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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Sophie Wax


This Week in Science: Omicron may spread like common cold, J&J could boost Pfizer vaccine, Hawaii blizzard

The omicron variant, the newest COVID-19 strain, may be more contagious but cause milder symptoms than other coronavirus variants, a new study suggests. Venky Soundararajan, a bioengineer who co-wrote the study, explained to the Washington Post that as viruses evolve to become more widespread, symptoms generally become less severe. Still, researchers caution that more information is needed about the novel variant.


This Week in Science: Omicron variant, brain swelling linked to Alzheimer's medication, lyme disease vaccine, CDC recommendation for universal boosters

A new COVID-19 variant labeled omicron has recently emerged in several countries, including South Africa, Botswana and Hong Kong, and contains dozens of mutations from the original alpha variant,leading many scientists to discuss its implications for COVID-19’s future. Although the moment when omicron first started to infect people is not exactly known, infectious disease researcher Kristian Andersen hypothesizes that the variant could have emerged in September or October, indicating that it was initially slow to spread. However, this does not mean that it is less contagious than previous variants; in fact, researchers predict that the mutations associated with omicron may likely increase the virus’s resistance to the vaccine and its rate of infection, according to evolutionary biologist Jesse Bloom. Because of this,researchers are suggesting that people receive a booster shot to strengthen their protection against omicron.


Winter term provides students with unique opportunity to take courses over winter break

Tufts University has had a winter term in place for three years, in which students take credit classes for three weeks in January. With some international students not being able to return home for holiday break and some students wanting opportunities to continue their education, winter term has gained considerable attention. In the past, these courses have been unique to winter term and are not available to students during a normal semester.


This Week in Science: NASA's armageddon mission, boosters for all adults, high-kicking frogs, the best way to hug, COVID-19 origin

NASA plans to launch a spacecraft this week that, in late 2022, will intentionally crash into an asteroid, hopefully changing its trajectory. Planetary defense research has been conducted over the past several years in hopes of preventing foreseeable meteor crashes. Although scientists believe massive meteorites do not pose a significant Armageddon-level threat in the next few centuries, smaller astrological debris can be just as deadly, with the potential to decimate entire cities like Manhattan.  

The Setonian

This Week in Science: HPV vaccine effective, new Delta strain emerges, UK approves COVID pill

The human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine has the potential to reduce cases of cervical cancer by 87% and prevent certain cervical abnormalities by 97%, according to a British study recently published in The Lancet. Researchers examined women a decade after their HPV vaccinations and found that there was a reduction in pre-cancerous growths as well as cervical cancer. In 2006, the FDA approved the HPV vaccine, Gardasil, and since then, two other HPV vaccines have been developed and over 100 countries have incorporated the HPV vaccine into their regular inoculation schedules.


Hey Macklemore, can we go thrift shopping?

Over the past several years, a new trend of shopping for clothes has emerged: thrifting. People are gravitating toward second-hand stores to reduce carbon emissions, support local communities and buy fashionable clothes for low prices. 


This Week in Science: Children allowed COVID-19 vaccine, singing lemurs, pig kidneys, flamingo makeup

A Food and Drug Administration advisory panelvoted on Tuesday to recommend the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5-11 years old. The FDA is not bound by the panel’s decision, but it is expected to act accordingly and grant emergency-use authorization for the vaccine within a few days. If approved, vaccination eligibility will expand to some28 million children in that age bracket.


This week in Science: FDA okays e-cig, first malaria vaccine approved, toilet bats discovered

The U.S. Food and Drug Administrationgranted market authorization to an electronic cigarette company for the first time on Tuesday, approving certain products for sale in the United States. The FDAapproved three products from R.J. Reynolds Vapor Company’s brand, Vuse, in an effort to diminish the impacts of traditional cigarettes, whose carcinogenic properties contribute to an estimated 400,000 U.S. deaths each year. The FDA concluded that the reduced morbidity and mortality among smokers outweigh the risks that approving Vuse products poses to youth. Notably, 10% of high school students who use e-cigarettes said Vuse is their usual brand.


More than just a day of history for Indigenous people

Tufts University resides in the homeland of the Massachusett people and within the territories of the Nipmuc and Wôpanâak (Wampanoag) tribes. They were the original stewards of the land and the relationships between Indigenous peoples, and their traditional territories endure. The university would not exist if it was not for their care. 

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