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Where do new variants come from?

Why do new variants keep emerging, and do they render vaccines useless? This post tackles the genetics of where variants come from and how changes to the spike protein impact vaccine effectiveness.

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How does COVID impact the brain?

COVID is not just a respiratory disease; it attacks multiple systems, including the brain. More and more COVID-induced strokes are being reported, as are cases of long COVID, which involve brain fog and other neurological symptoms that can persist for years after infection. So how can COVID affect the brain? This post explores the neurological symptoms of COVID and signs of brain damage after infection, as well as possible explanations for how COVID could cause these problems.

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Ninety five percent. NINETY FIVE PERCENT!

In November 2020, we got the news: the results from the first COVID vaccine phase 3 trial were released, and they were better than even the most optimistic expectations: 95% efficacy! This was far better than we had dared to dream. But, in the midst of all the celebrating and enthusiasm, groundwork was laid for a communication blunder that later left many feeling confused and betrayed. Check out part 2 of the series covering the story of the COVID vaccines (and the communication around them.)

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COVID vaccination during pregnancy

Rumors about COVID vaccination and alleged impacts on fertility have been circulating since before the vaccines were even available. Because the initial vaccine trials did not study pregnant women specifically, when the vaccines were first authorized, we didn’t have a complete picture about the risks and benefits of COVID vaccination for pregnant women. Now over a year later, we do. In this post, Dr. Sana Zekri dives into the latest data on COVID vaccination during pregnancy.

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How well do the COVID vaccines work? (and why has this been so confusing?)

How well do the COVID vaccines work? This question is not as simple to answer as it may seem. The communication during the pandemic has been in many ways very confusing, and vaccine efficacy is no exception. In this series of post, I’m going to tell you the story of the COVID vaccines and dissect where the communication broke down. And along the way, we’ll answer the question: just how well do the vaccines work?

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COVID vaccines and fertility: vaccination before pregnancy

Even before COVID vaccines became available to the public, rumors were circulating about hypothetical impacts on fertility. This is the first in a series of articles by my friend Dr. Sana Zekri, MD, a board-certified physician in Family Medicine with Obstetrics, tackling these rumors and discussing the risks and benefits of vaccination for those who are trying to become pregnant as well as those who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

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Kristen Panthagani, MD, PhD is a physician-scientist who likes to help people understand science.  She saw a lot of people getting unnecessarily confused by inaccurate claims flying around, and started this blog to help clarify some of those things.

Data Visualizations


"Dr. Panthagani has an unmatched ability to take complex, nuanced concepts and break them down into easily understandable nuggets, backed whenever possible by rigorous evidence and data. A picture is worth a thousand words, and I have especially enjoyed the numerous visualization tools that she has developed for the “You Can Know Things” updates, which have enabled many of us to better explain to the lay public certain paradoxes that have been an inevitable consequence of the pandemic." Dr. Anirban Maitra, M.B.B.S., Professor, MD Anderson Cancer Center
"Kristen is a rising star in the field of science communication. As a meteorologist, particularly one interested in the communication challenges surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, I have found Kristen’s ability to explain complex aspects of the evolving information in understandable and accessible language to be both interesting and very helpful. Because of this, her blog has been indispensable through the pandemic, and I suspect it will continue to be a must-follow beyond the pandemic as well." Matt Lanza, Managing Editor, Space City Weather
"I can’t count the number of times I have shared one of Kristen’s articles to explain a point. I always learn something new and find a new perspective reading this well-researched content. I appreciate the timeliness and links to sources that I can read further if I want to delve deeper."
"Without you, I wouldn’t know what information to trust. Thank you for everything you do, we wait for every new post."

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