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Smallpox has been eradicated from the face of the Earth following a highly effective, worldwide vaccination campaign. Paralytic poliomyelitis is no longer a problem in the U.S. because of development and use of effective vaccines against the poliovirus. In current times, millions of lives have been saved because of rapid deployment of effective vaccines against COVID-19. And yet, it has been 37 years since HIV was discovered as the cause of AIDS, and there is no vaccine.

Throughout the pandemic, millions of Americans wondered: “Is the cure worse than the disease?”

The question implies a trade-off between “the cure,” in the form of economic shutdowns, and “the disease,” COVID-19. This debate dominated headlines in the first months of the pandemic. More than a year later, it continues to be a partisan lighting rod.

But our research shows that mortality during the pandemic in America has never fit the narrative that pits economic shutdowns against COVID-19.

The recent announcement that scientists have made human-monkey embryos and cultured them in the lab for two weeks made international headlines.

The technology to make animals that contain cells from other species has been available for decades and used extensively in research. These organisms are called “chimeras”.

But this latest advance highlights the need to broaden the discussion around the possible benefits of such research and, specifically, how inter-species chimeric research should be conducted in future.

At the height of his career, the pioneering electrical engineer Nikola Tesla became obsessed with an idea. He theorised that electricity could be transmitted wirelessly through the air at long distances – either via a series of strategically positioned towers, or hopping across a system of suspended balloons.

Things didn’t go to plan, and Tesla’s ambitions for a wireless global electricity supply were never realised. But the theory itself wasn’t disproved: it would have simply required an extraordinary amount of power, much of which would have been wasted.

Tens of millions of people across the U.S. have received a coronavirus vaccine. So far, the majority of doses have been either the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine, both of which use mRNA to generate an immune response. These gene-based vaccines have been in the works for decades, but this is the first time they have been used widely in people.

I still believed in God (I am now an atheist) when I heard the following question at a seminar, first posed by Einstein, and was stunned by its elegance and depth: ‘If there is a God who created the entire universe and ALL of its laws of physics, does God follow God’s own laws? Or can God supersede his own laws, such as traveling faster than the speed of light and thus being able to be in two different places at the same time?’ Could the answer help us prove whether or not God exists or is this where scientific empiricism and religious faith intersect, with NO true answer? David Frost, 67, Los Angeles.