NIH's Role In Sustaining the U.S. Economy 2021 Update Now Available here
UMR Urges House and Senate Leaders to Include NIH Funding in COVID Relief Package read here
UMR releases new fact sheets on COVID-19 and biomedical research. Read here
See how UMR members are aiding in the fight against the coronavirus here
A new episode of the Amazing Things Podcast is now available! Check it out here.

A participant in the NIH 2019-2020 Medical Research Scholars Program.

Photo Credit: National Institutes of Health

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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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MedTech POV Podcast with Scott Whitaker | FDA’s Dr. Jeff Shuren Says Agency Should “Re-envision” Medical Device Regulatory Framework

Dr. Jeff Shuren, the head of FDA’s medical device division, told a medtech audience on a podcast released this week that the agency should “re-envision” the medical device regulatory framework. Dr. Shuren recently appeared on the newly launched MedTech POV podcast hosted by AdvaMed President and CEO Scott Whitaker.
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MedTech POV Podcast: Conversation with Dr. Steve Hahn

President and CEO of AdvaMed Scott Whitaker catches up with Dr. Steve Hahn. Before Hahn was the head of FDA, he worked as a medical oncologist, served as a commander in the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, managed research for the NIH, and was appointed as the Chief Medical Executive of MD Anderson Cancer Center — all before he was nominated, confirmed, and sworn in as the Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration in late 2019. Whitaker and Hahn cover many topics, including Dr. Hahn\'s time as head of FDA during the worst pandemic in a century.
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AdvaMed Statement on Biden Administration Plan to Expand K-8 Testing

In response to the Biden administration‘s announcement today of its plan to expand COVID-19 testing in our nation‘s K-8 schools, AdvaMed — the world‘s largest trade association representing medical technology companies — released the following statements from AdvaMed President and CEO Scott Whitaker and Susan Van Meter, executive director of AdvaMedDx, the division within AdvaMed that represents diagnostic testing companies.
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AdvaMed Statement on Administration’s Expanded Investment in COVID Testing

The Advanced Medical Technology Association (AdvaMed)—the world’s largest trade association for medical technology and diagnostics companies in the world—released the following statement from President and CEO Scott Whitaker on today’s announcement by the Biden Administration of its plan to expand diagnostic testing.
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International Brain Study: SARS-CoV-2 Impact on Behavior and Cognition

Scientific leaders, including the Alzheimer’s Association and representatives from more than 25 countries — with technical guidance from the WHO — have formed an international, multidisciplinary consortium to collect and evaluate the short- and long-term consequences of the viral infection on the central nervous system (CNS), as well as the differences across countries on the viral impact of COVID-19. This study aims to better understand the long-term consequences that may impact the brain, cognition and function — including underlying biology that may contribute to Alzheimer’s and other dementia.
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The Brain and Covid: Strides and Speculations

One year on, science has discovered much about the effects on the brain, but there is still much to learn.
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The State of Alzheimer’s 2021: Stress, COVID-19, Disparities and Racism

The just-released annual state-of-the-disease report from the Alzheimer‘s Association, where Maria Carrillo is chief science officer, highlights how the past year\'s crises reflect challenges for those touched by the disease. Based on two national surveys, it\'s the “deepest dive ever done” by the association into racial and ethnic perspectives, Carrillo says. For the first time, Native Americans and Asian Americans were included. (The Alzheimer’s Association surveyed 2,491 U.S. adults and 1,392 Alzheimer\'s and dementia caregivers age 50 and older.)
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COVID-19 Could Increase Dementia, Other Brain Disorders for Decades to Come

Loss of smell, emotional detachment and other cognitive disorders among COVID-19 survivors has in recent weeks become an urgent medical issue. Some patients experience psychotic breaks. Others report strange neurological symptoms—tremors, extreme fatigue, phantom smells, dizziness and bouts of profound confusion, a condition known as “brain fog.” In one early study of more than 200 patients in Wuhan, neurological complications were identified in 36 percent of all cases and in 45 percent of severe cases. Another study in France in the New England Journal of Medicine reported neurological symptoms in 67 percent of patients.
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Will COVID-19 change science? Past pandemics offer clues

Sixteen pandemic months have felt disorienting and arduous—but along the arc of human history, COVID-19 marks just another inflection point. Epidemics have punctuated humanity’s timeline for centuries, sowing panic and killing millions, whether the culprit was plague, smallpox, or influenza. And when infections abate, their imprints on society can remain, some short-lived and some enduring. In a series of news articles over the coming months, Science will consider how a new normal is emerging in the scientific world. Of course, COVID-19 is still with us, especially outside the minority of countries now enjoying the fruits of widespread vaccination. Still, as the pandemic enters a different phase, we ask how research may be changing, how scientists are navigating these waters, and in what directions they are choosing to sail.
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‘This gives hope’: A third COVID-19 vaccine dose can boost protection for organ transplant recipients

Despite poor protection after two shots, an extra dose helps some according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University.
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Rich countries cornered the marketplace for COVID-19 vaccines. Here are four strategies to protect the rest of the world.

