The most significant current discoveries
During the last decade, Czech science has made many revolutionary discoveries and inventions and created innovative procedures, which have expanded the boundaries of human knowledge and influence the lives of everyone on earth.
Truvada: So far, the most effective anti-AIDS drugIn 2004, chemist Antonín Holý from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the Academy of Science of the Czech Republic introduced the result of cooperation with American colleagues. It was a pill that significantly prolongs the lives of AIDS patients, which also has significantly fewer side effects as it replaces sometimes up to 13 pills such patients were required to swallow each day.
In the early stages, the pill surpresses the virus completely and thus considerably extends the patient’s life. It also prevents mother-to-child transmission of the virus.
Hepsera: A drug for Hepatitis BIn 2002, the lab of the same scientist – chemist Antonín Holý – produced a new and entirely unique drug for Hepatitis B. 300 million people suffer from this type of Hepatitis worldwide, and 1 million will die of the illness.
Memrec: A computer controlled by eye movementThe device has been developed for people who for some reason cannot control a computer mouse, especially due to a physical handicap. The movement of an eye, which replaces the movement of the mouse, is scanned by a camera and winks are substitutes for clicks. The replacement of a conventional camera by an infrared one will follow.
Another advantage of this device is its competitive low price of approximately CZK 5,000.
The appliance has been developed by scientists from the Czech Technical University of Prague.
Automatic transcription of the spoken wordThis program is able to transcribe any verbally presented Czech text, including television and radio broadcasting, into electronic form. So far, the level of effectiveness of the device has been 75% and other improvements are being worked on.
The invention is the authorship of the Technical University of Liberec.
NanospiderThe first reports appeared in 2004 that scientists from the Technical University of Liberec had discovered a technology for the weaving of nanofibers. Today, this technology is patented and for example Irish company Alltracel has signed a deal on it. Microscopic fibers produced by Nanospider are only visible under an electronic microscope and in the future they might become one of the most important tools to combat the transmission of viral diseases. Nanofibers can also be used for the cultivation of human tissue for curing burns and in building and automotive industries.
Quantum memory for lightIn 2005, scientists from the University of Palacký in Olomouc introduced the technology of a so-called quantum memory for light. As early as in the 1990s experiments took place in Olomouc with an American-designed technology for enciphering confidential information into a thin ray of light, which can be dispatched through an optical fiber to the person who is able decipher it. In order to send such information over distances longer than the current range of 30-40 kilometers, the so-called quantum memory has been developed. Information carried by the ray of light is inscribed in an "atom cloud," which can transmit such information over thousands of kilometers.
Cancerous cell divisionIn 2005, the team of Jiri Bartek, a Denmark-based Czech scientist, published in the renowned magazine Nature Princip the principle of how cells break their own protection barrier and start to divide uncontrollably.
Gamma radiation researchProfessor Ladislav Rob from the Mathematical – Physical Faculty of Charles University in Prague participated in the international development of a telescope that is able to locate gamma radiation in space. 14 new sources of such radiation have already been discovered thanks to this device. In 2005, the project was awarded the prestigious Descartes Award of the European Commission.
A compound to prevent the reproduction of the HIV virusIn 2006, a team of German, American and Czech scientists patented a new compound. During their research they discovered so-called carboranes, which similarly to currently-known anti-HIV drugs bond to the enzymes that are instrumental in the reproduction of the virus or the full development of its infectious properties. However, they bond in a different fashion. This extends the possibility of using this compound to the resistant forms of the virus when other drugs fail to be effective.
Identifying criminals by the way they walkSecurity cameras in crime-ridden areas can only sometime help criminologists put perpetrators behind bars. The picture may be blurry, the criminal may be far from the camera or have his face covered. Czech criminologists however, have developed a practical method to identify a suspect according to his behavior. Essentially, this method involves comparing how many curves can be seen in a part of the body while a suspect is walking. The computer program used to determine a suspect’s guilty gait will be available to law enforcement bodies in 2008.