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The World Health Organization has declared Africa free of wild polio. The continent’s last case of wild polio was recorded four years ago in northeast Nigeria. There are now just just two countries on Earth where the virus remains endemic: Afghanistan and Pakistan. Africa’s fight against polio isn’t over: in rare cases, infections can be caused by the oral polio vaccine. These vaccine-derived polio strains can spread in areas where many children have not been immunized, so vaccination must continue.
Cases of dengue fever plummeted by a “staggering” 77% after researchers released mosquitoes that were modified to be resistant to the virus. These mosquitoes carry dengue-blocking Wolbachia bacteria, which then spread through local mosquito populations. Wolbachia-carrying mosquitoes were released over a six-month period in randomly designated parts of Yogyakarta in Indonesia, starting in 2016. The results have been reported in press releases, and the full data are yet to be published.
Features & opinion
Antibiotics are one of the world’s most desperately needed classes of drug. Yet many of the companies developing them are struggling to survive. In the last 2 years, the companies that made 5 of the 15 antibiotics approved by the US Food and Drug Administration since 2010 have declared bankruptcy or put themselves up for sale. Nature investigates the bitter paradox that is hobbling efforts to solve one of humanity’s greatest challenges.
The Ten Years Reproducibility Challenge dares scientists to find and re-execute old code, to reproduce computationally driven papers that they had published ten or more years earlier. Extinct hardware and dead programming languages are among the hurdles for researchers taking it on in a bid to illuminate how code can be made more resilient to change. “Ten years is a very, very, very, very long time in the software world,” says Victoria Stodden, who studies computational reproducibility. “Roughly equivalent in the software world to infinity”.
It’s fantastic to be back at Briefing towers (my attic) after two rejuvenating weeks in the woods. In case you missed it, here’s one more chance to enjoy our very special ‘find the penguin’. Leif Penguinson, Passepartout, Heidi, Guino the pinguino and Bosworth the Buoyant are frolicking in Fantasy Canyon, Utah. Can you find all five penguins? When you’re ready — here’s the answer.
With contributions by Nicky Phillips and David Cyranoski