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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
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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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Can’t Get a COVID-19 Shot? This BU Mathematician Can Help

At 67, Stephen Lambert became eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine in February under Massachusetts protocols. But it seemed the Woburn resident might need an unusually lengthy lifespan if he wanted to book a shot through the state’s online registration system... Patience fraying, he logged on to a website that had just gone live that weekend: Massachusetts COVID Vaccination Help, designed by Jonathan Huggins, a College of Arts & Sciences assistant professor of mathematics and statistics, and his wife, Diana Rastegayeva. Lambert submitted his information that same Monday; the next day, a volunteer named Allison called.
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Polls find shifting attitudes toward racism, health care in U.S. during pandemic

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Americans‘ opinions on a variety of health and social issues have shifted, according to new research led by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. An analysis of 18 polls conducted during 2020 found that confidence in U.S. health care increased during the pandemic. In 2019, only 36% of survey respondents reported that they were confident in the U.S. health system, but that number jumped to 51% in 2020.
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Long-Term Impact: For severe COVID-19 illness, inpatient rehab helps, functional deficits remain for many

People admitted to inpatient rehabilitation after hospitalization with COVID-19 showed deficits in mobility, cognition, speech, and swallowing at admission and improved significantly in all of these capabilities by the time they were discharged. However, a considerable number of patients exhibited residual deficits at discharge, highlighting the post-acute care needs of these patients. These are the findings of a retrospective study conducted by a team based at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital and the Harvard Medical School Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, published March 31 in PLOS One. The study is believed to be the first to quantitatively characterize the functional and cognitive deficits that survivors of COVID-19 exhibit during inpatient rehabilitation.
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Study identifies risk factors for COVID-19 infection, hospitalization, and mortality among U.S. nursing home residents

Study of almost 500,000 elderly in over 15,000 nursing homes finds that risk factors for infection tend to be affected by nursing homes and surrounding communities, while risk factors for hospitalization and death depended on patient-specific factors.
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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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AdvaMed Re-Launches Web-Based Platform to Assist Government with Potential Supply Shortfalls

The Advanced Medical Technology Association (AdvaMed) today unveiled a newly repurposed platform to help device manufacturers locate and partner with thousands of component part manufacturers and sellers, should they need them during the COVID pandemic.
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AdvaMed Letter to President Biden on Defense Production Act: Ready to Continue Industry Efforts to Defeat COVID-19

Today AdvaMed President and CEO Scott Whitaker sent a letter to President Biden affirming the industry’s support of the administration’s national COVID-19 strategy and sharing the industry’s perspective on invocation and use of the Defense Production Act (DPA).
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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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Patients with dementia are more at risk of COVID-19 infection, Black Americans disproportionally so, study finds

Experts argue more must be done to protect society’s vulnerable populations after a study revealed that individuals with dementia – in particular Black Americans – are at an increased risk of getting COVID-19. Researchers from Case Western University studied electronic health record data from 61.9 million American adults and found the risk for contracting COVID-19 is twice as high for people with dementia than for those without it, according to the report published Tuesday in Alzheimer’s & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association.
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People With Dementia Are Twice As Likely To Get Covid-19 And Four Times More Likely To Die From It

Patients with dementia are at higher risk for Covid-19 and are more likely to have worse outcomes, according to a new study published today. The study, led by Case Western Reserve University researchers, reviewed electronic health records of 61.9 million adults in the United States and found that the risk for contracting Covid-19 was twice as high for people with dementia compared to the general population... “These preliminary findings suggest a frightening reality of the vulnerabilities associated with dementia‚” said Maria Carrillo, PhD, Alzheimer’s Association chief science officer.
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Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s Crowe receives 2020 “Golden Goose” Award for COVID-19 research

James Crowe Jr., MD, a physician-scientist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center who has pioneered development of human monoclonal antibodies as potential treatments for viral diseases, has won a 2020 “Golden Goose” Award. The ninth annual Golden Goose Award ceremony on Dec. 1 will recognize Crowe and two other federally funded research teams for their scientific responses to COVID-19. Led by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Golden Goose Award committee includes a bipartisan group of Congressional supporters and several science and higher education organizations.
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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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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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Cancer Patients and Survivors Rally Legislators Virtually Due to COVID-19

