Massive numbers of new COVID–19 infections, not vaccines, are the main driver of new coronavirus variants

When the coronavirus copies itself, there is a chance its RNA will mutate. But new variants must jump from one host to another, and the more infections there are, the better chance this will happen.

Lee Harrison, Professor of Epidemiology, Medicine, and Infectious Diseases and Microbiology, University of Pittsburgh • conversation
Sept. 9, 2021 ~8 min

The next pandemic is already happening – targeted disease surveillance can help prevent it

A more coordinated effort by scientists, stakeholders and community members will be required to stop the next deadly virus that's already circulating in our midst.

Maureen Miller, Adjunct Associate Professor of Epidemiology, Columbia University • conversation
June 1, 2021 ~10 min

Virus evolution could undermine a COVID-19 vaccine – but this can be stopped

As viruses are transmitted from person to person they are constantly mutating and replicating. Could the SARS-CoV-2 virus evolve to evade the new vaccines that have just been developed?

David Kennedy, Assistant Professor of Biology, Penn State • conversation
Nov. 17, 2020 ~8 min

A massive public health effort eradicated smallpox but scientists are still studying the deadly virus

The smallpox virus appears to have been with humanity for millennia before a global vaccination drive wiped it out. Current genome research suggests how smallpox spread and where it came from.

Patricia L. Foster, Professor Emerita of Biology, Indiana University • conversation
June 24, 2020 ~12 min

The coronavirus genome is like a shipping label that lets epidemiologists track where it's been

Every time the virus copies itself it makes mistakes, creating a trail that researchers can use to build a family tree with information about where it's traveled, and when.

Taylor Carter, PhD Student in Biological Sciences, University of South Carolina • conversation
April 27, 2020 ~8 min