The New York Times, December 22, 2021 (with Rebecca Robbins)


The Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday authorized the first pill for Covid-19, offering a highly effective defense against severe illness that will arrive as the country endures another major surge of the pandemic.

The drug, developed by Pfizer and known as Paxlovid, is authorized for Covid patients age 12 and over who are vulnerable to becoming severely ill because they are older or have medical conditions such as obesity or diabetes. Tens of millions of Americans — including both vaccinated and unvaccinated people — will be eligible if they get infected with the virus. The treatment could be available within a few days.

Continue reading “F.D.A. Clears Pfizer’s Covid Pill for High-Risk Patients 12 and Older”

The New York Times, December 21, 2021 (with Christina Jewett and Rebecca Robbins)


Hospitals, drug companies and Biden administration officials are racing to address one of the Omicron variant’s biggest threats: Two of the three monoclonal antibody treatments that doctors have depended on to keep Covid-19 patients from becoming seriously ill do not appear to thwart the latest version of the coronavirus.

The one such treatment that is still likely to work against Omicron is now so scarce that many doctors and hospitals have already run through their supplies.

Continue reading “Hospitals Scramble as Antibody Treatments Fail Against Omicron”

The New York Times, December 20, 2021


The European Commission on Monday authorized a Covid-19 vaccine made by Novavax, making it the fifth vaccine available in the 27 nations of the European Union.

“At a time where the Omicron variant is rapidly spreading, and where we need to step up vaccination and the administration of boosters, I am particularly pleased with today’s authorization of the Novavax vaccine,” Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, said in a statement.

Continue reading “Novavax’s Covid Vaccine Is Authorized in Europe”

The New York Times, December 19, 2021 (with Andrew Jacobs)


First identified in Botswana and South Africa in November, the Omicron variant has surged around the world over the past few weeks, faster than any previously known form of the coronavirus. While there’s a lot that scientists have yet to understand about Omicron, what they know already makes it clear that the variant could cause a huge number of new cases and that it could push some hospital systems to the breaking point.

Scientists first recognized Omicron thanks to its distinctive combination of more than 50 mutations. Some of them were carried by earlier variants such as Alpha and Beta, and previous experiments had demonstrated that they could enable a coronavirus to spread quickly. Other mutations were known to help coronaviruses evade antibodies produced by vaccines.

Continue reading “This is what researchers know about how Omicron works.”

The New York Times, December 15, 2021 (with Sheryl Stolberg)


A flurry of new laboratory studies indicate that vaccines, and especially booster shots, may offer protection against the worst outcomes from the fast-spreading Omicron coronavirus variant. The highly mutated virus, however, will still cause many breakthrough infections in vaccinated people and in those who have been infected with older versions of the virus, according to the research.

At a World Health Organization meeting on Wednesday, scientists reported on several studies suggesting that T cells in vaccinated people can put up a strong defense against the variant, which could help prevent severe disease, hospitalization and death.

Continue reading “New Studies Raise Hopes That Vaccines Prevent Severe Disease From Omicron”