Nearly 10 years ago, when I began this website, my focus and passion were rare genetic diseases, as I embarked on researching and writing "The Forever Fix: Gene Therapy and the Boy Who Saved It" (St. Martin's Press). The narrative non-fiction book was the perfect blend of writing my textbooks and popular articles about genetics and biotechnology.
I never imagined that a decade later, my focus would have shifted from genetic diseases that strike one-in-a-million, to a pandemic of a novel infectious disease that is killing millions.
Like many with a background in biology, COVID-19 wasn't a surprise – the perfect storm of contributory components had been quietly assembling on the other side of the world for years. But I never imagined the degree to which the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 and the disease it causes would impact our lives – and the many ways it would do so.
In January 2020, I began chronicling the pandemic, reaching different audiences: scientists at my DNA Science blog for Public Library of Science, health care workers and patients at Medscape Medical News, and the general public at Genetic Literacy Project, recently adding MedPage Today. "Ricki's COVID Coverage" on the right side of my home page lists my 50+ COVID articles, with links.
Those of us with even a smidgeon of previous knowledge about how the immune response works have been catapulted into the role of educating others. We've also been witness to the most astonishing development of multiple vaccines at unheard of speed. How wonderful to hear average people talking about messenger RNA! It is but one example of the new appreciation for science and scientists that the pandemic will spawn.