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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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COVID-19 Capacity Management Dashboard

Originally developed last fall for the Johns Hopkins Health System, the dashboard uses optimization models and data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to predict hospitals’ ICU and normal (acute) bed loads for the next three weeks.
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Video: The importance of self-screening for COVID-19

In this video, Washington University in St. Louis’ Cheri LeBlanc, MD, executive director of Habif Health and Wellness Center, and Steven Lawrence, MD, associate professor of medicine, share reasons why self-screening for COVID-19 is so important before visiting campus.
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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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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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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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AdvaMed Statement on Participation in HHS Vaccine Consultation Panel

January 15, 2021 - AdvaMed President and CEO Scott Whitaker released the following statement about AdvaMed’s participation on the HHS Vaccine Consultation Panel: “AdvaMed has been working with every level of government – as well as with partners in the association space, our members and industry colleagues, and key hospitals and health care systems – to support the COVID-19 vaccine mobilization effort.”
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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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How COVID-19 Attacks The Brain And May Cause Lasting Damage

“We know that those are important in Alzheimer’s disease and we’re seeing them play a key role here in COVID-19,” says Heather Snyder, vice president of medical and scientific operations at the Alzheimer’s Association. “And what that may mean in later life, we need to be asking that question now.” So the association and researchers from more than 30 countries have formed a consortium to study the long-term effects of COVID-19 on the brain. The effort will enroll people who were hospitalized or who are already participating in international research studies of COVID-19.
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Scientists In Nearly 40 Nations Join Study On Covid Brain Abnormalities

The study, which will follow survivors over age 50 or in some places over age 60, will be funded initially by the Alzheimer’s Association.
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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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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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Video: American Cancer Society, oncologists getting the word out about cancer patients and the COVID-19 vaccine

Cancer patients are among the many groups of people eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine under Phase 1b in Virginia. Hampton Roads oncologists are getting the word out about getting the shot.
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Cancer deaths down for 2nd year in a row, but impact of COVID remains unknown

Cancer is one of the most important health challenges our nation faces and the second leading cause of death in the United States. Now, a new study from the American Cancer Society finds that the rate of cancer-related deaths has been steadily falling over the past two decades, with dramatic declines in the past two years. The American Cancer Society, however, warns that the future is uncertain. With many Americans hunkered down at home and missing their annual cancer screenings, it is unclear how the COVID-19 pandemic will affect this positive trend.
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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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COVID CPR Safety Measures Don’t Lessen Survival: Study

The effectiveness of CPR isn’t compromised when EMS crews and others take recommended safety precautions against the new coronavirus, researchers say. Interim guidance issued by the American Heart Association and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says health care providers should take extra precautions during the pandemic. That includes using personal protective equipment and other protocols when administering cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) to patients at risk of cardiac arrest.
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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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Confronting COVID-19

America\'s leading research universities are at the forefront of the battle against COVID-19 and are working to protect us from other pandemics. From assisting communities developing response strategies, to increasing testing capacity and researching possible vaccines, to treating people who have contracted the novel coronavirus, universities are working tirelessly to address the full impact of this pandemic.
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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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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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Why “Bidirectional” Contact Tracing Could Drastically Curb Coronavirus Spread—Especially the B-117 Strain

New research from Boston University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, North Carolina State University, and Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing suggests that “bidirectional” contact tracing—the practice of tracking positive COVID-19 cases to recently exposed individuals and back to their original source—can be twice as effective as current contact tracing methods, which only focus on identifying who the newly diagnosed individual may have infected, but not who infected them. The research team’s findings were recently published in Nature Communications.
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Video: Meet BU’s COVID-19 Contact Tracing Team

How old-fashioned detective work and a custom contact tracing database are quashing the spread of COVID-19.
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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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Corning® Guardiant® Antimicrobial Particles Enable Paint and Coatings Demonstrated to Kill More Than 99.9% of Bacteria and Viruses, Including SARS-CoV-2, in Two Hours or Less

