The 10 Most Popular Research!America Blog Posts of 2020

Research!America

With 2020 in our rearview mirror, we’re taking a look back at our 10 most popular blog posts (based on page views) for the year. The posts cover a wide range of topics including basic and clinical research, public health, clinical trials, and the impacts of COVID-19. We thank our distinguished group of guest bloggers including young researchers, academics, industry experts, public health professionals, and patient advocates as well as the staff here at Research!America who are united in support for stronger investments in research and innovation to combat diseases and build a safer, stronger, healthier nation.

1) Explained: How a COVID-19 Serology Test Works and Obstacles to its Use

May 19: Our most-read post of the year written by Sarah Ackerman, PhD, a science policy fellow at Research!America, and Mark Von Eisenburg, MS, a communications intern at Research!America, is the first in a series of posts explaining the science behind testing for COVID-19. This post provides background on COVID-19 serology tests (also known as antibody tests) including what antibodies can tell us and how the test works. Read our top blog post here.

2) The Impact on Mental Health During a Pandemic

May 15: Our second most viewed blog post comes from Erin Brown, a communications associate at Research!America. In observance of Mental Health Month during a year of unprecedented stress and struggle, Erin wrote about how the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic downturn have affected and continue to affect many people’s mental health and created new barriers for people already suffering from mental illness and substance use disorders. Read it here.

3) Explained: How to Identify Active COVID-19 Infection in People

April 22: Our third most viewed blog post is the second in a series explaining the science behind testing for COVID-19. The process and steps required in testing have not always been easy for non-experts to understand. So, Sarah Ackerman, PhD, and Mark Von Eisenburg, MS, developed this resource to explain the scientific process behind a COVID-19 test. Read it here.

4) Types of Vaccines

August 6: Sarah Ackerman, PhD, and Mark Von Eisenburg, MS, teamed up again to provide information about different types of vaccines, specifically those being developed for the COVID-19 vaccine. Our fourth most viewed blog article reviews the different types of vaccines, how they work, some examples, and current COVID-19 trials in each category. Read it here.

5) Dr. Robert Redfield: In His Own Words

April 15: This blog post recaps an alliance member call for members and partners with Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in which he shared an overview of the COVID-19 pandemic and the CDC’s response. He emphasized that our nation should expand the existing public health infrastructure in order to be better prepared for future public health challenges. Read his most notable comments here.

6) How Genetics is Helping Fight COVID-19 

April 20: Anthony Wynshaw-Boris, MD, PhD, president of the American Society of Human Genetics, shared his thoughts on the ways in which the genetics and genomics community is applying its knowledge and resources to play its part in addressing the pandemic. "Knowledge gained from decades of human genetics and genomics research is a vital component of that effort today and will form the foundation for future prevention and therapeutic strategies for tomorrow’s health challenges." Read it here.

7) To Address COVID-19 and Future Pandemics, We Must Answer Fundamental Questions 

April 15: David Skorton, MD, president and CEO of the Association of American Medical Colleges, joined us for a guest blog discussing the importance of investing in fundamental basic science to better understand health threats like COVID-19. "With greater federal investment in research and the ongoing great work of public-private partnerships, I believe we can answer the questions we have today and get ahead of those that will occur tomorrow. The question is, will we invest in this research now? Let’s make it happen." Read the post here.

8) Majority Say Elected Officials Should Listen to Advice from Scientists 

April 24: This blog post compared data from a Research!America-commissioned national survey from January 2020 to a more recent survey commissioned in March 2020 seeking the opinions of Americans on federal support for current research efforts. "Interestingly, the amount of young Americans who have shifted their opinion to valuing scientific opinion as 'very important for informing elected officials' has risen 13% from 47%, since asked in January 2020." Read the results here.

9) COVID-19 is a Call to Action to Bolster Vaccine Confidence

April 29: This post, also based on data from our national survey commissioned in January 2020, explores 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 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. Read the post here.  

10) What is a Virus and What is a Vaccine? 

August 6: In this post, Sarah Ackerman, PhD, and Mark Von Eisenburg, MS, provide information about what viruses are and how they work as well as how vaccines play into protecting against disease, particularly in slowing the spread of COVID-19. "The goal of a COVID-19 vaccine is to skip over the infection, sickness, and recovery periods and jump straight to the end result, which is a primed immune system that knows how to fight off SARS-CoV2 with targeted antibodies." Read it here.

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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