During this period of uncertainty, scientists are working rapidly to develop a cure for COVID-19. Many wonder what this treatment will look like, whether it is an already developed antiviral drug — such as those that treat malaria or ebola — or a potential vaccine. Prof. Gary Whittaker, microbiology and immunology, who has studied coronaviruses for almost 20 years, spoke to The Sun on why certain antiviral drugs may not work.
Trillions of microbes inhabit the human digestive system, constituting such a critical part of our health that many researchers have taken to calling the vast, microscopic population the “hidden organ.” But despite weighing as much as five pounds and collectively containing 200 times the number of genes as the human genome, scientists still aren’t sure how these gut microbes — which include bacteria, fungi and viruses — affect human health.
Conversations about climate change were occurring around the world with former Vice President Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project. Over 1,600 lectures on the “24 Hours of Reality: Truth in Action” were presented in communities last week to have a personalized approach in having conversations about the Earth’s future. Hosted at the Cornell Cooperative Extension, Thomas J. Hirasuna Ph.D. ’91, a volunteer climate leader for the Climate Reality Leadership Corps, presented the lecture for the Ithaca community. Personally trained by Al Gore and a trained engineer, Hirasuna hopes to spread climate change awareness and prompt the Ithaca community to take action. Hirasuna notes that the average global temperature has been increasing to alarming records.
When it comes to communicating climate risks, Jamie Herring Ph.D.’07, president of Habitat Seven, thinks that climate data can be used to make people feel closer to the impact of climate change and thus to urge them to act. According to Herring, a current problem is that climate change has always been perceived as a distant problem by the public. As scientists cannot attribute an extreme weather event to climate change, people don’t feel like individual action matters or that climate change is an urgent issue, Herring said. At the same time, vast amounts of research conducted in climate communication show that “people act on urgency and perceived risk … the more proximate the risk, the more likely you are to act on that risk.” Therefore, to bridge this information gap, it is important that people internalize the negative effects of climate change so that the risks to feel closer in proximity, he said.