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News briefs

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Sonic “tractor beam” could have medical uses

The tractor beam, a Star Trek staple, could be about to happen, and there could be medical applications, report The Japan Times and The Guardian. Researchers from the University of Bristol in the UK, and Spain’s Public University of Navarre say they have developed a tractor beam that “uses high-amplitude sound waves [at a frequency of 40 kilohertz] to levitate, move and rotate small objects without making contact with them”. The waves took the form of “tweezers to lift an object, a vortex to hold a levitating object in place and a cage to surround an object and hold it in place”. “Sound cannot travel through the void of space, but it can do it through water or human tissue. This potentially enables the manipulation of clots, kidney stones, drug capsules, microsurgical instruments or cells inside our body without any incision,” one of the lead researchers said.

Two-thirds of the world’s under 50s have herpes

The World Health Organization reports that more than 3.7 billion people under the age of 50 – or 67% of the population – are infected with herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1). “Some 140 million people aged 15-49 years are infected with genital HSV-1 infection, primarily in the Americas, Europe and…