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UMR MEMBERS DEPLOY BIOMEDICAL INNOVATION TO FIGHT COVID-19

UMR members, representing leading research institutions, patient and health advocates and private industry, are engaging on all fronts in the effort to keep people safe and detect, treat and prevent COVID-19.

The information here is a small sampling of the efforts underway by UMR members.

Highlights


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Did you catch COVID-19? Then Vanderbilt needs your help to test treatments

Vanderbilt University Medical Center is searching for 220 volunteers who recently tested positive for coronavirus for a new clinical trial of drugs with potential to treat the virus. Participants will be joining a nationwide “ACTIVE-2” clinical trial, of which Vanderbilt is one of 25 test sites. This therapeutic drug trial is separate from coronavirus vaccine trials that are ongoing at Vanderbilt and elsewhere in Nashville.
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Penn Medicine helps power international COVID-19 data consortium

An international consortium involving Penn researchers pools electronic health record data from around the world to discover clinical insights about COVID-19.
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COVID-19 Hits Black MS Patients Hard

Black patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) and SARS-CoV-2 virus had a different COVID-19 disease course and worse outcomes than white MS patients with the virus, data from the clinician-based COViMS registry showed. Black race was associated with increased odds of a composite outcome of mortality or ICU admission (OR 3.7), and increased odds of a composite outcome of mortality, ICU admission, or hospitalization (OR 1.7), reported Amber Salter, PhD, of Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, at MS Virtual 2020, the joint ACTRIMS-ECTRIMS meeting.
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Washington University’s ‘underdog’ vaccine shows promise

A St. Louis startup has licensed a COVID-19 vaccine developed at Washington University that won\'t be one of the first on the market, but could have advantages over other early vaccine contenders. An article in Nature this month described the Washington U. research as one of several \"underdog\" vaccines that could be important if early candidates fail, or confer only partial protection against COVID-19.
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Advamed: Diagnostic COVID-19 tests shipments hit 1m

U.S. shipments of COVID-19 molecular diagnostic tests reached 1 million per day for the week ending July 24, based on the latest data from AdvaMed’s national testing registry. The medtech trade group launched the registry July 21 to aid state and federal pandemic responses.
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AdvaMed partners with diagnostic companies to create national COVID-19 supply registry

The Advanced Medical Technology Association announced Tuesday it has created a COVID-19 diagnostic supply registry for the U.S. in partnership with 13 commercial diagnostics manufacturers, including Abbott, Bio-Rad Laboratories, Beckman Coulter, Hologic and Roche Diagnostics. The registry is meant to help state and federal governments respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and provide a standardized supply registry.
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AdvaMed, tech groups urge Congress to make eased telehealth rules permanent

AdvaMed, along with a coalition of more than 300 other healthcare-oriented groups, wrote House and Senate leaders Monday calling for legislation to codify a myriad of telemedicine rules to last beyond the public health emergency. The medtech lobby joined the American Telemedicine Association and other signees urging Congress to make permanent a host of COVID-19 flexibilities set to expire when the public health emergency declaration ends in late July.
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Medtech companies are manufacturing critical COVID-19 tests

Doctors, nurses and health care providers fighting on the front lines against the coronavirus are modern-day heroes. Every day they selflessly risk their own health to provide essential care to prevent, test for and treat this deadly virus. Behind the scenes, the medical technology industry is working around-the-clock to manufacture the critical supplies providers need to combat the virus. Across the country, manufacturers are adding shifts, ramping up alternative production lines and working overtime to produce personal protective equipment (PPE), ventilators and the diagnostic tests desperately needed on the front lines.
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AAAS and Science Journals Provide Scientific Information on COVID-19 Worldwide

The American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Science family of journals are applying formidable resources to keep the scientific community and the public well informed on the coronavirus pandemic. Science, published by AAAS, has shared research findings and made data swiftly available over recent weeks to spur scientific advances, outline public health opportunities to slow the spread of COVID-19, and help protect the wellbeing of people across the globe. The journal has accelerated its publishing practices governing the release of research papers on coronavirus and urged scientists to post their submitted studies on preprint sites, all the while preserving the peer-review process to ensure the validity of the research published in the journals.
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COVID-19 Resources

