Recent Interesting Bits

-from ANZCART magazine
Researchers in Boston, Massachusetts have developed a solution that protects rat livers
from freezing and could therefore potentially extend the transplant window for human
When a human donor organ becomes available, transplant surgeons have only about 12
hours to collect and transplant the tissue before it breaks down. But a slow-cooling method
that first chills rat livers and then drops the temperature to below freezing – allowing them to
be stored in a ‘supercooled’ but non-frozen state – keeps them fresh for three days. If the
method works for human organs, it could drastically increase the numbers that are available
for transplantation.
Fruit bats are believed to be the natural hosts of Ebola and mapping their habitats could be
one important step in stopping the spread of the deadly disease says Skog, a geoinformatics
researcher at Sweden’s Royal Institute of Technology.
Historical data of geography and disease distribution in major epidemics of the past has
provided a basis for predicting the course of future epidemics and also the state and how
extensive a current epidemic will spread.

The bats are hunted as ‘bush meat’ by residents of rural West Africa and their consumption
as well as bats’ droppings have helped spread the virus. Assuming that fruit bats are the
reservoir for the Ebola virus, Skog says, data of locations of bodies, possible infections and
diagnosed cases could be collected and compared and analysed together with
environmental and climatologic data.
Using this data, the parameters for habitats of fruit bats can be defined, and these risk areas
could be mapped and monitored so that preventative measures to control the spread could
be performed by health authorities.
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