Arquivo para a ‘Genetics’ Categoria

End of the pandemic in sight

19 Sep

This was the statement of WHO´s Director General Tedros Adhanom on September 14, last Wednesday, but then he asked that the pandemic continue to be monitored.

Consultant Sylvia Lemos from the Brazilian Society of Infectious Diseases also told CNN: “It is something that encourages the prospect that something may be ending the end of the pandemic, but it does not mean that the world is free of surprises”, and she also asks for caution. stating that “more sustainable data is still needed”.

The protocols are that in general the use of masks is optional, but hygiene and ventilation care are not expendable, also environments where the use of mask is imperative, as there are still sanitary environments such as hospitals and places of greater danger. .

According to the infectologist, in addition to the fact that every viral infection is cyclic, the last strain must also have lost strength and not have new stronger variants, and it is obvious that vaccination helped.

The country has the lowest rates since 2020, and the downward trend in deaths and cases remains.

It is necessary to understand how the infectious disease specialist reminds us that the action of the virus “does not end” and that science will dictate the new measures to be taken from now on, such as whether there will be annual vaccinations and the prevention of risk groups.

Unless new facts occur, our weekly monitoring of the pandemic will be more sporadic.



Missing data and missing facts

24 Jan

The covid is advancing and although the predominance is of the ômicron variable, there is already a new IHU variant detected in France, the little testing and the number of asymptomatic cases indicate that the numbers can be much higher and therefore alarming, if in fact many cases are mild, the expansion is serious because it can lead to many people with the necessary comorbidities to make the cases complicated.

Everyone has a relative, friend or acquaintance with Covid now, in addition to public figures: players and coaches, journalists, television presenters, artists, etc. the number of cases is probably much higher than the public statistics that are released.

Vaccination of children has started, but it is important to say that the largest number of inpatients continues to be adults, not precise data, but just ask a friend or relative who works in a health unit to confirm, so a protocol policy is also needed for adults, many scientists and authorities, the WHO itself, insist that the pandemic is not over.

Because it could become an endemic disease, it is true, we can go there in a few months, say some of the scientific community, such as the BBC, expressing the opinion of Professor David Heumann, of the epidemiology of infectious diseases at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine: “It will continue for a long time to become endemic,” he said, referring to the fact that all viruses become endemic and are treated seasonally like the flu and other coronaviruses.

But the newspaper itself emphasizes that Covid-19 evolved quite unpredictably and, according to experts, the Delta variant could have been much worse, the fact is that in that case there was a health policy and a confrontation with the pandemic, now so much Both the public and the authorities seem to think that the omicron variant is good, there are even those who think it is absurd that such “herd immunity” would be good, that is, the vast majority of people having passed through the virus.

WHO Director-General Tedros A. Ghebreyesus declared last week: “Make no mistake, the omicron causes hospitalizations and deaths, and even the least serious cases overwhelm healthcare facilities.”

We remember that this was the original negationist thesis, and to reaffirm it now, even recognizing that the prevailing variant today is less serious, would be a very big mistake.



The exhaustion of humanism and co-immunity

12 Jun

When Peter Sloterdijk gave his lecture “rules for the human park” on July 17, 1999 in a colloquium dedicated to Heidegger and Lévinas, in the castle of Elmau in Bavaria, despite having theologians in the audience the greatest reaction was from the media, to affirming the emergence of an “anthropotechnical” and genetic manipulation, echoes were heard in France and also in Brazil where a report was published in the “Mais” section of the Daily Folha de São Paulo.

What the philosopher warned, in his language rich in metaphors to make his intricate philosophy clearer, stated that the work of human domestication had failed, in short this was his response to Heidegger’s Letter on Humanism, and his lecture would become book.

Then came other controversies, about ecology for example, he stated that “we will oscillate between a state of manic waste and depressive parsimony”, in a lecture entitled “about the fury of titans in the 21st century”, that is, between two opposing forces> minimalism and maximalism.

also spoke in that lecture on the decline of the concept of ethics: “… once came from a sense of obligation, virtue. Responsibility only becomes an important category when people do things whose consequences they cannot control ”and warns that the term responsibility is new in philosophy, also in the humanities.

In response to an interview with the newspaper El País, the philosopher who created the concept of co-immunity, said that the current situation will require “the need for a deeper practice of mutualism, that is, generalized mutual protection, as I say in Você Tem que Mudar Sua Vida ”, book without translation into Portuguese.

