Covering the pandemic has posed a number of challenges for our newsroom, not the least of which is deciding how to cover new scientific studies in a way that gives readers the latest data while also reflecting the uncertainty in emerging research. This article, Why we can’t ‘boost’ our way out of the COVID-19 pandemic for the long term, walks that line very well, giving people practical information based on the new research and – crucially – explaining how scientists themselves interpret the latest scientific research. Immunologists Prakash and Mitzi Nagarkatti from the University of South Carolina explain how the immune system responds to the current COVID-19 vaccines and why retooled vaccines and annual shots are likely.

Jaguars once roamed as far north as the Grand Canyon but today are largely confined to locations south of the border with Mexico. Two wildlife biologists have studied jaguar populations and explain the importance of wildlife corridors, one of which in this case is partially blocked by a border wall. “Increasing connectivity – linking small patches of habitat into larger networks – is a key strategy for conserving large animals that range over wide areas and for maintaining functional ecological communities,” they write.

One of the biggest stories in biotechnology over the past year was the FDA approval of Aduhelm to treat Alzheimer’s disease. In the latest twist, Medicare earlier this month finalized a decision to cover only those patients who are participating in clinical trials, in sharp contrast to the FDA’s approval. But does the drug actually work? Physician Andrew Williams digs into this question in detail and, in doing so, reveals the complex challenges in developing treatments for Alzheimer’s.

Also in this week’s science and research news:

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Although the COVID-19 vaccines have saved millions of lives, they have been insufficient at preventing breakthrough infections. Andriy Onufriyenko/Moment via Getty Images

Why we can’t ‘boost’ our way out of the COVID-19 pandemic for the long term

Prakash Nagarkatti, University of South Carolina; Mitzi Nagarkatti, University of South Carolina

Research suggests that too-frequent immunizations may lead to a phenomenon called “immune exhaustion.”

A jaguar in Brazil’s Patanal region. Sergio Pitamitz /VWPics/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Jaguars could return to the US Southwest – but only if they have pathways to move north

Ganesh Marin, University of Arizona; John Koprowski, University of Wyoming

Keeping landscapes connected can help protect wild animals and plants. In the US Southwest, border wall construction is closing off corridors that jaguars and other at-risk species use.

An illustration of amyloid plaques within the human brain, characteristic features of Alzheimer’s. By 2060, approximately 14 million Americans are expected to have the disease. Kateryna Kon/Science Photo Library via Getty Images

The FDA approved a new drug to treat Alzheimer’s, but Medicare won’t always pay for it – a doctor explains what researchers know about Biogen’s Aduhelm

Andrew Williams, Albert Einstein College of Medicine

Although Medicare has agreed to pay for Aduhelm, its coverage comes with restrictions.