Scientists have captured the clearest and most detailed image yet of Zika, the virus that set off a global health crisis in 2015 and 2016 and led to thousands of babies having serious birth defects. The work could contribute to the development of more effective vaccines and treatments to combat the virus.

The research, published in the journal Structure, combined tens of thousands of two-dimensional images to construct a three-dimensional model of the virus’ structure. The team used electron microscopy, a technique that sends beams of electrons through a particle, projecting an image. The result is the highest-resolution image ever captured of a virus with an envelope, or protective outer shell. By visualizing the virus in such detail, the researchers may find pockets on its surface where the drug molecules could attach.

NASA looks to 2021 for telescope launch

Put March 30, 2021, on your calendar. That’s when NASA now plans to launch its James Webb Space Telescope.

An independent review board says the new launch date is realistic — as long as no additional problems arise. This latest delay will add about $837 million, bringing the total price tag for development to $8.8 billion, said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate. The total life cycle cost, which includes Webb’s first five years of operation, is now set at $9.66 billion, he said.

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