Corning Incorporated announced on Thursday a new breakthrough in glass-ceramic technology, Corning® Guardiant®. Under test methods approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), paint and coatings containing Corning Guardiant were shown to kill more than 99.9% of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. The tests provide the first demonstration of highly durable antimicrobial activity against SARS-CoV-2. The demonstrated antimicrobial efficacy remained active even after tests simulating six years of scrubbing. The tests were designed to account for the cleaning that a surface could be subjected to over time.
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Covid-19 Vaccines to Be Stored Secretly Under Tight Security

Health authorities, hospitals and pharmaceutical companies are storing Covid-19 vaccines in secure, undisclosed locations and taking other steps to protect the shots against a looming threat: theft. As the leading vaccine candidates advance closer to use, vaccine makers such as Pfizer Inc. are deploying GPS software for tracking distribution and plotting fake shipments in dummy trucks to confuse criminals. Glassmaker Corning Inc. is equipping vials with black-light verification to curb counterfeiting. And some hospitals expected to be among the first vaccination sites are beefing up their pharmacies’ security systems.
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Gawande: More vaccinations, masking key to fighting COVID

Rolling out vaccines as quickly as possible and doubling down on COVID-19 precautions such as wearing masks will be the most effective tools to fight the virus in the months to come, according to Harvard Chan School’s Atul Gawande. In interviews with a variety of media outlets, Gawande, professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management, surgeon, and co-founder of Ariadne Labs, spoke about his efforts to help distribute vaccines, his recent New Yorker article about a North Dakota city’s struggle over public health precautions to contain the virus, and the dangers posed by highly transmissible variants.
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Airlines are against mandatory pre-flight COVID testing in the US. A new Harvard study says testing may serve ‘a critical need’

Harvard University researchers studying ways to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission during air travel endorsed the idea of rapid testing of passengers in a report released Thursday. “Viral testing is an important public health screening mechanism that can quickly and efficiently identify those with infections and stop them from undergoing activities that could expose others, including potential travel‚” Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health, said in a summary of the 262-page report.
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Harvard’s Wyss Institute collaborates with GBS Inc. on the Wyss’ eRapid-based COVID-19 diagnostic to help curb the pandemic

The Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University and GBS Inc., a subsidiary of The iQ Group Global, announce that they will collaborate to validate and de-risk a specific and sensitive COVID-19 diagnostic that would integrate the Institute\'s eRapid technology with the company’s proprietary transistor sensor technology to enable simultaneous electrochemical sensing of multiple biomarkers related to SARS-CoV-2 infection in point-of-care COVID-19 diagnostic applications.
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If You’ve Had This Common Illness, You’re More Likely to Die From COVID

Harvard researchers recently discovered that a prior case of pneumonia can be a strong indicator that you\'ll have a more severe—or even deadly—case if infected with COVID. In their new study, published in the journal NPJ Digital Medicine on Feb. 4, they pulled data from the medical records of nearly 17,000 COVID patients. Their research showed that after age, pneumonia was the second-greatest risk factor for death from COVID. Out of those who died from COVID, nearly 49 percent had a history of pneumonia.
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COVID-19 Capacity Management Dashboard

Originally developed last fall for the Johns Hopkins Health System, the dashboard uses optimization models and data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to predict hospitals’ ICU and normal (acute) bed loads for the next three weeks.
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COVID-19 Vaccine Prioritization Dashboard

This dashboard was created as a partnership between the Johns Hopkins Disability Health Research Center and the Center for Dignity in Healthcare for People with Disabilities as a starting point for understanding how each state is prioritizing the disability community in COVID-19 vaccine distribution and intends to help people with disabilities determine when they qualify for a COVID-19 vaccine in their state.
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Johns Hopkins launches vaccine prioritization dashboard for people with disabilities

