The Body Scientific

The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations: Progress has been made on Ebola and other diseases

Part 1 of 2


In 2014 and 2015, Ebola virus infection killed 8,698 people in Sierra Leone, 3,337 in Guinea and 3,955 in Liberia. There were survivors, but the death rate was very high, and the threat of a new epidemic lingers. 

A traveler from west Africa brought the disease to Dallas, where a struggle to save him failed and accidentally infected two nurses. Both were moved to the National Institutes of Health and survived. 

Here’s to a good Bastille Day

We think that the election of Donald Trump was the most extraordinary of the recent past, perhaps followed by the Brexit vote, but I venture that the French elections have been the most consequential. 

The left and the right of French politics have been reduced to rubble, with some of their brightest drawn to President Macron’s centrist La Republique En Marche party. The parliamentary elections gave Mr. Macron an enormous majority, formed of many people who had never run for office before. 

The Trials of Denial: Science and the Trump administration

Part 2

Eppur si muove

‘And yet it moves!” These are the words of Galileo, after torture by Pope Urban VIII and the Inquisition forced him to recant the idea that Earth moves around the Sun. Scripture said otherwise, and the Pope had a vested interest in that fiction. Galileo was slammed into house arrest in 1633. 

The trials of denial

Part I


The newly appointed head of the EPA, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, does not accept the evidence for carbon-based climate change. Many members of Congress are climate skeptics, as is President-elect Trump, who called it a hoax. Against the podium pounders of climate denial, it may be a lonely quest, but let me ask: what is the evidence that the “hoax” is instead a real threat?

This is the untold story of the strange case of the child with three parents

The title of this column, which I paraphrased from a journalist who knew how to sell newspapers, is technically true, but does not tell the real story. The title should read: The Strange Case of the Healthy Child with 2.0002 Parents. If you were imagining an equal contribution by three people in a ménage à trois, you can relax. Take a deep breath!

Public health systems and the Zika virus

Your tax dollars at work

Zika virus has been covered in the press, and I have been tempted to leave it to others, but it may be interesting to get down in the weeds and ask how public health officials and virologists are responding. Does Zika virus have an Achilles’ heel? Can we learn from related viruses?

How a rabies vaccine captured the public’s imagination in 1885

Infection and its control

Part 3

The arms race we are now losing

Infection and its control, antibiotic resistance

Part 5