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immunology

Illustration of a connection between a bat and a human, with a backdrop of coronaviruses.
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The Animal Origins of Coronavirus and Flu

February 25, 2020

Zoonotic diseases like influenza and many coronaviruses start out in animals, but their biological machinery often enables them to jump to humans.

Illustration of an immune cell that wields weapons on one side of its body and construction tools on the other.
immunology

Immune Cell Assassins Reveal Their Nurturing Side

February 11, 2020

Don’t be misled by the bloodthirsty names of immune cells. Mounting research shows that the cells also fine-tune tissues and help the body heal.

Photo of James P. Allison sitting at his desk at the MD Anderson Cancer Center.
Q&A

The Contrarian Who Cures Cancers

February 3, 2020

James P. Allison believed that unleashing the immune system was a way to beat cancer when almost no one else did. A Nobel Prize and a growing list of cancer survivors vindicate him.

Illustration of pathogens, vaccines, and other necessary factors for eradicating a disease.
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How to Permanently End Diseases

December 3, 2019

Smallpox was eradicated relatively quickly, but other diseases have proved harder to eliminate. The reasons are a mix of biology and psychology.

Lungs made from a collection of “tasting” tongues.
immunology

Cells That ‘Taste’ Danger Set Off Immune Responses

November 15, 2019

Taste and smell receptors in unexpected organs monitor the state of the body’s natural microbial health and raise an alarm over invading parasites.

Colorized scanning electron micrograph of a T lymphocyte.
Abstractions blog

Immune Cells Measure Time to Identify Foreign Proteins

June 3, 2019

Immunologists confirm an old hunch: T-cells identify what belongs in the body by timing how long they can bind to it.

Lede photo for "How Vaccines Can Drive Pathogens to Evolve"
immunology

Vaccines Are Pushing Pathogens to Evolve

May 10, 2018

Just as antibiotics have bred resistance in bacteria, vaccines can potentially lose their effectiveness over diseases they controlled. Researchers are working to head off the evolution of new threats.

520px illustration for herd immunity
Quantized Academy

How Math (and Vaccines) Keep You Safe From the Flu

February 5, 2018

Simple math shows how widespread vaccination can disrupt the exponential spread of disease and prevent epidemics.

White stick figures incased in blue teardrops surround other stick figures on a blue background. They are surrounded by stick figures on a red background.
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The Unforgiving Math That Stops Epidemics

October 26, 2017

If you didn’t get a flu shot, you are endangering more than just your own health. Calculations of herd immunity against common diseases don’t make exceptions.