“Science is at the center of everything we do and has advanced at breakneck speed this year. #If we go back to the beginning of 2020, it was #January 10 that WHO released its first comprehensive package of country guidance documents, covering topics related to managing a new disease outbreak. The next day, the WHO received the complete genetic sequences of the new coronavirus from #China. #On #January 13, the WHO published its first protocol for a diagnostic test performed by a WHO partner laboratory in #Germany to detect the virus. “ (#Tedros #Adhanom – #Director #General of the #World #Health #Organization).
The end of this year that has been marked by misfortune is imminent, it will undoubtedly be the watershed of the modern history of humanity, 2020 is the number that we assign to a segment of our history, however, by changing the digit of this figure we cannot simply make a “clean slate”, there is still much to do to envision a more benign future, for this, more than ever, we must learn to work together.
#Christmas was not what we expected. #Some friends or colleagues are gone, others are sick or recovering. #We will meet soon with many stories to tell. #We do not want the year to end but to see the end of this nightmare that upset our lives is called a pandemic. 2020 was a year that showed us the importance and impact that science and technology have in our lives. A difficult year is ending, the numbers and statistics do not summarize the pain and sadness that comes from the pandemic. #While the world faced a fight against the pandemic with successes and failures, for science it was a year with unparalleled advances and news.
The investigation regarding #Covid-19 was a great advance for science and in mid-December more than 200 thousand articles related to the disease were published; but undoubtedly one of the important contributions was the development, approval and application of a vaccine at record speed.
#In this year, science took steps in a different direction from #Covid-19 that include space missions, artificial intelligence, superconductors, among others. #Many of the international scientific meetings on climate were delayed or held virtually, scientists have maintained contact and exchange information in an unparalleled way.
2020 began with severe wildfires in #Australia that destroyed homes and ecosystems, and despite the losses and complications, various research groups managed to document the impact of the damage on biodiversity and investigate the damage to ancient indigenous sites in the affected region.
#On the way to expanding our role in the universe, #China, in addition to being one of the epicenters of the pandemic, managed to advance and complete its first space mission (#Chang’e-5), which landed on the moon and filled a container with balls of soil. lunar and returned to #Earth.
#Due to the geometric alignment that occurred between #Mars and #Earth this year, the advances regarding space exploration, allowed the realization of three missions that will allow to study the rocks and the #Martian climate.
The OSIRIS-Rex mission collected dust and rocks from the asteroid #Bennu and is expected to return to #Earth in 2023, but it will not be the first to collect material from the surface of an asteroid. #Earlier in the month, the #Japanese #Hayabusa2 mission landed in #Australia with a handful of dust from the asteroid #Ryugu.
#In terms of physics, the researchers found an electricity superconductor that does not generate residual heat and can operate at more than 0 ° C, this will be useful for the operation of equipment and devices that we use every day. A step in the construction of a quantum computer was also achieved by finding evidence for “stranded” electronic states, called anyons.
#Two technological advances will impact research in #Chemistry, #Biology and #Medicine. #First, a technique called cryoelectron microscopy, achieved a resolution of a single atom, approaching the precision of X-ray crystallography. #On the other hand, a company linked to #Google, used machine learning (artificial intelligence), to determine the structure of a protein from its genetic code, similar to what can be obtained through experimental techniques. These advances will facilitate and could accelerate drug discovery and development. #In addition to this, researchers from the #University of #Washington in #Seattle, described the use of an enzyme that can edit the DNA contained in mitochondria, which are the cellular organelles that produce energy, and its malfunction, for example, as a consequence from mutations in genetic material, it causes metabolic disorders, collectively referred to as mitochondrial diseases.
#In the area of mathematics, #Shinichi #Mochizuki published the solution to the abc conjecture, an important problem in number theory, although according to experts this is still controversial.
#For 2021 we have many pending issues in the area of science, the main one will be the fight against climate change, let us remember that we have passed the point of no return and it is necessary to take corrective actions, for which negotiations are scheduled at the #Climate #Conference of the #United #Nations in #Glasgow, #United #Kingdom. #It is necessary to have commitments on cuts in greenhouse gas emissions. The #European #Union and #China plan to become carbon neutral by 2050–60.
#As for #Covid-19, a task force established by the #World #Health #Organization will head to #China in #January 2021 to try to identify the source of the #Covid-19 pandemic.
The effects of vaccines are under observation and some doubts will be clarified, new options for vaccines and drugs will also be developed and proposed.
#Guidelines for stem cell research will be determined next year. The update could include guidance on studies of human ’embryo-like structures’ grown from stem cells in vitro, and the 14-day limit could be extended to allow scientists to better understand why some early pregnancies end. in spontaneous abortion.
#On the other hand, the #United #States health authorities are expected to decide whether the drug aducanumab, which according to studies slows the progression of #Alzheimer’s, can be used as a treatment
#We will have more missions to #Mars via the #Chinese probe #Tianwen-1, which will search for water and signs of life using 13 instruments, including cameras, radars and particle analyzers.
#Will be launched on “#Largest, most powerful and complex space telescope ever built”, called #James #Webb, which will allow us to deepen our understanding of the #Universe.
#It’s amazing to think about what science has done up to this point. #None of this exceeds the price we pay during the pandemic, we must reflect on our attitude to face the evil that afflicts us and think about what we can do for the new year. #With the application of the vaccine we can see the light at the end of the tunnel, but we cannot trust ourselves and lower our guard, the road is still long and we still have a lot to learn in the process. #We cannot allow any more losses and must focus on saving lives, ours and those of our loved ones.
#It was not an easy year and if you allow me; #Let’s toast to the most precious goods we have … life and health. #Let’s enjoy 2021 in the company of those who love and love us the most. #Let’s toast to science and technology and to the benefits that we have from them.
“We learn something new every day. #Sometimes it’s good, sometimes challenging, sometimes surprising, but it’s all useful. There will be setbacks and new challenges in the coming year. #For example, new variants of #Covid-19 and helping people who are tired of the pandemic to continue fighting it. “ (#Tedros #Adhanom – #Director #General of the #World #Health #Organization).
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