COVID-19 Vaccines, Magic Mushrooms and Psychedelic Art

A month’s worth of cool science stories.
Alistair Jennings, Contributor

Inside Science) -- Not one, not two, but three COVID-19 vaccines are now closer than ever to production. That is according to preliminary results from three major companies. On Nov. 9, Pfizer reported that their vaccine was 90% effective in protecting against COVID-19. Nine days later, they bumped that up to 95%, after analyzing new data. On Nov. 16, Moderna reported similar results with their vaccine -- 94.5% effective. And on Nov. 23, AstraZeneca reported that one of their dosing regimens had reached 90% effectiveness in trials.

Also in November, Oregon made magic mushrooms legal. Magic mushrooms are wild or cultivated mushrooms that contain psilocybin. This is great news for medicine because psilocybin has been shown to help treat mental illness. In the last month alone psilocybin has been found to alleviate migraines and act as an anti-depressant, when used in conjunction with therapy.

There’s new evidence that psychedelics have been contributing to art for thousands of years. In Pinwheel Cave, near Los Angeles, California, strange drawings adorn the cave ceiling. Researchers have analyzed fibrous tissue that was found near those paintings and they discovered the fibers came from the Datura plant. Datura contains scopolamine and atropine, chemicals that bring on feelings of inspiration.


AstraZeneca press release

Moderna press release 

Moderna RNA

Pfizer press release

Psilocybin depression 

Psilocybin migraine 

Datura Plant

Author Bio & Story Archive

Ali Jennings has his PhD in neuroscience from University College London.