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].

Long COVID: Self-targeted immune attacks may lurk behind it
Researchers are working to get a more complete understanding of the cells and antibodies behind long COVID.
Newly discovered antibody neutralizes all variants of the coronavirus 
Using modified mouse models originally designed for HIV, researchers have discovered an antibody that stops all known strains of COVID-19.
FDA authorizes updated COVID-19 boosters
The FDA has authorized Pfizer-BioNTech’s and Moderna’s updated COVID-19 boosters, which target the now-dominant Omicron subvariants.
Researchers may have created a universal coronavirus vaccine
All currently licensed COVID-19 vaccines target the spike protein’s S1 region, which is prone to mutations. We need a universal vaccine.
MIT just created a test that can tell if you’re immune to COVID-19
MIT researchers have developed an easy-to-use test that may be able to predict an individual’s immune response to SARS-CoV-2.
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