It takes between 30 and 45 minutes for vaccine developer Troy Sutton to don all the gear he needs to enter Penn State’s high-containment biosafety lab. Read his account of why he feels safer handling live SARS-CoV-2 virus in that lab than going to the grocery store.

This week’s research and science news also features the latest findings on airborne spread of the coronavirus and why, from an evolutionary medicine perspective, the virus is different from many other pathogens. And with public protests across the country, a legal scholar examines the risks of using big data and surveillance technologies in law enforcement.

Martin La Monica

Deputy Editor

Troy Sutton works with potentially deadly pathogens but the right precautions greatly reduce the risks. Penn State

I study coronavirus in a highly secured biosafety lab – here’s why I feel safer here than in the world outside

Troy Sutton, Pennsylvania State University

To find a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine, scientists need to work hands-on with the highly infectious coronavirus. It happens in a super secure lab designed to keep them safe and prevent any escapes.

Dead men do tell tales through their physical remains. AP Photo/Francesco Bellini

What the archaeological record reveals about epidemics throughout history – and the human response to them

Charlotte Roberts, Durham University; Gabriel D. Wrobel, Michigan State University; Michael Westaway, The University of Queensland

People have lived with infectious disease throughout the millennia, with culture and biology influencing each other. Archaeologists decode the stories told by bones and what accompanies them.

An artistic rendering of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes the COVID-19 illness. Getty Images / s-cphoto

How the coronavirus escapes an evolutionary trade-off that helps keep other pathogens in check

Athena Aktipis, Arizona State University; Joe Alcock, University of New Mexico

Pathogens typically face a trade-off between virulence and transmission. But that's not the case with SARS-CoV-2.

Other Good Finds