A Poisoned Cure? (Abstract Science, May 31 - June 6)
Also: coronavirus research retractions, how lockdown changed relationships
Princeton researchers have published a study in Cell reporting on compound SCH-79797 – which they claim can pierce bacterial walls and destroy them like a poisoned arrow. They say the compound can defeat notoriously antibiotic-resistant Gram-negative bacteria like Neisseria gonorrhoeae, as well as Gram-positive bacteria. The real trick is the compound’s irresistibility – in their tests, the bacteria could not evolve to resist the drug. Although it is difficult to “prove a negative” — that nothing can resist the compound — the researchers are optimistic that their find is a breakthrough.
(Roni Caryn Rabin and Ellen Gabler, The New York Times, 6/4/20)
Two recent coronavirus studies – one on the mortality associated with hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine and the other on the effect of some blood pressure drugs on COVID-19 – were retracted when the authors failed to verify their patient record sources. Both studies were led by Harvard professor Dr. Mandeep Mehra, who issued an apology. Experts worry that the speed of coronavirus research is causing papers to undergo less strenuous peer review.
(Yi-Ling Liu, BBC, 6/4/20)
The author discusses possible relationship trends as a result of COVID-19 and the subsequent lockdowns. In China and Hong Kong, following the lifting of restrictions, there has been a spike in divorce requests. Other countries have reported spikes in reports of domestic violence during quarantine. Issues including childcare, division of household labor, travel restrictions for migrant workers, and the digital divide affecting friendships are discussed.
—Stories compiled by Senior Scientific Writer Mary Parker