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“I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like this”: what it’s like to be working on a Covid-19 vaccine

At the family dinner table, viruses were "shop talk." Now my dad is working on a coronavirus vaccine—and talks social distancing, what keeps him going, and unprecedented global collaboration

By Kate Young  

Paul Young is working on a coronavirus vaccine. Photo: Courtesy Paul Young/Prospect composite

Our family talked science around the dinner table. With a father and stepmother working in virology and diagnostics, “shop talk” was virus talk. My sister Luce and I would roll our eyes, and drift off into our own discussions. We’re lucky to have been relatively robust and healthy kids; we had the necessary vaccines, whined about being stuck with needles, and then promptly forgot about them. We moved far away…

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