This week: A vaccine for Ebola, Facebook enters the drone game, the President reveals his clean energy plan, researchers help paralyzed patients move their limbs without surgery, and America destroys its first friendly hitchhiking robot.
A vaccine for Ebola produced in just one year instead of the usual decade provides 100-per-cent protection against the disease. Preparations are already under way to make it available to healthcare workers and families wherever the virus remains at large.
“This is a very good day,” says Seth Berkley, chief executive of the GAVI Alliance, the global organisation that has earmarked $390 million to extend availability of the VSV-ZEBOV vaccine beyond Guinea, the country where it has been successfully tested on more than 7500 people.
Facebook took another step toward its goal of connecting all of the world’s citizens to the Internet.
On Thursday, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg announced that they finished constructing their first full-scale prototype of Aquila, a solar-powered, unmanned aircraft that could someday provide Internet access for people living in places lacking the infrastructure required to surf the Web.
Obama’s Clean Power Plan would reduce reliance on coal-fired electricity and move the country further towards renewable energy.
Researchers at UCLA have done something they didn’t think was possible: without the use of surgery, they helped people with severe paralysis voluntarily move their legs — something that’s never been accomplished before. While it may be years before this new approach could be widely used, the researchers now think patients with severe spinal cord injuries may be able to recover multiple body functions, which could greatly improve their quality of life. The research was published yesterday in the Journal of Neurotrauma.