Editor's note

It’s springtime and many people are itching to get out of their houses, but there’s a danger lurking in nature for many Americans: ticks. This article, written by a scientist who has followed Lyme disease for some 40 years, explains the ecological history of the illness and why it's so hard to stop its spread.

Also this week in science research and news: an excellent description of what needs to happen for a COVID-19 vaccine to become available within 18 months and how artificial intelligence is helping makes sense of the flood of coronavirus research.

Martin La Monica

Deputy Editor

Ticks that transmit Lyme disease continue to expand their range. AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty

How the Lyme disease epidemic is spreading and why ticks are so hard to stop

Durland Fish, Yale University

Reforestation and reintroduced deer populations are helping ticks expand their range. The parasites bring the bacteria that causes Lyme disease with them.

A coronavirus vaccine is coming, but when? Francesco Carta fotografo/Moment via Getty Images

What needs to go right to get a coronavirus vaccine in 12-18 months

Marcos E. García-Ojeda, University of California, Merced

Vaccine development is usually a long process. The coronavirus pandemic is forcing researchers to innovate and test potential vaccines faster than ever before.

Artificial intelligence can do what humans can’t – connect the dots across the majority of coronavirus research. baranozdemir/E+ via Getty Images

AI tool searches thousands of scientific papers to guide researchers to coronavirus insights

Amalie Trewartha, University of California, Berkeley; John Dagdelen, University of California, Berkeley

The scientific community is churning out vast quantities of research about the coronavirus pandemic – far too much for researchers to absorb. An AI system aims to do the heavy lifting for them.

Other good finds