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Special report: Los Alamos versus the virus

The Lab's research and response to COVID-19.
August 28, 2020
Graphic image of a corona virus.


Within just a few weeks, a rush of new research programs were variously proposed, approved and underway.


Los Alamos responded to COVID-19 with rigorous worker isolation and a massive mobilization of scientific resources. While the country was largely closing down, Los Alamos scientists were massively spooling up a whole host of important research initiatives.

Research programs:

  • Some are focused on the virus itself: its origin, its natural history and its rate of evolution.
  • Some are focused on direct vaccine development — against SARS-CoV-2 specifically or coronaviruses broadly, potentially to protect against future emergent pathogens.
  • Others seek to help with testing and treatment activity, including investigating ways to increase the supply of necessary medical equipment (e.g., ventilators and face shields), such as 3D printing new equipment or sterilizing existing equipment for reuse.
  • Still others are focused on epidemiology: forecasting the virus’s geographic and demographic spread and developing ready-to-use tools for informed, nearly real-time decision making in response to the evolving pattern of infection.

Read the full article in the Lab’s 1663 magazine.

About Los Alamos National Laboratory

Los Alamos National Laboratory, a multidisciplinary research institution engaged in strategic science on behalf of national security, is operated by Triad for the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration. Triad is a public service-oriented, national security science organization equally owned by its three founding members: Battelle Memorial Institute (Battelle), the Texas A&M University System (TAMUS) and the Regents of the University of California (UC).

Los Alamos enhances national security by ensuring the safety and reliability of the U.S. nuclear stockpile, developing technologies to reduce threats from weapons of mass destruction, and solving problems related to energy, environment, infrastructure, health and global security concerns.