As the research community and decision-makers worldwide respond to the coronavirus pandemic, Science and AAAS are working tirelessly to provide credible, evidence-based information and bring you the latest research and commentary, along with extensive news coverage of the crisis. This critical work has been generously supported by the Pulitzer Center, Google News, and a growing list of individual donors through gifts to our Flexible Action Fund.
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Experts highlight how science diplomacy combats pandemics

Scientists have long known that, sooner or later, a previously unknown pathogen would jump from animals to humans and threaten to induce a pandemic, said Julia MacKenzie, director of international relations at the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and other epidemiology and science diplomacy experts during an online panel discussion last week.
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Researchers explore how COVID-19 affects heart health in Black women

Nearly six months into the COVID-19 pandemic, two things have become clear: The virus profoundly impacts people with heart disease and disproportionately impacts Black people. But the many manifestations of these disparities remains unclear, particularly for one group regularly left out of medical research... In a collaborative investigation with the Slone Epidemiology Center at Boston University, Dr. Michelle Albert, a cardiologist and professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, is leading a study to look at a cohort of women enrolled in the Black Women`s Health Study to determine the myriad ways in which COVID-19 is impacting them.
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COVID-19 data challenge opened to accelerate research and innovation

Data on race, under-resourced communities and COVID-19 is limited, but disproportionately high rates of sickness — and death — seem to be emerging, particularly among African Americans, U.S. Hispanics, Native People and those in rural areas. To accelerate breakthroughs and understanding of these connections, the American Heart Association, Hitachi Vantara and BurstIQ have launched a data challenge to expand the resources available to researchers.
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12 scientific teams redefining fast-tracked heart and brain health research related to COVID-19

The American Heart Association has awarded $1.2 million in grants to teams at 12 institutions across the U.S. to begin fast-tracked studies of the effects of COVID-19 on the body’s cardiovascular and cerebrovascular systems.
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Our Response to COVID-19

The American Heart Association is working with researchers, medical experts, community leaders, businesses, families and more to reduce the impact of the coronavirus.
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Maryland to spend $7.5M on new type of rapid coronavirus test, first purchase in 10-state compact

Gov. Larry Hogan said Thursday that Maryland would be the first in a 10-state compact to buy large batches of a new kind of rapid coronavirus test for use in nursing homes, prisons and possibly college dorms and other places prone to outbreaks. The purchase of 250,000 rapid antigen tests, at $30 a test, would be paid for with a grant from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention... The Becton, Dickinson test, the BD Veritor, has been touted as an improvement to other antigen tests, which have high rates of false negatives and positives.
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BD to manufacture injection devices for Covid-19 vaccination in US

Becton, Dickinson and Company (BD) has formed a strategic partnership with the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) to establish new manufacturing lines for injection devices, providing the US Government with priority access to huge volumes of syringes and needles to support its ongoing and future pandemic vaccination efforts.
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BD launches 15-minute coronavirus antigen test, promises millions in coming months

The FDA granted an emergency authorization to a portable coronavirus antigen test developed by BD, similar to a rapid flu test, designed to allow hospitals, doctors\' offices, urgent care centers and retail pharmacies to examine a person showing symptoms in about 15 minutes. At the same time, the agency alerted healthcare providers of potential false-positive results from a separate BD laboratory diagnostic for COVID-19, which previously received an FDA green light in April.
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BD commits $1.1M to global COVID-19 response efforts

BD is donating $750,000 to COVID-19 response efforts in the U.S. and internationally, in addition to the $350,000 in cash and product the Company donated to COVID-19 relief efforts in China earlier this year, bringing the Company\'s total COVID-19 response contributions to $1.1 million. The new funding is being deployed through six non-profit partners, to support healthcare workers in the United States, Europe, Latin America and China in their collaborative battle against COVID-19.
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Biotech Leaders Outline Principles to Ensure the “Public’s Trust” in New Medical Products for Eradicating Covid-19