In January, the director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, issued a blunt warning. The world was ″on the brink of a catastrophic moral failure,″ he said. Wealthy countries were buying up available COVID-19 vaccines, leaving tiny amounts for others—a replay of what happened during the 2009 influenza pandemic. ″The price of this failure will be paid with lives and livelihoods in the world′s poorest countries,″ Tedros said. He was right.
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Two more coronaviruses may infect people

Last week, an international collaboration that went looking for known or novel viruses in pneumonia patients in Malaysia reported that in eight children, they found signs of a coronavirus that may have originated in dogs. Earlier this year another group reported a coronavirus that appears to have jumped from pigs to several children in Haiti. There\'s no sign so far that either virus can spread from person to person—as the spark of the pandemic, SARS-CoV-2, readily does—or definitive evidence that they cause human illness. But the discoveries, which could increase the number of coronaviruses known to infect people from seven to nine, underscore the threat posed by this viral family.
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Survey: Cancer Patients and Survivors Continue to Face Pandemic-Related Health Care Delays 1 Year Later

According to a new Survivor Views survey from the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN), 1 in 3 (35%) cancer patients and survivors report that the pandemic has affected their ability to access care. Even during the last few months, as the overall spread of the virus has begun to decline due to vaccinations, roughly 1 in 6 (16%) patients report a delay or interruption in their cancer screening schedule, including 1 in 10 (11%) who experienced a screening delay for a cancer with which they’d previously been diagnosed. These delays were driven mostly by logistical issues such as staffing shortages or a lack of available appointments (26%), followed by patients’ concerns about the risks of contracting the virus (22%).
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Volunteers Meet Virtually with Lawmakers to Support Legislation Allowing Pharmacists to Administer All CDC Recommended Vaccines

Volunteers from the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) along with supporters of organizations including NAACP New York State Conference, New York State Association of County Health Organizations, New York Public Health Association and more than 20 others are gathering virtually today to urge lawmakers in Albany to pass legislation this session that will enable pharmacists in the state to administer all vaccines recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to anyone over the age of 18.
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Cancer Research Groups Push Emergency Funding to Restart Clinical Trials in Infrastructure Package

A group of more than fifty cancer research-focused organizations are urging Congress to include $10 billion in emergency funding to restart cancer research and clinical trials at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) stalled by the coronavirus pandemic.
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Documentary Film Highlights Early Days of COVID-19 Pandemic and Ongoing Impact on Black, Rural Communities in Alabama

A film by the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) features the stories of those disproportionally affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and stresses the importance of health insurance coverage for lower income individuals in Alabama. The film‘s urgent message continues to be at the forefront of conversations on public policy change that could significantly address the longstanding health and cancer disparities, exacerbated by the pandemic and provide lower income Alabamians access to comprehensive, affordable health insurance coverage.
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Cardiologists warn of long-lasting COVID-19 effects on the heart

COVID-19 is known for affecting the lungs and respiratory system, and now cardiologists are warning of potential COVID-19 complications affecting the heart. According to the American Heart Association, heart disease is expected to rise significantly post-COVID-19. Dr. Ken Mahaffey, a cardiologist and associate dean of clinical research at Stanford University, told KCBS Radio that the commonly known pulmonary problems associated with COVID-19 can also put a strain on the heart.
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What heart and stroke patients should know about COVID-19 vaccines

Experts have a simple answer for heart and stroke patients questioning whether they should get a COVID-19 vaccination. That answer: yes. The Food and Drug Administration-approved vaccines pose no special problems for such patients, said Dr. Mitchell Elkind, a professor of neurology and epidemiology at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital ⁄ Columbia University Irving Medical Center in New York City, who also is president of the American Heart Association. The AHA issued a statement Friday encouraging people with cardiovascular risk factors, heart disease or a history of heart attack or stroke to get vaccinated “as soon as possible.”
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COVID-19 patients of all ages with obesity face higher risk of complications, death

People with obesity – regardless of age – are more likely to be hospitalized with COVID-19 and have higher risks for complications and death, according to new research. The study, presented Tuesday at the American Heart Association‘s virtual Scientific Sessions, sought to shed new light “on the intersection of a global pandemic and the national epidemic of obesity‚” said lead author Nicholas Hendren. The research was published simultaneously in the AHA journal Circulation.
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AHA News: Black, Hispanic People Hospitalized for COVID-19 at Disproportionately High Rates

TUESDAY, Nov. 17, 2020 (American Heart Association News) -- Black and Hispanic people made up nearly 60% of COVID-19 hospitalizations in a new study, a disproportionate number that researchers attribute to societal structures reinforcing health disparities among racial and ethnic groups. The study looked at data from 7,868 people hospitalized for COVID-19 between Jan. 17 and July 22 at 88 U.S. hospitals taking part in the American Heart Association COVID-19 Cardiovascular Disease Registry. Hispanic and Black patients had a disproportionate risk of landing in the hospital: 33% were Hispanic, 25.5% were Black, 6.3% were Asian and 35.2% were white.
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For future medical breakthroughs, we must rebuild research lost to COVID

Perhaps even more than past breakthroughs, the novel COVID-19 mRNA vaccines have inspired immediate and widespread relief and optimism. Biomedical scientists labored for decades to develop the expertise and proof of feasibility that led to the vaccines; this innovative work has saved countless lives and promises an end to a pandemic that has killed millions of people and disrupted normal life around the world for more than a year.
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Friends of IES Requests At Least $700B for IES in FY22

