Five good-news health stories from this past year

Five good-news health stories from this past year

2020 has not been an easy-going year, but we still have major health breakthroughs to be proud of and thankful for.

2020 has not been an easy-going year, but we still have major health breakthroughs to be proud of and thankful for. (Pexels/)

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought upheaval to 2020. But amidst all that, some really great health news unfolded. Here are a few examples of genuine great news to end your year on that we guarantee is good for your health.

We developed a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine—two of them, actually

In 2020, we went from meeting an unknown virus to a global pandemic to rolling out vaccinations—a timescale that was unheard of until this year. Out of hundreds of SARS-CoV-2 vaccine candidates being researched, two have now been authorized for use by the FDA and are being rolled out to high-risk populations across the United States and around the world. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are a triumph of scientific research, and they’ll likely play a key role in ending the pandemic. More than a dozen others are now in late-stage clinical trials. But there’s a long road ahead, experts warn, and this is not the time to relax your COVID-19 safeguards.

Scotland made strides in menstrual equity

In November, the Scottish government passed a bill making free menstrual products available to everyone who needs them. Making period products—as well as  access to clean underwear and sanitary facilities—available to all is a step in the right direction, experts told Popular Science. Some jurisdictions in the United States are moving the same way, but there’s more to be done in making menstruation fair.

The US is on track to eliminate cervical cancer as a public health problem

In February, a new report laid out a promising fact: The US is likely to have eliminated cervical cancer as a public health problem by 2040. The two interventions at the heart of this campaign: regular screening for precancerous cervical cells through Pap smears and the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine.

Our beloved ‘Ice Cream of the Future’ might help us distribute COVID-19 vaccines effectively

Dippin’ Dots ice cream, which can often be found at amusement parks and other entertainment centers, is unlike other varieties of the signature frozen dairy desert: Once its ingredients (the typical milk, cream, sugar, and flavor mix) are combined, the mixture is placed in a chamber set to -320 degrees Fahrenheit via liquid nitrogen, then to a -40 degrees Fahrenheit freezer for storage before serving.

While not at all as tasty but perhaps just as satisfying, Pfizer’s new COVID-19 vaccine must also be kept at ultra-cold, Antarctic-like temps. So there’s a lot to learn from the ice cream maker’s process.

We invented contact lenses that slow down myopia

CooperVision, Inc. launched MiSight, daily-use contact lenses that can be used by children between ages 8 and 12 to slow the progress of developing myopia, colloquially known as near-sightedness. They work by changing how light enters the eyeball, preventing the conditions that cause myopia to progress. In studies, they dramatically reduced the progression of myopia.

MiSight are just one of the promising health innovations to come out of 2020. Read more about them, and eight other breakthroughs.

The pandemic interrupted scientific research just like it interrupted every other part of our lives. But work is still being done, and it’s important to celebrate the best health news even as we mask up and stay apart to slow the spread of this still-unfolding crisis.

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