The Daily Dose: AstraZeneca vaccine questions answered; Compassion among silverback gorillas.

Thanks to AstraZeneca’s clumsiness, there are a lot of doubts about the safety and efficacy of their COVID-19 vaccine. It can be hard to parse through all of the news and data (for the more adventurous readers). Thankfully, the folks at Nature assembled a handy review addressing the various questions surrounding the vaccine: What is the vaccine’s role in the pandemic? How effective is the vaccine? How safe is the vaccine? How well does the vaccine work in elderly people? What is the optimal timing of doses? What will be the impact of this week’s confusion on the US rollout? How does the Oxford–AstraZeneca vaccine perform against variants? It’s a very helpful read. https://go.nature.com/3f5aZXc


Since the beginning of the pandemic, Sweden has taken a slightly different approach than their European neighbors. While they advised social distancing and small groups during gatherings, they have avoided strict lockdowns. Al-Jazeera reports on how they have done against the virus. “Sweden, which has shunned the strict lockdowns that have choked much of the global economy, emerged from 2020 with a smaller increase in its overall mortality rate than most European countries, an analysis of official data sources showed… Infectious disease experts cautioned that the results could not be interpreted as evidence that lockdowns were unnecessary but acknowledged they may indicate Sweden’s overall stance on fighting the pandemic had merits worth studying.” https://bit.ly/2PmWkvN


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Intensive agriculture has done significant damage to the environment. A recent study explored one way to address that problem. “Ecological restoration of farmland could potentially contribute to this goal… These results show that the economic contribution of rural land is far greater than that attributable to agricultural production alone. Landscape-scale restoration of agricultural land can potentially increase the contribution of farmland to economic development and employment, by increasing flows of multiple ES to the many economic sectors that depend on them.” Question is whether the political will to implement this approach exists. https://bit.ly/2PmWCCT


Gorillas have shown a surprising trait. Adoption. Per Science, “An analysis of 53 years of data on mountain gorillas at the Gorilla Fund’s Karisoke Research Center in Rwanda has revealed that when young mountain gorillas lose their mothers—and sometimes their fathers as well—they do not have a greater risk of dying or losing their place in the social hierarchy because the rest of the group buffers them from the loss.” If only more people could be so kind… https://bit.ly/2NOMfr1

Thanks for reading. Let’s be careful out there.


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