Is COVID airborne? (Abstract Science, Aug. 30 – Sept. 5)
Also: CRISPR editing in humans, and a comprehensive COVID immunity study
(John Drake, Forbes, 9/4/20)
The author discusses ways to protect yourself against COVID-19 in light of recent evidence that the virus is airborne. These include measures that are already being taken by most people, including wearing masks and social distancing. He mentions that outdoor gatherings where people still maintain distance and wear masks are safer than indoor gatherings due not only to better ventilation, but also to sunlight reducing the infectiousness of the virus.
(Julie Appleby, NPR, 9/3/20)
A panel made up of experts from 10 countries has stated that CRISPR technology is still too risky to be used to edit the genes of human embryos. Using CRISPR to edit human embryos is an idea that has been considered to prevent some debilitating genetic disorders or even improve resistance to certain diseases. The panel only considered the technological aspects of gene editing and recommended further discussion of the ethical aspects of human CRISPR editing.
(Chris Smith, BGR, 9/3/20)
A study from Iceland, where COVID-19 testing and tracing has been particularly robust, seems to show that antibodies in patients who have contracted COVID-19 can last at least four months after initial infection. Iceland was aggressive in testing and tracing the spread of COVID from almost the very beginning of the epidemic. The data from 30,000 people, or about 8% of Iceland’s population, was used in the study.
—Stories compiled by Senior Scientific Writer Mary Parker