The Friends of IES, of which AAU is a member, sent a letter to House and Senate Labor, HHS, Education, and Related Agencies appropriations subcommittee leaders requesting at least $700 million for the Institute of Education Sciences in FY22. The letter says that this funding would “bolster the research and statistical infrastructure needed to develop and scale up evidence-based interventions to support learning recovery, understand and address the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic across all levels of education, and ensure the continuation of research and data collection in the field.”
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AAU Urges Lawmakers to Develop Bipartisan Recovery and Competitiveness Measures

AAU sent a letter to President Joe Biden and congressional leaders thanking them for pandemic relief measures and highlighting actions federal policymakers should pursue, in a bipartisan fashion, to bolster the government-university partnership, support our nation‘s recovery, and strengthen our global competitiveness. The letter urges lawmakers to: double the maximum Pell Grant award to $13,000; provide research recovery funding consistent with the bipartisan H.R. 869/S. 289, the “Research Investment to Spark the Economy (RISE) Act;” invest in scientific research infrastructure; and ramp up research and STEM education investments, setting a path for sustained funding growth thereafter.
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We Lead Three Universities. It’s Time for Drastic Action.

Last week, Harvard University President Lawrence S. Bacow, Massachusetts Institute of Technology President L. Rafael Reif, and Stanford University President Marc Tessier-Lavigne wrote an op-ed to outline the importance of “drastic action” to protect the health of our nation, including the efforts of America‘s leading research universities.
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APLU Urges Congress to Restore Research Investment in Infrastructure Negotiations

Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) President Peter McPherson sent a letter to congressional leadership on May 26 urging lawmakers to include research investment in infrastructure negotiations: “APLU was disheartened to see that the White House offered to recede their initial proposal to invest in research and development (R&D) as a component of infrastructure package discussions. The Administration′s initial proposal to invest $40 billion to upgrade research infrastructure in laboratories across the country, including brick-and-mortar facilities and computing capabilities and networks is worthy of pursuit and much needed. Similarly, the Administration‘s plan outlined worthwhile investments to support infrastructure across a broad spectrum of institutions, including Minority Serving Institutions and Historically Black Colleges and Universities...”
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CDC, NIFA, and Cooperative Extension Partner to Address Health Disparities in Underserved Communities

The Extension Foundation, in cooperation with APLU’s Extension Committee on Organization and Policy (ECOP), with funding from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is funding a nearly $10 million grant opportunity to address health disparities among rural and other underserved communities. This effort, called the Extension Collaborative on Immunization Teaching and Engagement (EXCITE) project, is providing two opportunities for land-grant universities to promote vaccine confidence.
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How Public Universities Distributed Emergency Financial Aid During the Pandemic

As part of a March virtual convening on affordability, APLU invited campus leaders and a representative from APLU’s Office of Governmental Affairs to reflect on the 2020 CARES Act, which enabled distribution of federally funded emergency aid, and implications for the future. The panelists reflected on the effectiveness of distributing federally funded Student Emergency Grants Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF), established and funded through multiple rounds of federal coronavirus relief legislation. Learn more about the HEERF funds. Watch the full session here.
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APLU Joins as Founding Member of COVID-19 Community Corps

APLU joined as a founding member of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services‘ COVID-19 Community Corps to increase public confidence in the safety and efficacy of vaccines. Through a nationwide network of trusted messengers and consistent, fact-based public health messaging, the campaign helps the public make informed decisions about their health and COVID-19, including steps to protect themselves and their communities. The campaign has produced a host of resources for educating various communities about COVID-19 and their health.
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Driving healthcare worker safety through innovation across clinical workflows

The COVID-19 pandemic is the latest reminder that healthcare workers around the world face hazards related to their work every day, both visible and invisible. In many cases, medical devices and equipment are the primary means to prevent injury or disease.
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‘BD On Location’ Spotlights Role COVID-19 Testing Plays in Getting Back to Business

As COVID-19 vaccination rates rise, government restrictions relax and businesses around the U.S. prepare to reopen, organizational leaders are exploring the path to “getting back to normal” that feels right for them, their associates, their customers, their industry and their community.
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BD donates $300K to COVID-19 relief in India, totaling $2.8m in COVID-19 relief to date

At a time when COVID-19 cases were rising exponentially in India, the infrastructure of the healthcare system faced considerable challenges in its attempts to manage the surge. The region experienced shortages of critical medical treatments such as oxygen, and many patients were unable to get any type of treatment as hospitals were beyond capacity. In response to this surge, the BD Foundation donated $150,000 to support our philanthropic partners – Americares India, Project HOPE and UNICEF USA – in their efforts to mobilize resources to treat COVID-19 patients and protect and train healthcare workers in India.
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USA Swimming Partners with BD to Provide COVID-19 Screening for the Olympic Trials and Other Competitive Swimming Events

USA Swimming and BD (Becton, Dickinson and Company), a leading global medical technology company, have partnered to provide COVID-19 testing at USA Swimming events. Specifically, rapid antigen tests using the BD Veritor™ Plus System will be conducted at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Swimming as an additional safety measure beyond the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing that will also be a part of USA Swimming’s COVID-19 mitigation efforts. These tests will also be utilized at 2021-2022 USA Swimming events where testing is required.
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“I Am BIO” Podcast: Biotech Changed COVID. But Did COVID Change Biotech?