A new Johns Hopkins data tool helps people with disabilities determine when they qualify for the COVID-19 vaccine and compares how different states prioritize people with disabilities in their vaccine rollout plans. Created by researchers, students, and advocates who themselves have disabilities and have personally experienced how inequitable and inaccessible aspects of the U.S. pandemic response have been, the COVID-19 Vaccine Prioritization Dashboard launched to not only help the disability community get vaccinated, but also to arm policymakers with data to improve the system.
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Public health researchers call for new measures to protect pharmaceutical supply chain

Shortages of many essential drugs amid the COVID-19 crisis reveal serious vulnerabilities in the systems for supplying and distributing pharmaceuticals in the United States, according to a new report led by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. In the report, “The Pandemic and the Supply Chain‚” the researchers identify multiple problems in the drug supply chain, and then recommend specific policy actions that the Food and Drug Administration and Congress could take to reduce current drug shortages and prevent future shortages—creating incentives for more U.S.-based production of essential pharmaceuticals, for example.
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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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J&J CEO says people may need annual Covid vaccine shots for the next several years

People may need to get vaccinated against Covid-19 annually, just like seasonal flu shots, over the next several years, Johnson & Johnson CEO Alex Gorsky told CNBC on Tuesday. “Unfortunately, as [the virus] spreads it can also mutate‚” he told CNBC’s Meg Tirrell during a Healthy Returns Spotlight event. “Every time it mutates, it’s almost like another click of the dial so to speak where we can see another variant, another mutation that can have an impact on its ability to fend off antibodies or to have a different kind of response not only to a therapeutic but also to a vaccine.”
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Johnson & Johnson Announces Submission of Application to the U.S. FDA for Emergency Use Authorization of its Investigational Single-Shot Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine Candidate

February 4, 2021 – Johnson & Johnson today announced that Janssen Biotech, Inc., has submitted an application to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requesting Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for its investigational single-dose Janssen COVID-19 vaccine candidate. Johnson & Johnson intends to distribute vaccine to the U.S. government immediately following authorization, and expects to supply 100 million doses to the U.S. in the first half of 2021.
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MIT study: Covid-19 vaccines may be less effective for Asian Americans

This week, researchers at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL) showed that the vaccines’ effectiveness may vary depending on a person’s race, and said that the vaccines should be tested robustly across populations with diverse genetic backgrounds. Using advanced machine learning AI methods that examined a form of vaccine similar to Moderna and Pfizer’s, the team found that the number of people whose cellular immune system is not predicted to robustly respond to the vaccine ranged from less than half of one percent of white participants to nearly 10 percent of Asian participants. (Participants self-reported their race.)
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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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MIT researchers say their AI model can identify asymptomatic COVID-19 carriers

Researchers at MIT say they′ve developed an algorithm that can diagnose COVID-19 by the sound of someone′s cough, even if that person is asymptomatic. In a paper published in the IEEE Journal of Engineering in Medicine and Biology, the team reports that their approach distinguishes between infected and healthy individuals through “forced-cough” recordings contributed via smartphones, laptops, and other mobile devices.
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MIT COVID-19 Test Could Be Made So Cheap That People Test Themselves Every Day

Testing for COVID-19 is a crucial part of keeping people safe and stopping the spread of the virus. But doing so is often a complicated process. Now, a new test by MIT and colleagues promises to make testing so cheap and effective that people could potentially do it every day. Researchers at MIT and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, along with their collaborators at the University of Washington, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Brigham and Women\'s Hospital, and the Ragon Institute have devised a CRISPR-based diagnostic for COVID-19, called STOPCovid, that can achieve results in 30 minutes to an hour.
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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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Imaging Reveals How COVID Can ‘Cause the Body to Attack Itself,’ Study Shows

“Many patients with COVID-related musculoskeletal disorders recover, but for some individuals, their symptoms become serious, are deeply concerning to the patient or impact their quality of life, which leads them to seek medical attention and imaging‚“ Deshmukh, an assistant professor of musculoskeletal radiology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and a Northwestern Medicine musculoskeletal radiologist, said. “That imaging allows us to see if COVID-related muscle and joint pain, for example, are not just body aches similar to what we see from the flu — but something more insidious.”
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UK variant not causing worse illness in children; COVID-19 breath test shows promise

