Needs and Challenges for COVID-19 Boosters and Other Vaccines in the U.S.

FAU researchers and collaborators provide the most updated guidance to health care providers and urge how widespread vaccination with these boosters can now avoid the specter of future and more lethal variants becoming a reality.

UCLA Fielding School of Public Health-led research demonstrates the importance of influenza vaccination globally

An international team of researchers has demonstrated that among patients hospitalized for influenza, those who were vaccinated had less severe infections, including reducing the odds for children requiring admittance to an intensive care unit by almost half.

Houston Methodist seeing December flu season peak numbers now

Texas already has a moderately high rate of flu cases in September. This doesn’t look good for flu season, which was uncharacteristically low last year because of masks and people isolating. Houston Methodist experts are encouraging the community to get the flu shot early. Experts say cases aren’t usually seen this high until December, which is when the season usually peaks.

Can I Get the Flu From Touching Surfaces? Rutgers Researcher Says No.

In the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, the coronavirus was everywhere – stuck to our cellphone screens, smeared on our mail, dangling from doorknobs, even clinging to our cereal boxes. Except that it wasn’t.

Despite public health guidance suggesting surfaces be disinfected to stop the spread of COVID-19, the virus wasn’t significantly transmitted through inanimate surfaces and objects, what microbiologists call “fomites.” As with all respiratory viruses – from the flu to the common cold – transmission was and remains almost exclusively airborne.

Emanuel Goldman, a professor of microbiology at the Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, was among the first scientists to challenge conventional wisdom by warning that hygiene theater – overzealous disinfection of surfaces – had “become counterproductive” for public health.

JMIR Public Health and Surveillance | Diagnostic Accuracy of Self-test for Influenza

JMIR Publications recently published “Diagnostic Accuracy of an At-Home, Rapid Self-test for Influenza: Prospective Comparative Accuracy Study” in JMIR Public Health and Surveillance which reported that rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) for influenza used by individuals at home could potentially expand access to testing and reduce the impact of influenza on health systems. Improving access to testing could lead to earlier diagnosis following symptom onset, allowing more rapid interventions for those who test positive, including behavioral changes to minimize spread.

New research at UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital evaluates critical illness from COVID-19 vs influenza in children

Researchers at UH Rainbow published new findings that COVID-19 is not equivalent to flu infection for children. Among 66 pediatric ICUs in the US, the number admitted each quarter with COVID-19 or MIS-C during the first 15 months of the pandemic was twice as high as that for flu pre-pandemic.

Cleveland Clinic Appoints Ted Ross, Ph.D., as Global Director of Vaccine Development

Ted Ross, Ph.D., has been appointed Global Director of Vaccine Development at Cleveland Clinic.

In this newly created role, he will lead the development of novel vaccine platforms for a variety of infectious diseases, including influenza, HIV and COVID-19. A highly renowned scientist with expertise in virology, vaccines, immunology and microbiology, Dr. Ross’ research focuses on the design of new vaccines and the implementation of new vaccine trials.

Which older adults are getting flu shots and COVID boosters? Poll shows variation

With two viruses threatening to make older adults sick this winter, a new poll shows most people over 50 have gotten protected by vaccines against both influenza and coronavirus, or plan to. And a majority of those who have gotten the COVID-19 vaccine plan to get an additional dose. But the poll also reveals major differences in vaccine attitudes between older adults, including those of different political leanings.

Shrinking Waveforms on Electrocardiograms Predict Worsening Health and Death of Hospitalized COVID-19 and Influenza Patients

Spotting changes in the heart’s electrical activity may prompt more-aggressive treatment and monitoring.

Flu Season Returns: How to Stay Safe

While social distancing and wearing masks kept last year’s flu season at an all-time low, experts expect flu cases will soar this year as students return to school and employees go back to the office and are urging people to get their flu vaccine to prevent the nation’s health care system from being overwhelmed by influenza and COVID-19.
David Cennimo, an infectious disease expert at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, discusses what you should do to protect yourself during the upcoming flu season.

Study Links COVID-19 Public Health Efforts to Dramatic Drop in COPD Hospitalizations

Public health measures designed to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus may have fostered a substantial side benefit: A 53 percent drop in hospital admissions for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), likely due to a drop in circulating seasonal respiratory viruses such as influenza.