Science—particularly biotechnology—helped change the course of COVID with the development of effective vaccines and therapeutics. However, it is also true that COVID has changed biotechnology. This episode looks at the way biotech addressed the crisis and explores how the crisis, in turn, changed the biotech industry—its reputation, its exposure to a broader audience and its willingness to adopt lessons learned from the pandemic.
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I AM BIO Podcast: Uncut with Dr. Richard Hatchett

This is the I am BIO Uncut Series where we bring you a full interview from Monday′s podcast complete and unfiltered. In this episode, we′re joined by Richard Hatchett, CEO of the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations or CEPI, a global vaccine procurement initiative.
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I AM BIO Podcast: We Can and Must SHARE Vaccines with the Globe

As the good news about the decline of COVID infections in the US continues to reverberate, the threat of the pandemic still looms globally. “Nobody is safe until everybody is safe.” Sharing life-saving vaccines around the world as quickly as possible defies a simple solution. This episode explores the recommendations and best solutions to address global distribution challenges and questions a simplistic proposal offered by some countries to the WHO: waiving Intellectual Property rights for the vaccines. Will the waiver of these protections threaten to undermine the very system that produced life-saving science in the first place?
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BIO Cheers Biden Announcement to Share 20 Million Doses of Vaccines with Developing Nations

\"The White House’s decision to send Covid-19 vaccines to countries in need is an important step to ensuring people around the globe have access to lifesaving shots and ending this global pandemic. “As part of BIO’s recently-proposed Global “SHARE” program, we’ve made clear the urgent need to strengthen and support healthcare systems in low-and middle-income countries in addressing COVID. The president’s decision to relinquish millions of doses is an important part of achieving this goal.
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Sexism and Racism in Science: How the Coronavirus Pandemic Exposed Everything

In a peer-reviewed piece, 24 researchers argue it’s time for new policies that promote strong mentorship, diversity, and equity amongst scientific workforce.
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Study Reveals Recipe for Even More Powerful COVID-19 Vaccines

A new study looking at the way human cells activate the immune system in response to SARS-CoV-2 infection could open the door to even more effective and powerful vaccines against the coronavirus and its rapidly emerging variants keeping the global pandemic smoldering.
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Nahid Bhadelia to Head New BU Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases

The first-floor classroom is empty inside the Boston University School of Medicine on a gray and chilly May morning in the South End. The whiteboard is marked up from earlier instruction and the only sound is the hum of fluorescent lights overhead. With an audience of one, and from behind her blue mask, Nahid Bhadelia slips on one hat after another, pivoting seamlessly from healthcare policy wonk to infectious diseases physician to MED associate professor to expert researcher in highly communicable diseases.
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Without Commuter Traffic, Pandemic-Era Boston Drivers Are Speeding Up, Increasing Noise Pollution

As pandemic lockdowns went into effect in March 2020 and millions of Americans began working from home rather than commuting to offices, heavy traffic in America’s most congested urban centers—like Boston—suddenly ceased to exist. Soon afterwards, the air was noticeably cleaner. But that wasn’t the only effect. A team of Boston University biologists who study how human-related sounds impact natural environments seized the opportunity to learn how the reduced movement of people would impact local ecosystems.
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Stevanato Group and Corning Incorporated sign licensing agreement to offer Corning Valor® Glass vials in presterilized SG EZ-fill® packaging configuration

The partnership offers the industry an enhanced product with improved chemical durability and world-class ready-to-use expertise, serving early stage drug development through marketed drug manufacturing.
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Corning Valor® Glass Positioned to Accelerate COVID-19 Vaccine Preparation

A recent invention by Corning – a radical new kind of glass composition for vaccine vials – might typically attract little attention outside the pharmaceutical industry. But now it stands to play a significant role in getting more vaccines to more people as quickly as possible.
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Corning Announces Expansion of Contract with U.S. Departments of Defense, Health & Human Services

Company to receive an additional $57 million in funding to address growing demand for domestic glass tubing and vial manufacturing capacity as part of the U.S. COVID response to accelerate vaccinations.
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Supporting the Covid-19 vaccine rollout with extra-strength glass

Some people are actually able to bottle their success, and Mark Kurz SM ’95 is one of the lucky few. Kurz is at the forefront of the fight against Covid-19 as a manufacturing supply chain leader at Corning, the New York-based pioneer in glass science and manufacturing technology. Corning produces Valor Glass vials, a primary mode of delivery for vaccines as part of the U.S. government′s Operation Warp Speed. In his role as director of Corning′s Pharmaceutical Technologies manufacturing and operations, Kurz oversaw a four-fold acceleration of production capacity for vials. Production is slated to increase 10-fold by the end of this year.  
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Study finds genetic risk factors for severe COVID-19 illness

A massive worldwide collaboration including researchers from Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) has identified several genetic factors associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection and severe COVID-19 illness. The findings from nearly 50,000 COVID-19 patients and 2 million uninfected controls, published July 8 in the journal Nature, could lead to new treatments and demonstrates the power of genetic studies to respond to the worldwide pandemic. More than 3,500 scientists from 25 countries are participating in the effort, called the COVID-19 Host Genetics Initiative (HGI), which was founded in March 2020 by Andrea Ganna, PhD, and Mark Daly, PhD, of the Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland at the University of Helsinki and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard.
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How COVID taught America about inequity in education

