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Pandemic

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National Public Radio (NPR)

Prof. Evan Lieberman speaks with NPR’s Michael Martin about how the pandemic’s racial disparities have affected people’s public policy views. “I think it's important for us to keep reminding one another how interconnected we are, how our shared fate exists together depending on the actions we take and don't take, and perhaps that we have a common purpose beyond, you know, national borders and obligations towards one another,” says Lieberman.

Quartz

MIT researchers are applying machine learning algorithms typically used for natural language processing to identify coronavirus variants, reports Brian Browdie for Quartz. “Besides being able to quantify the potential for mutations to escape, the research may pave the way for vaccines that broaden the body’s defenses against variants or that protect recipients against more than one virus, such as flu and the novel coronavirus, in a single shot,” writes Browdie. 

Associated Press

Hashim Sarkis, dean of the School of Architecture and Planning, speaks with AP reporter Colleen Barry about the Venice Biennale for architecture, which was postponed for a year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Sarkis, who is serving as the curator, notes that he used the extra year to expand the show to seven sections “to deepen the discussion about architecture and its vital role in today’s society.”

CNN

Prof. Yossi Sheffi speaks with CNN’s Zachary Wolf about how the Covid-19 pandemic has affected supply chains, impacting the supply of ketchup packets and causing delays in computer chips. “During the pandemic many industries reduced their orders and suppliers reduced their orders and capacity even further (because they anticipated that future orders will also be reduced),” says Sheffi. “When the economy came back, there was no capacity to snap right back.”

Gizmodo

Gizmodo reporter Andrew Liszewski spotlights MIT startup OPT Industries, which has created a new type of Covid-19 nasal swab “that’s faster at absorbing samples, and better at releasing it for analysis.”

The Atlantic

A new study by Prof. Jeffrey Harris finds that the extensive research invested in developing a vaccine for HIV has contributed to the successful development of Covid-19 vaccines, writes Derek Thompson for The Atlantic. Nearly 90 percent of COVID-19 vaccines that made it to clinical trials used technology that “could be traced back to prototypes tested in HIV vaccine trials,” Harris found.

HealthCare Asia Daily

Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology (SMART) researchers have developed a new lab-free immune profiling assay that can be used “to better profile aggressive, rapidly changing host immune response in cases of infection, for example COVID-19,” reports HealthCare Asia Daily.

Wired

Wired reporter Matt Reynolds spotlights how several MIT researchers have been studying the neurological impacts of loneliness and social isolation.

Forbes

Writing for Forbes, Joseph Coughlin, director of the Age Lab, explores some of the surprises that Millennials, Gen X’ers, and younger Boomers have learned living at home for an extended period during the Covid-19 pandemic. "While Covid quarantine is certainly not entirely like retirement, there are more than a few similarities,” writes Coughlin. “The friction and complexities it has added to daily life are enough for many to question brochure-based thinking of what retirement might be.”

WHDH 7

7 News reporter Byron Barnett spotlights how MIT researchers are developing new face masks aimed at stopping the spread of Covid-19. Prof. Giovanni Traverso is creating reusable masks with pop-put disposable filters, and Prof. Michael Strano is developing a mask that could “destroy the virus, using a nine-volt battery to heat the mask and kill the virus before the wearer breathes it in.”

Scientific Inquirer

A new assay developed by researchers from the Critical Analytics for Manufacturing Personalized-Medicine (CAMP), an Interdisciplinary Research Group (IRG) at the Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology (SMART), can profile the “rapidly changing host immune response in case of infection, in a departure from existing methods that focus on detecting the pathogens themselves,” reports the Scientific Inquirer.

The Wall Street Journal

Wall Street Journal reporter Suzanne Oliver spotlights two MIT efforts to innovate the face mask. Prof. Giovanni Traverso and his colleagues are developing a reusable, silicon-rubber mask with “sensors that give feedback on fit and functionality,” while Prof. Michael Strano has designed a version that “incorporates a copper mesh heated to about 160 degrees that traps and deactivates the virus.”

Fast Company

Prof. Sherry Turkle speaks with Fast Company reporter Alex Pasternack about her memoir, “The Empathy Diaries” and the role of technology in society.

NY Post

NY Post reporter Asia Grace writes that MIT researchers have found that patients are comfortable with allowing robotic assistants perform medical evaluations, as part of an effort to help reduce the spread of Covid-19. “People are very positive and accepting of robotic systems in health-care settings, particularly during the pandemic,” says Prof. Giovanni Traverso.

Time Magazine

Writing for Time, Prof. Sherry Turkle explores whether the sense of displacement caused by the pandemic will allow people and the U.S. the opportunity to see “our country anew.” Turkle writes, “I came to a new state of mind because I could see my country anew. And although our country was at war with itself, I felt a deeper connection with other people who were also seeing anew. On the Zoom screens of the pandemic, I found the exhilaration of new connections.”