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Science

The Filtrate: COVID Comebacks, Ring Containment, and News Notes

This week, the biggest science story was the news (so far only available in press releases and derived news stories) that both Pfizer’s and Moderna’s experimental COVID-19 vaccines appear to be very effective. We need to see actual, peer-reviewed data of course, and a critical question will be whether these vaccines – both based on […]

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Science

The Filtrate: Polio Progress, Healthcare for Trees, and Special Deliveries

The big news of the past week, of course, was the promise of competent management returning to the US federal government soon, along with a very preliminary indication that the development of vaccines against COVID-19 is going well. Let’s see what else trickled through to the Filtrate. Still eradicating polio The seemingly endless campaign to […]

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Science

The Filtrate: The Pandemic Rollercoaster, Climate Juries, and Viral Reads

We’re taking deep breaths and trying to remain calm here at Turbid Plaque Headquarters. Perhaps an analysis of this week’s Filtrate will help pass the time. Re-flattening the curves It’s an old tale: public health and infectious disease scientists figure out the cause of a dreaded illness and convince policymakers to implement strong controls to […]

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Science

The Filtrate: Second Waves, Trust Issues, and Electoral Dysfunction

Another week of 2020 has passed, so it’s time to open up the news filter and take a cautious look at what’s trickled through. Catching the new wave The big news this week, of course, is that COVID-19 case counts continue to rise all over the US. Even states that brought the pandemic under a […]

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Science

The Filtrate, Concentrated

It’s a busy week here at Turbid Plaque Headquarters, so we’re cutting down on the buffer and bringing you a condensed Filtrate. Contrary to what some folks seem to believe, having political leaders who listen to scientists is a good thing. Maybe turning some scientists into political leaders would help, too. A Congressional race on […]

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Science

The Filtrate: Warning Signs, FDA SNAFUs, and Unbearable Light

Besides a constant feed of news, The Filtrate relies on electricity to operate, and last week that was in short supply around here; a brief but violent squall knocked a huge tree across a nearby power line, and Turbid Plaque Headquarters went offline for a couple of days. We’re back now with two weeks’ worth […]

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Science

The Filtrate: Coughing Kids, a Game of Worms, and Fourth Estate Follies

We begin this week’s Filtrate with an important public service announcement: get your flu shot. Pharmacies all over your area probably have signs advertising this service, but if you still have trouble finding the vaccine, you can use this site to locate a nearby flu clinic. I just got mine today (Sanofi Fluzone Quadrivalent, thanks […]

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Science

The Filtrate: Track a Pandemic, Feed Your Bugs, and Keep on Eradicating Polio

Another week of this awful year has gone by, so it’s time to survey the damage and sift whatever bits of wisdom we can from the news. Welcome to the Filtrate. Pandemic rubbernecking Epidemiologists continue to trace the ways SARS-CoV-2 spreads, and among which groups, producing a mixture of interesting and depressing findings. In Nature […]

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Science

Pandemic Spillback: Could Bats Get It from Us?

Thanks to rapid genome sequencing technology and the work of hundreds of dedicated virologists and wildlife biologists around the world, we now have a good idea where SARS-CoV-2, the virus causing the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, came from. Sometime in the Fall or early Winter of 2019, a closely related bat coronavirus made the leap into […]

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Science

The Filtrate: Exascaling, Skeeter Seeking, and a Pandemic Roundup

The sheer quantity of pandemic-related news this week nearly clogged our system, so we did an additional distillation step to summarize it all. Welcome to this week’s issue of the Filtrate. Pandemic roundup Some of what we though we knew (or just wished was true) about SARS-CoV-2 infection is turning out to be wrong, as […]