The pandemic has disrupted education nationwide, turning a spotlight on existing racial and economic disparities, and creating the potential for a lost generation. Even before the outbreak, students in vulnerable communities — particularly predominately Black, Indigenous, and other majority-minority areas — were already facing inequality in everything from resources (ranging from books to counselors) to student-teacher ratios and extracurriculars.
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Assessing the Delta variant

The Delta variant of the coronavirus has been spreading rapidly throughout the U.S. and worldwide. William Hanage, associate professor of epidemiology and a faculty member of the Center for Communicable Disease Dynamics at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, discusses the threat.
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Antibody Evolution: New tool aims to fight COVID-19, other diseases [VIDEO]

Harvard University researchers are taking aim at COVID-19 and other diseases with a faster, simpler, cheaper technology for generating specialized antibodies.
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Decoding Delta: How Viruses Mutate and What Can Be Done About It

Johns Hopkins University virologist Andrew Pekosz discusses what we know so far about the delta variant of the coronavirus and what it means for our understanding of SARS-CoV-2 overall.
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“Public Health on Call” Podcast: COVID-19 Vaccine Boosters, FDA Approval, New Vaccines, and More

Will we need COVID-19 booster shots and, if so, when? Where is the FDA in its approval process of the vaccines currently under emergency use authorization? What goes into this process? Why, if the current vaccines are so good, are companies still trying to make new ones? Johns Hopkins’ Dr. Anna Durbin returns to the podcast to talk with Stephanie Desmon about all things COVID-19 vaccines.
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“Public Health on Call” Podcast: The consequences of COVID

Three researchers break down three papers looking at what happens to patients with COVID over the longer term. Dr. Lauren Peetluck, an epidemiologist at Vanderbilt University, talks about the risks of long-term complications of COVID. Dr. Heather McKay, an epidemiologist at Johns Hopkins, talks about the risks of negative neurological and psychiatric outcomes of patients diagnosed with COVID-19. Danny Sack, an MD/PhD student at Vanderbilt, talks about post-COVID multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children.
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Drop in convalescent plasma use at U.S. hospitals linked to higher COVID-19 mortality rate

A new study from researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and colleagues suggests that a slowdown in the use of convalescent plasma to treat hospitalized COVID-19 patients led to higher COVID-19 mortality during a critical surge in cases in the winter.
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Johnson & Johnson Statement on Supply of its Single-shot COVID-19 Vaccine

Johnson & Johnson confirms the United States Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has authorized two batches of drug substance, manufactured at the Emergent BioSolutions, Inc. Bayview facility, under the Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for its single-shot COVID-19 vaccine.
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J&J Statement on FDA Approval of Shelf Life Extension for Company’s COVID-19 Vaccine

We are pleased to confirm the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has authorized an extension of the shelf life for the Johnson & Johnson single-shot COVID-19 vaccine from 3 months to 4.5 months. The decision is based on data from ongoing stability assessment studies, which have demonstrated that the vaccine is stable at 4.5 months when refrigerated at temperatures of 36 – 46 degrees Fahrenheit (2 – 8 degrees Celsius).
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Behind Covid-19 vaccine development

A machine learning model developed jointly by Janssen and MIT data scientists played a key role in the clinical trial process for the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine When starting a vaccine program, scientists generally have anecdotal understanding of the disease they’re aiming to target. When Covid-19 surfaced over a year ago, there were so many unknowns about the fast-moving virus that scientists had to act quickly and rely on new methods and techniques just to even begin understanding the basics of the disease. Scientists at Janssen Research & Development, developers of the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine, leveraged real-world data and, working with MIT researchers, applied artificial intelligence and machine learning to help guide the company’s research efforts into a potential vaccine.
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The Impact of COVID-19 on the Nursing Profession in the U.S.

A 2020 Quantitative Survey Summary Commissioned by Johnson & Johnson, the American Nurses Association (ANA) and American Organization for Nursing Leadership (AONL).
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Study finds genetic risk factors for severe COVID-19 illness

A massive worldwide collaboration including researchers from Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) has identified several genetic factors associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection and severe COVID-19 illness. The findings from nearly 50,000 COVID-19 patients and 2 million uninfected controls, published July 8 in the journal Nature, could lead to new treatments and demonstrates the power of genetic studies to respond to the worldwide pandemic. More than 3,500 scientists from 25 countries are participating in the effort, called the COVID-19 Host Genetics Initiative (HGI), which was founded in March 2020 by Andrea Ganna, PhD, and Mark Daly, PhD, of the Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland at the University of Helsinki and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard.
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SMART researchers develop a method for rapid, accurate virus detection

Four times faster than conventional PCR methods, new RADICA approach is highly specific, sensitive, and resistant to inhibitors. Researchers from Critical Analytics for Manufacturing Personalized-Medicine (CAMP), an interdisciplinary research group at the Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology (SMART), MIT’s research enterprise in Singapore, have developed a new method for rapid and accurate detection of viral nucleic acids — a breakthrough that can be easily adapted to detect different DNA/RNA targets in viruses like the coronavirus.
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Face Mask Can Test Your Breath for COVID-19 in 90 Minutes