As America’s researchers race to develop the scientific solutions needed to eradicate Covid-19, leaders within the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) released an open letter to their biopharmaceutical colleagues that articulates key principles to ensure the “integrity, transparency, and objective assessment” of Covid-19 clinical data and secure public trust in new medical products developed in response to the pandemic.
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BIO COVID-19 Therapeutic Development Tracker

BIO’s Industry Analysis Team has reviewed and annotated pipeline data from BioCentury and Biomedtracker to create an interactive view of the Covid-19 pipeline. The team has investigated each drug as to original inventor (company/country), mechanism of action, and strategic approach, as well as de-duplicated programs for the same active ingredient (for example, hydroxychloroquine is counted only once). This data will be updated weekly on Monday mornings.
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I AM BIO Podcast

This is the only podcast at the intersection of biotechnology, politics, patients and the planet. We spotlight next-generation breakthroughs, the people they help, the global problems they solve and politicians with the power to fast-track a better future or mess it all up. Hosted by former Congressman Jim Greenwood. Current episodes look at COVID-19 from a variety of different angles.
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BioCentury/BIO joint survey finds COVID-19 has forced many companies to modify their clinical trials

COVID-19 is no longer an approaching threat to clinical trials, now the concern for biotechs is how to manage their trials through the crisis. According to a recent survey, on-the-fly protocol amendments are fast becoming a necessity, and companies want assurance regulators will be flexible with the resulting datasets. Over three quarters of the 99 survey respondents said their ability to start new trials or to continue active trials has been hindered by the coronavirus.
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Vitamin D can help reduce coronavirus risk by 54%: Boston University doctor

Stop waiting for a miracle drug: A Boston University doctor says a sufficient amount of vitamin D can cut the risk of catching coronavirus by 54%. Dr. Michael Holick, professor of medicine, physiology and biophysics at Boston University School of Medicine, and his colleagues studied blood samples from Quest Diagnostics of more than 190,000 Americans from all 50 states and found that those who had deficient levels of vitamin D had 54% higher COVID positivity compared to those with adequate levels of vitamin D in the blood.
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Researchers explore how COVID-19 affects heart health in Black women

Nearly six months into the COVID-19 pandemic, two things have become clear: The virus profoundly impacts people with heart disease and disproportionately impacts Black people. But the many manifestations of these disparities remains unclear, particularly for one group regularly left out of medical research... In a collaborative investigation with the Slone Epidemiology Center at Boston University, Dr. Michelle Albert, a cardiologist and professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, is leading a study to look at a cohort of women enrolled in the Black Women`s Health Study to determine the myriad ways in which COVID-19 is impacting them.
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Amidst a Pandemic, State-of-the-Art Research Center Gets Reconfigured

In this video, The Brink goes behind the scenes at Boston University’s Kilachand Center for Integrated Life Sciences & Engineering to see how scientists are safely returning to the lab.
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Watch These 3D-Printed Nasal Swab Prototypes Take Form

In this video, watch BU graduate researcher Jessie Song 3D print prototypes of alternative nasopharyngeal swabs, which could help bridge the supply shortage caused by global demands for coronavirus testing.
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How to Ship a Vaccine at –80°C, and Other Obstacles in the Covid Fight

Early this year, Corning, a 169-year-old glass maker in upstate New York, approached officials at the Department of Health and Human Services with a warning: There wouldn’t be enough cold-resistant glass vials to handle a frozen vaccine, said Brendan Mosher, Corning’s head of pharmaceutical technologies. Corning pitched a solution. It could make millions of vials with a new type of pharmaceutical-grade glass that can withstand the lowest temperatures.
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SPECIAL REPORT: An Inside Look at Corning Inc. Valor Glass

As the nation continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic, the heat is on to develop a vaccine to combat the virus. In preparation for the day the vaccine is found and ready to be distributed to the global community, Corning Incorporated has been mass-producing pharmaceutical-grade vials right in Big Flats New York. These vials are made of Valor Glass, the first glass of its kind to serve the pharmaceutical community.
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Corning Glass Makes Vials for COVID-19 Vaccine

