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Scientists are rushing to launch clinical trials of experimental vaccines and treatments for the coronavirus — while clinical trials of therapies for cancer and other illnesses are being put on hold. Neena Nizar and her family were poised to harvest the fruit of a decade of hard work and sacrifice: a clinical trial of an experimental treatment for her two sons’ rare and painful genetic disorder. Then came COVID-19. “I feel like we were chugging along on a train and then somebody dropped a huge boulder on it,” says Nizar.
The healing ozone layer above Antarctica is shifting wind patterns around the globe — most notably, pausing the movement toward the pole of the summertime jet stream in the Southern Hemisphere. Satellite observations and climate simulations reveal that the jet stream shifted from about 49° S to 51° S between 1980 and 2000. After 2000, when the ozone layer began to recover as a result of the Montreal Protocol that effectively banned ozone-killing chemicals, the change has halted.
Get expert analysis of the research by meteorologist Alexey Karpechko in the Nature News & Views article.
Features & opinion
The Exclusion Zone around the wreck of the Chernobyl power plant, in present-day Ukraine, represents a glimpse of the past of civilization after its demise, the “final resting place of the future”. This has made the site of the 1986 nuclear accident into a morbidly fascinating tourist destination. “Immediately you are struck by the strange beauty of the place, the unchecked exuberance of nature finally set free of its crowning achievement, its problem child,” writes author Mark O’Connell.
This calendar of science livestreams, talks, virtual dance parties and general good times is thanks to neuroscientist and artist Christine Liu and the STEM Squad community. If you prefer a quiet night (maybe post dance party?), how about a soothing evening of transcribing the United Kingdom’s 200 years of handwritten rainfall data?
Invite me to your virtual dance party (just kidding, I’ll be combing through Met Office records) — or send me any feedback on this newsletter — at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Flora Graham, senior editor, Nature Briefing
With contributions by Smriti Mallapaty and Davide Castelvecchi