Katrina Lovegren ’21 Front Page Editor
For nearly two months, the world has been fully in the hands of the coronavirus pandemic. It seems virtually impossible to escape the haunting reality of this plague. News feeds, social media, and conversations are fueled by the latest medical updates regaling the “new normal.” But for mental health purposes, and relief from coronavirus misery, is there some good news, some happy glimpse into the world beyond COVID-19?
CRISPR, a revolutionary gene editing technology, has recently dominated scientific and medical headlines. Live Science says CRISPR can “easily alter DNA sequences and modify gene function” and “correct genetic defects.” Surgeons at Oregon Health and Science Institute have used CRISPR as a potential cure for genetic blindness (Leber congenital amaurosis) for the very first time. Science Alert states that CRISPR has also been used to find unique cures for “Huntington’s disease, herpes, HIV, and immunotherapy for some types of cancer.” This is an incredibly exciting breakthrough in the medical field. Not only could genetic blindness that occurs early in childhood have a cure for the very first time, but many diseases and medical conditions may finally be defeated, all thanks to CRISPR.
Color-blindness is very common, the most common being the confusion of red and green. Colour Blind Awareness reports that 1 in 12 men and 1 in 200 women suffer from color-blindness. But recently, Tel Aviv University has produced a new lens to correct this type of vision limitation, helping wearers to distinguish between the two colors. Although this technology has been utilized in sunglasses, it will be incredibly exciting for those who suffer from color-blindness to harness the ease of contact lenses with the same incredible effect.
A universal flu vaccine called FLU-v has passed its first two clinical trials. Every year in the fall, the flu vaccine season comes around, anticipating the strains that will be most virulent in the next six months. According to Science Alert, the difficulty of creating a universal flu vaccine is due to the fact that “the virus strains that cause influenza are shapeshifters, constantly moving beyond our ability to immunise against them…” This universal vaccine would be a major gamechanger, helping doctors get a head start on combating unique virus strands.
Climate change is one of the most significant threats to society today. Besides being eco-friendly and lessening the carbon footprint, individuals often feel like there isn’t much they can do. But a recent study discovered that there are 76 solutions available to slow down the danger of climate change, right at our fingertips. These solutions include “shifting our means of energy production to reducing food waste and empowering women….” This report encourages human beings to slow down climate change and regain a reasonable sense of control.
Even small positive actions can make a huge difference amid the COVID-19 situation.
For example, an aquarium in Chicago has let its penguins explore, to see some sea creatures that they wouldn’t normally come in contact with. Shedd Aquarium says, “The penguins had free-reign of the entire vicinity after they were let out of their enclosure.” A pair of penguins named Edward and Annie were inseparable as they made a ‘date’ of their adventure. All of the penguins seemed as happy as they could be, and people around the world couldn’t help but smile while watching.
But penguins aren’t the only animals bringing joy to the world. A tortoise, by the name of Diego, has single-handedly saved his species from extinction by fathering 800 children. This 100-year old tortoise has completely changed the global trajectory of his species, reviving it in astounding numbers.
It’s hard to stay positive during a worldwide pandemic. COVID-19 is constantly referenced by every commercial and television broadcast. It seems almost impossible to escape, impossible to take a break. But, now more than ever, it’s important to look for the good.