As the fight continues against COVID-19, a vaccine is on the horizon, and Corning Glass is playing a role in making that happen. Kirsten Gillibrand, (D) Senate, visited Corning\'s Big Flats facility on Friday to see progress on the glass production; to be filled with a vaccine she says could be developed as soon as the end of this year.
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Corning Secures Potential $204M BARDA Grant to Manufacture COVID-19 Vaccine Vials

Corning states it will use the funds to drive production of the Valor Glass technology at company facilities located in New York, North Carolina and New Jersey to support the Trump administration’s Operation Warp Speed.
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Blood Test Could Spot Those at Highest Risk for Severe COVID-19

If you\'re unfortunate enough to be admitted to the hospital with COVID-19, a common blood marker may predict how severe your illness might become, new research shows. The new study was published online Sept. 23 in JAMA Network Open and was led by Dr. John Higgins, a pathologist investigator at the hospital and associate professor of systems biology at Harvard Medical School.
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MIT’s New CRISPR-Based Rapid Test for COVID-19 Shows Improved Sensitivity

A CRISPR-based test developed at MIT and the Broad Institute can detect nearly as many cases as the standard Covid-19 diagnostic. The new test, known as STOPCovid, is still in the research stage but, in principle, could be made cheaply enough that people could test themselves every day.
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COVID Hits Young Adults Harder Than Thought: Harvard Study

New research suggests that COVID-19 is far from benign when it strikes young adults: Once they are hospitalized, 1 in 5 wind up in the ICU and many need ongoing medical care even after they are free of the virus, scientists report. The Harvard University doctors reviewed more than 3,200 coronavirus cases where adults aged 18 to 34 needed hospitalization.
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Harvard Researcher Discusses Why COVID-19 Is Devastating Communities Of Color

NPR`s Lulu Garcia-Navarro speaks to Harvard researcher Dr. Jose Figueroa about how COVID-19 disproportionately impacts Black and Latino communities, and how policy makers could address those issues.
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Johns Hopkins seeks Baltimore-area participants for studies on using coronavirus antibodies to prevent, treat infection

The Johns Hopkins University is seeking Baltimore- and Annapolis-area residents who have recently been diagnosed with or exposed to the coronavirus for clinical trials studying the effectiveness of blood plasma with virus antibodies in preventing and treating infections of COVID-19. The Department of Defense is funding the studies.
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Odor-sensing cells in nose seen as key entry point for SARS-CoV-2

Scientists at Johns Hopkins Medicine, experimenting with a small number of human cell samples, report that the \"hook\" of cells used by SARS-CoV-2 to latch onto and infect cells is up to 700 times more prevalent in the olfactory supporting cells lining the inside of the upper part of the nose than in the lining cells of the rest of the nose and windpipe that leads to the lungs. These supporting cells are necessary for the function/development of odor-sensing cells.
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Johns Hopkins Researchers Retrace COVID-19’s Introduction, Impact in D.C. Region

An effort by scientists from across Johns Hopkins University and Health System to sequence the genome of SARS-CoV-2, the virus causing COVID-19, has produced a study characterizing the early introduction of the virus into the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area. Among several findings, the study points to multiple entries of the virus into the region but similar clinical presentation, an indication that, despite small genetic differences, circulating viruses are likely causing identical disease.
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Remote Control for COVID-19 Patient Ventilators

A team of Johns Hopkins University and Medicine researchers have built a robotic system that will give medical staff the ability to remotely operate ventilators and other bedside machines from outside intensive care rooms of patients with infectious diseases like COVID-19. The system is still being tested, but initial trials—including one recently highlighted by NBC Nightly News—have demonstrated how it could be deployed to help hospitals preserve protective gear, limit staff exposure to COVID-19, and provide more time for clinical work.
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A single-shot coronavirus vaccine from Johnson & Johnson will be tested in 60,000 people

The experimental vaccine being developed by pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson is the fourth vaccine to enter the large, Phase 3 trials in the United States that will determine whether they are effective and safe. Paul Stoffels, chief scientific officer of J&J, predicted that there may be enough data to have results by the end of the year and said the company plans to manufacture 1 billion doses next year.
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Drug-Company CEOs Sign Pledge on Covid-19 Vaccine

