This Week In IFLScience! – November 16-20

Moderna’s Covid-19 Vaccine Interim Analysis Shows A 94.5 Percent Effectiveness

US biotech firm Moderna has reported encouraging findings from the phase 3 trial of its candidate vaccine. An interim analysis shows that its jab has an efficacy of around 94.5 percent. While the data is not yet peer-reviewed and there is still more work to be done, this announcement together with the ones from last week has been welcomed with excitement. The trial involved 30,000 people in the US. Half of the participants were given two doses of the vaccine (four weeks apart) while the rest were given a placebo.

Read the full story here


 Andreas Prott/



Your Brain And The Universe Are More Similar Than Previously Thought

Across vast distances, galaxies are organized in a structure of filaments, nodes, and voids collectively known as the cosmic web. Inside our brain, neurons are also organized in a network of filaments and nodes. This similarity has long spiked the curiosity of scientists, artists, and the general public. Now, new research published in Frontiers in Physics shows the two systems are a lot more similar than we thought.

Read the full story here


Left: pyramidal neurons in a mouse cerebral cortex expressing green fluorescent proteins. Right: the Millenium simulation recreating the cosmic web with supercomputers.  PlOS Biology CC-BY-2.5 Springel et al. (2005)



Common Antidepressant Helps To Inhibit Cancer Growth In Mice, Study Finds

A common antidepressant drug may also inhibit the growth of cancer cells, suggests a new study published in Molecular Cancer Therapeutics. Sertraline is one of the most prescribed drugs in the United States and is used to combat depression, but when studied on cell cultures and animal models, it was also found to directly inhibit cancer growth while leaving normal cells unharmed. As the drug is already established to be safe for regular use, repurposing it for fighting cancer is a promising treatment option.

Read the full story here





The Building Blocks Of Life Can Form In The Depths Of Space Thanks To Dark Chemistry

Amino acids, the building blocks of proteins, might not need complex ingredients or much energy to form. Researchers have shown that glycine, the simplest amino acid, might form in interstellar clouds thanks to "dark chemistry". As reported in Nature Astronomy, researchers formed the amino acid in the conditions possibly found in the depths of space.

Read the full story here


Part of emission nebula NGC 6357. Credit: ESOCC BY 4.0



Dinosaurs Probably Weren't Declining When The Asteroid Hit

Paleontologists have long believed the number and diversity of dinosaurs were falling before the arrival of the asteroid that caused the Chicxulub crater. The reasons for this have been much debated, and the observation has even been used to cast doubt on the theory the asteroid impact caused dinosaurs' extinction (birds aside). Yet the whole idea may be an illusion.

Read the full story here


It was almost certainly sunset for sauropods even before the asteroid wiped out the non-avian dinosaurs. However, many other families of dinosaurs were still flourishing, and would probably still dominate the Earth were it not for that fateful event. Catmando/




If you liked this story, you'll love these

This website uses cookies

This website uses cookies to improve user experience. By continuing to use our website you consent to all cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.