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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: 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: 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 […]

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Science

The Filtrate for 2020.9.10

It’s another Thursday here at Turbid Plaque headquarters, time for us to take all the news that broke this week, grind it up into even smaller bits, solubilize it, and pass it through our selective barrier to deliver only the best stories to you. Welcome to The Filtrate. Counting COVID After battling a superspreader event […]

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Science

The Filtrate for 2020.9.3

By adjusting the pore sizes, the Filtrate is now letting some non-pandemic news items seep through. Of course we’ll be continuing our coverage of SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19, which means we may need to use strong language to describe the disastrous ongoing US response to this virus. You’ve been warned. Pandemic roundup Hospital staff, also known as “frontline […]

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Science

The Filtrate for 2020.8.20

Another week has come and gone, so it’s time to see what the Turbid Plaque news feed dragged in. The color of COVID-19 As everyone should already know, the ongoing SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 pandemic has been hitting certain racial and ethnic groups a lot harder than others in the US. In particular, Black and Latinx individuals seem […]

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Science

“Immunity Passports” Are a Horrible Idea

A few days ago, the World Health Organization caused a stir by saying that antibody tests may not indicate whether someone is immune from SARS-CoV-2. This led to some understandable confusion, and WHO spokespeople have subsequently walked the comments back a bit. While the messaging might’ve been handled better, the public health experts at the […]

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Science

Coronavirus: Don’t Panic

As SARS-CoV2 blossoms into a global pandemic, friends and family members have been asking for my advice. Of course I recommend listening to “This Week in Virology,” where the virus and the disease it causes, COVID-19, have been major topics on most recent episodes, but that alone won’t fill the entire need. Not everyone has […]

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Science

A Fair Few Flu Cases

Since at least 1918, when the “Spanish Flu” swept across the world, leaving a trail of corpses in its wake, Americans have blamed influenza outbreaks on other countries. These days we like to point fingers eastward, invoking images of ancient agricultural practices and chaotic live animal markets in China and Southeast Asia. With a whiff […]