Dear Research Advocate, The U.S. death toll from COVID-19 has surpassed 100,000 lives. If anything other than tragedy and destruction lies in the wake of COVID-19, let it be the courage to see, clearly, the world we live in now. Our nation is ill-equipped for crises, ill-equipped for economic competitiveness, and under-resourced to speed progress against other health threats that kill just as surely, if not as rapidly, as COVID-19. Ignoring the pandemic’s message is all too tempting. Let’s not succumb to it. As National Academy of Sciences President Dr. Marcia McNutt advises, we must learn from the pandemic and “build back better”. Speaking of building back better, this Washington Post...
Dear Research Advocate, Researchers at Yale and George Mason University released a report this week reflecting Americans’ attitudes on climate change, including its impact on health. Queried in April, in the midst of the pandemic, respondents registered high levels of concern, surprising researchers who had anticipated the pandemic would have displaced climate as a top issue. That Americans link climate change and health correlates with our own survey data from earlier this year (pre-pandemic) in America Speaks! Poll Data Summary . Just released today, a new Pew Research Center report shows that a growing number of Americans, surveyed recently, say they have a “great deal of confidence in...
More than 480,000 people in the U.S. die each year as a result of the effects of cigarette smoking. Every year on May 31, World No Tobacco Day aims to inform the public on the dangers of using tobacco as well as provide guidance about what people can do to claim their right to health and to protect future generations. This year, the theme is #TobaccoExposed: protecting youth from industry manipulation and preventing them from tobacco and nicotine use. Every day, more than 3,500 youths in the U.S. begin using e-cigarette or vaping products. Earlier this year, a national outbreak of vaping product use-associated lung injury (EVALI) was declared by the Centers for Disease Control and...
COVID-19 serology tests, also known as antibody tests, are currently receiving heightened attention and scrutiny. Why? Validated and correctly performed positive serology tests are a tool to confirm previous SARS-CoV2 (the virus causing COVID-19) infection and may indicate that a patient has built immunity to the virus. However, there are still questions we need to answer about the clinical effectiveness of serology testing to ensure that they yield accurate results. Additionally, scientists do not yet know for sure if a patient with a validated positive serology test is immune to reinfection by the virus. What Must Be Learned Before Serology Tests Can Be Used Effectively In the American...
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...
In January 2020, Research!America commissioned a survey to better understand the opinions of Americans regarding federal support for current research efforts. A combined 88% indicate that speeding medical progress should be a priority for both the President and for Congress with over 50% of respondents seeing this as “very important.” Information like this – gathered before our nation’s focus shifted to the COVID-19 pandemic – is a timely reminder of how strongly Americans desire federal support for biomedical research innovation. In the same survey, 46% of respondents elected that speeding medical progress should be a priority among candidates for the 2020 election. This sentiment has...
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...

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America’s economic destiny lies in innovation, technology, science and research.
The Honorable John E. Porter