Weakening Typhoon Noru brings heavy rain, edges closer to Japanese heartland

This NASA handout image obtained on August 3, 2017 shows Super Typhoon Noru photographed by NASA astronaut Randy Bresnik in the Northwestern Pacific Ocean on August 1, 2017, as the International Space Station passed overhead, sharing images of the massive storm on social media, writing, "Super Typhoon #Noru, amazing the size of this weather phenomenon, you can almost sense its power from 250 miles above." (AFP)
Updated 07 August 2017

Weakening Typhoon Noru brings heavy rain, edges closer to Japanese heartland

TOKYO: A weakening Typhoon Noru churned closer to central Japan on Monday, pounding parts of the country with torrential rain, but it had lost much of the strength that at one point made it the world’s strongest storm this year.
Evacuation adviseries were issued for tens of thousands of people on Shikoku, Japan’s smallest main island, and roughly 230 flights were canceled, but there were no further deaths besides two reported on Sunday and no reports of people missing.
Noru was along the southern edge of the Japanese archipelago on Monday, with its center just off Shikoku’s Cape Muroto. Should it proceed on its current path, it could make landfall in the central prefecture of Wakayama later on Monday, the Japanese Meteorological Agency said, and brush Tokyo on Tuesday.
Parts of Shikoku were hit with 52 mm (2.1 inches) of rain in one hour on Monday morning, with some parts of central Japan likely to see 500 mm (20 inches) of rain in the 24 hours to Tuesday morning, the meteorological agency added.
Noru, which is a Korean word for a type of deer, formed more than two weeks ago and wandered around the north Pacific until it began heading for Japan. At one point it was a Category 5 storm, but has been downgraded to a Category 1.
Noru is likely to weaken to tropical storm strength later on Monday, according to Tropical Storm Risk.com.


Russia aims to produce ‘millions’ of virus doses by 2021

Updated 03 August 2020

Russia aims to produce ‘millions’ of virus doses by 2021

  • The Gamaleya institute came under fire after researchers and directors injected themselves with the prototype months ago
  • Scientists have told AFP that Russia will struggle to adapt the vaccine to mass production because the country lacks raw materials, adequate facilities and experience

MOSCOW: Russia said Monday it aims to launch mass production of a coronavirus vaccine next month and turn out “several million” doses per month by next year.
The country is pushing ahead with several vaccine prototypes and one prepared at the Gamaleya institute in Moscow has reached advanced stages of development.
“We are very much counting on starting mass production in September,” industry minister Denis Manturov said in an interview published by TASS news agency.
“We will be able to ensure production volumes of several hundred thousand a month, with an eventual increase to several million by the start of next year,” he said, adding that one developer is preparing production technology at three locations in central Russia.
Health Minister Mikhail Murashko on Saturday said the Gamaleya vaccine had “completed clinical trials” and that documents were being prepared to register it with the state.
Another vaccine, developed by Siberia-based Vektor lab, is currently undergoing clinical trials and two more will begin human testing within the next two months, Murashko said.
Gamaleya’s vaccine is a so-called viral vector vaccine, meaning it employs another virus to carry the DNA encoding of the needed immune response into cells.
Gamaleya’s vaccine employs the adenovirus, a similar technology to the coronavirus vaccine prototype developed by China’s CanSino, currently in the advanced stage of clinical trials.
The Gamaleya institute came under fire after researchers and directors injected themselves with the prototype months ago, with specialists criticizing the move as an unorthodox and rushed way of starting human trials.
Scientists have told AFP that Russia will struggle to adapt the vaccine to mass production because the country lacks raw materials, adequate facilities and experience, particularly with advanced technology like viral vector.
Some Russian officials have boasted that the country will be the first to come up with the vaccine, even comparing it to the space race to produce the first satellite in the Soviet era.
Moscow has dismissed allegations from the UK, the United States and Canada that a hacking group linked to Russian intelligence services tried to steal information about a coronavirus vaccine from labs in the West.
Russia’s coronavirus caseload is currently fourth in the world after the United States, Brazil and India.