Science Saturday: COVID-19, China Space Station, climate change, biotech breakthrough
By Dong Yi, Tian Run

In this week's Science Saturday, we look at the latest news in the science and tech fields, ranging from a new COVID-19 drug to China's first female spacewalker.

Coronavirus pandemic

Pfizer says its new drug for COVID-19 patients, in the form of a pill, reduces the risk of hospitalization or death by 89 percent. The pharmaceutical company calls the new treatment a "game changer" for the pandemic, now in its second year. Medical experts say if approved, the anti-viral medication will allow for outpatient care, and make it easier for patients to stick to a treatment routine. 

China Space Station

Wang Yaping has become the first Chinese woman to walk in space. Wang is one of the Shenzhou-13 crew who are on a six-month mission to build China's first space station. She joined the crew commander Zhai Zhigang to perform her first spacewalk last Sunday. It involved the installation of more parts of the robotic arm for future tasks. Both safely returned to the Tianhe core module after six and a half hours in space. 

Climate change

Carbon emissions are set to rebound close to pre-pandemic levels. A new report says carbon emissions from burning fossil fuels fell by more than 5 percent last year during the pandemic, but jumped back up this year. World leaders are trying to prevent a global average temperature increase of 1.5 degrees Celsius. But the report says this milestone will be surpassed in just 11 years at the current rate of pollution. 

Biotech breakthrough

China has become the first country in the world to make protein from carbon monoxide. Protein feed is mainly imported and there is a big shortage of high-quality product. Industry experts say the new breakthrough will provide a solution to this external dependence and also help China achieve its national carbon targets. The protein has been approved by China's Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs for feeding to animals. 

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