This has not been an easy year. Nevertheless, we found relief and hope in scientific research and medical history. We learned how scientists curtailed prior outbreaks, turned to bats to learn about coronavirus immunity, and developed vaccines to combat COVID-19 at record speed.

A nurse applies a vaccine in Caracas, Venezuela in March, 2020

How Will a Coronavirus Vaccine Work?

Four different ways researchers use the virus's own structure to train our immune systems to exterminate it.
Care homes group managing director Mary Anson receives the Covid-19 vaccine as the Royal Cornwall Hospital begin their vaccination programme on December 9, 2020 in Truro, United Kingdom

The COVID-19 Vaccines Arrived at Warp Speed

Are they safe if they were developed so quickly? Research-backed answers to your virus questions.
geothermal basin in Yellowstone NP, Wyoming.

How Yellowstone Extremophile Bacteria Helped With Covid-19 Testing

The heat-resistant enzyme from Thermus aquaticus is used in PCR testing to detect pathogens.
Little brown bat

What Bats Can Teach Humans About Coronavirus Immunity

Bats have a unique genetic ability to tolerate many viral infections. Can humans uncover their secrets?

Two Drops of Life: India’s Path to End Polio

On the eve of its 6th polio-free anniversary, India immunizes over 170 million children, despite a lack of roads, reinfection threats, and a periodic mistrust of vaccines.
La Malaria by Auguste Hebert

Cracking the Malaria Mystery—from Marshes to Mosquirix

It took science centuries to understand malaria. Now we’re waiting to see how the 2019 vaccine pilot works.
Members of the International Ladies Garment Workers Union receive the flu shot in 1957

How America Brought the 1957 Influenza Pandemic to a Halt

Microbiologist Maurice Hilleman saw it coming, so the country made 40 million doses of the vaccine within months.
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