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New model accurately describes COVID-19 waves and plateaus

December 14, 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic has gone on much longer than many predicted in its earliest months. The world has closely watched its progression, with infection rates measured out on graphs in large waves that sometimes taper to extended plateaus, rather than disappearing as traditional epidemiological models would have suggested they should. Meanwhile, scientists have been working to better understand the factors governing the wave and plateau dynamics of the spread of COVID-19, to be able to better forecast future outbreaks in this pandemic and future epidemics.


December 14, 2021


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COVID viral spike protein region senses temperature, drives seasonal mutation patterns

December 10, 2021

New analyses from University of Illinois researchers show that, underneath all the variants and waves, COVID-19 has been cycling seasonally across the globe for nearly two years.

More significantly, the researchers identify a molecular culprit for the virus’s seasonal nature. The finding could help predict future mutations and potentially pave the way for new therapeutics or vaccines.


December 10, 2021


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Protein ‘big bang’ reveals molecular makeup for medicine and bioengineering

June 30, 2021

Proteins have been quietly taking over our lives since the COVID-19 pandemic began. We’ve been living at the whim of the virus’s so-called “spike” protein, which has mutated dozens of times to create increasingly deadly variants. But the truth is, we have always been ruled by proteins. At the cellular level, they’re responsible for pretty much everything.


June 30, 2021


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Portable, affordable, accurate, fast: Team invents new COVID-19 test

May 19, 2021

A new coronavirus test can get accurate results from a saliva sample in less than 30 minutes, researchers report in the journal Nature Communications. Many of the components of the hand-held device used in this technology can be 3D-printed, and the test can detect as little as one viral particle per 1-microliter drop of fluid.


May 19, 2021


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Study maps COVID-19 health disparities in Greater Santiago

April 27, 2021

People up to age 40 living in economically depressed municipalities in the Greater Santiago, Chile, metropolitan area were three times more likely to die as a result of the infection than their counterparts in wealthier areas, researchers report in the journal Science. People ages 41-80 in low socioeconomic-status municipalities also suffered more from the pandemic than their peers in more affluent areas, the team found.


April 27, 2021


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K-12 Shield Playbook offers guidance for reopening schools

April 15, 2021

A new resource is available to help guide teachers and school administrators as they reopen schools amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, assembled by researchers and experts at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. 

As vaccines for the virus that causes COVID-19 become more accessible, more communities and schools are reopening. However, no vaccines have been approved for children under 16 to date, leaving school districts with many questions to navigate as they reopen and plan for the 2021-22 school year.


April 15, 2021


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COVID-19 peaks reflect time-dependent social activity, not herd immunity

April 14, 2021

Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory and the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) have developed a new mathematical model for predicting how epidemics such as COVID-19 spread. This model not only accounts for individuals’ varying biological susceptibility to infection but also their levels of social activity, which naturally change over time. Using their model, the team showed that a temporary state of collective immunity—which they termed “transient collective immunity”—emerged during the early, fast-paced stages of the epidemic.


April 14, 2021


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