An empty Fifth Avenue in Manhattan on April 5, 2020.

The Earth During a Pandemic

As people continue to huddle indoors, avoiding their usual daily commute to work and school, it is inevitable that humans’ dramatic new relationship with the world would have a major impact on the state of the environment.

Several biotechnology companies are hoping that a better understanding of SARS-CoV-2's antibodies will lead to effective treatments.

Harnessing the Human Immune System: Why Antibody Treatments Might Just Work Against COVID-19

In the race to develop a safe, effective treatment for COVID-19, biotech companies like Regeneron and Vir Biotechnology, led by Cornell alumni, have turned to antibodies — which are naturally created by the human immune system — as a form of therapeutic treatment.
But what are antibodies, and how can they be repurposed into drugs to help people recover from COVID-19?

The Space Sciences Building at Cornell.

Big Red Taking On the Red Planet: The History of Cornell’s Mars Exploration

For over 50 years, Cornell has made astronomical contributions in the ongoing efforts to explore and understand the mysterious inner workings of Earth’s rust-colored neighbor, Mars. In honor of these decades of research and discovery, The Sun illuminates the achievements of Cornellians past, present and future in their tireless expedition towards revealing the secrets of the Red Planet.

The Science of Human Bonding

Whether you decide to actually meet your Perfect Match, go out with your significant other or stay in for a night of Netflix with friends, Valentine’s Day can be an opportunity to appreciate the bonds and love we have for each other as humans. But the bonds we’ve formed over the course of our lives don’t just start with us — human bonding is as old as humanity itself.


Ebola’s Expiration: Merck’s Ebola Vaccine Approved in Europe

Researchers, healthcare providers and global health officials who worked hard to grapple with the devastating Ebola outbreak of West Africa between 2014 and 2016 can finally breathe a sigh of relief — the very first Ebola vaccine was finally approved in Europe. Known as Ervebo, this Ebola vaccine is manufactured by the biopharmaceutical company Merck and was granted marketing authorization by the European Commission on November 11. Prof. Gary Whittaker, virology, shared his insight on the inner workings of the vaccine and its development, as well as what this landmark achievement means for the future of global health. Whittaker explained that the vaccine itself is actually a recombinant virus, based on the backbone of vesicular stomatitis virus originating from sheep and goats. “[VSV] is very efficiently growing and relatively easy to make, [so] it’s engineered to express the glycoprotein of Ebola … it generates the immune response against the Ebola virus glycoprotein, which is equivalent to the surface protein of Ebola,” Whittaker said.

Paper.Learn Paper.3

What if the World Went Vegan?

Although mention of the word “vegan” can bring up disturbing images of proselytizing protestors armed with signs and graphic visuals of animal cruelty, people often overlook the environmental impacts of reducing their consumption of animal products. Prof. David Wolfe, plant science, revealed his insight on the crippling carbon footprint of the meat industry, and what a plant-based diet would entail for the environment. “A lot of the major meat producers in this country are coming from fairly large operations and corporate farms [where] the carbon footprint is quite a bit higher,” Wolfe said. “The animals are all confined in one place —  it could be very far away from where the crops are grown and are then transported to feed the animals.”

According to Wolfe, the excessive amounts of fossil fuels utilized in the production and transport of these crops alone have a significant environmental impact. Ruminant animals, like cattle, have the added detriment of methanogens — microbes required for digestion that release methane, a notorious greenhouse gas.