At a certain point, you think you’ve seen all of those maddening, intentionally misleading Facebook math riddles. The first one I recall led to an unfriending on Facebook — and my first article for Slate. It discussed the history of “order of operations” and the ambiguities of math “language” (and amusingly led to just as much debate in the comments as on Facebook). Continue reading
It can be hard enough to keep up with the peer-reviewed research flooding out of journals related to COVID-19 and the SARS-CoV2 coronavirus. Monitoring the possibly larger flood of preprints — scientific papers made available before publication in a peer-reviewed journal — is even tougher, especially since they aren’t indexed in PubMed. Continue reading
More than 50 health journalists and others participated in the April 30 AHCJ webcast on research preprints, but if you missed it, you can watch the recording here. Despite having written about coverage of preprints before, I learned a ton by listening to John Inglis, Ph.D.; Ivan Oransky, M.D.; and Angela Rasmussen Ph.D.
The opening presentation by Inglis, who co-founded the bioRxiv and medRxiv preprint servers, was particularly illuminating on the history of preprints and the criteria used to vet them — information I haven’t seen anywhere else in the multiple articles I’ve read and linked to about preprint media coverage. Continue reading
If it wasn’t difficult enough to keep up with the flood of scientific papers about COVID-19 and the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus that causes the disease, there are also all the preprints to keep up with. A preprint is a full draft of a research study shared online before going through peer review. Most often, it’s published on a dedicated preprint site (typically hosted by journals, research institutions or open access/open science networks) where other researchers can leave comments in a sort of community peer review. Continue reading
It can be exhausting to keep up with who is testing what in the race to develop a vaccine for the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 and treatments for the disease it causes, COVID-19. More than two dozen vaccines are under development, and dozens of trials are underway to investigate whether any experimental or existing medications, such as hydroxychloroquine, can be repurposed to treat COVID-19 patients. Continue reading
COVID-19 might be the biggest pandemic the world has seen in a century, but it’s not the first major pandemic or epidemic. Ebola, H1N1 influenza, SARS, MERS and Zika all have rocked the news cycle in recent years, with long-lasting ramifications on global health, infrastructure and economies in the 21st century. The disease that develops from the SARS-CoV-2 virus won’t be the last, or possibly even the biggest to come.
During such epidemics, scientific research has been published in a rapid flurry. As on-the-ground, immediately clinically relevant research is published, other researchers look to the past — digging into the pathogen’s etiology — while others steadfastly focus on the future to develop treatments and vaccines. Continue reading