Researchers at Harvard and MIT pioneered a biosensor that can test for COVID-19. Wearers breathe into their masks for 15 to 30 minutes, press a button on the sensor, and within 90 more minutes, their COVID test results show up on a readout strip similar to a pregnancy test. The invention is described in greater detail in the journal Nature Biotechnology.
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Mutation in Coronavirus Gamma Variant Linked to Increased Mortality, Greater Transmissibility: Study

A mutation in the Gamma variant (P1) of coronavirus is linked to increased mortality, a Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and MIT researchers said on Wednesday. The mutation also carries greater transmissibility, higher infection rates, and increased pathogenicity, showed the study detailed in the journal Genetic Epidemiology. The findings were based on genome-wide association studies (GWAS) methodology, which analyzed whole-genome sequencing data of SARS-CoV-2 mutations and COVID-19 mortality data. In September 2020, the team looked for links between each mutation of the SARS-CoV-2 virus\'s single-stranded RNA and mortality in 7,548 COVID-19 patients in Brazil.
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Shortage Of Giant Sterile Liners Threatens Global Vaccines Rollout

In addition to the demand for COVID-19 shots outstripping supply, vaccine manufacturers are struggling to secure supplies of giant plastic bags used in bioreactors that mix pharmaceutical ingredients, thus creating a bottleneck, resulting in more delays of vaccine rollout, the Financial Times reports... MilliporeSigma, a division of Germany’s Merck & Co., said that it had been working on expanding facilities and added that it was also reliant on a web of smaller suppliers who were scaling-up at speed. Thermo Fisher Scientific, which also makes the single-use liners, said it had increased production capacity by 50% in 2020 with further expansion by another 50% this year.
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The Sharon S. Richardson Community Hospice received a donation of over 10,000 masks from MilliporeSigma

The Sharon S. Richardson Community Hospice received a donation of over 10,000 masks from MilliporeSigma last month. Said Dawn Weidemann, site training coordinator for MilliporeSigma: “As part of MilliporeSigma’s COVID-19 efforts in our community, we were able to donate FDA-certified medical-grade masks. Sharon S. Richardson Community Hospice is a local health care organization that is providing COVID-19 relief efforts and...”
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MilliporeSigma Acquires AmpTec to Expand mRNA Capabilities for Vaccines, Treatments and Diagnostics

MilliporeSigma today announced the acquisition of AmpTec, a leading Hamburg, Germany-based, mRNA contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO). The deal strengthens MilliporeSigma’s capabilities to develop and manufacture mRNA for its customers for use in vaccines, treatments and diagnostics applicable in Covid-19 and many other diseases.
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The Pandemic Response CoLab

The Pandemic Response CoLab is a joint project by the MIT Center for Collective Intelligence (CCI), MIT Media Lab’s Community Biotechnology Initiative, and founding member MilliporeSigma. The project is an open, online collaboration platform that invites anyone, from individuals to groups, from communities to businesses, to develop actionable solutions for challenges presented by the Covid-19 pandemic.
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“Breakthroughs” Podcast: Children and COVID-19 Vaccines with William Muller, MD, PhD

COVID-19 vaccines are being doled out across the nation, almost exclusively to adults. Pfizer’s vaccine has been authorized for ages 16 and up and Moderna’s vaccine for 18 and up. So when might younger children be vaccinated for COVID-19? And what needs to happen before then? Northwestern’s William Muller, MD, PhD, offers insight.
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Northwestern Medicine study finds link between dietary choices and COVID-19 risk

Some dietary decisions, including high vegetable intake and coffee consumption, may impact a person’s likelihood of contracting COVID-19, a Northwestern Medicine study found, according to a Monday news release. The study also found being breastfed as a child and a reduction in processed meats in a person’s diet could, to an extent, mitigate the risk of catching COVID-19. Though these factors don’t provide complete protection against the virus, some behaviors, such as drinking at least one cup of coffee a day, have been associated with about a 10 percent decrease in risk.
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Study Explores Possible Therapeutic Target for SARS-CoV-2

Inhibiting a specific protein complex in SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, may be a promising therapeutic target for treating the disease, according to a Northwestern Medicine study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). Similar to other RNA viruses, the genome of the SARS-CoV-2 contains a “capping” modification which stabilizes and improves viral translation as well as protects the virus from degradation by the host’s immune system and allows it to proliferate.
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“Breakthroughs” Podcast: Tracking COVID-19 Variants with Ramón Lorenzo-Redondo, PhD

Since SARS-CoV-2 was discovered in Illinois over a year ago, scientists at Northwestern University\'s Feinberg School of Medicine have been tracking the evolution of the disease in the Chicago area. Ramón Lorenzo Redondo, PhD, research assistant professor of Medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases, is part of the team leading this work. He talks about the team’s research, the new COVID-19 variants and how the vaccines on the market today stand up to them.
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PhRMA CEO Steve Ubl and Sage Therapeutics CEO Barry Greene: Coming Together to Fight COVID-19

This year, the biopharmaceutical research industry has been working around the clock to combat the COVID-19 virus, including developing effective therapeutics to treat COVID-19 and vaccines to prevent future infections. A key piece of that has been the impact the pandemic has had on mental health. PhRMA CEO Steve Ubl recently had the opportunity to connect with Barry Greene, CEO of Sage Therapeutics, about the company’s efforts to address COVID-19’s impact.
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Coming together to fight COVID-19: A conversation with Barry Greene, CEO of Sage Therapeutics

