vaccines

Dear Research Advocate, This week, amidst the Delta-driven surge in the COVID-19 pandemic, the world watched the closing ceremonies of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. One of the most significant health stories to come out of the Olympics — at least for audiences watching in the U.S. — was how the athletes advanced the public discourse on mental health. 2016 Olympic medalist Laurie Hernandez played a prominent role in that important conversation, and we are thrilled to announce that she will speak on mental health awareness at our upcoming 2021 National Health Research Forum ! Also joining us are key federal officials, including Reps. Diana DeGette (D-CO) and Fred Upton (R-MI), White House...
Dear Research Advocate, On the Hill: The House has begun its August recess while the Senate remains in session. After attempting to pass a bipartisan infrastructure bill, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) plans to take up a budget resolution containing the topline number the Senate will use to allocate FY22 appropriations. No text has been released yet, but adopting a budget resolution will allow Senate appropriators to advance their FY22 spending bills with concrete numbers. We’ll continue to keep you informed. ARPA-H: Research!America provided comments during an ARPA-H listening session with NIH and OSTP leaders yesterday. As Ellie Dehoney, our VP of Policy and Advocacy, stated...
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-...
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...

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We have health challenges in this country that science will provide answers for if given the chance and we haven't given science that opportunity
Mary Woolley, President and CEO, Research!America