Biomedicine & Biotech

The coronavirus pandemic has spawned an equally concerning mis- and disinformation pandemic. The latest myth is that mRNA vaccines may trigger prion diseases like Alzheimer's.
Vulnerabilities in cyberbiosecurity are becoming a major public health threat. It's time to prepare before the worst happens.
Though politicians and the public love to hate Big Ag and Big Pharma, everybody comes begging for help when the going gets tough. The arguments against biotechnology have been made exponentially weaker by the success of the coronavirus vaccine.
We need new coronavirus variants like a duodenal ulcer, but they're here – something any virologist would have said was inevitable. Here's a lesson on how mutation works. Plus an explanation of what those crazy letters and numbers mean that you see in the news.
Vaccines have advantages over natural infections. For one, they can be designed to focus the immune system against specific antigens that elicit better responses.
We have two great vaccines so far. One has to be kept in a regular freezer; the other in a mega freezer. This is because they contain RNA, which is unstable, not the more-stable DNA. What sense does this make? For the answer, you'll need to navigate The Dreaded Chemistry Lesson From Hell! Enjoy. Hint: It's one lousy oxygen atom.
Opposition to the use of biotechnology to enhance agriculture was always based on junk science. But now these anti-GMO activists look downright silly as cutting-edge biomedical science rescues us from COVID.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo would rather allow more Americans to become infected with and die from coronavirus than to allow an imperfect vaccine distribution plan to proceed.
Pfizer's vaccine is based on RNA, which is a very unstable molecule that is prone to breaking down. Storing it at -94° F prevents this, but it creates the logistical difficulty of transporting the vaccine.
If Pfizer's coronavirus vaccine is successful, it will be the first-ever mRNA vaccine on the market. How is the vaccine made and how does it work?
We're a decade into the "opioid crisis" and some people still cannot understand that prescription pain pills are, at worst, minor contributors. Yet the war against prescription analgesics goes on. This time it's Elizabeth Warren (and colleagues) who just don't get it. The Massachusetts Senator is pushing the DEA to allow partial refills of pills to reduce overdose deaths. What a ridiculous idea.
Gene drive technology is powerful and slightly frightening. But the coronavirus pandemic reminds us that we want to have multiple weapons in the public health arsenal, should we be confronted with another life-threatening microbe.