• Pox on everybody’s house

    It was not so long ago that a NIH scientist stumbled across smallpox vials in a cold-storage room — and it was not during a time of increased concern for synthetic biology. Pandora Report notes that from CRISPR babies to garage DIY biohacking kits, it seems like the last few years have been inundated with synbio conversations.

  • Anti-vaxxers appear to be losing ground in the online vaccine debate

    As measles outbreaks spread across the U.S., our new look at how information about vaccine safety and reliability spreads online suggests that the tide may be turning against the anti-vaccination movement.

  • Saving millions of lives by rapidly shifting to renewable energies

    Reducing global air pollution can prevent millions of premature deaths according to an international team of scientists. The most significant contribution would be the rapid phasing out of fossil fuels, which is currently being discussed mainly to abate climate change.

  • The high dollar cost of the anti-vaccine movement

    There conspiracy-fueled anti-vaccine movement has real costs: Aside from the hundreds of cases of vaccine-preventable diseases, associated deaths, long-term health consequences, and strain such illnesses takes up on the healthcare and public health system – the anti-vaccine movement has additional consequences which are truly expensive.

  • In disasters, Twitter users with large networks get out-tweeted

    New study shows that when it comes to sharing emergency information during natural disasters, timing is everything. The study on Twitter use during hurricanes, floods and tornadoes offers potentially life-saving data about how information is disseminated in emergency situations, and by whom. Unlikely heroes often emerge in disasters, and the same is true on social media.

  • A billion more people will be exposed to diseases as world temperatures rise

    As many as a billion people could be newly exposed to disease-carrying mosquitoes by the end of the century because of global warming, says a new study that examines temperature changes on a monthly basis across the world.

  • NY County declares emergency over measles outbreak

    So far this year, more than 300 people have contracted measles in 15 states in the U.S. Almost half of those cases occurred in Rockland County, just north of New York City.

  • Italy imposes heavy fines on parents of unvaccinated schoolchildren

    Italian media reports that across Italy, parents are falsifying vaccine documents to prevent their children from being barred from attending school. These parents are responding to a new law, which imposes fines of thousands of euros for not vaccinating their children.

  • California hospitals to pay billions for seismic safety upgrades

    California hospitals would need to make substantial investments—between $34 billion and $143 billion statewide—to meet 2030 state seismic safety standards, according to a new report.

  • Explaining public resistance to vaccination

    Low vaccine compliance is a public health issue that can cause the loss of “herd immunity” and lead to the spread of infectious diseases. Low vaccine compliance is a public health issue that can cause the loss of “herd immunity” and lead to the spread of infectious diseases. In parts of Europe and North America, childhood diseases like measles, mumps and pertussis have returned as a result of insufficient vaccination coverage. Why is it so challenging to increase the number of people who get vaccinated? How does popular resistance to vaccination remain strong even as preventable diseases make a comeback?

  • Biotechnology advances offer opportunities for actors with malicious intent

    Over the past decade, the biotechnology economy has experienced remarkable growth, resulting in the rapid expansion of biological knowledge and application. These advances create openings for actors with malicious intent to harness readily available tools and techniques to create biological threats or bioweapons.

  • “It's not all about autism”: Analyzing a Facebook-fueled anti-vaccination attack

    Social media has given those espousing anti-vaccination sentiments an effective medium to spread their message. However, an analysis of a viral Facebook campaign against a Pittsburgh pediatric practice reveals that the movement isn’t “all about autism.” Instead, new research finds that anti-vaccination arguments center on four distinct themes that can appeal to diverse audiences.

  • Russian trolls, bots spread false vaccine information on Twitter

    A study found that Russian trolls and bots have been spreading false information about vaccination, in support of the anti-vaccination movement. The false information was generated by propaganda and disinformation specialists at the Kremlin-affiliated, St. Petersburg-based IRA. The Kremlin employed IRA to conduct a broad social media disinformation campaign to sow discord and deepen divisions in the United States, and help Donald Trump win the 2016 presidential election.

  • Do we need a moratorium on germline gene editing?

    In the wake of the news from China about He Jiankui’s gene-edited babies, many scientists are calling for a moratorium on germline gene-editing. Nature considered the topic sufficiently important to publish the call by several top researchers and ethicists for a moratorium.

  • Wastewater treatment plants spread antibiotic resistance

    The products of wastewater treatment have been found to contain trace amounts of antibiotic resistant DNA. These products are often reintroduced to the environment and water supply, potentially resulting in the spread of antibiotic resistance.