Vermeer’s “The Astronomer”

In my fifth-grade science class I remember devising a way to remember the process involved in the scientific method as my teacher, Miss Iman, articulated them. While she wrote specific steps on the chalkboard what she taught me, through those steps I copied in my notebook, was that scientific theories have to be based on rigorous observation and methodically tested. I don’t think I realized how important this methodology is and what an intellectual achievement it was when individuals like Francis Bacon and Isaac Newton discovered it.

A few months ago, I got a message from a television reporter asking…

Vaccines are on the horizon, but the last mile of vaccination — getting two doses into most people—is a Herculean task

A healthcare professional administers a vaccine dose to a female patient.
Photo: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention via Unsplash

When the announcement was made that Jonas Salk developed a highly efficacious polio vaccine, the nation rightly erupted in joy. The same phenomenon is happening now (though not with ticker-tape parades) with news of highly efficacious results with the first Covid-19 vaccines.

Regulatory approval of one vaccine in the U.K. has already occurred and the U.S. will likely soon follow suit. However, it is important to remember that a vaccine is not a vaccination. Make no mistake: These innovative vaccines are lights at the end of the long, dark tunnel, but we are still in a tunnel and the last…

Photo by Fusion Medical Animation on Unsplash

COVID-19 presents the most pressing infectious disease challenge we have faced in over a century. If predictions are correct, this virus will exact an enormous toll in terms of death, hospitalization, and disruption. It will stress hospitals, panic populations, and alter life. Healthcare providers will not only be infected but be faced with unfathomable decisions in a setting in which standards of care may be altered.

It did not have to be this way.

In about 1997, DA Henderson — the man who eradicated smallpox– warned of the looming threat of pandemics and infectious disease emergencies as he founded a…

Amesh Adalja

Infectious disease MD working on pandemic policy, emerging infections, preventing bioterror.

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