Health System Innovation and Policy expert Rena Conti on the historic COVID-19 vaccine deal between Merck and Johnson & Johnson

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In a White House–brokered deal, business rivals Merck and Johnson & Johnson will partner to manufacture the latter’s COVID-19 vaccine. Photo by Alex Gottschalk/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

By Rich Barlow for BU Today

President Joe Biden on Tuesday announced a rare and historic collaboration between two Big Pharma behemoths and rivals, Merck and Johnson & Johnson, in which the former will help manufacture the latter’s recently approved single-shot COVID-19 vaccine.

These collaborations don’t happen often, and when they do, it’s usually in pursuit of something big: in 2004, Sony and Samsung teamed up to research designs for flat-screen LED televisions. In 2011, Toyota and Ford started jointly designing a hybrid vehicle. …


Earth and environment scientist talks about the trouble we should have seen coming and what could lie ahead

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Cutler Cleveland says Texas grid planners elevated cheap electricity above planning priorities and deliberately ignored repeated warnings that the grid was highly vulnerable to extreme weather. Photo by Brett Coomer/Houston Chronicle via AP

By Art Jahnke for BU Today

Last week’s cross-continental deep freeze was a stunning weather event in what appears to be a cascade of extreme weather events, many of them highlighting a lack of preparedness by state and federal agencies. The most recent disaster triggered massive power blackouts in several states, shut down one-third of the country’s oil production, and paralyzed roadways across the South. At least 58 people died, more than half in Texas, where 2 million people lost power and 13 million needed to boil their water before drinking it.

Power blackouts also plagued hundreds of thousands of…


Study shows personal stories are more effective than facts in countering anti-vaxxers

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Photo by zoranm/iStock

By Andrew Thurston for BU Today

Just after Christmas, a Wisconsin pharmacist attempted to destroy 570 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, yanking precious vials from a storage refrigerator. According to multiple reports, he’d become convinced it could alter human DNA. It can’t. Nor, as other false rumors have claimed, will it allow the government to track you or fill your body with fetal tissue — but that hasn’t stopped vaccine misinformation from spreading online, spooking people concerned about potential side effects.

“Misinformation is more impactful than the correction,” says Michelle A. Amazeen, a Boston University associate professor of mass communication.


Expert reflects on his 2020 future-of-work predictions and forecasts what’s ahead for the workforce

By Molly Gluck

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Image credit: Chris Montgomery on Unsplash

Disruption has always been a constant in the workplace — but the COVID-19 pandemic brought on more change than anyone could have expected (or predicted).

For example, before the pandemic only 17 percent of Americans were working remotely 5+ days per week. Now, almost half of the U.S. workforce (44 percent) is fully remote, according to Statista Research Department. Remote or not, over seven million employees have seen their wages drop since March — and many others have had their pay frozen. Unfortunately, the economic fallout from the pandemic did not stop with wage decreases and freezes…


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Vighnesh Viswanathan, a Research Technician in the Reinhart Laboratory, explains the experimental task instructions to study volunteer Eleni Kouvaras before beginning data collection.

At times, we all ‘double-check’ whether we locked the door, or wash our hands again ‘just to be sure.’ However, one billion people worldwide experience these urges so intensely and continuously that they cannot help but do these actions compulsively, over and over again. Despite the prevalence of this distressing condition, our mechanistic understanding of these behaviors is incomplete and effective therapeutics are unavailable. Dr. …


By Gina Mantica

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Secure messaging platforms aren’t necessarily private. Though the messages’ contents might be encrypted, or protected from unauthorized users, the apps can still collect other private information about the platform’s users and communications.

This collection of information about users’ data, known as metadata, is what sparked the historic Federal Trade Commission (FTC) penalty on Facebook in 2019. Now, Facebook is once again at the center of online privacy concerns. WhatsApp, acquired by Facebook in 2014, recently revealed that the app collects private information on its users including (but not limited to) their location information, purchase history, and contact…


By Gina Mantica

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People’s fear of 5G technology is rational. Such technology does emit radiation, even if it’s at low levels. But 5G isn’t all that different from 4G, and it certainly doesn’t cause COVID-19 despite such rumors having spread rapidly across the globe.

Researchers need to better understand how misinformation like this spreads in order to hone their intervention efforts and prevent misinformed perspectives from taking root. In society’s virtual world, preventing technological misinformation, in particular, is important now more than ever.


By Molly Gluck and Sari Cohen

As the COVID-19 pandemic began to sweep the globe, Boston University researchers sprung into action. A team of scientists at Boston University’s National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratories (NEIDL) was the first in Boston to start research on live samples of the coronavirus — and since then, researchers across the University have dropped other projects to join the worldwide effort against COVID-19. Read below for Boston University’s most significant coronavirus-related research developments from the past year, starting with the most recent.

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What are different states doing about COVID-19? Boston University School of Public Health’s Julia…


By Molly Gluck

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Photo by Tim Trad on Unsplash

There is one thing that everyone can agree on about 2020: it was completely unpredictable. For many, this year brought more uncertainty, changes and challenges than any other time period. Although every year comes with industry disruption and innovation — the global pandemic unearthed a whole new dimension of our ‘expect the unexpected’ mentality.

Before the start of this new decade — and of our ‘new normal’ — we asked Boston University experts to share their 2020 predictions for the presidential elections, the environment, and our sentiment towards businesses and brands. As one of the most difficult…


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Image source: Keyang Zheng on Unsplash

By Madeleine O’Keefe

On Sunday, November 3, most of America traveled back in time — by an hour. When daylight saving time ends and we set back our clocks, it signals the transition into late fall and winter.

With this changing of the clocks, daylight ends earlier. When this happens, some people may experience emerging feelings of sadness and sluggishness, and fluctuations in weight. If you suffer from these symptoms, you may have seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a type of depression related to changes in the seasons. SAD affects an estimated 10 million Americans, with women four times more likely…

BU Experts

Cutting-edge research and commentary out of Boston University, home to Nobel laureates, Pulitzer winners and Guggenheim Scholars. Find an expert: bu.edu/experts

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