This year, our industry has been working around the clock to combat the COVID-19 virus, including developing effective therapeutics to treat COVID-19 and vaccines to prevent future infections. A key piece of that has been the impact the pandemic has had on mental health. I had the opportunity to connect with Barry Greene, CEO of Sage Therapeutics, about the company’s efforts to address COVID-19’s impact.
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A year later: Reflections on the meaning of equity

After the mid-March shutdown, the month of May began with me working diligently, going from zoom to zoom and managing virtual school for my son. Above all, I was focused on keeping my son and myself safe from contracting COVID-19 and helping family, friends and colleagues through the sicknesses and loss of loved ones due to the virus, with a sense of growing anger at the devastation that the virus was wreaking globally and nationally, but specifically at the impact it was having in communities of color and in people that look like me.
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ICYMI: PhRMA president and CEO Stephen J. Ubl joins other industry leaders for a conversation on COVID-19 vaccines with Axios

On May 19, Axios hosted an event discussing the unprecedented development of COVID-19 vaccines and the road ahead. Speakers included NIAID Director Dr. Anthony Fauci, Pfizer Chairman & CEO Dr. Albert Bourla and PhRMA President & CEO Stephen J. Ubl.
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Stanford study shows why second dose of COVID-19 vaccine shouldn’t be skipped

The second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine induces a powerful boost to a part of the immune system that provides broad antiviral protection, according to a study led by investigators at the Stanford University School of Medicine.  The finding strongly supports the view that the second shot should not be skipped. The study, published July 12 in Nature, was designed to find out exactly what effects the vaccine, marketed by Pfizer Inc., has on the numerous components of the immune response. The researchers analyzed blood samples from individuals inoculated with the vaccine. They counted antibodies, measured levels of immune-signaling proteins and characterized the expression of every single gene in the genome of 242,479 separate immune cells’ type and status.
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Study ties milder COVID-19 symptoms to prior run-ins with other coronaviruses

A study by Stanford University School of Medicine investigators hints that people with COVID-19 may experience milder symptoms if certain cells of their immune systems “remember” previous encounters with seasonal coronaviruses—the ones that cause about a quarter of the common colds kids get.
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Stanford researchers may have answer to treat COVID ‘brain fog’ [VIDEO]

Researchers at Stanford Medicine have discovered a possible link to the \"brain fog\" that some COVID-19 patients have experienced.
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Adding key ingredient to vaccine may stimulate broad protection against viruses

An immune system stimulant called AS03 could help vaccines protect against multiple viruses by altering the epigenome of the innate immune system.
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Thermo Fisher Scientific Launches CE-IVD-Marked Next-Generation TaqPath COVID-19 2.0 Test

Thermo Fisher Scientific, the world leader in serving science, today announced the launch of a new CE-IVD-marked COVID-19 test. The TaqPath COVID-19 Fast PCR Combo Kit 2.0. expands Thermo Fisher’s menu of highly accurate tests that detect active SARS-CoV-2 infections. The kit uses an advanced assay design which compensates for current and emerging variants by using eight total targets across three genomic regions of the virus. This approach helps to ensure the test provides accurate results even as the virus that causes COVID-19 continues to mutate.
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Thermo Fisher Scientific Launches Ion AmpliSeq SARS-CoV-2 Insight Research Assay for SARS-CoV-2 Surveillance

Thermo Fisher Scientific today introduced the Ion AmpliSeq SARS-CoV-2 Insight Research Assay to improve SARS-CoV-2 surveillance. The assay is designed to enable early identification of new and known variants from samples that have lower viral loads. By sequencing more than 99 percent of the SARS-CoV-2 genome, the assay covers all potential serotypes.
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Ohio Launches COVID-19 Screening Program for K-12 Students and Staff

A new K-12 screening pilot, initiated by Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and administered by Thermo Fisher Scientific and Color Health, will provide testing to students, teachers and staff for COVID-19 on a weekly basis to help ensure safer in-person learning. The ReadyCheckGo testing program is now underway at the LEAP Academy in Cincinnati and the Ohio School for the Deaf and Ohio School for the Blind, both in Columbus. The first round of testing began today and continues through the end of the school year. Ohio is the first state to participate in this new nationwide testing program.
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COVID-19: Why We Need to Continue Testing

Manoj Gandhi, Sr. Medical Director at Thermo Fisher Scientific, interviews Dr. Stephen Morse, professor of epidemiology at Columbia University. Manoj and Stephen address the doubts expressed by the general public regarding testing for COVID-19 and the need for continued testing even as vaccination rates continue to increase.
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Ask an Expert: Do I need to get vaccinated even if I had COVID-19?