In addition to the need for what the current situation as a whole, which reveals a global imbalance from nature to the social, indicates that external factor.



Lockdown and frivolity

11 May

As the virus expands and begins to arrive more in the interior of Brazil and in many places life remains “normal”, while Europe is gradually trying to return to a new normality, that is, to return to trade and consumerism and the previous hectic life , which Sloterdijk calls frivolity (see in daily El país).

There are two scenarios, the Brazilian case while some bet that the curve reached the plateau, the new data point to an even greater expansion of the virus, betting that we can contain the serious pandemic situation with little radical measures is proving inefficient.

The reason for the pressure to open trade, more than economic, it is clear that it affects the economy of the whole planet, the real reason in the minds of many people is to return to the day to day of high stress, rush and consumerism to those who have the resources for this.

In Brazil, we have reached the level of 10,000 deaths, both in personal and social life, if we reach a seriousness of a disease or take radical measures or witness the total aggravation of the disease, in the social case, the viral expansion and the worsening of the pandemic.

In the reflection of Sloterdijk, who wrote, in my view, two emblematic books Spheres and Criticism of Cynical Reason, he presents two key concepts that are co-immunity and anthropotechnics.

The first concept of co-community means that we can establish an individual commitment towards mutual protection, which would mark a new worldwide way of facing problems and the concept of anthropotechnics means understanding that the techniques, in this case and is the main concept used by Sloterdijk, the biotechnology, this is genetic manipulation.

When launched, it generated a lot of controversy in Europe, due to the manipulation of genes for example, but now that the main researches in defense of the coronavirus show the importance of the use of antibodies for the production of the vaccine, and the first thing was the genetic sequencing.

The worsening of the Brazilian crisis will require a more serious confinement, or we will see the figures extrapolate and the Health System already practically exhausted.

Confinement is necessary and the return to frivolity must be rethought as a way not only to avoid a major economic crisis, but mainly fairer. 


Law, Pharisaism and the fig tree

01 Jun

The excess of legalism and rules kills life, the fig tree is a tree that is long “dry” and then the leaves and fruits leave, but for some time it seems dead.
Pharisaism are those moral, religious rules and in our time “from the state” that has become a god, who kills life in the desire to control it, Petr Sloterdijk wrote about it in “Rules for the human park”, although it does not agree with all, in essence his diagnosis is correct, except for the fact that he made a “religion” out of this dispute.
His proposals, which were a response to Letters on Humanism by Heidegger, which made me deplore him for a long time, gradually understood philosophers and theologians, that there was a conference at Elmaus, in Basel, which later compiled and turned into book.
Sloterdijk’s diagnosis that the human fig tree has dried up due to “domestication” can be clearly read in the excerpt from his book:
“What still domesticates man if humanism has sunk as a school of human domestication? What domesticates man if his previous efforts of self-possession only led, basically, to his seizure of power over all beings? What domesticated man if in all previous experiences with the education of mankind remained obscure who or what educates educators, and for what? Or is it that the question of the care and training of the human being can no longer be formulated in a pertinent way in the field of mere theories of domestication and education? “(Sloterdijk, 1999a, 32).
Here is the human fig tree, this is Pharisaism and its “religious” or “state” rules, after reading it again, I read at the beginning a sentence of Jean-Paul that Sloterdijk quotes by writing to Heidegger: “Books are letters addressed to friends, only longer, “and I understood that deep down he is a Heideggerian, but with a fair and well-placed criticism: where is humanism?
Our knowledge is anthropocentric, rejects even the technique that is human production as “strange”, we have at bottom a contempt for processes of change, those who criticize it as fascist must remember that it was the idea of ​​”strong” state that motivated fascism and dictatorships.
The idea of ​​pharisaical authority that frightened Jesus in the biblical writings, while Sloterdijk also criticizes religion, recovers it by saying that there is a “non-spiritual asceticism,” which transformed temples into places of robbery and filth, is no different from the modern state, to all who worship and revere it, there is a general mistrust of politicians.

Sloterdijk, Petr. Regeln für Menschenpark, (1999a) Frankfurt/M. Suhrkamp. In Brazilian Edition: 

Regras para o parque humano – uma resposta à carta de Heidegger sobre humanismo, São Paulo, Estação liberdade, 2000.


