vaccines

Dear Research Advocate, Supplemental Funding Needs, Part 1 : President-elect Biden has indicated he will seek bipartisan support for a supplemental funding measure to address the urgent and ever-evolving needs created by this vicious and ongoing pandemic. Research!America has sent a letter to the President-elect with several supplemental funding requests, and we will follow up with a letter to Congressional leadership. Earlier this week we held an alliance member meeting with NIH Principal Deputy Director Dr. Larry Tabak and Deputy Director for Extramural Research Dr. Michael Lauer ( recording here ). Every minute of this meeting provided vital information on how the agency is struggling to...
This is the first in a series of blog posts exploring COVID-19 from a women’s health perspective. On October 20, 2020, the Office for Women’s Health Research (ORWH) at the National Institute of Health (NIH) held its 51st Meeting of the NIH Advisory Committee on Research on Women’s Health. The panel titled, “COVID-19 and the Health of Women” featured insightful presentations on the pandemic’s distinctive impact on women's health. This blog series will explore each of the three sessions. Panelists reported mounting evidence that COVID-19 may affect women and men differently. Although men and women are infected at the same rate, more men than women are dying from this virus. Why is this...
This is the second in a series of blog posts exploring COVID-19 from a women’s health perspective. On October 20, 2020, the Office for Women’s Health Research (ORWH) at the National Institute of Health (NIH) held its 51st Meeting of the NIH Advisory Committee on Research on Women’s Health. The panel titled “COVID-19 and the Health of Women” featured insightful presentations on the pandemic’s distinctive impact on women's health. This blog series will explore each of the three sessions. In the second presentation of the panel, Dr. Neel Shah described the effects COVID-19 has had on pregnant people and their health care. It is unclear if pregnant people are more likely to be severely infected...
This is the third in a series of blog posts exploring COVID-19 from a women’s health perspective. On October 20, 2020, the Office for Women’s Health Research (ORWH) at the National Institute of Health (NIH) held its 51st Meeting of the NIH Advisory Committee on Research on Women’s Health. The panel titled “COVID-19 and the Health of Women” featured insightful presentations on the pandemic’s distinctive impact on women's health. This blog series will explore each of the three sessions. In the final presentation of the panel on COVID-19 and the health of women, Dr. Monica Webb Hooper stressed that to achieve health equity, it is important to understand the health of underserved women. This...
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-...
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...
Dear Research Advocate, Let’s cut to the chase : There is so much at stake right now as Congressional leadership and the Administration negotiate the next COVID-19 supplemental, timing included. It’s a ‘now’ situation for Americans and those who represent them; it’s a ‘now’ situation for advocates, too. Research!America sent a letter to Congressional leadership urging them to include at least $26 billion in supplemental research funding in the legislation. Now is the time to meet the moment — don’t let disappointment or fatigue set in — your advocacy has worked in the past and it can work again! Reach out now and encourage your Members of Congress to weigh in with negotiators to achieve a...
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...
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...

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