Science  22 Mar 2013:
Vol. 339, Issue 6126, pp. 1366
  1. Call a Higgs a Higgs

    The "Higgs-like particle" that physicists discovered last summer has the right characteristics to be a genuine Higgs boson. So say experimenters working with the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at the European particle physics laboratory, CERN, near Geneva, Switzerland.

    A particle's characteristics include its spin and parity, a symmetry property. Measurements now show that the new particle has zero spin and positive parity, exactly what physicists' standard model of particles and forces predicts for the Higgs. "It sure does look like the standard model Higgs boson, you bet," says Sally Dawson, a theorist at Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton, New York.

    Physicists hope that the LHC will produce something beyond the standard model's cast of particles. Some theories predict that other Higgs bosons lurk over the energy horizon. That's why CERN officials now call the new particle "a Higgs boson" and not "the Higgs boson." Searching for other Higgses will take time: The LHC has shut down for repairs and won't take data again until 2015.

  2. Sobering Long-Term Results for Malaria Vaccine


    There is more cautionary news for the world's only malaria vaccine that has reached phase III trials. The vaccine, called RTS,S, showed promising initial results, but recent data have injected caution, as the vaccine failed to protect young babies as much as hoped (Science, 16 November 2012, p. 871).

    Now, data from a 4-year follow-up study of 223 children in Kenya who received the vaccine as part of an earlier phase II trial show that the vaccine's protection wanes over time, dropping to near zero after 4 years. Still, because African children have malaria so often, 65 cases of malaria were prevented for every 100 children vaccinated. The results, published in the 21 March issue of The New England Journal of Medicine, suggest that decisions about using the potentially expensive vaccine will be complex, says Philip Bejon of the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom, who helped lead the study.

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