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].

Nasal COVID-19 vaccine outperforms mRNA shots in new study
A live attenuated vaccine for COVID-19 that delivered via a nasal spray outperformed several shots in a preclinical study.
Viruses cause 200+ diseases. This one drug may be able to treat them all.
New Zealand-based startup Kimer Med wants to create an antiviral that would be effective against many known viruses — and unknown.
Inhaling this powder shields lungs from infection
An inhalable powder that acts as an “invisible mask” for the lungs could potentially help end the COVID-19 pandemic.
Yale researchers have found a way to spot new viruses
By screening negative nasal swabs for a specific antiviral protein, a Yale team believes we may be able to find hidden viruses before they emerge.
First-of-its-kind nasal vaccine for COVID-19 deployed in India
India has begun deploying a nasal vaccine for COVID-19 that may be able to prevent infections, not just limit their severity.
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