Thomas Talbot, professor of medicine and chief hospital epidemiologist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, shares why it\'s important for people to get vaccinated, even if they\'ve already had COVID-19.
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“Public Health on Call” Podcast: The consequences of COVID

Three researchers break down three papers looking at what happens to patients with COVID over the longer term. Dr. Lauren Peetluck, an epidemiologist at Vanderbilt University, talks about the risks of long-term complications of COVID. Dr. Heather McKay, an epidemiologist at Johns Hopkins, talks about the risks of negative neurological and psychiatric outcomes of patients diagnosed with COVID-19. Danny Sack, an MD/PhD student at Vanderbilt, talks about post-COVID multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children.
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CDC looks into rare heart issues after COVID-19 vaccination [VIDEO]

The CDC is planning an emergency meeting next week on rare cases of heart inflammation, mostly occurring in younger men, following COVID-19 vaccination. Dr. William Schaffner, a professor a Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, joined CBS News\' Tanya Rivero to discuss this plus concerns about a decline in routine childhood vaccinations during the pandemic.
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New study finds community activists in Brazil’s favelas play a critical role in combatting COVID-19

A study co-led by Vanderbilt University’s Dominique Béhague found that Brazilian citizens without traditional public health expertise have stepped up and worked together in poor neighborhoods known as favelas to make significant strides in their community’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Béhague, associate professor of medicine, health, and society, and Francisco Ortega, research professor at the Catalan Institution for Research and Advanced Studies in Barcelona, Spain, co-authored a recent article in The Lancet about their findings.
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Study finds genetic risk factors for severe COVID-19 illness

A massive worldwide collaboration including researchers from Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) has identified several genetic factors associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection and severe COVID-19 illness. The findings from nearly 50,000 COVID-19 patients and 2 million uninfected controls, published July 8 in the journal Nature, could lead to new treatments and demonstrates the power of genetic studies to respond to the worldwide pandemic. More than 3,500 scientists from 25 countries are participating in the effort, called the COVID-19 Host Genetics Initiative (HGI), which was founded in March 2020 by Andrea Ganna, PhD, and Mark Daly, PhD, of the Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland at the University of Helsinki and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard.
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Ask an Expert: Do I need to get vaccinated even if I had COVID-19?

Thomas Talbot, professor of medicine and chief hospital epidemiologist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, shares why it\'s important for people to get vaccinated, even if they\'ve already had COVID-19.
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COVID-19 complication underdiagnosed

Multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS) is the inflammation of various tissues and has been cited as a complication of SARS-CoV-2 infection. Originally identified in children, a form of MIS has since been described in adults (MIS-A). Giovanni Davogustto, MD, and colleagues at Vanderbilt University Medical Center identified and collected characteristics of adult patients at risk of MIS-A from electronic health records to better understand its presentation. Patients in the study were narrowed from the pool of patients testing positive for SARS-CoV-2 and separated from those experiencing acute COVID-19 infection.
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Combination antibody therapies should retain effectiveness against emerging COVID-19 variants: study

Five monoclonal antibody “cocktails,” including one developed at Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC), are protective in animal studies against several variant strains of COVID-19, according to a report this week in the journal Nature.
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‘Show Me the Science’ Podcast: Vaccinating kids against COVID-19 likely to enhance school safety

Masks, physical distancing and preventing students and teachers from coming to school when sick kept schools relatively safe during the recently completed school year. Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis believe having many teachers and some students vaccinated will make classrooms even safer when school resumes in the fall.
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COVID pandemic’s impact on mental health in America [VIDEO]

Washington University in St. Louis, joins CBS News to discuss the impact this type of conflicting information could have on the mental health of Americans.
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Washington U study shows months long immunity after COVID-19 vaccines

Washington University researchers on Monday released a study further suggesting that the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines offer months long protection from the virus. No one had yet studied whether the vaccines create persistent responses in key parts of the lymph nodes, the researchers said. Their data was published Monday in the journal Nature.
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Virus that causes COVID-19 can find alternate route to infect cells

Now, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have found that a single mutation gives SARS-CoV-2 the ability to enter cells through another route – one that does not require ACE2. The ability to use an alternative entry pathway opens up the possibility of evading COVID-19 antibodies or vaccines, but the researchers did not find evidence of such evasion. However, the discovery does show that the virus can change in unexpected ways and find new ways to cause infection. The study is published June 23 in Cell Reports.
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Coronavirus Vaccines and People with Cancer: A Q&A with Dr. Steven Pergam

Many people being treated for cancer are asking whether they should get one of the COVID-19 vaccines. Steven Pergam, M.D., of the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Division at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, was a co-leader of a committee formed by the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) that recently released recommendations on COVID-19 vaccination in cancer patients. In this Q&A, Dr. Pergam discusses some of the questions people with cancer and cancer survivors have about these vaccines.
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An Unprecedented Impact Part 2: The Threat to the Research Pipeline

Not until the COVID-19 pandemic has something caused such a massive disruption to ongoing research in all fields, delaying and jeopardizing important work, stalling life-saving clinical trials and upending the career paths of many graduate students and early career scientists.
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An Unprecedented Impact Part 1: The Effort to Combat COVID-19

From a laser-like focus by researchers, medical professionals and life sciences and biopharmaceutical companies on understanding, mitigating, treating and eradicating the pandemic, to massive disruptions to ongoing research in all fields that is jeopardizing important work, stalling life-saving clinical trials and upending the career paths of many graduate students and early career scientists, COVID-19 is touching all aspects of biomedical research. Part 1 in this series of fact sheets focuses on the effort to combat COVID-19.

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UMR is a coalition of leading research institutions, patient and health advocates and private industry seeking steady and sustainable increases in funding for the National Institutes of Health in order to save and improve lives, advance innovation and fuel the economy.

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