhibiting this viral protein would potentially stop the virus entry into the cell, creating a viable drug target. For her impressive scientific breakthrough, Anika has been named winner of the 2020 3M Young Scientist Challenge held by America’s premier middle school competition. Using numerous software tools Anika screened millions of small molecules for drug likeness properties, ADMET properties, and binding affinities against the spike protein. Anika can now call herself “America’s Top Young Scientist” and will be taken on a destination trip for her successes.
On Thursday, trachoma has just now been eradicated from the country Myanmar. This eradication is extra impressive considering trachoma has been the cause of 4 percent of the population’s blindness. The community-based interventions to eliminate the disease consisted of surgical treatment, topical antibiotic treatment and water, sanitation and hygiene, and health education promoting behavior change to decrease transmission. The program further expanded to include accessible interventions in rural areas. Since 2018, the prevalence of trachoma has since gone down a mere 0.008% making this disease no longer a public health problem. So far 12 countries have successfully achieved the feat and are happy Myanmar is getting added to the list.