• ‘Ukraine Biolabs’: How Attempts to Debunk a Conspiracy Theory Only Helped It Spread

    As Russian forces moved into Ukraine on 24 February, stories of U.S.-funded biolabs and bioweapon research in Ukraine began to spread on social media. The false claims spread from right-wing circles but became more wide-spread, and were soon picked up by Fox News host Tucker Carlson. It wasn’t long until the Russian government, which had spread tales of Ukrainian biolabs in the past, adopted the narrative as a belated justification for the invasion. But, ironically, the very effort to debunk the Russian propaganda promoted by Carlson and Russia only gave to story more oxygen.

  • Trump’s Vaccine Endorsement Moves the Needle on COVID-19 Vaccines

    A team of economists and political scientists that included Stanford’s Brad Larsen ran a large-scale advertising experiment in thousands of U.S. counties showing a video compilation of former President Donald Trump’s Fox News interview recommending the COVID-19 vaccine, leading to a significant increase in vaccinations.

  • SAVE: Pandemic's Urgency Drove New Collaborative Approaches Worldwide

    In January 2021 the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases assembled a team, drawing on experts from around the world who specialize in relevant research fields such as viruses, the immune system, vaccines, epidemiology, structural biology, bioinformatics, virus genetics, and evolution. The team is called SAVE, for SARS-CoV-2 Assessment of Viral Evolution. SAVE team changed how science is done, spanning 58 institutions.

  • Demographics Alone Do Not Explain COVID-19 Mortality Rates -- Place Matters, Too

    Many Americans became amateur data scientists during the pandemic, tracking local rates of infection or vaccination to help them decide what activities may or may not be safe. Researchers examined this collected county-level data, and found that different demographic groups are vulnerable in different ways—often depending on their geographic location.

  • Global COVID-19 Deaths May Be 3 Times Higher Than Recorded

    Today in The Lancet researchers say excess deaths data indicate that the global death toll from the COVID-19 pandemic may be more than three times higher than officially record. Excess mortality was calculated as observed mortality minus expected mortality. The authors excluded weekly death tolls during times of anomalies, such as heat waves, from their calculations.

  • Airports, Airlines Call for Intra-EU COVID Travel Restrictions to Be Dropped

    Airport and airline organizations have called for all remaining COVID restrictions applying to intra-EU and Schengen area travel to be dropped, including all testing requirements, the need to present proof of vaccination, or complete a Passenger Locator Form (PLF).

  • Exploring the Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Nuclear Security

    A new study examines measures put in place in the nuclear sector in the U.K. to mitigate risks from the pandemic. The study identifies a series of lessons learnt in maintaining nuclear security. It also provides recommendations for managing the continuing impact of the pandemic and preparing for future crises.

  • Safely Studying Dangerous Infections Just Got a Lot Easier

    To combat a pandemic, science needs to move quickly. An extremely fast new 3D imaging method can show how cells respond to infection and to possible treatments.

  • U.K. Unveils Game Plan for “Living with COVID”

    In an address to the House of Commons Monday, Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a plan for “living with COVID,” phasing out free testing for most people and removing requirements to self-isolate after testing positive.

  • Was the Late 19th Century’s “Russian Flu” Actually a Coronavirus?

    Scientists are increasingly speculating the famous Russia flu that emerged in 1889 may have actually been driven by a coronavirus. They note, among other things, that as with COVID-19 but unlike with influenza, the elderly were severely impacted while children fared much better during the Russian flu.

  • COVID Vaccines Offer Lasting Protection against Reinfection: Studies

    Two new studies suggest good, durable protection of COVID-19 vaccines against recurrent infection. NEJM editor-in-chief said that COVID-19 survivors can still benefit from subsequent vaccination, although the ideal time to vaccinate is yet unknown: “There is an advantage, and although the absolute risk difference may be small, it’s real. Also, there doesn’t appear to be a safety issue with getting boosted.”

  • Speed and Surprises: Decline and Recovery of Global Electricity Use in COVID’s First Seven Months

    The unprecedented plunge in electricity use around the world at the beginning of the global pandemic was tied to shut-down policies and other factors. Surprisingly, the recovery to pre-COVID levels was quite fast and not linked to those same factors.

  • It Costs Far Less to Prevent Pandemics than Control Them

    Investing tens of billions of dollars now in programs that enhance environmental protection and boost early-stage wildlife disease surveillance could reduce the risk of future animal-to-human pandemics by up to half and save millions of lives and trillions of dollars in losses annually.

  • COVID Tests May Leak Personal Data

    In Sweden, when you take a PCR test to have a certificate issued – and last year, 14 million PCR tests were performed — your personal data are handled by private companies. Researchers have discovered a critical security weakness at such a company that handles these certificates in all major cities in Sweden.

  • Pandemic-Related School Closings Likely to Have Far-Reaching Effects on Child Well-Being

    A global analysis has found that kids whose schools closed to stop the spread of various waves of the coronavirus lost educational progress and are at increased risk of dropping out of school. As a result, the study says, they will earn less money from work over their lifetimes than they would have if schools had remained open.