COVID-19

Dear Research Advocate, Physician and author Dr. Alison Escalante wrote in Forbes this week: “According to [a survey commissioned by Research!America], a strong majority of Americans agree that ‘the Covid-19 pandemic is a disruptive event and requires urgent refocusing of America’s commitment to science.’” Results from the survey were also featured in The Aspen Institute’s Science & Society publication released today. See the survey here . You can use the survey data to act on behalf of science right now! Visit www.VoteScienceStrong.com to engage with candidates on the strategic significance of R&D and the multi-faceted benefits of faster medical and public health progress. Use #...
Dear Research Advocate, This week we congratulate the winners of the Nobel prizes, celebrating achievements and solving problems that benefit us all. In our statement , we underscore the importance of federal taxpayer funding for basic research, making the extraordinary work of the Laureates possible. I’ve long admired the way the Nobel Foundation captures the essence of the Laureates’ contributions, exemplifying as they do the very best in persuasive writing . (For those like me who are aficionados of the power of the written word, this linked blog post provides keen insights on the rhetorical reasons why the Nobel Foundation is – and all of us can become – a model of writing that wins...
TAKE ACTION NOW! This week, the Senate is expected to pass and the President to sign a temporary “Continuing Resolution” (CR) to maintain the Fiscal Year 20 budget through December 11. Negotiations reportedly continue on an emergency spending bill to address the destructive impact of COVID-19 on individuals, small businesses, and communities across our nation. COVID-19 has also undermined U.S. priorities, including medical progress, which has been set back by the corrosive effects of the pandemic on lab productivity, clinical trials, and the education and career paths of promising young researchers. There is still time to convince Congress and the President to agree on an emergency spending...
Dear Research Advocate, Anticipation is building for the Research!America 2020 Virtual #RAForum: Straight Talk: Securing a Science-Strong Future , featuring federal officials, members of Congress from both sides of the aisle, and other leaders from across the R&D and public health ecosystem to explore the intersection of public and private sector-driven science and pandemic response, recovery, and preparedness. An important late-breaking addition to the Forum program is HHS Secretary Alex M. Azar II, who will be in conversation with journalist and Research!America board member Susan Dentzer. We are also excited to let you know ADM Brett P. Giroir, MD, the Assistant Secretary for Health...
Two earlier posts in this series explored what is a virus and what is a vaccine as well as the types of vaccines under development. As with the type of vaccine, the type of virus is as important when developing a vaccine. You might ask: Why do we need a new flu shot every year? Why isn’t there a vaccine for HIV? How do these issues translate to the new COVID-19 vaccine? Excellent questions all, that are answered by understanding the differences between viruses. Influenza, the virus which causes the flu, has a genome made of eight independent segments. The eight segments in one strain of the flu can easily mix with the segments in other strains of the flu, creating what is called a “shift”...
Much like drugs, vaccine candidates that seem promising during laboratory research are assessed and validated based on their performance in clinical trials. In the U.S., making it to this step requires a trial sponsor to submit an Investigational New Drug (IND) application to the FDA for review. 6 This application most commonly highlights technical data on immunogenicity — the ability to elicit a targeted immune response —, the mechanism of action from animal testing, and importantly, the resources needed for scaling up production. 6 In a recent vaccine-development-focused installment of the popular American Public Health Association and National Academy of Medicine’s webinar series, COVID-...
Dear Research Advocate, On Capitol Hill : Senate Republicans have a new legislative proposal for COVID-19 emergency supplemental spending which includes provisions such as extended unemployment benefits and emergency funding for USPS, but no supplemental funding to restore COVID-19-eroded research dollars. Speaking up now is essential if there is to be an emergency spending bill that fully fights back COVID-19’s attack on the nation’s economy and health security. Reach out to your members of Congress to encourage them to include at least $26 billion in funding to restart lifesaving research supported by our health and science agencies. Here are two ways you can act right away: send this...
The pandemic continues to reconfigure our society and our individual lives. Our R&D ecosystem is simultaneously at the center of the COVID-19 response and placed at risk by it. What is certain during this profoundly uncertain period in our nation’s history is this: inaction breeds tragedy. Inaction on Capitol Hill : Negotiations over desperately needed emergency spending legislation and FY21 appropriations are in a holding pattern. In a troubling sign, reports today surfaced that federal agencies have been told to prepare for flat funding via a CR through December. Let’s face it: federal leaders are waiting to see who blinks first, even as desperation mounts and priorities like medical...
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...

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