COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic is profoundly impacting the lives of millions and leaving a path of social and economic challenges that affect how we live, learn, and work. These unprecedented times show that innovation is more important now than ever. At the forefront of the COVID-19 response are pharmaceutical, biotech, medical device, and healthcare companies in California developing vaccines, diagnostics, and personal protective equipment (PPE). How is COVID affecting Biocom's members? The pandemic has disrupted the operations of many our members and forced them to make difficult decisions to pause ongoing trials and reconsider timelines for data readouts, regulatory reviews, and product launches...
What is a Virus? Viruses are tiny parasites that can cause disease. 1 While there are many types of viruses, they all contain genetic material, known as the viral genome, and a surrounding shell made of proteins and lipids. The SARS-CoV2 virus, responsible for COVID-19, is about 125 nm wide, 1,000 times smaller than the width of a human hair. 2 SARS-CoV2 is an RNA virus, meaning that the internal genetic material is single-stranded RNA. This RNA is packaged inside of the virus with the “N” protein while the “S”, “E”, and “M” proteins are components in the outer lipid shell. The “S” protein is the one that sticks out from the virus giving the appearance of a crown. The Latin word for crown...
As scientists work towards a COVID-19 vaccine, they are faced with the decision of which type of vaccine to choose. Here, we review the different types of vaccines, how they work, some examples, and current COVID-19 trials in each category. For additional information on the science behind vaccine approaches for covid-19, take a look at Research!America’s COVID-19: By the Science infographic. Live-attenuated vaccines Live-attenuated vaccines use a weakened form of the germ (bacteria or virus) that causes the disease. Scientists weaken the germ by altering its genetic code to prevent the germ from rapidly replicating in human cells. This weakened form can no longer cause the disease, but the...
The challenges of life during the COVID-19 pandemic are greatly magnified for those with chronic illnesses, who may have less access to needed care and support. This is especially true when those health conditions make them more susceptible to contracting or becoming seriously ill from COVID-19. People with substance use disorders or who are struggling to recover fall squarely in this category and research is urgently needed on the intersections of COVID-19 and substance use and related health issues. Such research could not only benefit some of the most vulnerable groups, but valuably inform efforts to address the pandemic more generally. People with substance use disorders are potentially...
Dear Research Advocate, Phase 3 enrollment is now underway for a number of COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials. That science has moved so quickly from first identification of the virus to Phase 3 trials, speaks to remarkable public-private sector collaboration. It also speaks to the absolute necessity of taxpayer investment in basic, discovery science over many years; a lesson we must not ignore as we plan responses to the pandemics that will surely follow. To help move the massive trial enrollment process along, NIH has launched the COVID-19 Prevention Trials Network (COVPN), merging networks already funded by NIAID for HIV and other infectious disease trials. Each of the Phase 3 clinical...
Dear Research Advocate, We sent a letter to President Trump yesterday in support of Dr. Anthony Fauci , noting: “the depth of expertise he brings to COVID-19 response efforts is an asset our nation simply cannot afford to forsake.” A conversation with the inimitable Dr. Fauci will be among those featured at our virtual National Health Research Forum, September 8-10, 2020. Please mark the dates and look for more information soon. Good News : To the relief of many students and universities, the Administration earlier this week rescinded a proposed policy which would have denied visas to international students forced by the pandemic to engage in remote learning at our nation’s universities and...
Dear Research Advocate, Warning — Bad News First : On Tuesday, the Administration notified the United Nations of its intent to withdraw the U.S. from the World Health Organization (WHO). The withdrawal would not be effective until July 6, 2021, but the timing is cold comfort given the message it sends and the rickety path it implies for our nation's COVID-19 response. Research!America signed on to a letter asking Congress to take action to stop the withdrawal, and we will continue to make the case that social distancing does not mean global distancing. Unfortunately, this isn’t the only recent Administration action that contravenes American values and interests. T he U.S. Department of...
Dear Research Advocate, Fourth of July, typically a day to unwind and celebrate, comes to us this year at a fraught time in our fight against a deadly pandemic. Evidence-based public health practices to mitigate the virus’s spread have been too often politicized and unheeded, leading to adherence gaps by some that place many others at risk. Cautious optimism from public health experts that we were on a path to containing the virus is being overtaken by alarm. Public health officials in communities across the country are being physically threatened while laboring under poorly-resourced conditions. An important time to hear from Dr. Tom Frieden, former CDC Director and current President and...
Dear Research Advocate, Mentioned here last week and the focus of an alliance member webinar earlier this week, the President issued an executive order (EO) extending and imposing new restrictions on worker and student visas. Our statement expresses opposition . Let’s face it — this EO essentially forces our nation to shoot itself in the foot. Bernat Navarro-Serer of the Johns Hopkins Science Policy Group (and a Research!America 2019 student microgrant recipient ) makes the case for sustaining our nation’s long-standing student visa programs . From the article: “ ...a suspension on work visas sends a strong message to current and future students seeking an education in the United States:...
Dear Research Advocate, Our nation’s research enterprise – and thus our society – has long benefitted mightily from the contributions of foreign-born scientists and engineers. In fact, nearly a third of the STEM workforce is foreign-born . A series of immigration-related actions by the executive branch, some already taken and others considered imminent, imperil academic, industry, and independent research across the country with consequences for our economy, our health, and our well-being. We are hosting an alliance member meeting on the state of play and advocacy opportunities next Monday, June 22 at 2 p.m. ET. Alliance members can register here . On Capitol Hill : Recent reports are that...

Pages