Marie Curie conducted pioneering research on radioactivity. In 1903, they awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics to Marie, her husband Pierre, and physicist Henri Becquerel. Conservators store her notebooks in lead-lined boxes because of elevated levels of radiation. Her furniture, cookbooks, and many of her personal possessions, also require special handling. Marie carried vials of the deadly radium isotope in her pockets, a material with a half-life of 1,601 years.
Scientists throughout history have acted in ways that we might now consider reckless. But their investigations advanced our understanding of nature and our amazing universe. Curie’s research led to her hypothesis of the existence of atoms and she coined the phrase “radioactivity.” Today, scientists work to discover the next brilliant theory, a viable cure for life-threatening diseases, and new antibodies that will protect the world from evolving viruses. Scientists, health care providers, and the anonymous individuals who volunteer for clinical trials to test the vaccines deserve our gratitude.
Today, the first clinical trial for a possible COVID-19 vaccine will begin at the Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute in Seattle. Forty-five participants are set to receive the initial experimental shots. These doses were developed by The National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Moderna Inc. Validating any potential vaccine may take a year to 18 months.
While we must wait for full testing, news like this helps to lessen fear. Hand washing, not touching your face, and limiting exposure, is still the best way to contain the spread of the virus.
How can you support our unsung heroes?
Keep on writing.
Jo Hawk The Writer