Researchers at Northwestern University have developed a laboratory test for measuring neutralizing antibodies against the coronavirus that requires only a single drop of blood, collected and dried on filter paper. “Blood samples can be self-collected at home, and sent to the lab in the mail‚” said Thomas McDade, whose team described the technique in a report posted on Tuesday on medRxiv ahead of peer review. Currently, to determine if someone has the neutralizing antibodies that protect against the virus that causes COVID-19, blood must be drawn at a clinic or doctor’s office and sent for analysis.
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Addressing Racial and Ethnic Disparities in COVID-19 Hospitalizations, Outcomes

Findings from a recent study published in Circulation have revealed the magnitude of these racial and ethnic inequities since the beginning of the pandemic. Among 7,800 patients hospitalized in the U.S. with COVID-19 between January and July of last year, 33 percent were Hispanic, 25.5 percent were Black, 6.3 percent were Asian, and 35.2 percent were white. Of these patients, overall mortality was 18.4 percent, with more than half of all deaths occurring in Black and Hispanic patients.
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Feinberg Investigators Explore COVID-19 Treatments and Impact

Despite rising case counts and record deaths from COVID-19, there is a light on the horizon: vaccines are being administered to frontline healthcare workers and the elderly, and Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine investigators continue to investigate new treatments and share insights on combating misinformation and innovative techniques for mitigating the spread of the virus.
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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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Video: Stanford launches large-scale surveillance for COVID variants

The coronavirus is changing much faster than scientists had expected, which could ultimately make it much harder to contain. But at Stanford University, a new effort is underway to help track these tricky variants in our community, which are already spreading in other parts of the world.
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Lab life at Stanford during the COVID-19 pandemic

After a devastating and demanding several months, research at Stanford remains limited but could offer glimpses into how lab life might operate in the future.
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Stanford single-dose nanoparticle vaccine for COVID-19

Before the pandemic, the lab of Stanford University biochemist Peter S. Kim focused on developing vaccines for HIV, Ebola and pandemic influenza. But, within days of closing their campus lab space as part of COVID-19 precautions, they turned their attention to a vaccine for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Although the coronavirus was outside the lab’s specific area of expertise, they and their collaborators have managed to construct and test a promising vaccine candidate. “Our goal is to make a single-shot vaccine that does not require a cold-chain for storage or transport. If we’re successful at doing it well, it should be cheap too,” said Kim, who is the Virginia and D. K. Ludwig Professor of Biochemistry. “The target population for our vaccine is low- and middle-income countries.”
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Podcast: Should Coronavirus Vaccine Trials Be Unblinded?

NPR‘s Ari Shapiro talks with Dr. Steven Goodman of the Stanford School of Medicine about the ethical question of whether COVID-19 vaccine trials should be unblinded.
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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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Thermo Fisher Scientific Launches CE-IVD-Marked High Throughput COVID-19 Diagnostic Assay for Use On Its Automated Amplitude Platform

Thermo Fisher Scientific, the world leader in serving science, today launched its CE-IVD-Marked, Applied Biosystems TaqPath COVID–19 HT Kit that is compatible with the Amplitude platform. The high-throughput solution enables clinical and public health laboratories to efficiently test up to 8,000 COVID-19 samples a day with fewer staffing requirements and a reliable supply of kits, reagents and consumables.
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Video: Thermo Fisher CEO: Covid vaccines, therapies will be needed well into the future

On CNBC’s Mad Money With Jim Cramer, Thermo Fisher Scientific CEO Marc Casper explained his outlook for the necessity of coronavirus vaccines and therapies as the country continues to battle the pandemic.
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Thermo Fisher Scientific Extends SARS-CoV-2 GlobalAccess Sequencing Program to Support Research on New Virus Strains