Nine drugmakers said Tuesday their chief executives signed a pledge promising not to file for regulatory approval or authorization of their experimental Covid-19 vaccines until the shots have been shown to work safely through late-stage clinical testing. The pledge was signed by the heads of AstraZeneca PLC, GlaxoSmithKline PLC, Johnson & Johnson, Merck & Co., Moderna Inc., Novavax Inc., Sanofi SA, BioNTech SE and Pfizer Inc.
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J&J’s coronavirus vaccine candidate prevents severe disease in hamsters

Johnson & Johnson said on Thursday its experimental coronavirus vaccine prevented hamsters from getting severely ill, as the drugmaker seeks to begin large, late-stage studies in humans later this month. In the pre-clinical study, vaccinated animals lost less weight and had less virus in their lungs and other organs than unvaccinated animals.
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J&J says large study of coronavirus vaccine could begin in September

Johnson & Johnson said on Thursday it is aiming to begin in September a late-stage study of its experimental vaccine for the novel coronavirus, as researchers work at break-neck speed to develop a shot to combat the fast-spreading pathogen. The New Brunswick, New Jersey-based healthcare conglomerate, which expects to start human trials of its vaccine this month, lags other companies that also are developing coronavirus vaccines, with Moderna Inc. expected to begin a late-stage study on July 27.
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MIT’s New CRISPR-Based Rapid Test for COVID-19 Shows Improved Sensitivity

A CRISPR-based test developed at MIT and the Broad Institute can detect nearly as many cases as the standard Covid-19 diagnostic. The new test, known as STOPCovid, is still in the research stage but, in principle, could be made cheaply enough that people could test themselves every day.
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MIT and Boston Dynamics team up on ‘Dr. Spot,’ a robot for remote COVID-19 vital sign measurement

One of the most consistent pieces of advice from health organizations about COVID-19 has been that everyone do their utmost to limit contact with people who may have been exposed to the novel coronavirus that causes the disease. That’s difficult in a hospital setting, where medical professionals regularly have to take patient vital sign measurements in order to provide proper care. But a new collaborative effort by MIT, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston Dynamics and others might provide a way to get those measurements without putting front-line healthcare workers directly in harms’ way.
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6 feet may not always be enough distance to protect from COVID-19, new report suggests

The current guidance for safe social distancing may not be enough to stop the spread of COVID-19, a new analysis suggests. In the report, researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Oxford say other factors, such as ventilation, crowd size, exposure time and whether face coverings are worn, need to be considered, as well.
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Study: Empty middle seats make flying safer during COVID-19

Americans have debated the risks of getting on a plane during the COVID-19 pandemic — especially during the summer vacation season — with few clear answers or evidence to guide their decisions... A new working paper by MIT Sloan professor and aviation safety expert Arnold Barnett, “COVID-19 Risk Among Airline Passengers: Should the Middle Seat Stay Empty?” sheds some light on the issue, finding that empty middle seats do decrease a passenger’s risk of contracting coronavirus on a flight by a factor of about 1.8.
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MilliporeSigma adding 160 jobs in Covid-fueled expansion

MilliporeSigma is in the process of adding 160 jobs at its Jaffrey facility as the global life sciences company ramps up production of components used to develop potential Covid-19 treatments and vaccines. The Jaffrey facility primarily makes filtration devices that are used to produce biopharmaceuticals, such as immunotherapies for cancer treatment. These sorts of products are also part of the standard process for making vaccines, said David Poggi, the plant’s director of operations.. The company’s customers are mainly pharmaceutical corporations, and MiliporeSigma is currently supplying more than 45 companies that are working to develop a Covid-19 vaccine.
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NH medical manufacturers adapt to changing conditions during pandemic

For companies like MilliporeSigma in Jaffrey and Microspec Corp. in Peterborough, whose products are manufactured for different sectors of the medical field, the onset of the coronavirus pandemic has greatly shifted the ways of doing business. Karen Tiano, company spokesperson for MilliporeSigma, said the company has seen an increased demand for products that are used to produce vaccine candidates and therapeutic drugs related to Covid-19.
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Pandemic Response CoLab: New initiative to solve COVID-19 challenges launched by the MIT Center for Collective Intelligence, MIT Community Biotechnology Initiative and MilliporeSigma

