b'Dr. Weiss wanted to find out answers to basic Susan Weiss, virus researcher questions about coronaviruses: What are they made of? How do they behave? Why do they Some consider Susanmake animals sick? My research is long-, long-Weiss the mother ofterm, she said.coronavirus research. The basic scientific research that Dr. Weiss and The title fits. others conducted over decades has helped peo-ple understand the specific coronavirus (called She has been research- SARS-CoV-2) that caused the pandemic. We ing coronaviruses forreally needed all that kind of knowledge before more than 40 years, lon- we could start thinking about making vaccines, ger than almost anybodyshe said.else. Without that basic research, it would have been After the Covid-19 pandemic started, she washarder for other scientists to develop the vac-asked to give dozens of talks about coronavi- cines, medicines, and tests that people hope will ruses to scientists and interviews to the media.bring an end to the pandemic and allow commu-Everyone was using me as a resource, becausenities to heal.suddenly everyone wanted to know about them,Forty years is a long time to be studying a virus. said Dr. Weiss, a microbiology professor at theSome people tried to discourage her, Dr. Weiss University of Pennsylvania. I have been able tosaid. They told her that researching coronavi-give out a lot of information. . It makes me feelruses was a waste of time and that it would be quite good, that I can do that. difficult to find funding for her studies.As a young scientist, she said, she became cu- I dont think I ever wanted to give up, because rious about coronaviruses after reading severalthere were so many interesting questions to articles about them in scientific journals. Weask, she said, adding, I am pretty stubborn.didnt know they could actually kill people, she said. They caused bad diseases in animals.She said her determination provided a good They just seemed like a really interesting grouplesson for young researchers. When you find of viruses that we didnt know much about. something interesting, keep thinking about it and 18'