The unpredictable and dynamic nature of COVID-19 is no match for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network’s (ACS CAN) volunteers‘ steadfast commitment. Because of the virus and the elevated risk for those with compromised immune systems, cancer patients, survivors, and caregivers from across the state traveled virtually to the state capitol yesterday to meet with Missouri lawmakers.
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States Must Include Patients with Cancer on COVID-19 Vaccine Priority List

In the midst of growing concerns that patients with cancer have limited access to the COVID-19 vaccines, the Association for Clinical Oncology (ASCO) and American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN), advocacy affiliate of the American Cancer Society, today issued a joint letter to every governor in the United States urging them to prioritize patients with cancer in the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines in accordance with U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines.
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COVID-19 Vaccines in People with Cancer

Vaccines are now becoming available to help protect against COVID-19. Here we’ll discuss some of the questions people with cancer (or with a history of cancer) might have about the COVID-19 vaccines.
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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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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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AAU, Associations Support $40B for Higher Education Pandemic Relief, Remind Lawmakers More Is Needed

AAU joined ACE and 56 other higher education associations on letters to House and Senate leaders to express their strong support for H.R. 1319, the “American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.” The group notes that while the $40 billion included in the measure for higher education relief falls short of the $97 billion needed to address student and institutional needs, it “represents the largest federal effort so far to address the crippling impact of the pandemic on colleges and universities.” The groups also applaud lawmakers’ efforts to provide dedicated support to address the disproportionate effect the pandemic has had on Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Tribal Colleges and Universities, Hispanic-Serving institutions, and other Minority-Serving Institutions.
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AAU, Associations Highlight Ways Universities Can Aid COVID-19 Response Efforts

AAU joined ACE and other higher education associations on a letter to President Joe Biden and members of his COVID-19 Response Task Force to \"communicate the willingness of the higher education community to contribute to the administration‘s [COVID-19] response efforts.\" The letter highlights a range of ways colleges and universities could help fight the pandemic, including: testing and tracing enhancement; using campus facilities and other capacities to support the vaccination effort; harnessing campus expertise in areas like supply chain management, logistics, data analytics; and more.
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AAU, Associations Call on Congress to Include $26 Billion in Pandemic Relief for Research

The Association for American Universities (AAU), the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU), the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), and the American Council on Education (ACE) sent a letter to congressional leaders requesting critical aid for the scientists, engineers, and the research operations that support America’s research enterprise.
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Video: 65,000 people. One human hope.

Discover how BD and its employees are mobilizing to develop novel diagnostics, help ensure critical delivery of patient care and support the discovery of treatments in response to COVID-19.
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BD Announces Emergency Use Authorization, CE Mark for Combination Molecular Diagnostic to Detect SARS-CoV-2, Influenza A+B in Single Test

BD (Becton, Dickinson and Company), a leading global medical technology company, today announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for a new molecular diagnostic test for both SARS-CoV-2 and Influenza A+B that can return results in two to three hours. The new test also has been CE marked to the IVD Directive (98/79/EC).
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New Clinical Data Shows BD Antigen Test May Be More Selective In Detecting Infectious COVID-19 Patients Than Molecular Tests

BD (Becton, Dickinson and Company), a leading global medical technology company, today announced the publication of a peer-reviewed study that shows BD’s antigen test may be more selective than PCR (polymerase chain reaction) molecular tests at detecting people who are contagious and able to spread COVID-19 disease. The study compared antigen and PCR test results to positive results using a viral cell culture test.
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BD Surpasses 1 Billion Injection Device Orders in Support of COVID-19 Vaccination Efforts Around the World

BD (Becton, Dickinson and Company), a leading global medical technology company, today announced that it has received pandemic orders for needles and syringes totaling more than 1 billion injection devices to support global COVID-19 vaccination planning efforts. This milestone reflects commitments from governments across the world, including the United States, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Germany, Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, Spain and the United Kingdom, among several others, as well as non-governmental organizations supporting vaccine deployment for developing countries.
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Can’t Get a COVID-19 Shot? This BU Mathematician Can Help

At 67, Stephen Lambert became eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine in February under Massachusetts protocols. But it seemed the Woburn resident might need an unusually lengthy lifespan if he wanted to book a shot through the state’s online registration system... Patience fraying, he logged on to a website that had just gone live that weekend: Massachusetts COVID Vaccination Help, designed by Jonathan Huggins, a College of Arts & Sciences assistant professor of mathematics and statistics, and his wife, Diana Rastegayeva. Lambert submitted his information that same Monday; the next day, a volunteer named Allison called.
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Where Is COVID Research Going Next?

