Are there other benefits of developing so many different vaccines against one disease?
I was recently asked to write an article about ongoing opportunities provided by COVID-19 for science education, as the pandemic continues. The exercise got me to think about silver linings for once rather than the usual wearying...
Why do we get new variants of SARS-CoV-2?
We are all mutants, which is why we look different and our bodies work in slightly different ways. The instructions for our looks and internal biochemistry are contained on molecules of DNA. Almost every cell in your body has an identical copy of all your DNA.
Is death ‘with’ COVID-19 just as bad as death ‘of’ COVID-19?
Hot on the heels of the armchair scientists and their cries of COVID-hoax and Frankenstein vaccines, are the armchair statisticians. Many are armed only with the ability to copy and paste text from one dubious source to another; their abilities as statisticians...
Can masks really help to prevent the spread of COVID-19?
I don’t really get the whole ‘anti mask’ thing. But many kind people on Twitter and elsewhere have been attempting to correct my poor understanding of the effects of mask-wearing, after a recent blog post of mine. That blog post was mainly about statistics being...
Avoiding confirmation bias
There are "Lies, damned lies and statistics" as the famous saying goes. And I might add ‘… and inconvenient parts of statistics that are best left out’. A case in point is this graph, which came across my radar from an anti-masker.
The point that the person was making was that the number...
Has the fast development of new COVID-19 vaccines compromised their safety?
Upon reading the claim in the title of this piece (in a tweet) I was reminded of Robert Stephenson’s problems with public perception when he unveiled the Rocket for the Liverpool and Manchester Railway in 1829. It could reach speeds of over 30...
Comparing polio to COVID-19 is idiotic
We are all capable of moments of idiocy, as doubtless my other half will attest. However, in the home setting, my failings are (usually with good humour) pointed out to me. So, when someone (let’s call them William) wrote on a Facebook post of mine that ‘Comparing polio to covid...
COVID-19 PCR testing – what is it, what are false positives and false negatives, and why do they matter?
SARS-CoV-2 is the virus that causes the disease COVID-19 (see my previous blog post for how we know this). Each particle of the virus is essentially a ball-shaped shell containing a bit of material called RNA (similar...
“No one has taken this fragment of protein, infected someone with it and proved that it causes disease.”
This is a direct quote from a letter sent to me by someone who is not convinced that COVID-19 is caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. As a science educator, I rather feel that the scientific community has failed somewhere...
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Dr Mark Levesley
Science Education Writer