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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.”

Popular Science

MIT researchers have created a new filter from tree branches that could provide an inexpensive, biodegradable, low-tech option for water purification, writes Shaena Montanari for Popular Science. “We hope that our work empowers such people to further develop and commercialize xylem water filters tailored to local needs to benefit communities around the world,” says Prof. Rohit Karnik.

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.”

United Press International (UPI)

UPI reporter Brooks Hays writes that MIT researchers have created a new water filter from tree branches that can remove bacteria. “The filter takes advantage of the natural sieving abilities of xylem -- thin, interconnected membranes found in the sapwood branches of pine, ginkgo and other nonflowering trees,” writes Hays.

GBH

"You remember when we go to election polls, the voting booth, during elections, we get a little sticker that says 'I Voted'" says Prof. Sinan Aral of a new study that finds hearing about people who have received the Covid-19 vaccine can increase vaccine acceptance rates. "You should think of this as a very similar type of strategy. The reason we get that sticker that says 'I Voted' is that social proof motivates people to join in. And so if we got a sticker or put out a video or put out a message that said, 'I got vaccinated,' it would have the same effect for the same reasons."

The New Yorker

New Yorker reporter Benjamin Wallace-Wells spotlights new research from the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy, which shows “just telling people the accurate immunization rates in their country increased, by five per cent, the number who said that they would get the vaccine.”

CNN

CNN reporter Jacque Smith highlights Prof. Amy Moran-Thomas’ work calling attention to how pulse oximeters can overestimate oxygen levels in darker-skinned patients.

The Washington Post

Washington Post reporter Christopher Ingraham spotlights a study co-authored by research affiliate Christos Makridis that finds communities with higher levels of interconnectedness and communal trust experienced less severe Covid-19 outbreaks in 2020. Makridis and his co-authors found “when individuals have a greater concern for others, they are more willing to follow hygienic practices and social distancing.”

The New Yorker

Writing for The New Yorker, Sheelah Kolhatkar spotlights Biobot Analytics, an MIT startup that is studying sewage for the purpose of tracking diseases and the spread of Covid-19. “It’s about our health and well-being in general,” says Biobot co-founder and president Newsha Ghaeli. “It’s about understanding nutrition disparities in communities, understanding stress levels, pervasive infectious diseases like influenza or Zika virus.”

Stat

Writing for STAT, Prof. Kevin Esvelt explores how we can stop the spread of the B-117, a variant of SARS-CoV-2. Going forward, Esvelt and his co-author argue that “over the next few years we must build a genomic monitoring system to detect evolutionary changes in viral, bacterial, and other pathogens that could require new measures to protect public health, and that could detect new pandemic pathogens of any provenance early enough to intervene.”

WBUR

In a new white paper, senior lecturer Steve Spear examines how the U.S. can prepare to better handle the next pandemic, reports Carey Goldberg for WBUR. Spear and his co-author are “calling for a system that would be better at amplifying pandemic lessons learned locally, to be sure the best known methods are shared and scaled up.”

New York Times

Marc Zissman, associate division head at Lincoln Lab, speaks with New York Times reporter Jennifer Valentino-DeVries about the challenges associated with encouraging people to use coronavirus tracing apps.

Newsweek

MIT researchers have developed a model that could help people estimate the risks of contracting Covid-19 in different scenarios, reports Emily Czachor for Newsweek. The tool “provides calculations which estimate how many people can remain within an enclosed space, and for how long, before they are theoretically exposed to the virus.”

WBUR

Writing for WBUR, Prof. Kate Kellogg and alumna Noa Ghersin outline how to help prevent outbreaks of Covid-19 at long-term care facilities. “Nursing homes lack the resources of other institutions,” they write. “They aren’t states, they aren’t cities, they aren’t major hospital systems.”

Boston 25 News

MIT researchers have developed a new model that could be used to help determine “how long you will be safe in a room with someone who is positive for COVID-19 based on room type, size and even the ventilation and filtration system,” reports Boston 25 News.