STAT explains the unprecedented fast-paced progress toward a COVID-19 vaccine

In March, The New York Times described STAT as “the medical news site that saw the coronavirus coming months ago” and reported that the outlet was drawing four to five times its normal audience. Today, the site continues to lead with insightful coverage for industry insiders and science newcomers alike. Andrew Joseph’s latest, “‘A huge experiment’: How the world made so much progress on a Covid-19 vaccine so fast,” is no exception. He explains how a combination of previous research, cutting-edge approaches, cash infusions, regulatory nimbleness and the nature of the virus itself has driven “the astonishing pace of the progress” toward developing potential vaccines.

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Genetic sequencing takes the spotlight

As Alice Park writes for TIME magazine, “genetic sequencing is the new language for managing infectious-disease outbreaks.” Before COVID-19, genetic sequencing was not a familiar term for those outside the scientific and medical community. Now, the analysis technique is gaining attention as a powerful tool to better understand the virus and how it is spreading, as well as to inform to development of vaccines and therapies.

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2020: The year of COVID, and CRISPR cows

The experiment: using CRISPR to insert DNA into bovine embryos to create a new line of bigger, better cattle for the beef industry. After many setbacks, the research team welcomed a baby boy in April. They had successfully used a gene editing knock-in approach to ensure the calf was male, but also found numerous erroneous insertions when they sequenced its DNA. In a world wracked by COVID-19, the WIRED headline provides a light-hearted distraction, but also proof that science of all kinds carries on. “Dozens of other projects aiming to make animals less susceptible to disease and other cruelties of industrial agriculture are in progress in other parts of the world, too,” writes Megan Molteni.