Rutgers Engineers Developing Rapid Breathalyzer Test for COVID-19

New Brunswick, N.J. (April 30, 2021) – Rutgers University–New Brunswick engineering professors Edward P. DeMauro, German Drazer, Hao Lin and Mehdi Javanmard are available for interviews on their work to develop a new type of fast-acting COVID-19 sensor that detects the presence…

UGA to establish national NIH-funded center to fight flu

The National Institutes of Health has awarded the University of Georgia a contract to establish the Center for Influenza Disease and Emergence Research (CIDER). The contract will provide $1 million in first-year funding and is expected to be supported by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of NIH, for seven years and up to approximately $92 million.

Penn Medicine Awarded Nearly $7 Million for First Year of Contract to Study Influenza Viruses

Penn Medicine has been selected as one of five sites across the country to serve as a Center of Excellence for Influenza Research and Response (CEIRR), with the goal of better understanding influenza viruses around the world along with learning about the viral strains that have the potential to cause pandemics. Penn Medicine has been awarded nearly $7 million in first-year funding.

Flu shot associated with fewer, less severe COVID cases

People who received a flu shot last flu season were significantly less likely to test positive for a COVID-19 infection when the pandemic hit, according to a new study. And those who did test positive for COVID-19 had fewer complications if they received their flu shot.

Houston Methodist expert notes COVID-19 precautions lead to historic drop in flu cases

A silver lining is emerging amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Influenza numbers are way down – 98 percent down, according to the CDC. Locally, during flu season last year, Houston Methodist’s system of eight hospitals saw 250 to 450 flu cases per week. This year the hospital system has seen only 2 to 5 flu cases per week so far. The numbers tell a striking story. Handwashing, masking and social distancing work.

Pre-existing influenza immunity impacts antibody quality following seasonal infection and vaccination

New research by scientists at the University of Chicago suggests a person’s antibody response to influenza viruses is dramatically shaped by their pre-existing immunity, and that the quality of this response differs in individuals who are vaccinated or naturally infected. Their results highlight the importance of receiving the annual flu vaccine to induce the most protective immune response.

UNLV Immunologist on the Differences Between Two Leading COVID-19 Vaccine Candidates

Millions around the world have waited for news about a COVID-19 vaccine, regarding it as the beginning of the end for the global pandemic and a herald for the eventual return to “normal life.” Recent announcements from pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and Moderna that their respective late-stage vaccine trials have shown a 90% or better effectiveness rate have received international applause, excitement furthered with estimates that doses could be ready as early as December.

Testing Wastewater for COVID-19

UNLV researcher Edwin Oh and colleagues have implemented wastewater surveillance programs to screen samples for the presence of COVID-19 and to extract the RNA from the SARS-COV-2 virus to find targets that make vaccines more effective.

Surgeon General expects COVID-19 vaccine to be available by year’s end

In a wide-ranging talk with UCLA Health physicians, Wednesday, Oct. 28, United States Surgeon General Jerome Adams, MD, MPH, addressed the politicization of the pandemic and the means of containing the spread of COVID-19. He also offered hope that a vaccine for the virus will be available by year’s end.

Rutgers Expert Available to Discuss Risk Perception in COVID-19 Era

New Brunswick, N.J. (Oct. 26, 2020) – Rutgers University–New Brunswick Professor William Hallman is available for interviews on the science of risk perception and its practical implications in the COVID-19 era – a time of fear and anxiety among millions of…

Antibodies protect against wide range of influenza B virus strains

Researchers have identified two antibodies that protect mice against lethal infections of influenza B virus, report scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Together with an antibody that targets the other major kind of influenza viruses that infect people — influenza A — these antibodies potentially could form the basis of a broad-spectrum flu drug that could treat almost all flu cases.

Flu Season Returns As The COVID-19 Pandemic Continues

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues with no end in sight, the annual flu season emerges once again. Cases of the flu have already begun to surface around the nation, and there are some reports of co-infection with COVID-19. Johns Hopkins Medicine experts say now is the time to take action to fight against the flu. Doctors recommend that everyone age 6 months and older get the flu vaccine each year to prevent infection from the virus or reduce the severity of the illness.

Flu Season Meets the COVID-19 Pandemic: Johns Hopkins Medicine Experts Available

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact the world in sometimes devastating and unexpected ways, a more well-known illness — the flu — will make its annual debut in the coming weeks. Flu activity tends to increase in October and can run as late as May. It’s too soon to tell how flu season will definitively affect the current pandemic. However, Johns Hopkins Medicine experts say prevention will be key in reducing the spread of both illnesses, including getting an annual flu vaccine, washing hands, wearing a face mask or covering, and maintaining proper physical distancing.