Macular degeneration is a leading cause of visual impairment in people over 65 and can lead to blindness. One in three people will eventually suffer some degree of macular degeneration, which is caused by abnormal blood vessels under the retina, the light-sensitive part of the eye. We treat both the more common “dry” as well as the more dangerous “wet” forms of macular degeneration. While there is currently no cure for this disease, we offer the latest treatments to reduce the risk of vision loss and blindness. These include anti-VEGF drugs—which attack proteins that create the abnormal blood vessels that cause macular degeneration—and photodynamic therapy, in which patients ingest medication that is then activated with a laser.
As new coronavirus variants sweep across the world, scientists are racing to understand how dangerous they could be. WSJ explains. Illustration: Alex Kuzoian/WSJ
Join CNET during CES 2021 for talks with three medical luminaries to discuss what we’ve gained — and need to fix — with telehealth over a turbulent pandemic year.
Israel says it’s on track to vaccinate everyone over 16 by the end of March. To understand how the small country has vaccinated more of its population than any other so quickly, WSJ visited clinics that are giving shots to young and middle-aged citizens. Photo: Tamir Elterman for The Wall Street Journal
Neuroscience Professor Seth Tomchik, PhD, focuses on two major research areas, the neuroscience of learning and memory, and diseases that affect learning and memory, including neurofibromatosis type one. Neuroscience is now the largest department on the Florida campus of Scripps Research.
The department’s faculty and staff, together with graduate students enrolled in the institute’s Skaggs Graduate School, push the boundaries of scientific knowledge to benefit humanity. Watch all 11 videos in this series to see their work in more detail. Scripps Research is an independent, nonprofit biomedical research institute ranked the most influential in the world for its impact on innovation. With campuses in La Jolla, California, and Jupiter, Florida, the institute advances human health through profound discoveries that address pressing medical concerns around the globe. Scripps Research also trains the next generation of leading scientists at the Skaggs Graduate School, consistently named among the top 10 U.S. programs for chemistry and biological sciences. Learn more at http://www.scripps.edu.
Vaccines are one of the most effective tools we have in preventing and reducing the burden of infectious diseases. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, vaccines are once again poised to change the tide in our favor in the fight against a deadly virus. But how exactly do vaccines work? And are they safe? “You can think of your body’s immune system like an orchestra,” says Yale immunobiologist Akiko Iwasaki, PhD. “The different functions of the immune response are like different instruments. And vaccines work like sheet music for the orchestra, telling the immune system what to do and how to do it.” Different viruses require different types of immune responses in order to confer protection, and some of them can be complex. But with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, a simple type of response is all that’s needed to prevent infection. “You just need to trigger an antibody response where the antibodies bind to the surface of the virus and prevent it from entering our cells,” says Ruslan Medzhitov, PhD, professor of immunobiology. “And these types of vaccines tend to be extremely safe.” In addition to the inherent safety of this kind of “training” for the immune system, experts emphasize that the expedited timeline of COVID-19 vaccine development is not a reflection of lax safety standards. “Before a vaccine is approved, it goes through a rigorous amount of testing for safety and efficacy,” says Iwasaki. “So, once a vaccine is made to be publicly available, we should be lining up.” Watch this video to learn more about the fundamentals of how vaccines work, how they are developed, and the importance of vaccination for public health.
Now the stories of “long-haulers” have become a central component of how scientists, doctors and policymakers view long-term effects of the coronavirus.
As a current article in the journal Social Science & Medicine explains, researchers are scrambling to keep up with what patients report in online support groups such as Ms. Watson’s. Co-author Elisa Perego, a research associate at University College London, is a long-hauler herself, and dubbed the post-viral condition “long Covid” on Twitter in May. Both “long-haulers” and “long Covid” are fast becoming standard terminology in the medical field.
Kate Porter, a digital marketer from Beverly, Mass., and an administrator for Ms. Watson’s group, has watched as the “long-hauler” term has exploded in popularity. Ms. Porter, who tracks the latest research and policy initiatives on the Covid-19 Recovery Awareness website, told me, “Even if it’s not necessarily the most scientific term, you get the gist right away—you don’t even need to really explain it.”
Major U.S. airlines like American Airlines, United and Delta have stepped up to become a crucial part of the vaccine delivery supply chain alongside logistic giants like UPS, FedEx and DHL. Even though it’s only one part of the journey, it’s a critical one. DHL and McKinsey estimate vaccinating the world will require up to 15,000 flights.
We enter 2021 surrounded by these rays of hope that the end of the pandemic might be in sight. But monumental challenges remain. Vaccine manufacture, distribution, and uptake are substantial pieces of a complex puzzle that must be completed to reach the 75–90 percent vaccination rate that global health experts say is key to stopping the spread.
And the virus itself is almost sure to change as it infects more people, possibly becoming more transmissible or dangerous. For instance, as I write this in late December 2020, public health officials in the UK are reporting the rapid spread of a new strain of SARS-CoV-2 that seems to be highly infectious.
This is a perfect example of the continued surprises this pandemic may yet throw at us. But virologists, epidemiologists, drug developers, and other scientists will continue to band together to study this virus and share information that can help humanity address this and future issues appropriately. In addition to careful monitoring of the virus as it mutates and spreads, I fully expect there to be regular monitoring of vaccinated individuals, further refinement of vaccine, and continued development of new COVID-19 therapies. And I can promise that The Scientist will continue to track these developments closely and provide up to date and accurate information about the COVID-19 pandemic and other scientific issues in 2021 and beyond.
Walmart, America’s largest grocer, launched a primary care clinic called Walmart Health, in September 2019. Analysts say the big box retailer faces several hurdles in its quest to scale up nationally with a roster of highly paid doctors and dentists. But with more than 35 million people uninsured as of 2019, and millions more with high deductible health plans, could Walmart Health’s low price point be the future of healthcare in America?