NIAID divisional director Matthew Fenton, BU alum and former professor, talks about vaccine safety and what’s next for COVID research funding and the pandemic Behind the scenes of the race to develop COVID vaccines in record time, Matthew Fenton and his colleagues at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) worked around the clock to get more than $3 billion in emergency funds from the government funneled into clinical trials as soon as possible. It’s been an unprecedented year for Fenton’s team, and for his boss, Anthony Fauci, the NIAID director.
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Researchers demonstrate self-sterilizing polymers work against SARS-CoV-2

Researchers from North Carolina State University, Boston University and Kraton Corporation have demonstrated a family of self-sterilizing polymers that are effective at inactivating coronaviruses, including SARS-CoV-2—the virus that causes COVID-19. The work opens the door to a suite of applications that could help to reduce the transmission of COVID-19 and other diseases.
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The COVID-19 Vaccines: Everything You Need to Know

Two Boston University experts discuss how and when the vaccines arrive at BU and explain why COVID-19 health and safety guidelines won’t change for the spring semester.
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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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Corning Receives Award from U.S. Department of Defense and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for Products Supporting COVID-19 Testing

Corning Incorporated today announced it has received a $15 million award from the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), in coordination with Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), for the domestic production of robotic pipette tips used in support of diagnostic testing for COVID-19. This investment will allow Corning Life Sciences to add incremental domestic production capacity. Robotic tips help automate liquid handling and are used in drug discovery and screening, cell culture, and PCR testing applications, most notably in support of COVID-19 diagnostic testing.
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Covid-19 Vaccines Could Depend on the Strength of This Vial

Near the back of a Corning Inc. glassmaking plant here, a robot picked up a cage packed with hundreds of tiny vials and plunged it into a salt bath bubbling at more than 500 degrees Fahrenheit. The hot soak for several hours is a key step in fortifying the glass vials from cracks, flakes and breaks that could thwart global efforts to stop the coronavirus. Drugmakers and health authorities are counting on Corning’s new medical glass container, named Valor, to protect Covid-19 vaccines better than conventional ones, especially during initial months when supplies will be limited and little can afford to be lost.
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Polls find shifting attitudes toward racism, health care in U.S. during pandemic

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Americans‘ opinions on a variety of health and social issues have shifted, according to new research led by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. An analysis of 18 polls conducted during 2020 found that confidence in U.S. health care increased during the pandemic. In 2019, only 36% of survey respondents reported that they were confident in the U.S. health system, but that number jumped to 51% in 2020.
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Long-Term Impact: For severe COVID-19 illness, inpatient rehab helps, functional deficits remain for many

People admitted to inpatient rehabilitation after hospitalization with COVID-19 showed deficits in mobility, cognition, speech, and swallowing at admission and improved significantly in all of these capabilities by the time they were discharged. However, a considerable number of patients exhibited residual deficits at discharge, highlighting the post-acute care needs of these patients. These are the findings of a retrospective study conducted by a team based at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital and the Harvard Medical School Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, published March 31 in PLOS One. The study is believed to be the first to quantitatively characterize the functional and cognitive deficits that survivors of COVID-19 exhibit during inpatient rehabilitation.
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Sex disparities in COVID-19 deaths hide high toll on Black women

Around the world, more men than women have died from COVID-19. But focusing on differences between sexes without also looking at race and other variables may obscure important determinants of individual risk, according to a new study led by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health’s Tamara Rushovich, PhD ’25, and colleagues at Harvard’s GenderSci Lab. In an analysis of COVID-19 deaths by race and sex in Georgia and Michigan, the researchers found that Black women died at more than three times the rates of white men and Asian men. The only other group more likely to die from the disease was Black men.
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Is A 4th Wave Of The Pandemic On The Horizon? As States Open, COVID-19 Cases Rise

As states begin to reopen, coronavirus cases are on the rise. NPR‘s Ari Shapiro talks with epidemiologist Bill Hanage of Harvard University about the possibility of a fourth wave of the pandemic.
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Study identifies risk factors for COVID-19 infection, hospitalization, and mortality among U.S. nursing home residents