MIT\'s new Pandemic Response CoLab—a joint project of the MIT Center for Collective Intelligence (CCI), the MIT Community Biotechnology Initiative (CBI) at the MIT Media Lab, and MilliporeSigma, as a founding member — has launched today with the goal of bringing together innovators from across the globe to work on solving problems created by the COVID-19 pandemic. By leveraging an open online collaboration platform, CCI and CBI aim to mobilize individuals, businesses, communities and other groups to develop actionable solutions to pandemic-related problems.
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MilliporeSigma and Baylor College of Medicine Collaborate to Advance a Vaccine Manufacturing Platform to Fight COVID-19

Using key learnings from their ongoing collaboration on a schistosomiasis vaccine, MilliporeSigma, along with researchers at Baylor College of Medicine and the Texas Children\'s Hospital Center for Vaccine Development, is optimizing the production process to advance two Covid-19 vaccine candidates.
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COVID-19 ventilator patients can have permanent nerve damage: Study

Severely ill Covid-19 patients on ventilators are placed in a prone (face down) position because it’s easier for them to breathe and reduces mortality. However, a new study shows that life-saving position can also cause permanent nerve damage in these vulnerable patients. \"This is a much higher percentage of patients with nerve damage than we’ve ever seen in any other critically ill population,\" said study author Colin Franz from Northwestern University in the US.
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COVID-19 Antibody Testing with Elizabeth McNally, MD, PhD

A team of Northwestern scientists have come together from across disciplines to develop a COVID-19 antibody test designed for at-home use. Elizabeth McNally, MD, PhD, is part of the team working on this test to determine prior exposure to the virus.
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Research exposes new vulnerability in SARS-CoV-2

Northwestern University researchers have uncovered a new vulnerability in the novel coronavirus’ infamous spike protein — illuminating a relatively simple, potential treatment pathway. The spike protein contains the virus’ binding site, which adheres to host cells and enables the virus to enter and infect the body.
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Northwestern launches COVID-19 registry for vaccine trials

Northwestern Medicine has launched a COVID Prevention Trials Registry for people who are interested in participating in COVID-19 clinical trials to prevent infection from the virus... The at-risk individuals being sought are 18 years and older and working in a job that puts them at higher risk of exposure to the virus. That includes health care workers, people who work in a grocery store or retail outlet, public transportation employees, factory or plant workers, and individuals who live or work in congregated living facilities like nursing homes. The registry also needs members of the community who are disproportionately affected by COVID-19 such as older persons, racial/ethnic groups like African Americans, Latinx and Native Americans and people with certain underlying health conditions.
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PhRMA Statement on Biopharmaceutical Companies’ Pledge on COVID-19 Vaccines

On September 8, Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America President and CEO Stephen J. Ubl made the following statement: \"The biopharmaceutical industry is confident we can beat COVID-19 because science guides every aspect of our work. Our industry is committed to ensuring the highest of standards of research, clinical testing and manufacturing are upheld throughout the vaccine research and development process...\"
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How the Biopharmaceutical Industry is Working to Defeat a Common Threat: COVID–19

As the fight to research and develop innovative treatments and vaccines advances, three biopharmaceutical scientists share what they have in common: combatting COVID-19.
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PhRMA Report Shows More than 400 Medicines and Vaccines in Development to Tackle Infectious Diseases, Including COVID-19

The biopharmaceutical industry is committed to the discovery and the development of treatments and development of vaccines for infectious diseases, despite their complicated nature. A new report finds that there are 421 medicines and vaccines in clinical development to treat or prevent bacterial and viral infections that cause infectious diseases, including COVID-19.
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PhRMA’s COVID-19 Response: Supporting the Front-line

In these unprecedented times, America’s biopharmaceutical companies are coming together to achieve one shared goal: to combat COVID-19, a disease caused by a novel strain of coronavirus. Our companies are working around the clock to research and develop new vaccines and treatments, as well as testing existing medicines to help those infected with the virus. In addition, our companies are committed to supporting health care workers who are on the frontlines and communities around the world affected by COVID-19. Here is a closer look at ways our companies are contributing beyond testing, research and development.
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National Coronavirus Antibody Study Suggests Herd Immunity ‘Remains Out of Reach’ in the U.S.

