Science and Innovation

Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian Health

Scientists developing vaccines for the coronavirus disease say it’s critical to recruit diverse volunteers—especially Native Americans, who have been hit hard by the pandemic. That’s why Pfizer set up sites for its ongoing clinical trial on the Navajo and White Mountain Apache nations. But it’s not easy to repair decades of broken trust between Indigenous people and non-Native scientists. Historical traumas in the name of research remain fresh in many memories. KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny reports, some practitioners of both traditional Diné medicine and Western medicine want to heal that divide.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

It’s been one year since the coronavirus disease first appeared in China. More than eleven million people have been infected with COVID-19 in the United States alone, and confirmed cases continue to rise in almost every state, including Arizona. Public health experts say this winter will be a challenging time for controlling the pandemic, as cold weather drives activities indoors, and upcoming holidays tempt people to travel and gather in groups. KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny spoke with infectious disease expert Dr. Paul Keim about how to handle a holiday season with COVID-19 as an uninvited guest.

Matthew Verdolivo/UC Davis

At the end of the last Ice Age roughly ten thousand years ago, hunting was a group sport. That’s because hunters in North and South America had to tackle big prey like mammoths and giant camels. Archeologists often assume ancient hunters were men, but a new archeological study questions that idea. It argues at least some of those early indigenous hunters were female. KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny speaks with anthropologist Jim Watson of the University of Arizona about upending the “man the hunter” myth.

National Park Service

Lees Ferry on the Colorado River below Glen Canyon Dam is a world-famous rainbow trout fishery. But in recent years a different nonnative fish, the brown trout, has started to grow in numbers. The brown trout is a predatory fish that gobbles up not only the rainbows but also endangered native species in the Grand Canyon. Now, state and federal wildlife agencies have come up with a plan to reduce their numbers. They’re paying people to go fishing. Starting today, anglers can earn 25 dollars a head for catching and harvesting brown trout. KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny spoke with Ken Hyde, chief of science at Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, about the new incentive program.

Northern Arizona University

Researchers at Northern Arizona University have been keeping a close eye on sewage for clues to the spread of COVID-19. They say wastewater monitoring can be a powerful tool for altering authorities to possible coronavirus outbreaks, especially in crowded living conditions like university dorms. KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny spoke with NAU’s Dr. Crystal Hepp about how the research is part of a “search and destroy” strategy to help university administrators focus coronavirus testing where it’s needed the most.