Tag Archives: Covid 19

Questioning immunology and the soul

Vani Ghai Pune, India   Healing ulcers on the lower leg. The ulceration may have been due to varicose veins. Watercolor drawing by S. A. Sewell. Wellcome Collection. CC BY 4.0. The long and tiring battle with COVID has stimulated modern medicine to investigate new approaches to understanding the science of immunity. It has long […]

Book review: How the NHS Coped with COVID-19

Arpan K. Banerjee Solihull, United Kingdom   Cover of How the NHS Coped with COVID-19 by Ellen Welch. This work is a timely and important contribution to the literature on the COVID-19 pandemic, which has wreaked havoc worldwide. Following the cluster of pneumonia cases of unknown cause in Wuhan, China at the end of 2019, things […]

Rapid testing for the masses

Anthony Papagiannis Thessaloniki, Greece   A summer camp of flowers. Photo by author. Ten young girls are queueing outside the makeshift surgery. They are between eleven and fifteen, they wear face masks, they giggle and tease each other and try to encourage the timid ones before the coming ordeal. What is this going to be? […]

Gain of function

Jayant Radhakrishnan Darien, Illinois, United States   “It is no good to try to stop knowledge from going forward. Ignorance is never better than knowledge.” – Enrico Fermi (1901–1954)   SARS-CoV-2 virus anatomy with proteins labeled. Created by Maya Peters Kostman for the Innovative Genomics Institute. CC BY-NC-SA 4.0. “Gain of Function” (GoF) burst into […]

A poet for a patient: A tenth century poem by al Mutanabbi

Sama Alreddawi Barry Meisenberg Annapolis, Maryland, United States   “The Night Visitor”1 …عَليـلُ الجِسـمِ مُمتَنِـعُ القِـيـامِ شَديدُ السُكرِ مِـن غَيـرِ المُـدامِ …وزَائِرَتـي كَـأَنَّ بِهـا حَـيـاءً فَلَيـسَ تَـزورُ إِلّا فـي الظَـلامِ بَذَلتُ لَها المَطـارِفَ وَالحَشايـا… فَعافَتهـا وَباتَـت فـي عِظامـي يَضيقُ الجِلدُ عَن نَفسـي وَعَنهـا… فَتوسِـعُـهُ بِـأَنـواعِ السِـقـامِ …إِذا مـا فارَقَتـنـي غَسَّلَتـنـي كَأَنّـا عاكِفـانِ عَلـى حَــرامِ كَأَنَّ […]

Book review: Understanding the NHS

Arpan K. Banerjee Solihull, United Kingdom   Book cover of Understanding the NHS by Andy Stein, 2022. The National Health Service in the United Kingdom was founded in 1948 by Aneurin Bevan, a Welsh Labour Party politician and health minister in Clement Attlee’s post-war Labour government. Bevan was a coal miner before entering Parliament in […]

Dr. Oriol Mitjà: seeking to understand old and new infectious diseases

Howard Fischer Uppsala, Sweden   “Research needs to give answers to real problems.” – Dr. Oriol Mitjà   Oriol Mitjà. Photo by Oriol.mitja, 2016, on Wikimedia. CC BY-SA 4.0. Dr. Oriol Mitjà (b. 1980) earned his M.D. degree from the University of Barcelona. He then completed an internal medicine residency, followed by a fellowship in […]

“Panama disease”: a pandemic…for bananas

Elizabeth Ruda Chicago, Illinois, United States   “Standard” Cavendish bananas. Crop of photo by Steve Hopson, 2007, on Flickr. CC BY 2.0. Gros Michel bananas. Crop of photo by Zwifree, 2018, on Wikimedia. CC BY 4.0. The average person does not go to the grocery store, look around the produce section, and think, “Wow, these […]

Revising my bargain with the deity

Barry Perlman New York, New York, United States   Photo by S. Tsuchiya on Unsplash. My parents lived into their nineties. Before they died, they endured years of dementia. Aware of my potential genetic inheritance, I have long harbored a deep dread of what my future might hold. If my curved pinky fingers were inherited […]

Battle of six feet

Mark Mosley Wichita, Kansas, United States   Sleep (w/CPAP). Artwork by Howard J on Flickr, October 19, 2020. CC BY-NC 2.0. They die alone now; jet pilots soaring solo upward muffled voices sucked into machines speaking a language we recognize but too distant to quite understand until their plastic faces harden and eyes glaze over […]