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  • Consensus among experts is that only an effective COVID-19 vaccine will end the pandemic. This Comment focuses on how this pandemic has accelerated the development of vaccine platforms distinct from classical vaccines; these novel platforms may also increase the response time when new viruses emerge in the future.

    • Debby van Riel
    • Emmie de Wit
  • Within a few weeks of the novel coronavirus genome sequence being published, numerous therapies and vaccines have entered clinical trials with a few showing great promise in alleviating symptoms and accelerating recovery.

  • The restoration of fire-damaged historical monuments entails a wide range of scientific questions. Taking as a starting point the case of Notre-Dame de Paris, this Comment defines the materials science challenges of post-fire restoration, and also briefly outlines the issues of structural integrity, fire safety and preservation ethics.

    • Ylenia Praticò
    • John Ochsendorf
    • Robert J. Flatt
  • Aline Magnien, director of the Historical Monuments Research Laboratory in Champs-sur-Marne in France, talks to Nature Materials about their work in materials damage assessment serving for the restoration of Notre-Dame de Paris.

    • Xin Li
  • Prompted by advances in the programmability of DNA nanostructures and their hybridization, the complexity of nanomaterial lattices guided by DNA continues to increase.

  • The complexity of DNA-programmed nanoparticle assemblies has reached an unprecedented level owing to recent advances that enable delicate and comprehensive control over the formation of DNA bonds.

    • Shuoxing Jiang
    • Fei Zhang
    • Hao Yan
  • Interlayer excitons trapped within van der Waals heterostructures hold great promise for the design of quantum materials, but investigations into their fundamental properties are crucial for future developments in the field.

  • The COVID-19 pandemic has reignited efforts to develop materials science innovations aimed at stopping viral infections. One of the greatest opportunities lies in developing broad-spectrum antiviral technologies that work against many viruses, which could be the key to thwarting outbreaks in the future.

    • Nam Joon Cho
    • Jeffrey S. Glenn
  • Litao Sun, Yongming Tang and Wei Zuo reflect on their experience of nationwide distance learning in China’s universities during the COVID-19 outbreak.

    • Litao Sun
    • Yongming Tang
    • Wei Zuo
    Why it Matters
  • A collective effort from materials scientists, life scientists and clinicians is required to systematically address fundamental questions in the mechanisms of nanoparticle delivery in order to overcome the hurdles in translating nanomedicines for tumour therapy.

  • New evidence suggests that the mechanism of nanoparticle entry into solid tumours may be driven by an active process. This insight paves the way for approaches to enhance the efficiency of nanomedicine delivery by harnessing active transport mechanisms, and encourage researchers to rethink how tumours are treated.

    • Subehndu Pandit
    • Debapriya Dutta
    • Shuming Nie
  • Now more than ever before, it is vitally important for scientists, clinicians and policymakers to communicate the significance of vaccination to the public in order to counteract the spread of misinformation.

    • Tonia M. Thomas
    • Andrew J. Pollard
    Why it Matters
  • An arsenal of spectroscopic and microscopic methods is essential to the understanding and development of quantum materials.

  • This is a turning point for nanofluidics. Recent progress allows envisioning both fundamental discoveries for the transport of fluids at the ultimate scales, and disruptive technologies for the water–energy nexus.

    • Lydéric Bocquet
  • Materials discovery and developments in nanofabrication and our understanding of transport at the nanoscale are supporting the rapid development of nanofluidics and accelerating its technological translation.

  • Laura Benzonana and Nikos Sgantzis reflect on their experience as organizers for Pint of Science in Greece.

    • Laura Benzonana
    • Nikolaos Sgantzis
    Why it Matters
  • Ferroelectricity was experimentally discovered one hundred years ago, spurring research on its fundamental properties and potential applications.

  • We are updating our editorial policies to further encourage authors to make their data publicly accessible. Publishing Extended Data figures and source data online will also ensure that data are given a more prominent role.