COVID-19


THE JOURNAL NATURE depicted the two new types of nucleic acid vaccines: DNA and RNA. The FDA-approved vaccines for COVID-19 are RNA vaccines. This diagram shows that the vaccine injects RNA genetic material that enters our cells, where it is translated into proteins. Antibodies formed in response to these viral proteins bind to coronavirus cells upon attack, which helps activate our immune system. Courtesy of Nature.com and originally published this year in an article by Ewen Callaway at www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-01221-y
COVID-19 has led scientists to search for the right vaccine that will help us end this pandemic. The newest forms of vaccines are being developed meticulously, informed by centuries of vaccine research, and have shown great promise. While all the scientific news may seem overwhelming, it’s important to note that vaccines have long aided our fight in eradicating diseases, among them smallpox and polio. All vaccines introduce viral components or “antigens” to our immune system, and in response we produce antibodies. Binding of the antibodies to the antigens can both block a virus from infecting...

MISSY HOLLAND OF Bristol feels that the COVID-19 pandemic has taken away the ability to act spontaneously, but she has adjusted. Recently she drove through parts of Vermont she hadn't previously seen and enjoyed having a new experience, something the pandemic has made difficult to find.
Missy Holland, like most Vermonters, has been spending time at home in Bristol during the COVID-19 pandemic, navigating the world of virtual interaction over Zoom and finding time to walk with friends (physically distanced and masked, of course). A retired higher education administrator and a trustee of the Rokeby Museum in Ferrisburgh, Holland has called Vermont her home for the past 10 years, although she still travels to New York City, where she also has a home. Her interest in being interviewed for this project on the COVID-19 pandemic stems from wanting to help students complete projects...
Racism is a belief system that cannot be completely eradicated. Although many institutions, public health administration, racial justice organizations, and individuals work to take actions against racism, it is still prevalent in the United States. And this year, we, as a country, took a step back from creating a safe and fair environment for the people of color (POCs). Innumerable incidents this year resulting from the pandemic illustrate that racism is still a serious issue in the United States. Because the origin of the coronavirus was China, the stereotype developed that Asians and Asian-...
Students in a biochemistry course at Middlebury College, in developing the COVID and Community stories, developed and distributed a survey about COVID-19 in fall 2020. The survey was open from Oct. 29 through Nov. 17. They received responses from 349 participants. Below are aggregated data from the survey.   1) In what town in Addison County do you reside? 2) Rate your concern about COVID-19 on a scale of 1-10. 1 being not concerned and 10 being extremely concerned. 3) On a scale of 1 to 5 (1 being insufficient, 5 being excessive), rate the safety precautions (i.e., physical distancing,...
A COVID-19 vaccine is likely the most efficient way to fight the coronavirus pandemic and return to normalcy. However, vaccines typically require years of development before wide distribution. The fastest vaccine development prior to Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine was that for mumps, which took four years. The typical vaccine takes about a decade or longer (12 to 14 years). Researchers expedited development of a COVID-19 vaccine, so people can receive a vaccine as soon as possible. In light of concerns about the potential health risks of an accelerated vaccine, we hope to explain how vaccine can...

LEAH SKYPECK
Since March 2020, healthcare providers have been on the forefront of the COVID-19 pandemic, adapting to new information and treatment options in order to achieve optimal patient outcomes. Vermont health professionals are no exception, and our local physicians, physician assistants, nurses and EMS staff have been working together to treat COVID-19 patients while continuing to study best practices and optimize patient care. One of these health professionals is Leah Skypeck, a physician assistant in the intensive care unit at the Rutland Regional Medical Center. She joined us (virtually) for an...

THREE MIDDLEBURY COLLEGE students — Matt Brockley, Jenny Pushner and Carter Lombardi — created a video that graphically shows how the coronavirus attacks, how the human body defends itself, vaccines’ role, and why face coverings and social distancing work to defeat the coronavirus. This slide shows the coronavirus, left, preparing to attack to a lung cell.
The coronavirus, also known as SARS-CoV-2, has drastically altered the way we live our day to day lives. Including social distancing, entering a quarantine that affected much of the nation last spring, and the hazards to our health, the uncertainty of this virus has been the source of much stress and anxiety. Hopefully by sharing a bit of knowledge we gained in our biochem studies we, students at Middlebury College, can begin to demystify the science behind the virus and how it might be overcome with a vaccine. But first, let us explain what COVID is and how the coronavirus infects our bodies...
Americans have been suffering the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic for more than nine months, though the severity of these effects varies across racial and ethnic groups. In the United States, both nationally and within Vermont, the systemic racism that people from racial and ethnic minority communities face poses serious health consequences. Within these groups, the inequities presented as a consequence of systemic racism range from implicit bias among healthcare providers to economic gaps that force racial and ethnic minorities to continue working in-person despite the risk of contracting...

PAOLA MEZA
In a difficult time like this it is important for Vermont residents to understand the healthcare resources that are available, especially for treating COVID-19. During the pandemic the well-being of Vermont residents has been a top priority for officials and institutions on federal, state and local levels. However, even with the incredible response that Vermont has made to provide more-than-adequate healthcare and preventative services, these resources are ineffective if they’re not being used. It should be clear how all Vermont residents, regardless of insurance status, can get the support...
There are many populations throughout the United States and the world that are disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. One of these groups is individuals living on the 326 Native American reservations in the United States, comprised of the 574 recognized Native Nations. Many factors contribute to the disproportionate COVID burden on reservations, including limited access to healthcare caused by historic governmental neglect. While there are not any Native American reservations in Vermont because the Native Nations that were here ended up in Canadian reservations, this is an...

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Addison County Independent