The items below are highlights from the newsletter, “Smart, useful, science stuff about COVID-19.” To receive newsletter issues daily in your inbox, sign-up here.

STAT has published a nicely written, technical piece by Sharon Begley that describes some unusual features of how SARS-CoV-2 infects our cells and hijacks our genes to make copies to itself. It does so “in a way that might explain why the elderly are more likely to die of COVID-19 and why antiviral drugs might not only save sick patients’ lives but also prevent severe disease if taken before infection,” Begley writes (5/21/20).

A 5/19/20 story by Ewen Callaway for Nature provides excellent context and analysis for interpreting the true promise of recent news about advances in three efforts to develop a vaccine to protect against the new coronavirus. “We might have vaccines in the clinic that are useful in people within 12 or 18 months,” says a University of Wisconsin-Madison virologist quoted in the story.

Take a spin through Ben Johnson’s 5/15/20 COVID-19 coronavirus compendium of research highlights. Johnson is head of communities and engagement for Springer Nature. Entries include a study identifying new targets in the genes and in an external protein of SARS-CoV-2 for antiviral drugs; a study linking a drop in Milan’s air pollutants to Italy's lockdown; surveys finding high levels of knowledge in China about the outbreak and high compliance with public health measures in Nigeria; and research describing cases and outbreaks in Brazil and Peru.

This 5/13/20 piece illustrates the workings of the Abbott Laboratories’ ID Now test for the new coronavirus. Thanks to a reader for referring me to this story, by Jeremy White and Keith Collins at The New York Times 

Here’s a free download of the June issue of Scientific American, featuring a special report on the coronavirus pandemic, “how it started, where it’s headed, and how scientists are fighting back.”

“Never go back to the office” and “Get used to working from home,” read the headline and sub-headline/teaser of this essay by Juliette Kayyem, a former assistant secretary of U.S. Department of Homeland Security who currently is at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. The Atlantic (5/19/20). 

“Three stretches to tend to the aches and pains of working from home,” by A.C. Shilton for The New York Times (5/19/20). I got some instant relief just by doing the stretches as shown in the story’s photos.

Read more about the coronavirus outbreak from Scientific American here. And read coverage from our international network of magazines here.