Study of almost 500,000 elderly in over 15,000 nursing homes finds that risk factors for infection tend to be affected by nursing homes and surrounding communities, while risk factors for hospitalization and death depended on patient-specific factors.
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Johns Hopkins launches campaign to help people make informed decisions about vaccines

The Get the Facts About the Vax campaign, developed by the Center for Communication Programs, aims to deliver reliable, accurate information about COVID-19 vaccines.
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Nearly half of new US virus infections are in just 5 states

Nearly half of new coronavirus infections nationwide are in just five states — a situation that is putting pressure on the federal government to consider changing how it distributes vaccines by sending more doses to hot spots. New York, Michigan, Florida, Pennsylvania and New Jersey together reported 44% of the nation‘s new COVID-19 infections, or nearly 197,500 new cases, in the latest available seven-day period, according to state health agency data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. Total U.S. infections during the same week numbered more than 452,000.
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Ready for Duty: Health Care Robots Get Good Prognosis for Next Pandemic

In a piece in Nature Machine Intelligence, Johns Hopkins researchers discuss how the coronavirus pandemic has driven unexpected innovations in automation, while at the same time revealing bottlenecks to deploying robotic systems in health care settings. They contend that advances in human-robot interaction—such as improving robots’ capabilities to feel, touch, and decide—will determine if the robots of tomorrow will help hospitals stay ahead of the next pandemic.
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Johnson & Johnson Announces Advance Purchase Agreement with the African Vaccine Acquisition Trust for the Company’s COVID-19 Vaccine Candidate

Janssen Pharmaceutica NV, one of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, has entered into an agreement with the African Vaccine Acquisition Trust (AVAT) to make available up to 220 million doses of its single-shot COVID-19 vaccine candidate to African Union‘s 55 member states with delivery beginning in the third quarter of 2021. AVAT also has the potential to order an additional 180 million doses, for a combined total of up to 400 million doses through 2022.
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J&J developing several next-generation COVID-19 vaccines, says CEO

Johnson & Johnson is developing several next generation COVID-19 vaccines against the emerging variants of the coronavirus, Chief Executive Officer Alex Gorsky said on Thursday. The drugmaker, which won the U.S. emergency use authorization of a one-shot vaccine last month, had previously said it was developing a second-generation vaccine that would target the variant first identified in South Africa. J&J is also working on a two-dose version of its vaccine.
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Johnson & Johnson Announces Submission to World Health Organization for Emergency Use Listing of Investigational Single-Shot Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine Candidate

Johnson & Johnson announced that Janssen-Cilag International N.V. has submitted for Emergency Use Listing (EUL) to the World Health Organization (WHO) for the investigational single-dose Janssen COVID-19 vaccine candidate. The data package delivered today includes interim efficacy and safety results from the Phase 3 ENSEMBLE clinical trial. The Company’s rolling submission of clinical data to WHO is now complete.
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Video: Why People of All Colors and Ages Are Crucial to Vaccine Clinical Trials

Experts explain why recruiting clinical trial participants from diverse backgrounds around the world—young, old, Black, brown, Indigenous and more—is critical to developing a potential COVID-19 vaccine, in this bonus clip from “The Road to a Vaccine.”
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A better nasal swab for Covid-19 testing

Over nearly seven years researching 3D printing systems in MIT’s Media Lab, Jifei Ou SM ’14, PhD ’19 began to suspect the work could lead to better products. He never could have imagined it would help address supply shortages caused by a global pandemic. Since March of last year, Ou’s company, OPT Industries, has been working with hospitals to deliver a new type of nasal swab for Covid-19 testing. The swabs make use of thin, hairlike structures Ou developed while at MIT. Tiny woven lattices within OPT’s swabs allow them to absorb and release more fluid than conventional swabs. .
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Video: Ultrasound has potential to damage coronaviruses

A new study by researchers in MIT’s Department of Mechanical Engineering suggests that coronaviruses may be vulnerable to ultrasound vibrations, within the frequencies used in medical diagnostic imaging.
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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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High-Tech Face Masks Aim to Step Up the Fight Against Covid-19

Wall Street Journal reporter Suzanne Oliver spotlights two MIT efforts to innovate the face mask. Prof. Giovanni Traverso and his colleagues are developing a reusable, silicon-rubber mask with “sensors that give feedback on fit and functionality,” while Prof. Michael Strano has designed a version that “incorporates a copper mesh heated to about 160 degrees that traps and deactivates the virus.”
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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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Feinberg Investigators Discuss Impact and Evolution of COVID-19

