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From the College of Natural Sciences
New Tool Helps Parents and Educators Estimate COVID-19 Infection Numbers at Their School

New Tool Helps Parents and Educators Estimate COVID-19 Infection Numbers at Their School

With COVID-19 cases hitting new highs across the country, a new online tool can help families and school leaders estimate how many infected people are likely to show up at a school on a given day anywhere in the United States. The free, interactive dashboard was produced by The University of Texas at Austin COVID-19 Modeling Consortium.

Coronavirus Mutation May Have Made It More Contagious

Coronavirus Mutation May Have Made It More Contagious

The number of virus strains present in each zip code in Houston during the second wave of COVID-19 cases in summer 2020. Number of strains is represented by a spectrum of colors from blue (0 strains) to red (50 strains). Credit: Houston Methodist/University of Texas at Austin.

A study involving more than 5,000 COVID-19 patients in Houston finds that the virus that causes the disease is accumulating genetic mutations, one of which may have made it more contagious. According to the paper published in the peer-reviewed journal mBIO, that mutation, called D614G, is located in the spike protein that pries open our cells for viral entry. It's the largest peer-reviewed study of SARS-CoV-2 genome sequences in one metropolitan region of the U.S. to date.

Curbing COVID-19 Hospitalizations Requires Attention to Construction Workers

Curbing COVID-19 Hospitalizations Requires Attention to Construction Workers

Construction workers have a much higher risk of becoming hospitalized with the novel coronavirus than non-construction workers, according to a new study from researchers with The University of Texas at Austin COVID-19 Modeling Consortium.

New Dashboards Launched to Track COVID-19 Across Texas Communities

New Dashboards Launched to Track COVID-19 Across Texas Communities

The University of Texas at Austin's COVID-19 Modeling Consortium has launched a new online dashboard to track the spread and impact of the virus, including in hospitals across Texas, with detailed information for 22 areas.

Ask the COVID-19 Experts (Audio)

Ask the COVID-19 Experts (Audio)

We asked you, dear listeners, to send us your most burning questions about COVID-19. And you didn't disappoint. You asked: When will it be safe for my 12-week-old baby to meet her grandparents? Can you catch it twice? Is the virus mutating and will that make it harder to develop vaccines? In today's episode, our three experts get to the bottom of these questions, and more.

Demographics Linked to Choice Not to Vaccinate Children in Texas, Study Finds

Demographics Linked to Choice Not to Vaccinate Children in Texas, Study Finds

Texans who are college-educated, live in suburban or urban areas, have higher median incomes and are ethnically white are less likely to vaccinate their children, according to analysis by researchers at The University of Texas at Austin. The findings could help public health officials identify pockets of low vaccination rates where communities within the state are at higher risk for an outbreak of vaccine-preventable diseases such as measles.

Biologist Wins Lieberman Award

Biologist Wins Lieberman Award

Professor of integrative biology Lauren Meyers recently accepted the Center for Excellence in Education's (CEE) Joseph I. Lieberman Award for Excellence in Science and Technology.

Global Spread of Zika Linked to Types of Mosquitos that Transmit It

Global Spread of Zika Linked to Types of Mosquitos that Transmit It

More cities than previously assumed could soon grapple with the Zika virus if two species of mosquitos are found to be equally effective carriers of the disease, a University of Texas at Austin disease ecologist and his colleagues argue in the current edition of The Lancet Infectious Diseases.

Public Health Program Celebrates Fifth Anniversary

Public Health Program Celebrates Fifth Anniversary

As the College of Natural Sciences’ public health program celebrates its fifth anniversary this year, we visit with some of the people who know the program best.

HIV Not As Infectious Soon After Transmission As Thought

HIV Not As Infectious Soon After Transmission As Thought

People who recently have been infected with HIV may not be as highly infectious as previously believed, a finding that could improve global efforts to prevent HIV transmission and save lives.