75 years ago, on August 6, 1945, the US dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan—killing tens of thousands of people, leveling the city, and unleashing a nuclear arms race that still threatens humanity.

On July 6, 1885, a boy received the first vaccine against rabies. Now, we mark the historic event with World Zoonoses Day—which feels more relevant than ever this year, with a world unmoored by COVID-19 and an endless parade of other zoonotic threats. “Not all zoonotic…

Juneteenth, marking June 19, 1865—the day that a military order informed thousands of slaves in Texas they were free—has long been a day of deep significance and meaning to the African-American community. Yet too many Americans are just now learning about it. And perhaps…

As the massive, wearisome effort to stop COVID-19 presses on, it’s worth pausing to remember the successful eradication of another highly infective and deadly virus: smallpox. 

COVID-19 is far from the first illness to take an inordinate toll on Native Americans.   Past theories posited that the scourge of disease on Native Americans was due to lack of immunity to the diseases of colonizing Europeans.   But newer research points to more egregious…

The 1918 flu and other pandemics of yore didn’t need air travel to spread like wildfire—and closing borders today won’t stop COVID-19, either.   But today we have the strongest weapon ever against pandemics: information, writes the historian Noah Harari.   COVID-19’s…

N of 1 studies tend to get a bad rep compared “gold standard” large randomized control trials. But is that fair?   With N of 1 studies, “instead of taking a few measurements from many people, researchers can conduct many measurements from one person over time.” A growing…

Amidst a world consumed with big-picture worries, the contributions of a single person often get overlooked. They shouldn’t. Our children first met Barbara McGill when they were toddlers. Sitting on their mom’s lap, they clapped hands, bashed cymbals, and began to learn…

Ebola is named after the Ebola River. Marburg virus after a German university town. Legionnaires’ Disease was coined after an outbreak at an American Legion convention.   These nicknames may roll off the tongue—but they can also “provoke a backlash against members of…

Jean-Jacques Muyembe could have stayed in Europe after earning his PhD.   Instead, the epidemiologist returned to DRC in 1976, where he discovered the new, fast-killing disease later named Ebola.   The rest is history—much of it contorted to fit a colonial mold, writing out…