COVID-19

Each year, millions of Americans face the reality of living with a mental illness. Every May, National Mental Health Awareness month raises awareness about mental illness and educates the public about mental health. The goal is to fight stigma, provide support, educate the public, encourage research, and advocate for policies that support people with mental illness and their families. While one in five people will experience a mental illness during their lifetime, everyone faces challenges in life that can impact their mental health. As we observe Mental Health Month this year, we do so during an unprecedented and stressful time. The COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic downturn have...
Dear Research Advocate, On Tuesday, Research!America sent a letter to HHS Secretary Alex Azar asking him to clarify the decision to end NIH grant funding for an ongoing, EcoHealth Alliance research initiative focused on pandemic preparedness. We urge the Secretary to shed needed light on this significant (on many levels) decision. On Capitol Hill : House Democrats have released a draft emergency spending bill, the HEROES Act . This discussion draft includes $4 billion for the Office of the Director at NIH, of which “not less than $3 billion” would be set aside to help academic institutions absorb COVID-19 related shutdown and start-up costs. (This is $7 billion shy of the recovery costs NIH...
Dear Research Advocate, “Hopefully, the urgency that everyone is seeing around COVID-19 will translate into bigger investments for global health vaccines.” — Dr. Peter Hotez Renowned vaccinologist and prolific author Dr. Peter Hotez, Dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine and Co-director of the Texas Children’s Hospital Center for Vaccine Development, joined us yesterday for an alliance member call. Dr. Hotez spoke about the history of life-saving vaccines, COVID-19 vaccine development, and the alarming spread of the novel coronavirus across the southern hemisphere. He also spoke about the anti-science and anti-vaccine movements in our country and...
The May 2020 issue of Research!America's newsletter, The Research Advocate, is now online! In this issue: Research!America's Response to COVID-19 : In January 2020, the first case of COVID-19 was reported in Washington state. The days since then have been unprecedented in global history. The medical and research community, including so many of our alliance members, have taken on the incredible challenge of beating back the novel coronavirus, not just on the front lines in hospitals, but in laboratories across the world working to understand the virus to protect public health. Webinar Explores COVID-19 Vaccines and Treatment : As the COVID-19 pandemic surpasses one million cases in the...
Dear Research Advocate, “We are in the profession that aims to come up with answers. We have a mission and a noble one. I often like to point out while our initials are NIH….in circumstances like this we’re the National Institutes of Hope. While fear, anxiety, and stress are all around us, hope can be contagious.” —Francis Collins, MD, PhD Earlier today, Dr. Francis Collins, Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), joined us on our alliance member call to provide an overview of NIH’s unprecedented Accelerating COVID-19 Therapeutic Interventions and Vaccines (ACTIV) , a partnership between industry and governmental leaders working to speed COVID-19 vaccines and treatments. Dr...
As part of ongoing work to keep a finger of the pulse of public opinion, Research!America has commissioned numerous questions over the years to determine what Americans know about vaccines and immunization as well as how they feel about vaccines and vaccine safety. The findings reveal a decidedly negative shift over the last decade in Americans’ attitudes towards vaccines. While this public opinion research predates the novel coronavirus pandemic, it certainly suggests that deploying effective strategies to improve the public’s confidence in vaccines must occur now and not wait until a COVID-19 vaccine is developed. Our national survey commissioned in January 2020 shows that respondents...
On February 27, a few weeks before the country was gripped by the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Tanya Petrossian gave birth to a healthy baby boy. During her grueling labor, what stunned nurses and doctors was her high pain tolerance. But Dr. Petrossian is no stranger to pain. Since adolescence and the onset of menstruation, she has endured severe pain for more than a decade. Doctors gave her conflicting opinions on the cause, from ovarian cancer to appendicitis. She finally was diagnosed and treated on Feb. 27, 2017—3 years to the day before giving birth. Her diagnosis: Endometriosis. The inflammatory disease is estimated to affect about 10% of reproductive-age women around the world—about 190...
Dear Research Advocate, Yesterday, we hosted a very popular webinar, Understanding the Landscape of COVID-19 Vaccine and Treatment R&D , featuring former FDA Commissioner Mark McClellan, Director of the Duke-Margolis Health Policy Center; Stefano Bertuzzi, CEO of the American Society for Microbiology; and former CDC Director Julie Gerberding, Executive Vice President and Chief Patient Officer, Strategic Communications, Global Public Policy and Population Health at Merck. All three are working tirelessly to combat COVID-19. In speaking about current public-private research efforts, Dr. Gerberding emphasized: “This is the time we need the most openness, the most transparency, and the...
Since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, the ability to diagnose and test for the presence of the virus in patients has been of critical importance. However, the process and steps required in testing have not always been made clear or easy for non-experts to understand. Research!America has developed this resource to explain the scientific process behind a COVID-19 test. During a recent Research!America alliance member call, Scott Whitaker, President and CEO of AdvaMed discussed how diagnostic companies are developing and manufacturing both “front end” tests to detect whether a person currently has COVID-19 and serology tests to determine whether someone has ever had COVID-19 by...
Dear Research Advocate, This past Monday, CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield was our guest for the first of two alliance member calls this week, stressing the roles we all have to play: “I think this is an all-of-the nation response, not just an all-government response…. There’s no doubt we're going to learn a lot of lessons. But, I am 100 percent confident when we get to the other side, we're going to be so much stronger.” We are grateful to Director Redfield for spending time with us. Read more here . Innovation is key : Dr. Redfield repeatedly called for innovation: “I look forward to the innovation that we’re going to see from many of [Research!America’s] members to improve the tools we...

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Without continued support for health research, many of the most promising young scientists, their ideas and a myriad of potentially life-changing scientific breakthroughs will vanish into oblivion.
Paul Marinec, PhD; University of California San Francisco