Gadget: Crepe Maker with Tray for Batter

Simple 3-step procedures

The price is 2,508 yen (plus tax) in Japan.


Graphene Can be Used to Detect COVID-19 Quickly, Accurately

Researchers at the University of Illinois Chicago have successfully used graphene — one of the strongest, thinnest known materials — to detect the SARS-CoV-2 virus in laboratory experiments. The researchers say the discovery could be a breakthrough in coronavirus detection, with potential applications in the fight against COVID-19 and its variants.

In experiments, researchers combined sheets of graphene, which are more than 1,000 times thinner than a postage stamp, with an antibody designed to target the infamous spike protein on the coronavirus. They then measured the atomic-level vibrations of these graphene sheets when exposed to COVID-positive and COVID-negative samples in artificial saliva. These sheets were also tested in the presence of other coronaviruses, like Middle East respiratory syndrome, or MERS-CoV.

The UIC researchers found that the vibrations of the antibody-coupled graphene sheet changed when treated with a COVID-positive sample, but not when treated with a COVID-negative sample or with other coronaviruses. Vibrational changes, measured with a device called a Raman spectrometer, were evident in under five minutes.

Their findings are published in the journal ACS Nano.

“We have been developing graphene sensors for many years. In the past, we have built detectors for cancer cells and ALS. It is hard to imagine a more pressing application than to help stem the spread of the current pandemic,” said Vikas Berry, professor and head of chemical engineering at the UIC College of Engineering and senior author of the paper. “There is a clear need in society for better ways to quickly and accurately detect COVID and its variants, and this research has the potential to make a real difference. The modified sensor is highly sensitive and selective for COVID, and it is fast and inexpensive.”

“This project has been an amazingly novel response to the need and demand for detection of viruses, quickly and accurately,” said study co-author Garrett Lindemann, a researcher with Carbon Advanced Materials and Products, or CAMP. “The development of this technology as a clinical testing device has many advantages over the currently deployed and used tests.”

Berry says that graphene — which has been called a “wonder material” — has unique properties that make it highly versatile, making this type of sensor possible.

Graphene is a single-atom-thick material made up of carbon. Carbon atoms are bound by chemical bonds whose elasticity and movement can produce resonant vibrations, also known as phonons, which can be very accurately measured. When a molecule like a SARS-CoV-2 molecule interacts with graphene, it changes these resonant vibrations in a very specific and quantifiable way.

“Graphene is just one atom thick, so a molecule on its surface is relatively enormous and can produce a specific change in its electronic energy,” Berry said. “In this experiment, we modified graphene with an antibody and, in essence, calibrated it to react only with the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. Using this method, graphene could similarly be used to detect COVID-19 variants.”

The researchers say the potential applications for a graphene atomic-level sensor — from detecting COVID to ALS to cancer — continue to expand.

A provisional patent has been submitted based on this work.

Source: University of Illinois Chicago

In Pictures: Popular Malaysian Food


Roti canai

Mee rebus

Gulai ayam kampung

Lor bak

Ikan bakar

Study Suggests COVID Vaccine Booster Shots Will Be Needed

One dose of a two-dose mRNA COVID-19 vaccine is enough to protect previously infected people, but it’s likely they and everyone with two doses will still require booster shots at a later date, a new study suggests.

That’s because antibodies triggered through either natural infection or vaccines decline at about the same rate, the University of California, Los Angeles researchers explained.

“Our data suggest that a person who previously had COVID-19 has a huge response after the first mRNA vaccination and has little or no benefit from the second dose,” said senior author Dr. Otto Yang, a professor of medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases, and of microbiology, immunology and molecular genetics.

“It is worth considering changing public health policy to take this into account both to maximize vaccine usage and avoid unnecessary side effects,” Yang said in a UCLA news release.

The two-dose Pfizer and Moderna vaccines trigger the immune system to produce antibodies against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

Clinical trials showed that two doses of either vaccine provide about 95% protection against the virus, but the trials included few people who’d already been infected. Also, it wasn’t clear how quickly antibody levels and strength declined.

To find out, the UCLA team measured antibodies in 28 people who’d never been infected and in 36 people soon after they recovered from mild or severe COVID-19.

In those who’d never been infected, one dose of either vaccine produced antibody levels similar to those in people who’d had mild COVID-19, and two doses resulted in levels similar to those in people who’d had severe COVID-19.

In people who had COVID-19 prior to vaccination, the first dose produced a strong antibody response similar to severe natural infection, but the second dose provided no additional increase in antibody levels.

The effectiveness of antibodies followed similar patterns, according to the study published June 23 in the journal ACS Nano.

It also found that after the second vaccine dose, declines in antibody levels in both groups were similar to what occurs after a natural infection, with an average loss of 90% within 85 days.

More research is needed, but these findings indicate that all vaccinated people will likely require booster shots, the study authors said.

Source: HealthDay

Pork Ribs with Preserved Sour Prune


8 oz sweet and sour cut pork rib, cut into pieces
2 preserved sour prunes
2 tsp soy bean paste
1 tsp mashed garlic
1 red chili, diced (optional)


2 tsp light soy sauce
pinch of ground white pepper
dash of sesame oil
1 tsp Chinese wine
1/2 tbsp cornstarch
1-1/4 tsp sugar
1 tbsp oil


  1. Wash, remove stone of prune. Dice finely.
  2. Mix marinade ingredients with ribs. Set aside for 10 minutes.
  3. Mix marinated ribs with all other ingredients and place on a heat-proof plate. Steam on high heat for 12 minutes until cooked.

Source: Steam Cooking

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