The 7 most important scientific discoveries of 2021 – RB

The 7 most important scientific discoveries of 799 – RB

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The 7 most important scientific discoveries of 2021 – RB

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The 7 most important scientific discoveries of 2021 – RB


The shape of proteins, but also new drugs and nuclear fusion: in the 2021 these were the 7 fundamental scientific discoveries

January 1st 2022

Nothing stops science. Something – like, for example, a pandemic – can at best slow it down. So despite the fact that the 2021 was a heavy year due to the new Covid variant 19, science has not stopped , and there have been tons of new breakthroughs and important revelations.

Here we have listed a few.

The shape of proteins

According to many, this is the discovery of the year, and the scientific journal Science confirms it: an artificial intelligence predicts the structure of proteins .

There are two artificial algorithms that have succeeded in this phenomenal feat: the RoseTTA fold who guessed the structure of a protein and protein compounds starting from its amino acid sequence. And then AlphaFold by DeepMind, which uses X-rays and a cryoelectronic microscopy.

Technologies that change everything, making protein structures within everyone’s reach.

Antiviral drugs and monoclonal antibodies against Covid 19

The two discoveries that made the fight against the pandemic from Covid could not be missing 19 a little bit simpler.

The antivirals are drugs on which the scientific world (and not only ) has high hopes: a pill announced by the two pharmaceutical companies Merck and Pfizer and which is taken when symptoms first appear. Early studies are encouraging, but research continues.

And then there are the antibodies monoclonal , which before the pandemic were used “only” in cancer research. Thanks to Covid 19, are also coming into the cure not only for coronavirus, but also for respiratory syncytial virus and drug-resistant HIV.

New hope for HIV cure

And speaking of HIV , huge steps forward have been made for the fight against the most serious of sexually transmitted diseases.

In August, Moderna initiated two Phase 1 studies on a promising mRNA vaccine . Also, this fall an Argentinian woman appears to be recovered from the disease on her own , without following drug therapy. It is the second case, and scientists are studying it carefully.

Touch receptors

A discovery that won a Nobel Prize , the one for medicine : the two scientists David Julius and Ardem Patapoutian discovered how the receptors at the base of touch work and the mechanisms that regulate the perception of heat and cold .

Julius used capsicin, the irritant in chillies, to identify nerve receptors on the skin that are activated by heat. Ardem Patapoutian studied pressure-sensitive cells, which play a key role in stimulating receptors.

What’s new in CRISPR

Science magazine also crowns the new discoveries of CRISPR , a technology for the genetic editing that in the 2020 received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

In 2021 in fact we experienced the announcement of the first encouraging results of ‘ in vivo genetic editing , therefore directly on the body and not on previously collected cells. In particular, CRISPR sought to correct the genetic defects underlying transthyretin amyloidosis and Leber’s congenital amyloidosis 10.

The engineering of molecules

Another prize Nobel , this time to the chemistry , assigned to researchers Benjamin List and David Mac Millan , for the discovery of a new type of catalysis which allows you to use organic molecules in a simple and efficient way.

It is therefore a tool for building molecules, and requires the presence of catalysts , substances that control and accelerate chemical reactions: before the discoveries of List and Mac Millan, it was thought that there were only two types of catalysts, metals and enzymes. They have developed a third, the asymmetric organocatalysis which is based on small organic molecules.

Steps forward on nuclear fusion

Finally, the rush to the merger nuclear , to mimic what happens in the stars with the aim of producing more energy in a clean way .

And researchers at the National Ignition Facility almost succeeded: they heated and compressed hydrogen isotopes with a laser to induce ion plasma formation. In this way they produced almost enough energy to activate the reaction .

A technology that everyone is aiming for, scientists but also wealthy entrepreneurs.