It’s now been more than one year since the first case of COVID-19 was detected in the United States, and Feinberg investigators continue to investigate the disease, its evolution and its impact on society. Most recently, countries around the world, including the U.S., have begun to roll out widespread COVID-19 vaccination efforts — a sign of the significant progress and scientific breakthroughs that have been made since March 2020.
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Peterson Foundation grant to fuel COVID-19 research at Northwestern

Northwestern University has announced the Peter G. Peterson Foundation Pandemic Response Policy Research Program, a new research initiative to advance the understanding of effective pandemic policy responses. This two-year project will help inform and improve future pandemic response policies, focusing on health care and the economy, and is funded by a $1 million grant from the Peterson Foundation, a nonpartisan organization promoting fiscal sustainability and economic strength and increasing public awareness of key fiscal challenges.
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COVID vaccine earlier in pregnancy leads to better antibody transfer to baby

Women who were vaccinated for COVID-19 earlier in their third trimester had a higher likelihood of passing protective antibodies to their newborn babies than women who received their vaccination closer to delivery, a new Northwestern Medicine study has found. The scientists analyzed the blood of 27 pregnant women who had received either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine in their third trimester and the umbilical cord blood of their 28 newborns (26 singletons, one set of twins).
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Examining Rare Neurological Complications of COVID-19 in Children

The largest study to date of neurological manifestations of COVID-19 in children demonstrated patterns in the rare complications seen among pediatric patients.
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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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Stanford researcher proposes a rapid-response technology to produce billions of vaccine doses fast enough to stop the next pandemic

James Swartz has spent a dozen years refining an underappreciated biotech technique into a radical new vaccine approach that could quickly protect billions of people from the next COVID-19-level pandemic.
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Over first year of pandemic, confronting uncertainty with action at Stanford Medicine

A look back at Stanford Medicine‘s efforts to educate, protect and care for patients and members of the public since the World Health Organization declared a global pandemic a year ago today.
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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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Stanford Medicine surpasses a half-million COVID-19 tests

Stanford Medicine has conducted more than 500,000 COVID-19 tests since the pandemic began. The medical center‘s clinical virology laboratory began testing microbiological samples for COVID-19 on March 4, 2020, making it among the first labs in the country — and the first in California — to do so. Since that time, the lab‘s throughput has increased considerably. Testing volume was as high as 4,000 samples daily at the peak of the most recent COVID-19 surge. With infection rates dropping, the lab is now conducting about 1,600 tests per day.
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“Science with a Twist” Podcast: 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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Thermo Fisher Scientific Launches In-Air SARS-CoV-2 Surveillance Solution

Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc., the world leader in serving science, today announced the launch of the Thermo Scientific AerosolSense Sampler, a new surveillance solution designed to deliver fast and highly reliable insight into the presence of in-air pathogens, including SARS-CoV-2. Individual testing will continue to be a cornerstone in the COVID-19 pandemic response because it enables and informs clinical diagnoses, patient triage and treatment decisions. As society returns to pre-pandemic activities, expanded and complementary monitoring of environments will be key in providing useful insights into virus presence. The AerosolSense Sampler is the next step in providing institutions with highly reliable information to help keep their employees and the public safe.
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Thermo Fisher Scientific Launches Customizable TaqMan SARS-CoV-2 Mutation Panel

Thermo Fisher Scientific, the world leader in serving science, today announced the launch of its Applied Biosystems TaqMan SARS-CoV-2 Mutation Panel, a customizable menu of 22 verified real-time PCR assays for identification of SARS-CoV-2 mutations. These assays enable surveillance of variants that are causing COVID-19 infections in specific regions globally and allow laboratories to choose which mutations to track.
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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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Vaccinating 3,000 People in 3 Saturdays: An Approach to Covid-19 Vaccination Equity for Black Neighborhoods

Nationwide, the rollout for the COVID-19 vaccine has been inequitable, with white individuals being vaccinated at higher rates compared to Black individuals. In Philadelphia, only 21 percent of the vaccine had gone to Black residents by March 2021, even though this group makes up 42 percent of the city’s population.
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Penn Medicine Finds Viral Variants of Concern in Over a Third of Latest COVID-19 Samples from Philadelphia-Area Patients