Results of a nationwide COVID-19 antibody study indicate herd immunity \"remains out of reach\" in the U.S., with less than 10 percent of participants testing positive for proteins that could potentially offer protection from repeat infections. The study — conducted by Stanford University researchers in July and published by peer-reviewed medical journal The Lancet on Friday — evaluated the presence of COVID-19 antibodies in blood samples from 28,500 dialysis patients across 46 states. It is one of the largest studies of its kind conducted to date in the U.S.
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Models explore how disease dynamics change when cultural behaviors harmful to health spread like a pathogen

Whether it’s a cough or a handshake, one point of contact by an infected individual may be all it takes to spark an epidemic. The same can also be true for cultural traits related to a disease. Stanford theoretical biologists have developed a new mathematical model that investigates how a health-related behavior or idea that is transmitted between people can harm public health.
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Study reveals immune-system deviations in severe COVID-19 cases

Some people get really sick from COVID-19, and others don’t. Nobody knows why. Now, a study by investigators at the Stanford University School of Medicine and other institutions has turned up immunological deviations and lapses that appear to spell the difference between severe and mild cases of COVID-19.
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Vaping linked to COVID-19 risk in teens and young adults

Vaping is linked to a substantially increased risk of COVID-19 among teenagers and young adults, according to a new study led by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine. The study, which was published online Aug. 11 in the Journal of Adolescent Health, is the first to examine connections between youth vaping and COVID-19 using U.S. population-based data collected during the pandemic.
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Penn Medicine helps power international COVID-19 data consortium

An international consortium involving Penn researchers pools electronic health record data from around the world to discover clinical insights about COVID-19.
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Adolescents, psychiatric hospitalization, and COVID-19

Youth facing the most severe mental illness require inpatient mental health hospitalization. In a recent study in the Journal of Adolescent Health, Polina Krass, a Penn LDI associate fellow and pediatrician at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and coauthors report on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on youth at a local behavioral health hospital. The study details the medical and psychiatric management of 19 patients aged 11-17 who had COVID-19 while requiring psychiatric hospitalization. Caring for these patients required balancing physical and mental health care needs while providing adequate infection control.
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Long-term effects of COVID-19 and support to cope

In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, much of the public health messaging concerned flattening the curve, helping to prevent disease and lighten the load on hospitals caring for the sickest patients. But what happens next, after the acute infection is over? Clinicians at Penn are well-positioned to identify the potential longer term effects of infection as they follow up with patients they’ve treated. And they’ve seen slow-to-recover patients fall into a few different categories.
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1 in 10 COVID-19 patients return to hospital after being sent home from ER

Roughly 1 in 10 patients diagnosed with COVID-19 needed to return to the hospital within a week of discharge from an emergency department visit, according to data from the first three months of the COVID-19 outbreak in the Philadelphia region -- March, April and May 2020. Researchers in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania also found that factors like lower pulse oximetry levels and fever were some of the most telling symptoms that resulted in return trips that resulted in admission. This information, published in Academic Emergency Medicine, could prove invaluable to clinicians working to fight a disease.
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Streamlined diagnostic approach to COVID-19 can avoid potential testing logjam

Following years of work developing diagnostics for infectious diseases including malaria, tuberculosis, dengue, chikungunya and zika, Nicholas Adams and Mindy Leelawong, both research assistant professors in the biomedical engineering laboratory headed by Rick Haselton [at Vanderbilt University], have developed a streamlined diagnostic approach for COVID-19 that renders RNA extraction – a bottleneck in the diagnostic process – unnecessary.
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Early empirical study on COVID-19 related depression and anxiety gives reason for optimism

The pandemic is having profound effects on mental health for people around the world. One of the first longitudinal studies to assess COVID-19 related stressors and mental health symptoms led by Autumn Kujawa, assistant professor of psychology and human development [at Vanderbilt University], shows that many people will recover as the situation improves. A preprint of the article, “Exposure to COVID-19 Pandemic Stress: Associations with Depression and Anxiety in Emerging Adults in the U.S.” was published online on June 29 in PsyArXiv.
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Vanderbilt researcher optimizing public transit with Artificial Intelligence

