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Maryn McKenna head shot - Wired

Maryn McKenna

Senior Writer

Maryn McKenna is a senior writer at WIRED covering health, public health and medicine, including the Covid pandemic, and a faculty member at Emory University’s Center for the Study of Human Health. Before coming to WIRED she freelanced for magazines in the US and Europe including Scientific American, Smithsonian, The New Republic, the Guardian, the New York Times Magazine, and The Atlantic. She graduated from Georgetown University, earned a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University, and was a Knight journalism fellow at University of Michigan and MIT. She is the author of Big Chicken, Superbug and Beating Back the Devil.

The Danger of Russia’s Lies About Bioweapons in Ukraine

Ukraine’s research labs are vital to global health. Disinformation aimed at their work puts everyone in danger.

The War in Ukraine Is Threatening the Breadbasket of Europe

Millions of tons of grain may not make it out of the country this year. The shortfall could spread hunger and civil unrest worldwide.

The Pandemic Tanked Rates of Childhood Vaccination—for Everything

Routine shots are down for everything from measles to tetanus to polio, leaving kids unprotected and raising the risk of outbreaks.

Sewage Sampling Already Tracks Covid. What Else Can It Find?

Everyone poops—and that reveals traces of pathogens. Comprehensively analyzing wastewater could help find flu and detect the next pandemic.

The Omicron Variant Has New Versions Already. What Comes Next?

Viruses keep evolving until they run out of hosts to infect. Worldwide, billions remain unvaccinated against Covid—which means Omicron isn’t the end.

Bird Flu Is Back in the US. No One Knows What Comes Next

The fast-moving pathogen, which has already invaded Europe, was found in East Coast ducks. The last outbreak that tore through the US killed 50 million birds.

As Omicron Surges, Parents of the Youngest Kids Wait for Vaccines

With vaccine authorization months away and schools in chaos now, families fret over how best to protect their children.

Covid Will Become Endemic. The World Must Decide What That Means

The task of 2022 will be figuring out how much action we’re willing to take and how much disease and death we’ll tolerate.

Antibiotic Use in US Farm Animals Was Falling. Now It’s Not

A new FDA report shows that a long-awaited Obama-era initiative to stop the spread of superbugs and improve animal welfare has stalled out.

To Help People With Long Covid, Scientists Need to Define It

Patients with the perplexing syndrome have reported 200 different symptoms. Researchers will have to decide which to study—and rule out. 

A Vaccine Against Valley Fever Finally Works—for Dogs

People and canines suffer horribly from the disease, caused by a fungus spreading through the increasingly dry US Southwest.

The Race Is On to Develop a Vaccine Against Every Coronavirus

A “universal” shot would protect against every branch of Covid’s viral family tree—even future ones. But getting there won’t be easy.

More Covid Vaccine Boosters Are Coming. Who Should Get Them?

Federal advisers meet again this week to discuss third shots, but it’s still not clear what the best timing is—or what the US owes the world.

Another Global Pandemic Is Spreading—Among Pigs

African swine fever killed half the pigs in China. There is no vaccine and no treatment. Now it’s in the Caribbean and on the doorstep of the US.

20 Years After the Anthrax Attacks, We’re Still Unprepared

The first fatal bioterror attack in the US killed five people and caused a national panic—and we’re still short of funding and tech to handle health emergencies.

What If Getting a Kids’ Vaccine Approved Is the Easy Part?

Just because something has the FDA’S green light doesn’t mean it’s simple to obtain—or that everyone wants it.

Floods Have Swamped the US. The Next Health Problem: Mold

The goo that grows in soaked buildings can cause infections and allergies—an issue that’s understudied even as climate change leads to more frequent deluges.

As Covid Cases Rise, So Do Hospital-Related Infections

A decade of work helped limit the spread of dangerous pathogens in medical settings. Overcrowding from Covid care is allowing infections to rise again.

Should Kids Get Covid Shots Through Off-Label Prescriptions?

The CDC and FDA are begging docs not to jump the gun on giving children the shot before clinical trials can establish the risk of side effects for young users.

Afghanistan Almost Beat Polio. Now the Future Is Uncertain

It’s a heart-stopping moment for health officials, who reported only a single case this year—and whose campaigns may end up paused.