What's up in

infectious disease

Animated illustration showing vulnerable red shapes become “infected” and turn green, amid immune blue shapes.
Abstractions blog

The Tricky Math of Herd Immunity for COVID-19

June 30, 2020

Herd immunity differs from place to place, and many factors influence how it’s calculated.

People in India stand near a red van that serves as a mobile testing center for COVID-19 .
infectious disease

Why South Asia’s COVID-19 Numbers Are So Low (For Now)

June 23, 2020

Many theories have been offered for why the official COVID-19 toll on the Indian subcontinent has been surprisingly low. The best explanation may be the shortage of good, timely data.

insights puzzle

How to Breed a Pomsky and Other Questions About Dogs and Sex

June 18, 2020

Solve a puzzle about mixed dog breeds, sexual reproduction and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Computer model of SARS-CoV-2 spike protein.
Abstractions blog

Sugary Camouflage on Coronavirus Offers Vaccine Clues

May 5, 2020

In the fight against viruses and other pathogens, scientists are looking beyond genes and proteins to the complex sugars, or glycans, on cell surfaces.

Quantized Columns

What Other Coronaviruses Tell Us About SARS-CoV-2

April 29, 2020

As COVID-19 cases continue to increase, our extensive knowledge of other coronaviruses informs our understanding.

Illustration of a connection between a bat and a human, with a backdrop of coronaviruses.
Quantized Columns

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 pathogens, vaccines, and other necessary factors for eradicating a disease.
Quantized Columns

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.

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 cell incubation time.
mathematical biology

Why Don’t Patients Get Sick in Sync? Modelers Find Statistical Clues

March 1, 2018

The long, variable times that some diseases incubate after infection defies simple explanation. An idealized model of tumor growth offers a statistical solution.