• CybersecurityHackers “Manipulated” Stolen COVID Vaccine Papers, Says EU Agency

    Documents and emails about the BioNTech-Pfizer and Moderna jabs were taken in a cyberattack late last year. The EU’s drug regulator thinks hackers are trying to damage public trust in the COVID vaccines.

  • PandemicsGlobal COVID Rise Continues; 50 Nations Report B117 Variant

    By Lisa Schnirring

    In its weekly snapshot of global COVID-19 trends, the World Health Organization (WHO) said yesterday that after lower reporting over the 2-week holiday period, cases and deaths are on the rise again in all but one of its regions and that 50 countries have now detected the more transmissible B117 variant first detected in the United Kingdom.

  • PandemicsSeeking to ‘Flush’ out COVID-19 in Wastewater

    Though it may seem a bit unsavory, studying human waste can tell us a lot about COVID-19 and give governments a leg up on containing the spread of the virus. Researchers can predict if the coronavirus might attack a community by checking sewers for viral fragments in the community’s poop.

  • VaccinesAs the Vaccines Arrive, So Do the Questions

    By Robin Rauzi

    As the first COVID-19 vaccines are being administered across the United States—developed, tested, and approved with historic speed—countless questions have arisen about what comes next. Is one vaccine better than another? Can the United States both speed up inoculation and overcome some people’s hesitance to get the shot?

  • Water securityFinding Toxic Chemicals in Drinking Water

    Most consumers of drinking water in the United States know that chemicals are used in the treatment processes to ensure the water is safe to drink. But they might not know that the use of some of these chemicals, such as chlorine, can also lead to the formation of unregulated toxic byproducts.

  • Food securityBeating the “Billion-Dollar Bug” Is a Shared Burden

    A lurking threat that has stymied US corn growers for decades is now returning to the forefront: western corn rootworm. Sometimes referred to as the “billion-dollar bug,” the species’ tiny larvae chew through the roots of corn plants, causing devastating yield losses. In 2003, farmers began planting a genetically engineered variety of corn known as “Bt,” which produces a protein toxic to the pest species – but by 2009, the billion-dollar bug had already evolved adaptations for resistance to the toxin. Study shows how individual farming practices associated with greater corn rootworm damage can have farther-reaching effects.

  • Food securitySecure Food Supply Chain

    By Adam Thomas

    As the world grows increasingly globalized, one of the ways that countries have come to rely on one another is through a more intricate and interconnected food supply chain. This interconnectedness has its benefits. But, as the coronavirus COVID-19 global pandemic has made abundantly clear, it also leaves the food supply chain — all the steps involved in bringing food from farms to people’s tables across the world — exposed to potential shocks to the system.

  • ExtremismRacist, Extremist, Anti-Semitic Conspiracies Surround Coronavirus Vaccine Rollout

    Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, extremists across the ideological spectrum have used the virus as a platform for elaborate and alarming conspiracy theories. Purveyors of these theories suggest that the vaccine is a new form of population control or elevate debunked fears about the vaccine’s side effects. Some are peddling anti-Semitic tropes about Jewish control of the virus and vaccine, while arguing that Black Americans should be used to test the vaccine’s safety.

  • Pandemic responseModel Used to Evaluate Lockdowns Was Flawed

    In a recent study, researchers from Imperial College London developed a model to assess the effect of different measures used to curb the spread of the coronavirus. A new study, published in Nature, however, claims that the model had fundamental shortcomings and cannot be used to draw the published conclusions.

  • PolicingThere Is No Medical Justification for Police Use of Neck Restraints: Neurologists

    Some police departments in the United States continue to teach officers that neck restraints are a safe method for controlling agitated or aggressive people, but that’s a dangerous myth, according to just published article written by three neurologists.

  • PERSPECTIVE: Plum IslandCongress’s Spending Bill Protects a Mysterious Island for Studying Diseases from the Auction Block

    For decades, Plum Island, off the northeast edge of Long Island, has been the subject of the kind of conspiracy theories the Internet loves. The truth is more prosaic: By order of Congress, the Plum Island Animal Disease Laboratory opened in 1956 to study how to combat dangerous foreign animal pathogens, such as foot-and-mouth disease. A dozen years ago, Congress approved a plan to move the animal research facility to Manhattan, Kansas. The move was to be followed by auctioning Plum Island to the highest bidder. A coalition consisting of environmental groups, Native American nations, local businesses, and other organizations was formed to block any such sale. James Bennet writes that “deep within the 5,000-plus pages of the spending bill awaiting President Trump’s signature… is a terse provision that saves Plum Island from the auction block.”

  • Pandemic responseModeling Can Help Balance Economy, Health During Pandemic

    Using mathematical modeling, new interdisciplinary research determines the best course of action when it comes to walking the line between economic stability and the best possible health outcomes. The model indicates that of the scenarios they consider, communities could maximize economic productivity and minimize disease transmission if, until a vaccine were readily available, seniors mostly remained at home while younger people gradually returned to the workforce.

  • Face masksFace Masks Change the Way We Process Faces

    Ever want to walk over to say hello to someone but you’re not sure the person behind the mask is in fact someone you know? Researchers say you’re not alone.

  • TerrorismTerrorist Groups Using COVID-19 to Reinforce Power and Influence: INTERPOL

    A new report issued by INTERPOL assesses the impact of COVID-19 on global terrorism, trends and potential risks related to attacks on vulnerable targets and bioterrorism is the focus of. As COVID-19 cases subside in some regions and surge in others, the report underlines the critical need to monitor the reaction and response by terrorist networks, violent extremist groups, and other potentially dangerous non-state actors.

  • ARGUMENT: Confrontational politicsPandemic Consequences: The Acceleration of Confrontational Politics

    Soon after the coronavirus began spreading widely around the world, a dominant narrative emerged about its likely effect on global politics: the pandemic would reinforce autocratic governance. Thomas Carothers and Benjamin Press write in Just Security that, indeed, dozens of authoritarian or authoritarian-leaning leaders, from Cambodia to Hungary, quickly seized the moment to amass more power, undercut institutional checks and balances, and restrict citizen freedoms in ways that exceeded public-health necessity. But “almost a year in, another critical trend has become apparent: contrary to the hopes of some observers, the pandemic is also fueling the longer-term ascendancy of confrontational politics,” they write.