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Cynthia Goldsmith, Dr. A. Harrison, Dr. P. Feorino / CDC via AP

Scientists around the world are exploring new ways to spread vaccines in rural, remote areas that need them most. One way to do so? Letting nature do the work via contagious vaccines and treatments for viral diseases, per Popular Science.

How it works: Vaccines use dead and weakened viruses to train the body's immune system to attack a pathogen, so it might be possible to engineer those viral vaccines to be transmissible between humans.

One big drawback: Viruses can mutate significantly with each new generation, perhaps allowing a dead or weakened virus to become active once again.

50 to 80 percent of adults already carry symptom-free herpes-based cytomegaloviruses, so scientists want to engineer them to include fragments of more potent viruses, allowing for a transmissible vaccine without the risk of mutating back into something more nasty.

Think outside the box: Beyond preventative vaccines, scientists are also designing a transmissible treatment for HIV called therapeutic interfering particles (TIP). These TIPs steal the same proteins used by HIV to replicate, in effect taking away the virus' resources - and they can be transmitted from person to person.

Go deeper

3 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Anthony Coley to lead Justice Department public affairs

The U.S. Department of Justice building in Washington, D.C. Photo: Xinhua/Ting Shen via Getty Images

Judge Merrick Garland, President Biden’s nominee for attorney general, has tapped Anthony Coley, an Obama-era Treasury Department official, to serve as a senior adviser and lead public affairs at the Department of Justice, according to people familiar with the matter.

Why it matters: As the public face of the DOJ, Coley will help explain — and defend — the department's actions, from sensitive cases to prosecutorial decisions, including the investigation into Hunter Biden.

AP: Justice Dept. rescinds "zero tolerance" policy

A young girl waves to onlookers through the fence at the US-Mexico border wall at Friendship Park in San Ysidro, California in Nov. 2018. Photo: Sandy Huffaker/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden's acting Attorney General Monty Wilkinson issued a memo on Tuesday to revoke the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" immigration policy, which separated thousands of migrant children from their families at the U.S.-Mexico border, AP first reported.

Driving the news: A recent report by Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz emphasized the internal chaos at the agency over the implementation of the policy, which resulted in 545 parents separated from their children as of October 2020.

Biden picks up his pen to change the tone on racial equity

Vice President Harris looks on as President Biden signs executive orders related to his racial equity agenda. Photo: Doug Mills-Pool/Getty Images

President Biden is making a down payment on racial equity in a series of executive orders dealing with everything from private prisons to housing discrimination, treatment of Asian Americans and relations with indigenous tribes.

The big picture: Police reform and voting rights legislation will take time to pass in Congress. But with the stroke of his pen, one week into the job, Biden is taking steps within his power as he seeks to change the tone on racial justice from the Trump administration.