Socrates, the good life and technology

22 Nov

Before ending the liberal education chapter, Socrates recalls his famous frase:biotecnologia “knowing oneself” and takes up the idea that “an unexamined life is not worth living”, as his interlocutor Peter Pragma leaves for Grab a coffee and brainstorm. In topic 3 of chapter I: Of the technology and the larvae, the friend who had gone to have a coffee came across the broken machine and said that he would become a technician.

Socrates recalls the short-lived and simplistic character of choosing a profession, and Peter claims that he can not stand any more interrogations, so Socrates thinks of a way to change the very methodology that is the question, “maybe there is a way” and Peter is encouraged.

 But it would be illogical for Socrates to abandon his method, which he does is call a young girl named Marigold Measurer (something like measuring the Daisies, explains the footnote on page 42), the girl agrees but is intrigued by Socrates, psychologist.
But Socrates says, quite to the liking of a more contemporary philosophy, that he is a “sort of conscientiologist … I am a philosopher,” Marigold asks if it is his department, which he readily refutes, it would be contradictory to have a philosophy department, already That philosophy is not a department..

The conversation unfolds with Marigold maintaining a certain secret of his work, but reaffirming that the works today have a certain “hierarchy” and questions the place of the philosophy, and finally Marigold says that works with genetic engineering.
Socrates then questions the role of technology in subordinating nature and suggests that we are only “friends” of it, asks “why would you like to conquer your mother? We only conquer our enemies, “is on page 45.

Asked if he would not be afraid to “lose control” of his work, Marigold claims that his work is serious, to which Socrates asks if a wine producer is sober, “would it be right for him to give his product to an alcoholic?” Page 46.
The dialogue on technology is still going on, but we can keep Socrates’ question.

KREEFT, Peter. The best things in life. Illionois; IVPBooks, 1984, (edition Portuguese: Campinas: Ecclesiae, 2016).



We can limit the intelligence Artificial

02 Jul

Now is serious discussion, proximity to situations where machines can go beyond human capacity were openly discussed in Washington DC, an event sponsored by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF), and was discussed whether surpassing human intelligence, machines place in check point the human.

The matter was reported in the Computer World and is philosophical concernaSingularity of philosophers such as Peter Sloterdijk, Hannah Arendt and Heidegger Ernest, but it is also curiously expected as singularity point,

The researcher Stuart Russel, professor of Electrical Enginnering and Comptuer Sciences at U.C. Berkerley said:. “We’re all working on pieces of it…. If we succeed, we’ll drive the human race off the cliff, but we kind of hope we’ll run out of gas before we get to the cliff. That doesn’t seem like a very good plan…. Maybe we need to steer in a different direction.”

Russell was one of the five speakers on the panel today that took on questions about A.I. and fears that the technology could one day become smarter than humans and run amok.

Also the physicist Hawking, who wrote A Brief History of Time, said in May that robots with artificial intelligence could outpace humans within the next 100 years. Late last year, he was even more blunt: “The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race.”


Depois das redes, as conexões dos tecidos

20 Sep

O trabalho é de um amigo pessoal, Luciano da Fontoura Costa, em projeto financiado pela FAPESP e que já lhe valeu uma publicação, nada mais nada menos que na Nature Communications, uma relevante revista para pesquisadores de alto nível nesta área.

Uma pequena reportagem sobre o projeto pode ser lido na revista eletrônica da FAPESP, intitulado Arquitetura dos Tecidos, ele desenvolveu métodos computacionais para analisar imagens de células do epitélio, tecido que recobre interna ou externamente os órgãos e verificar o tipo de ligação entre elas.

Para estudar as ligações, existe um modelo matemático chamado grafo, uma espécie de diagrama, onde as ligações são representadas como um conjunto de pontos (nós ou vértices) ligadas por retas.

Segundo Luciano, “o estudo é consequência de anos de colaboração dele com os pesquisadores Madan Babu e Luis Escudero”, ambos do Laboratório de Biologia Molecular de Cambridge, na Inglaterra, sendo o objetivo principal da pesquisa “investigar a organização epitelial de uma forma mais abrangente e sistemática, usando não apenas medidas da forma de cada célula, mas também uma rede de contatos entre elas”, explicou.

Os tecidos podem ter uma caracterização geométrica, os pesquisadores ingleses buscaram esta caracterização geométrica em cada célula registrada em imagens microscópicas do epitélio de asas e olhos de embriões de frango e da pupa de drosófila, a mosca-das-frutas, enquanto Luciano montou uma rede de contatos entre as células e realizou a análise multivariada dos dados, e através do tratamento estatístico dos dados buscou algum tipo de padrão.


