Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic inflammatory demyelinating disease of the central nervous system of unknown etiology. We tested the hypothesis that MS is caused by Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) in a cohort comprising more than 10 million young adults on active duty in the US military, 955 of whom were diagnosed with MS during their period of service. Risk of MS increased 32-fold after infection with EBV but was not increased after infection with other viruses, including the similarly transmitted cytomegalovirus. Serum levels of neurofilament light chain, a biomarker of neuroaxonal degeneration, increased only after EBV seroconversion. These findings cannot be explained by any known risk factor for MS and suggest EBV as the leading cause of MS.
Terapascal iron-melting temperature
The pressure and temperature conditions at which iron melts are important for terrestrial planets because they determine the size of the liquid metal core, an important factor for understanding the potential for generating a radiation-shielding magnetic field. Kraus
. used laser-driven shock to determine the iron-melt curve up to a pressure of 1000 gigapascals (see the Perspective by Zhang and Lin). This value is about three times that of the Earth’s inner core boundary. The authors found that the liquid metal core lasted the longest for Earth-like planets four to six times larger in mass than the Earth. —BG
. question the reliability of calibrated radiocarbon ages associated with human footprints discovered recently in White Sands National Park, New Mexico, USA. On the basis of the geologic, hydrologic, stratigraphic, and chronologic evidence, we maintain that the ages are robust and conclude that the footprints date to between ~23,000 and 21,000 years ago.
) question the veracity of calibrated radiocarbon ages used to constrain the antiquity of human trackways discovered recently at White Sands National Park (WHSA) Locality 2, New Mexico, USA (
). The ages were derived from seeds of the aquatic plant
, which they suggest may suffer from hard-water (or reservoir) effects, making them too old, potentially by thousands of years. We were well aware of this possibility, investigated it, and presented several lines of evidence that argued against such a problem. Here we respond to each of their four primary points.
Preparing antiviral defenses
Antiviral drugs are an important tool in the battle against COVID-19. Both remdesivir and molnupiravir, which target the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) polymerase, were first developed against other RNA viruses. This highlights the importance of broad-spectrum antivirals that can be rapidly deployed against related emerging pathogens. Sourimant
. used respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) as a primary indication in identifying further drugs that target the polymerase enzyme of RNA viruses. The authors explored derivatives of molnupiravir and identified 4′ fluorouridine (EIDD-2749) as an inhibitor of the polymerase of RSV and SARS-CoV-2. This drug can be delivered orally and was effective against RSV in mice and SARS-CoV-2 in ferrets. —VV