Global responses to the pandemic may lead to a relapse in polio.

By Emily Harari, Sophie Timmermann and Diyala Shihadih

Elena Conis contributed research

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Image by Emily Harari.

For decades, the world has worked to eradicate polio, and we have never been closer. On August 24, the entire Africa-region was certified wild-polio-free. Now, only two endemic countries remain: Afghanistan and Pakistan.

But global responses to the novel coronavirus threaten to reverse these culminating achievements in unprecedented disease control. The global campaign to keep polio at bay was largely suspended in spring to stem the spread of the coronavirus.

Failure to achieve polio eradication could result in a global resurgence “with as many as 200,000 new cases…


The life of Dr. Peggy Lemaux and her “gluten-free” wheat

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Image by Emily Harari.

Two heads hovered over the lab bench. “It worked,” Myeong-Je Cho said, pointing to a single, fuzzy black band on the freshly printed paper. The size of a paper clip, it was what every geneticist hoped to see. The results indicated that his gene had made it, “transformed,” into the cell. Cho, a postdoc at the University of California, Berkeley in 1996, came there to work with one of the leaders in genetic transformation. He stepped aside so the expert, his supervisor, could see the results for herself.

Peggy Lemaux’s green eyes flicked from the paper to Cho with the…

Emily Harari

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