Despite the rising number of immunizations, more than a third of recent COVID-19 cases in the Philadelphia area are caused by concerning variants of the virus, according to a new analysis from a sample of patients from late February and early March conducted by Penn Medicine researchers.
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Penn Medicine Researcher Awarded $1 Million to Expand COVID-19 Treatment Discovery Platform

CORONA is the world′s largest database of COVID-19 treatments, covering 400+ treatments that have been reported to be administered to 340,000+ patients, helping researchers to identify and prioritize promising treatments for well-designed clinical trials and to inform patient care.
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Penn Medicine Finds Viral Variants of Concern in Over a Third of Latest COVID-19 Samples from Philadelphia-Area Patients

Despite the rising number of immunizations, more than a third of recent COVID-19 cases in the Philadelphia area are caused by concerning variants of the virus, according to a new analysis from a sample of patients from late February and early March conducted by Penn Medicine researchers. They say the findings – combined with an uptick in new COVID-19 cases in Southeastern Pennsylvania – underscore the need for continued vigilance by the public.
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Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt selected as trial site for pediatric COVID-19 vaccine

Monroe Carell Jr. Children‘s Hospital at Vanderbilt is set to begin a phase 2/3 clinical trial to study the safety and efficacy of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine in children.
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COVID long-haulers speak about living with brain fog, rancid smells and crushing fatigue

In February, the NIH announced a four-year, $1.15 billion dollar initiative to study what causes long COVID, but even before the initiative was put forth, clinics were springing up around the country to research and treat the growing number of long-haul patients... Dr. Sara Martin is working to get one such initiative off the ground. The Adult Post-Acute COVID clinic at Vanderbilt University, which launched this week, brings together specialists from internal medicine, infectious disease, pulmonology, cardiology, ophthalmology, psychology, physical medicine, ear, nose and throat, speech pathology and neurology. “We\'re trying to cover any potential issues patients might have‚” Martin said. “Every day it seems like there are new conditions or symptoms that are being reported.”
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Low-income and students with learning disabilities disproportionately affected by COVID-19 learning loss, Peabody College experts say

As the COVID-19 pandemic rages on, school closures and the shift to remote learning have disrupted educational progress across the nation, disproportionately affecting students from low-income communities and those with learning disabilities, according to faculty experts from Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College.
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SARS-CoV-2 protein blocks an essential step in host gene expression, new discovery finds

Vanderbilt University biochemist Yi Ren is part of a team that has identified a new behavior of a SARS-CoV-2 protein and discovered that interfering with its function can block virus replication in host cells. This opens up the potential for new therapeutic targets for COVID-19.
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For breastfeeding moms, COVID-19 vaccinations may also protect babies

Nursing mothers who receive a COVID-19 vaccine may pass protective antibodies to their babies through breast milk for at least 80 days following vaccination, suggests new research from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. “Our study showed a huge boost in antibodies against the COVID-19 virus in breast milk starting two weeks after the first shot, and this response was sustained for the course of our study, which was almost three months long,” said first author Jeannie Kelly, MD, assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology. “The antibodies levels were still high at the end of our study, so the protection likely extends even longer.”
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“Show Me The Science” Podcast: After a year of COVID-19, vaccines making life better but it’s not over

Steven J. Lawrence, MD, a professor of medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases at Washington University, appeared on our first episode of “Show Me the Science.” One year later, he says we‘re getting close to returning to normal. But he also says we should think not so much about returning to the old normal as moving toward a new normal that may sometimes include screenings at work to make sure you‘re not sick, or perhaps smaller gatherings during cold and flu season.
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COVID-19 transmission rare in schools with masking, distancing, contact tracing

Wearing masks, social distancing and frequent hand-washing have kept in-school COVID-19 transmission low, according to results of a pilot study in Missouri aimed at identifying ways to keep elementary and secondary schools open and safe during the pandemic. The study is part of a larger, ongoing collaboration involving Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and other entities.
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Greater Disability Tied to Worse COVID-19 Severity in MS Patients

Ambulatory disability and older age are associated with worse clinical severity of COVID-19, including death, among patients with multiple sclerosis (MS), according to a study published online March 19 in JAMA Neurology. Amber Salter, Ph.D., from the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, and colleagues examined outcomes and risk factors associated with COVID-19 clinical severity in a cohort of 1,626 patients with MS.
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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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