Primeiro biocomputador feito em Stanford

25 Jul

Conforme notícia no jornal da Universidade de Stanford, uma equipe liderada pelo prof. Markus Covert, professor assistente de bioengenharia, utilizando dados de mais de 900 trabalhos científicos, conseguiram explicar toda interação molecular que ocorre no ciclo de vida da Mycoplasma genitalium, uma das menores bactérias conhecidas.

Embora existam muitos problemas, como por exemplo, a compreensão da interação entre genes, outro prof. Diretor do Instituto Nacional de Saúde, James M. Anderson afirmou que “esta conquista demonstra uma transformação na abordagem para responder questões sobre os processos biológicos fundamentais”, porque os “modelos de computadores mais abrangentes de células inteiras têm o potencial de fazer avançar nossa compreensão sobre a fundação celular e, em última instância, pode informar sobre novas abordagens no diagnóstico e tratamento de doenças”.

A diferença da abordagem é explicada por um estudante co-autor do artigo sobre a descoberta, Jayodita Sanghvi, explicando que muitos problemas podem estar na interação de milhares de genes e não em um único gene como se imaginam em muitas abordagens, mas agora deve-se “trazer todos esses dados em um único lugar e ver como ele se encaixa”, referindo-se a interação de diversos genes.

O artigo “The Dawn of Virtual Cell Biology”, foi publicado na revista Cell, e tem a seguinte lista de autores: Jonathan R. Karr, Jayodita C. Sanghvi, Derek N. Macklin, Miriam V. Gutschow, Jared M. Jacobs, Benjamin Bolival, Nacyra Assad-Garcia, John I. Glass e Markus W. Covert .


Cientistas descobrem “oi” das células

18 Nov

Há muito se sabe que as células produzem sinais e estes podem “criar” relações entre elas, são sinais químicos produzidos “fora” da célula que produzem efeitos “dentro” da célula.

Em um trabalho com resultados que se iniciaram a três anos, os pesquisadores Domitilla Del Vecchio, e o professor associado Keck Career do Departamento de Engenharia Biomédica do MIT nos EUA, propuseram pela primeira que é possível detectar respostas das células a sinais em suas proximidades, e conseguiram a primeira evidência direta desta teoria, anunciada no dia de ontem no site do famoso Instituto de Massachussets, e que estará num trabalho já está publicado na revista Science Signaling.

Tudo parecia evidente como “reações químicas”, mas o resultado recente é que acontece uma comunicação é uma via de duas mãos, ou seja, as células de sinalização acusam que os seus sinais estão sendo recebidos, e, em seguida, ajustam o volume para as “respostas”.
Domitilla e seus colegas consideraram o resultado “surpreendente” e “não-intuitivo”, no trabalho que contou com co-autoria de pesquisadores da Universidade de Michigan, da Universidade de Buenos Aires e da Universidade de Rutgers.

Os efeitos podem ser comparados à maneira como os sistemas elétricos ou hidráulicos interagir reagem a uma carga, explicou a pesquisadora, se por exemplo, você ligar uma ducha do banheiro, a pressão da água em uma torneira por perto pode cair por causa do fluxo extra de água usado do mesmo tanque. Da mesma forma, as luzes podem de lâmpadas podem cair momentaneamente quando um motor de geladeira é acionado colocando um peso extra num circuito doméstico.

De forma semelhante verifica-se no sistema vivo quando uma célula é colocada sobre sinais de fora delas, moléculas sinalizadoras em resposta a algum estímulo variável, respondem mas podem variar o tempo que leva para responder mudando se houver “alvos ajustados”, isto é, os receptores dentro da célula que estão recebendo o sinal de modo diferenciado conforme o estímulo. Isto porque enquanto nos sistemas elétricos e hidráulicos eles são bem compreendidos, a comparação poderá ajudar os cientistas a descobrirem como aproveitar e aplicar os novos conhecimentos sobre o comportamento das células, em tratamentos de doenças e compreendendo melhor o sistemas vivos.

Domitlla disse: “Em princípio, dá-nos uma maneira de como ajustar o comportamento do sistema, que não era conhecida antes. Além disso, nos dá uma idéia de como podemos construir dispositivos ” que aproveitarão melhor este mecanismo.