Abhishek Dubey, assistant professor of electrical engineering and computer science, is applying artificial intelligence (AI) to address how the essential public transit systems of Nashville and Chattanooga – WeGo Public Transit and CARTA, respectively – can maintain social distancing protocols and proactively plan bus routes and schedules in response to COVID-19.
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Vanderbilt University screening tool assesses COVID-19 risk

A new virtual self-screening tool developed by Vanderbilt University professors will help individuals assess their risk of being infected with COVID-19. The app also offers capabilities for expediting test screening for providers and ultimately giving public health officials real-time anonymized data to identify, map and target interventions where they’re needed most.
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Did you catch COVID-19? Then Vanderbilt needs your help to test treatments

Vanderbilt University Medical Center is searching for 220 volunteers who recently tested positive for coronavirus for a new clinical trial of drugs with potential to treat the virus. Participants will be joining a nationwide “ACTIVE-2” clinical trial, of which Vanderbilt is one of 25 test sites. This therapeutic drug trial is separate from coronavirus vaccine trials that are ongoing at Vanderbilt and elsewhere in Nashville.
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Study finds COVID-19 antibodies drop substantially in the weeks following infection

The antibody levels to SAR-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, substantially drop in the weeks following infection, according to a study led by Vanderbilt University Medical Center and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In an April study of 19 health care workers at VUMC with detectable antibodies to SARS-CoV-2, 58% had antibody levels drop below the threshold of positivity 60 days later. The story appears in today’s Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).
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COVID-19 Tele-education Series for Healthcare Providers in Low- and Middle-income Countries

In partnership with Assist International and Project ECHO, Vanderbilt University Medical Center and Vanderbilt Institute for Global Health are offering a tele-education series that will provide remote training and a platform for discussion and the sharing of best practices for healthcare providers caring for COVID patients in low-resource settings.
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SARS-CoV-2 Antibodies for 6 Percent of Frontline Health Care Personnel

Six percent of health care personnel (HCP) caring for patients with COVID-19 have positive test results for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) antibodies, according to research published in the Aug. 31 early-release issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Wesley H. Self, M.D., from the Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee, and colleagues examined the prevalence of and factors associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection among frontline HCP who care for COVID-19 patients.
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COVID-19 Hits Black MS Patients Hard

Black patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) and SARS-CoV-2 virus had a different COVID-19 disease course and worse outcomes than white MS patients with the virus, data from the clinician-based COViMS registry showed. Black race was associated with increased odds of a composite outcome of mortality or ICU admission (OR 3.7), and increased odds of a composite outcome of mortality, ICU admission, or hospitalization (OR 1.7), reported Amber Salter, PhD, of Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, at MS Virtual 2020, the joint ACTRIMS-ECTRIMS meeting.
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Washington University’s ‘underdog’ vaccine shows promise

A St. Louis startup has licensed a COVID-19 vaccine developed at Washington University that won\'t be one of the first on the market, but could have advantages over other early vaccine contenders. An article in Nature this month described the Washington U. research as one of several \"underdog\" vaccines that could be important if early candidates fail, or confer only partial protection against COVID-19.
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Could A Common Vaccine Prevent COVID-19? Washington University Leads Study To Find Out

Doctors at Washington University are investigating whether the commonly used measles, mumps and rubella vaccine could protect people against getting sick with the coronavirus. The large international study is based on the concept of trained immunity — the idea that live vaccines can turbocharge the immune system. “Of course it protects people from measles mumps and rubella, but activating the immune system with this type of vaccine could stimulate protection from other viruses as well,” said Dr. Mary Politi, a professor at Washington University and one of the researchers in the study.
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People with intellectual and developmental disabilities disproportionately affected by COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a disproportionate toll on people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDDs), write the directors of the Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Centers (IDDRC) Network, a nationwide group funded by NIH’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. The article was written by John Constantino, M.D., director of the IDDRC at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, along with fellow IDDRC directors and leaders of the Association of University Centers on Disabilities. It appears in the American Journal of Psychiatry.

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