The carbon footprint of seafood, the malaria vaccine, and a US health chief

A nurse prepares to give a malaria vaccine in Kenya.Credit: Buzz Ratner/Reuters

Booster malaria vaccine extends protection

A promising malaria vaccine was Up to 80% effective in preventing disease In young children who received a booster dose one year after their initial dose, exceeding the World Health Organization (WHO) target of 75% efficacy.

Clinical trial results published on 7 September (MS Datu et al. Lancet hit. Pay 2022) adding to data released last year, and showing that immune responses — which waned over the year following the initial dose of the vaccine — can be boosted back to initial levels.

The findings offer hope that the vaccine, called R21, could be an effective weapon in the fight against malaria, which is one of the world’s biggest killers of children.

But public health officials will demand the results of a larger trial — with more than ten times the number of participants, spread across four African countries — before they can confirm the safety and usefulness of R21, and disseminate them more widely.

Eat more fish: When switching to seafood helps — and when it doesn’t

Replacing meat with certain types of seafood from sustainable sources could help people reduce their carbon emissions without compromising nutrition, finds Analysis of dozens of marine species.

The study, published on Sept.M. Bianchi andt al. common. Earth environment. 3, 188; 2022) indicates that farmed bivalves – oysters such as mussels, clams and oysters – and wild-caught and small surface-dwelling fish (pelagic fish), which include anchovies, mackerel and herring, generate lower greenhouse gas emissions and are more nutrient-dense than meat Beef, pork or chicken.

The research aims to “do a better job of understanding the climatic impacts of seafood through the lens of highly diverse nutritional traits,” says Peter Tidmers, an environmental economist at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada.

The best fish for frying.  The graphic showing that some seafood has a higher nutritional value and generates fewer emissions than meat.

Source: Bianchi, M. et al. subscriber. Earth environment. 3188 (2022).

Using 41 types of seafood, the researchers determined a nutrient density score that considers essential nutrients, such as some fats and vitamins. The species surveyed included farmed and wild fish, crustaceans, bivalves, and cephalopods (the group that includes octopus and squid). The team then used available emission data for 34 of these species to compare their nutrient density with the emissions associated with their production or capture.

Half of the species offered more nutritional value for their profit in terms of emissions (see ‘Better fish for frying’). wild-caught pink salmonOncorhynchus gorbuscha) and salmon )Kidney Oncorhynchus), along with small pelagic fish and bivalves farmed from the wild, were the best choices for nutrient-dense, low-emission protein sources. white fish such as cod (Years Prosecution.) also had a reduced climate impact, but was among the least nutrient-dense foods. Wild-caught crustaceans had the highest emissions, with a carbon footprint rivaled only by beef. The authors note that their emissions data do not include “post-production” emissions, such as those from refrigeration or transportation.

Renee Wiggersen will chair ARPA-H, the high-risk and rewarding health innovation agency launched by the Biden administration.

Renee Wiggersen is a former Program Manager in the Office of Biotechnology at DARPA.Credit: Ginkgo Bioworks

The billion-dollar health agency gets its first president

US President Joe Biden chose Renee Figerzen, a biologist and former government scientist, to be Inaugural Director of the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H), an agency created by his administration to find innovative solutions to biomedical problems. Although researchers applaud Biden’s choice, they say Wegrzyn will cut short her work, because many details about the agency remain in limbo, including how it was organized.

The US Congress allocated just $1 billion to the agency in 2022 – instead of the $6.5 billion Biden requested last year – and has yet to pass legislation authorizing its creation. Lawmakers have been arguing over whether the agency should be based in, or independent of, the National Institutes of Health, which is seen as a conservative funder of science.

Wegrzyn has spent more than five years working as a program manager at the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), which the Biden administration intends to emulate with ARPA-H. At DARPA, her portfolio has included projects that use synthetic biology to counter infectious diseases and enhance biosecurity.