If the past few years have taught us anything, it’s that vigilance is critical. We need to keep a close eye on how viruses evolve in animals and be prepared to jump to humans. However, we need not panic. Not yet, anyway.
More from the Tech Review archives
We’ve been here before. Scientists have been trying to figure out how avian flu can pass to humans as early as the 2000s, as Emily Singer wrote.
Close observation of the ever-changing genomes of viruses has helped us cope with the COVID-19 pandemic. It will also be vital for future threats to public health, as Linda Nordling wrote last year.
The flu vaccine takes a long time to make. But the next generation of mRNA vaccines could protect against the flu — along with a bunch of other viruses — and could be made in a fraction of the time it takes to make existing vaccines, as I wrote last month.
New mutations that allow viruses to jump from animals to humans can happen anywhere, anytime. But that won’t stop some people from insisting they were invented by scientists in a lab. Shi Zhengli, who has long studied coronaviruses in bats at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, had to face these accusations during the COVID-19 pandemic. Jane Qiu shared her story last year.
Tech Review has covered pandemics since 1956. Apparently, then it was quite normal to write that “the people of this world are suffering from a long series of terrible epidemics.”
From all over the Internet
Emergency services receive false distress calls from iPhone and Apple Watch skiers and fitness enthusiasts who are very much alive and well. (The New York Times)
Here’s what US states are doing with abortion rights in 2023. Some are trying to protect these rights, while others are trying to take them away even more. (ProPublica)