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What We’re Reading: the Nobel Prize in Medicine, Striking Healthcare Workers

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The Nobel Prize in Medicine

Earlier this week, two researchers from the University of Pennsylvania — Katalin Karikó and Drew Weissman — were awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine for their discovery that enabled the development mRNA vaccines for COVID-19. But as Vox points out, that innovation almost didn’t happen. Early on in her research, Karikó struggled to obtain grant funding or publish her research. It wasn’t until Karikó joined Weissman’s lab where he was working HIV vaccine research that the potential for mRNA became known. Still they struggled to get the funding to pursue further research. But it was Karikó’s commitment to the work that ultimately led to the technology reaching the market.

Kaiser Permanent’s Workers on Strike

More than 75,000 union workers have walked off the job at Kaiser Permanente, making this the largest healthcare strike in U.S. history. Union workers have complained that staffing shortages are taxing staff and hurting patient care. Workers are also seeking better compensation. But this isn’t your typical labor strike, and the issues workers are facing is part of larger problems in healthcare, argues a guest opinion in The New York Times. Even before the pandemic, healthcare workers faced burnout from long hours. But now they say lack of resources that, workers say, is impacting patient care. Long after the strike is over, the issue will remain.

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