Genetics might explain why some people have never had COVID
. . . but we shouldn’t be too focused on finding out
COVID in 2023 and beyond – why virus trends are more difficult to predict three years on
So how will the pandemic be felt in 2023? This question is in some ways impossible to answer, given a number of unknowns. In early 2020 the scientific community was focused on determining key parameters that could be used to make projections as to the severity and extent of the spread of the virus. Now, the complex interplay of COVID variants, vaccination and natural immunity makes that process far more difficult and less predictable.
What is the ‘stiff-person’ syndrome affecting Celine Dion?
Celine Dion’s diagnosis of stiff-person syndrome brought a rare neurological diagnosis into the public eye – two neurologists explain the science behind it
COVID-19, RSV and the flu are straining health care systems – two epidemiologists explain what the ‘triple threat’ means for children
The underlying reasons for the convergence of these viruses and the increase in infections so early in the season are not yet clear. But health experts have some clues about contributing factors and what it could mean for the coming months.
What is inflammation?
Two immunologists explain how the body responds to everything from stings to vaccination and why it sometimes goes wrong
Omicron XE is spreading in the UK – a virologist explains what we know about this hybrid variant
Recombination occurs when two different variants infect the same cell, in the same person, at the same time. From there, they can combine their genetic material, resulting in a virus that possesses a mix of genes from both infecting “parent” viruses. This recombinant variant may then spread to other people – as has been the case with omicron XE.
How does the immune system mobilize in response to a COVID-19 infection or a vaccine? 5 essential reads
We sought out scholars who could take our readers on deep dives into immunology and virology to help demystify these sometimes confusing, conflicting and taxing science-based questions. Here are five stories from The Conversation’s archives that highlight critical insights that we as editors and readers have gained thanks to COVID-19, and that will no doubt continue to be an important part of our pandemic lexicon.
How long does protective immunity against COVID-19 last after infection or vaccination? Two immunologists explain
Upon vaccination or infection with COVID-19, your body produces two types of protective immune responses. The first type involves B cells, which produce antibodies, the second involves T cells, your second line of defense.
What we know now about COVID immunity after infection – including Omicron and Delta variants
We’re starting to get a more detailed understanding of COVID immunity across variants. Here’s what we know so far . . .
How mRNA and DNA vaccines could soon treat cancers, HIV, autoimmune disorders and genetic diseases
The two most successful coronavirus vaccines developed in the U.S. – the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines – are both mRNA vaccines. The idea of using genetic material to produce an immune response has opened up a world of research and potential medical uses far out of reach of traditional vaccines.
Myocarditis: COVID-19 is a much bigger risk to the heart than vaccination
What do the numbers tell us about COVID-19, vaccines and myocarditis?
The journey to a pig-heart transplant began 60 years ago
On Friday, January 7 2022, David Bennett became the world’s first person to successfully receive a transplant of a pig’s heart. The eight-hour-long operation by surgeons at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore, USA, was no doubt arduous. But it was a short final step in a 60-year-long journey to genetically alter the pig’s heart so that it would not be immediately rejected – a journey that began with a plane crash in Oxford in the summer of 1940.
COVID: why T cell vaccines could be the key to long-term immunity
T cells designed to fight COVID also appear to be much longer lasting in the human body than antibodies.
Omicron might evade antibodies – but that doesn’t mean you don’t have immunity
The bad news isn’t as bad as it could be, but the good news also needs to be treated with caution. Here’s why.
Can healthy people who eat right and exercise skip the COVID-19 vaccine? A research scientist and fitness enthusiast explains why the answer is no
I encourage people to do all they can to improve the health and functioning of their immune system, naturally. Then, seriously consider what additional protection would be gained from vaccination against COVID-19. When people make decisions based on the latest science – which is always evolving – rather than on emotions and misinformation, the decision should become much clearer.