Human challenge trials, schools reopening, and more COVID-19 updates

A roundup of the top stories you may have missed this week.

The coronavirus crisis is unique. Addressing it will require new ideas, new perspectives, and new voices. That’s our mission at Freethink.

This week, we’re highlighting some of the most interesting perspectives and opinions about the fight against COVID-19.

Here are our must reads for this week.

1. The Case for Reopening Schools

In response to the coronavirus outbreak, most public schools in the U.S. have been closed since March. Some have even already announced that they won’t reopen in the fall. This Wired article explains why keeping students home long-term is a terrible idea.

2. Scientists Are Drowning in COVID-19 Papers. Can New Tools Keep Them Afloat?

Since January, researchers have published more than 23,000 papers focused on the coronavirus — and the number is doubling every few weeks. Science Magazine explores the ability of AI to help scientists mine the mountain of data.

3. The ‘Just Stay Home’ Message Will Backfire

Health officials have made it clear that staying home is the best way to avoid catching the coronavirus. But, as economist Emily Oster argues in The Atlantic, they need to do a better job of communicating the risk levels inherent in pretty much every other action.

4. Why Human Challenge Trials Will Be Necessary to Get a Coronavirus Vaccine

George Mason University economist Alex Tabarrok writes in The National Interest that we’ll need to conduct human challenge trials — tests in which scientists deliberately attempt to infect vaccinated volunteers — in order to create a coronavirus vaccine.

5. Coronavirus Doctor Prepares Deportation Procedures for His Family

The coronavirus pandemic has many healthcare workers staring down the possibility of death every day. This NBC News article reveals how that situation is particularly harrowing for the U.S.’s many immigrant healthcare workers, whose families may be deported if they die.

Did we leave something off this list? We want to hear about what you’re reading and any interesting ideas you’d like us to cover. Drop us a line at [email protected].

What’s next for COVID-19 drugs?
Paxlovid may have underperformed in a new trial, but other promising COVID-19 drugs are being authorized or in the works.
New antiviral shortens COVID-19 by 1.5 days
People taking simnotrelvir, a new antiviral treatment for COVID-19, felt almost immediate symptom relief and got better 1.5 days faster.
World’s first “self-amplifying” vaccine approved in Japan
The approval of the first saRNA vaccine could signal a new era in how we prevent and treat everything from infections to cancer.
HIV drug shows promise against COVID-19 and MERS
Based on promising lab tests, the HIV drug cobicistat could be an effective antiviral treatment for COVID-19.
How AI played an instrumental role in making mRNA vaccines
Years before Moderna created an effective mRNA vaccine against COVID, the company put into place AI systems to accelerate the research process.
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