Thermo Fisher Scientific has announced an extension of its SARS-CoV-2 GlobalAccess Sequencing Program to provide additional units of the Ion Torrent Genexus System and Ion GeneStudio S5 Series sequencers at a subsidized price to further support global COVID-19 research and surveillance.
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Penn Medicine Teams with West Philadelphia Skills Initiative, Hires 50 Laboratory Assistants for COVID-19 Testing Efforts

Even as COVID-19 vaccine distribution ramps up in Philadelphia, the virus remains prevalent, and shoring up testing capabilities is a key way to protect local residents. Penn Medicine has tapped into a workforce in its own backyard to expand testing efforts in the area: Through the University City District’s West Philadelphia Skills Initiative (WPSI), the health system has hired 50 new laboratory assistants, who will play a pivotal role in collecting and processing large quantities of testing samples.
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An ‘electronic nose’ to sniff out COVID-19

Through a newly funded grant, researchers across the University are developing a device that can rapidly detect COVID-19 based on the disease’s unique odor profile.
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Mercy Philadelphia and Penn Medicine Partner with West Philadelphia Faith Community to Provide COVID-19 Vaccines

Penn Medicine and Mercy Catholic Medical Center – Mercy Philadelphia Campus will come together with a coalition of religious and community leaders from Southwest Philadelphia to hold a mass COVID-19 vaccination clinic for 500 parishioners from the local faith community on Saturday, February 13 at the Church of Christian Compassion. Appointments will be available to individuals in the phase 1b priority group outlined by the City of Philadelphia’s vaccination guidelines.
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Video: UPenn doctor brings transparency to COVID vaccine for Black community

A doctor at UPenn is using her platform to raise awareness about inequities in health care and show the community the COVID-19 vaccine is safe.
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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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Pulling Through: For alumni working in VUMC’s COVID-19 unit, the pandemic has offered lessons in heartbreak and resiliency

In January 2020, the accelerating spread of SARS-CoV-2 made it apparent that Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s two-bed Contagious Disease Response Unit, created for the rare victim of Ebola or other more-isolated emerging pathogen, would not suffice if Nashville were to be hit hard. So administrators began planning for a major outbreak.
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Vanderbilt Child Health Poll: Tennessee parents concerned about education, kids’ mental health as COVID-19 presses on

The latest Vanderbilt Child Health Poll release found that many Tennessee parents are worried about the mental health of their children during the COVID-19 pandemic, and over 80% of parents had concerns about their children attending school remotely. The Poll also revealed that schooling practices and mental health concerns have varied widely among Tennessee families of different racial and economic groups.
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Pulling Through: For alumni working in VUMC’s COVID-19 unit, the pandemic has offered lessons in heartbreak and resiliency

In January 2020, the accelerating spread of SARS-CoV-2 made it apparent that Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s two-bed Contagious Disease Response Unit, created for the rare victim of Ebola or other more-isolated emerging pathogen, would not suffice if Nashville were to be hit hard. So administrators began planning for a major outbreak.
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Convalescent plasma improved survival in COVID-19 patients with blood cancers

Treatment with convalescent plasma vastly improved the survival rate of patients hospitalized for COVID-19 who also had hematologic malignances that compromise the immune system, according to new data released by the COVID-19 and Cancer Consortium (CCC19). Patients who received convalescent plasma from donors who had recovered from COVID-19 had a death rate of 13.3% compared to 24.8% for those who did not receive it. The difference was more striking with patients admitted to intensive care units, where patients treated with convalescent plasma had a death rate of 15.8% compared to 46.9% for those who weren’t. The researchers released the study’s findings ahead of publication in a peer-reviewed medical journal because of its potential clinical implications and the urgency of sharing information about effective COVID-19 treatments.
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Study’s findings may help eventually close the door on COVID-19

Researchers at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) at Galveston have discovered what may be the Achilles’ heel of the coronavirus, a finding that may help close the door on COVID-19 and possibly head off future pandemics.
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Study finds genetic clues to pneumonia risk and COVID-19 disparities

Researchers at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and colleagues have identified genetic factors that increase the risk for developing pneumonia and its severe, life-threatening consequences.
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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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