In an open letter, 80 health experts call the approach ‘a dangerous fallacy unsupported by the scientific evidence’

Photo by Mika Baumeister on Unsplash

Herd immunity has received significant attention since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. Several countries hoped that herd immunity would offer protection against the virus, and some even went so far as to loosen restrictions to allow for the natural spread of the virus. In an open letter published today in The Lancet, dozens of health officials publicly criticized herd immunity approaches to slowing Covid-19 as flawed and dangerous.

Herd immunity relies on an adequate number of immune individuals within a population such that a pathogen is unable to spread. Beyond that, herd immunity differs widely from one disease to…


Complications of epidurals leave some new mothers in agonizing pain, unable to enjoy the joys of motherhood. This article details the cause and treatment of dural headaches.

Epidurals are a common procedure during childbirth. In the US roughly 70% of women receive an epidural to ease the pain of labor. While epidurals are common, they are anything but simple. The procedure involves the insertion of a large needle into the spine, near the delicate linings of the spinal cord, where pain medications can be administered directly.

Unfortunately, complications from epidurals are also relatively common. Epidurals are often performed during relatively stressful conditions, with women often making decisions while in pain, and receiving the procedure in cramped and uncomfortable settings. Additionally, epidurals are still a procedure done by…


Will circulating variants of Covid-19 “boost” immunity in vaccinated populations?

As the first group of people to receive Covid-19 vaccines reach the 6 month mark, the natural question in many people’s minds is: how long will this vaccine protect us against the virus? While research shows lasting and powerful protection, there is still concern that that immunity will fade with time. This raises the question of whether boosters are needed to prop up immunity.

With variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus still actively circulating amidst easing restrictions, many vaccinated individuals will likely be exposed to the virus. So the question is, will post-vaccination exposure to Covid-19 serve as a natural booster?


You are misunderstanding the word "replace" in that definition. Some viruses have RNA instead of DNA as their genome. The defintion does not mean that RNA can switch out your DNA.

RNA comes in many shapes and forms. mRNA is phsically incapable of altering DNA. There are other forms of RNA that influence the expression of genes - namely miRNA - but those are very different, uber small segments of RNA. The current vaccines only use mRNA since that is the RNA that is used to translate the spike antigen in the body.

Some RNA viruses are capable of altering…


Proven vaccine technologies reveal a safe and effective Covid-19 vaccination

Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Adenovirus_D26_wiki.png

As vaccines begin to roll out across the United States, a third contender has risen through the ranks as a viable candidate for Covid-19 protection. The Johnson & Johnson AD26.COV2.S vaccine offers strong protection against the SARS-CoV-2 virus in only a single shot.

With the vaccine inching closer to public availability, this article details the exact ingredients included in each shot.

The basics

The AD26.COV2.S vaccine utilizes adenovirus technology to expose human immune systems to SARS-CoV-2 virus antigens. …


People have started receiving doses of the BNT162b2 vaccine in the U.K. This article details the ingredients included in the vaccine.

Image: Wikipedia commons

On December 8 a U.K. woman named Margaret Keenan became the first person to receive a Covid-19 vaccine. At age 90, Keenan marked the beginning of what will be a broad global effort to vaccinate people against Covid-19.

As doses make their way to the United States, this article details the ingredients included in Pfizer’s BNT162b2 vaccine.

The basics

BNT162b2, much like the vaccine being offered by Pfizer-BioNTech, is an mRNA vaccine made up of strands of RNA packed into lipid nanoparticles. These particles, when injected into the human body, will fuse to the cell membrane of human cells and allow the…


A closer look at the ingredient list for Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine reveals a simple product safe for human use.

Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Nanoparticles;_scanning_electron_micrograph_(5887833046).jpg

Recent reports found that Moderna’s mRNA-1273 vaccine is over 94% effective against Covid-19 infection. This news is a bright spot in what has been a dark and challenging year.

Now that the vaccine is set to be rolled out, let’s take a look at the ingredient list.

The Basics

Moderna’s mRNA-1273 is an mRNA vaccine made up of strands of RNA packed into lipid nanoparticles. These particles, when injected into the human body will fuse to the cell membrane of human cells and allow the mRNA to gain access to the machinery needed to translate it into viral proteins. …


Clinical trials for a Covid-19 vaccine for children are only just beginning. Most kids will not be vaccinated until later in 2021

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Coronavirus_children_mask.jpg

As encouraging news emerges about a possible vaccine against Covid-19, the natural question becomes “When will I get mine?”

There is still no definite date that vaccines will be widely available, but one demographic can bet on not being immunized during the initial rollout of Covid-19 vaccines — kids.

Drug company Moderna announced that they will begin to recruit for clinical trials looking at the efficacy of their mRNA-1273 vaccine in adolescents. With promising efficacy and safety data emerging, this begs the question — why the delay in testing efficacy in children?

How Vaccines For Children Are Made

Many feel that children are among the most…


New press release data reveals a broadly effective vaccine that could be approved by the end of the year

Image: The New York Times

As people return to work after a holiday weekend, another bright spot in the race to develop a Covid-19 vaccine has emerged. In a press release, pharmaceutical company Moderna released the final results of its phase three COVE trial, indicating that its experimental mRNA-1273 vaccine is more than 94% effective against Covid-19.

The firm has begun the process of approval in various countries including the U.S. A meeting with the Food and Drug Administration’s Vaccine and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee is set for December 17. …


Logistical hangups threaten to hinder the release of the two most anticipated Covid-19 treatments

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Earlier this week, news broke that Pfizer’s much anticipated Covid-19 vaccine was found to be 90% effective. This news raised hopes of a vaccine being available by the end of 2020. Around the same time, the FDA granted emergency authorization for Eli Lilly’s monoclonal antibody therapy bamlanivimab. News of these two therapies moving one step closer to availability shed a ray of hope on what is shaping up to be the most challenging phase of the pandemic. Before hopes rise too much, there are a few challenges that need to be addressed before these therapies are widely available.

Getting In Your Cells

Pfizer’s experimental…

Jesse Smith, MS

Medical student, molecular biologist and educator. I write about science and medicine.

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