Mutation Madness: How and why SARS-CoV-2 keeps changing

by Sophia Swartzfigures by Shreya Mantri The first reports of a mysterious, pneumonia-like illness surfaced in early December 2019. Fast-forward to 2021, and the culprit—SARS-CoV-2, a virus a thousand times smaller than a speck of dust—has sickened more than 111 million people, infected all seven continents, and killed approximately 2.5 million.  The toll of COVID-19 is heart-wrenching and borders on dystopian. Our pandemic present is … Continue reading Mutation Madness: How and why SARS-CoV-2 keeps changing

The “Covidization” of Science: Short-Term Necessity or Problematic Over-Reaction?

by Christopher Rotafigures by Daniel Utter The COVID-19 pandemic has touched every corner of American society, including the lives of scientists. The past year has seen many researchers dramatically shift the focus of their work, as experts from across different disciplines came together to study this novel disease and develop potential therapies. The National Institutes of Health, the United States’ foremost public biomedical research agency, … Continue reading The “Covidization” of Science: Short-Term Necessity or Problematic Over-Reaction?

The Challenges of Large-Scale COVID-19 Testing

by Jaclyn Long figures by Tal Scully A year into the pandemic, many people still struggle to get tested for COVID-19. By some estimates, asymptomatic transmission can account for up to 50% of all new cases, making regular testing of people who don’t yet (or might never) show symptoms a key part of a public health strategy to control the virus. Despite the effectiveness of mass … Continue reading The Challenges of Large-Scale COVID-19 Testing

How COVID-19 is Shaping Antibiotic Resistance

by Molly Sargenfigures by Molly Sargen, Buse Aktaş, and Aparna Nathan COVID-19 is unarguably devastating from any perspective. Even as we struggle to overcome the present challenges of the pandemic, COVID-19 is paving the way for other infectious agents to cause damage in the future. Although SARS-CoV-2 is a virus that cannot be treated with antibiotics, antibiotic usage has significantly increased throughout the pandemic. With … Continue reading How COVID-19 is Shaping Antibiotic Resistance

Are Pandemics the Cost of Human Recklessness Towards Nature?

by Piyush Nandafigures by Corena Loeb In an area devastated by deforestation, an 18-month-old toddler from the nearest settlement, Meliandou in Guinea, was seen playing around a fallen tree swarming with bats. The child then contracted a mysterious illness, which spread to many who came in contact. After it had already killed 30 people, the illness was identified as Ebola. Comprehensive studies have since connected … Continue reading Are Pandemics the Cost of Human Recklessness Towards Nature?

An Unexpected Invasion: How SARS-CoV-2 affects the human brain

by Xiaomeng Han If your best friend Betty told you that she has a sore throat, a runny nose, and has lost her sense of smell or taste, you might immediately recognize the symptoms of COVID-19. But what if she had become very forgetful lately, instead? Recent emerging evidence suggests that SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, can infect cells in the brain. In fact, … Continue reading An Unexpected Invasion: How SARS-CoV-2 affects the human brain

Episode 17: Scientist at Home: Social distancing without social isolation

In this episode of our Scientists at Home series, Professor Iain Cheeseman (Professor of Biology, MIT and Whitehead Institute) talks about how he adapted to the new normal and juggled his various responsibilities — his family, research group, and undergraduate class. He explains the importance of creating a sense of community while being physically distanced, and some positive changes that the pandemic brought about. You … Continue reading Episode 17: Scientist at Home: Social distancing without social isolation