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18
Feb
2021

Biotech as a Beacon for Youth

Biotech has always depended on the ideas and energy of young people. But it’s time to think more broadly about how biotech and young people relate. Let’s start with young people. Recall the column from two weeks ago, which cited a 2017 Pentagon study. That study found that a full 71 percent of Americans between the ages of 18-24 aren’t...
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7
Feb
2021

The Variants Ratchet Up the Pressure

The biggest questions at this moment in the pandemic concern emerging variants. Over the past two weeks in preprint publications, we have learned: Viral antigen tests remain effective in their ability to detect cases of COVID-19 driven by new variants. New objective comparisons of viral antigen tests: Clinitest; RAY Crispr; Panbio. Good news: Israel is the first real-world example of...
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5
Feb
2021

Scientists Love Data – And Data Reveal Most People Prefer Anecdotes

The unreasonable effectiveness of personal narrative – and what it means for persuasion and health The goal of “alternative facts,” is “to flood the zone with sh*t,” as former Trump advisor Steve Bannon notoriously explained to the author Michael Lewis. The idea is to persuade us it’s just too difficult to know what to believe about anything.  This “manufactured nihilism,”...
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4
Feb
2021

The Insurrectionist and the Visionary

One photograph captured our contradictions on Jan. 6. There was the man carrying the Confederate flag where it had never flown before – inside the US Capitol. A violent mob, carrying symbols like that and worse, sought to assassinate elected officials and overthrow our democracy. They were sent there by other elected leaders who were telling lies. It was horrific....
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1
Feb
2021

2021: The Rise of the Variants

This column will have a “glass half full / glass half empty” feeling for many readers, I fear. Before diving deep into the troubling emergence of highly transmissible and virulent SARS-CoV-2 variants, a couple of brief reminders: Immunology is very complicated: for the uninitiated, please read this (always impeccably well written) piece by Ed Yong in The Atlantic. We still...
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31
Jan
2021

The Evolving Virus Against the Vaccines

For about a month, we were lulled into thinking we had turned the corner and were winning the battle against the virus. With 95% effectiveness in preventing COVID-19 illness and nearly 100% efficacy in preventing severe disease, we just needed to mass produce these wonderful mRNA vaccines developed by Pfizer / BioNTech and Moderna. Then we could bring an end...
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28
Jan
2021