For immunologists, 2020 has been a terrifying, incredible year | Zania Stamtaki

Science has shown how powerful it can be in the face of a formidable challenge like a pandemic

You may think of immunologists as biologists, but we are also in the defence business. This aspect of our role really comes into its own when a new, devastating disease rears its head. We estimate that the new coronavirus Sars-CoV-2 first made the leap to humans last December. Over one and a half million lives have been lost in the past year as a result. Dealing with Covid has undoubtedly left its mark on the field – my field – and it seems like a good time to take stock.

Right now I am sitting opposite my Christmas tree, the cat beside me, and I can’t help thinking that swooning over That Plot from the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine briefing (page 58 if you are interested) is probably a phenomenon restricted to viral immunologists. But if this year has taught us anything, it’s not to make assumptions. And sure enough, I’ve seen it shared on social media by non-scientists as a symbol of hope.

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