Curing coronavirus

Inverse Daily: Investigating the malaria medication said to "cure" COVID-19

Chloroquine does have promise, but its spread through the internet has outpaced the science.

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This week I’ve been staying up late, reading all the headlines on the coronavirus before bed. There’s a fine line between anxious and informative news engagement, even for journalists, but I may have crossed it. So, I’ve decided to try not to “panic refresh” quite as much and work on giving myself intentional breaks to more meaningfully process what is happening. I’m sure other people are in the same boat, as we all work to make sense — emotionally and factually — of the coronavirus.

So what are some good coping mechanisms for the feelings of isolation, anxiety, and loss that the coronavirus can bring? In The Guardian, Jo Hemmings, a behavioral psychologist, offers some advice on both how to identify signs of anxiety and how to respond to it. It was validating to just hear that some of what I’ve been feeling is a normal reaction that a lot of others are feeling, too.

Speaking of: This weekend, we’re sending everyone our Sunday Scaries newsletter on how to deal with feelings of isolation. Keep your eyes on your inbox!

This article is an adapted version of the Inverse Daily newsletter for Friday March 20, 2020. Subscribe for free and earn rewards for reading every day.

Coronavirus resources from Inverse staffers

An update on the use of ibuprofen: The World Health Organization has revised its position on the use of Ibuprofen to treat the symptoms of coronavirus. “At present, based on currently available information, WHO does not recommend the use of ibuprofen,” WHO tweeted. This is a shift from their recommendation on Tuesday. We’ll keep you posted as more evidence develops on this front.

Chloroquine is a medication used to prevent and to treat malaria. 3d illustrationShutterstock

The potential of chloroquine in treating the coronavirus

As coronavirus cases continue to climb in the US, people are desperately seeking answers. This week, a drug has emerged from obscurity and generated an ever-expanding online conversation. It's chloroquine, a drug that is FDA-approved to treat malaria and has been around since the 1940s. It all began with a google doc, a viral tweet, and a small French study. Today, it culminated with a statement by President Donald Trump that called the drug "very promising."

Inverse traced the origin of the hype behind chloroquine. While the drug has promise, the drug's evangelists are also advocating for rapid movement outside of the traditional clinical trial system. Scientists are eager to see how this drug could help people around the world but are urging us to not look before we leap based on the results of one small study on 36 people.

Here's the preliminary science of the drug, how it gained such fame, and why we still need to think critically about it, despite the hype.

Here’s the story on the drug that’s been making headlines.

More in coronavirus news:

Satellite image ©2020 Maxar Technologies.

As everyone social distances, the Earth looks different from above

In an effort to help stop the spread of the highly contagious coronavirus, some people are confining themselves to their homes and practicing social distancing. As a result, the world as we know it looks vastly different as the effect of social distancing appears from space.

Recent satellite images captured by technologies company Mixar reveal a very lonely Earth down below, with empty streets and bare public places. The images reveal the effects of the pandemic on everyday life, with once populous cities like New York or Moscow now essentially appearing as a ghost town from space.

Here’s the story on Earth’s transformation.

In other social distancing news:

Researcher Daniel Field with a 3D printed model of the Wonderchicken skull.Daniel J. Field, University of Cambridge

Meet the Wonderchicken

Dubbed the "Wonderchicken" by paleontologists, a newly discovered bird fossil has earned the distinction of being the earliest example of modern birds known to science.

The fossil find stems from a complete skull dating to less than a million years before an asteroid caused the mass extinction event at the end of the Cretaceous period, wiping out large dinosaurs completely.

Thanks to X-ray and CT scans, the researchers were able to identify the 66.7-million-year-old bird skull, which had lain hidden in limestone rock. Amazingly, the Wonderchicken shares features with today’s chickens and ducks, hence its nickname. We're not sure how this bird may have tasted, but boy are we curious.

Here’s the story of the Wonderchicken.

In other animals news:

Human-scale soft robots for disasters

Whether they're helping out in a global pandemic, squeezing through rubble in a disaster zone, or scouting new life on Mars, these human-scale soft robots are ready to take on the world -- slowly, at least.

In new research from Stanford University and UC Santa Barbara, roboticists have designed a new kind of soft robot that can move through rough terrain without assistance or wires. This air-filled bot is able to contort its red nylon limbs by changing the position of motorized nodes on its body, giving it a variety of shapes without changing its overall pressure or length.

While this bot is pretty slow now, its ability to shapeshift without losing robustness could make it a great candidate for extraterrestrial exploration in the future.

Here’s the story of robots that could soon be to the rescue.

More in robotic news:

Weekend entertainment

As you social distance, support your local bookstore!

How are you still connecting with people while practicing "social distancing"?

  • Let us know at the link above! We'll share selected answers in a future edition of Inverse Daily. Help your fellow shut-ins!

This article is an adapted version of the Inverse Daily newsletter for Friday March 20, 2020. Subscribe for free and earn rewards for reading every day.

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