COVID-19

Dear Research Advocate, On the Hill: The odds are increasing that members of the Senate will come together again, as they did with several COVID-19 supplemental spending packages, to pass a bipartisan infrastructure bill. It is anticipated the House will follow suit. This is meaningful beyond the clear need to address gaps and frailties in our nation’s infrastructure; it reinforces a too rarely demonstrated truth: if members of Congress are convinced a need is compelling enough, they find a path forward. COVID-19 has taken more than 4.19 million lives worldwide. According to the WHO, each year, more than 15 million people between the ages of 30 and 69 die from a non-communicable disease...
“What did we learn from the rapid spread of this pandemic that will better equip us for the future?” asked Oprah Winfrey to begin a conversation with Dr. Tony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, at Research!America’s 2021 Virtual Advocacy Awards. Dr. Fauci was the recipient of the Outstanding Achievement in Public Health Award. “We have lived through history, you and I,” Dr. Fauci responded, “and what we're learning is you've got to be prepared — really serious preparation — at the global health level and at the scientific level.” The segment opened with an introduction from Research!America Board Member Guillermo Prado, PhD, Vice Provost for...
Communication throughout the pandemic has been critical and Clear Voice Award co-recipients Anne Schuchat, MD , and Michelle Williams, ScD , have been at the forefront. “Communication has never been more important than this past year. And it's never been more difficult,” Dr. Schuchat. For the Research!America 2021 Virtual Advocacy Awards, Clear Voice Award introductions were made by Research!America Board Member Kafui Dzirasa, MD, PhD , Associate Professor at Duke University Medical Center. The recipients were joined by Seema Kumar , Global Head, Office of Innovation, Global Health and Scientific Engagement, Johnson & Johnson, for a conversation about science communication in a public...
Dear Research Advocate, Today, a Surgeon General’s Advisory was released on “ Confronting Health Misinformation ,” directing every American’s attention to the harm misinformation causes to individual and public health. Research!America applauds Surgeon General Murthy for calling on the nation to work together in a “whole of society” push to confront and build resilience against health misinformation. Relevant to the nation’s efforts to combat misinformation, Jen Easterly was sworn in on Tuesday as director of the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), after unanimous approval by the Senate. CISA houses a robust resource library to help...
The Research!America 2021 Virtual Advocacy Awards program featured a discussion with the co-recipients of the 2021 Building the Foundation Award: Katalin Karikó, PhD , of BioNTech and Drew Weissman, MD, PhD , of the University of Pennsylvania. Pfizer’s Mikael Dolsten, MD, PhD , introduced the recipients, then Research!America Board Member Victor Dzau, MD , President of the National Academy of Medicine, kicked off a discussion with the two collaborators whose work led to the use of messenger RNA (mRNA) in the development of key COVID-19 vaccines. Dr. Dzau expressed his sincere appreciation: “You know, your research is remarkable, it really changed the world and saved millions of lives. And I...
Dear Research Advocate, We are at an inflection point in the pandemic; many people are asking, “Life seems to be getting back to ‘normal’ — are we almost to the finish line?” One response is that we must do more globally, a reality made all the more urgent by viral mutations such as the Delta variant. (Read and share our latest blog post , a pithy overview of the science behind viral variants and stopping their spread. “The longer a virus continues to circulate unchecked, the greater the likelihood that a mutation will produce a more effective disguise — one less like a fake moustache and more like a ski mask.”) The investigation into the origin of SARS-CoV-2 has become quite controversial...
Americans across much of the U.S. might feel as if they are finally waking from a bad dream. COVID-19 cases are at their lowest levels since March 2020, vaccines are widely available, workplaces are reopening, social life has resumed, and domestic travel neared an all-time high over the July 4 holiday weekend. This “return to normal” is far from the case in many areas: countries from India to the United Kingdom to Argentina have experienced recent spikes in COVID-19 cases, with sometimes devastating results. First in India and then in the U.K., spikes in infection rates resulting in new lockdown restrictions were driven by the Delta variant – a mutation of the original SARS-CoV-2 virus. The...
Dear Research Advocate, Discovery, Development, and Delivery 2.0: Representatives Diana DeGette (D-CO) and Fred Upton (R-MI) have released a “Cures 2.0” discussion draft that addresses a range of critical issues bearing on the future of health and healthcare. Read our statement applauding these research champions here and a section-by-section summary of the draft here . The discussion draft includes provisions that would authorize President Biden’s proposed ARPA-H. Reps. DeGette and Upton have issued a request for information to inform their continued work on these provisions. On Thursday, July 8 at 1:00 p.m. ET, key staff from both Representatives’ offices will be joining an alliance...
Dear Research Advocate, On the Hill: Will progress be a priority? The moment you take today to advocate (that’s presumptuous of me, but I know the readers of this weekly letter are action-oriented) is timely: the House has established a preliminary topline appropriations number of $1.5 trillion for both defense and non-defense discretionary spending. This placeholder number, which tracks closely to the President’s topline, enables the House to begin the FY22 appropriations process in earnest — allocating funding to each Appropriations Subcommittee and crafting various funding bills. While the House topline may change a bit later this summer and the Senate has not yet floated a topline, the...
Dear Research Advocate, Data on Trust in Science: Newly published data from the annual global State of Science Index commissioned by 3M indicate that public trust in science is trending upward. According to the 3M survey, which was conducted in 17 countries in February and March, 87% of survey participants are hopeful that 2021 will be better than 2020, thanks to science. U.S. respondents tracked closely with others worldwide. Our own public opinion survey , conducted earlier this year, found that 46% of Americans say their trust in science has increased. Health Equity Data: The Satcher Health Leadership Institute at the Morehouse School of Medicine has developed a Health Equity Tracker to...

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