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.

Homeless people are more likely to be put on ventilators for respiratory infections than non-homeless

Researchers from UCLA, Harvard Medical School and the University of Tokyo found that during a recent six-year period, homeless people in New York state were more likely to hospitalized and treated with mechanical ventilators for respiratory infections than people who are not homeless. These findings have implications for the COVID-19 pandemic.

Scientists Aim Gene-Targeting Breakthrough Against COVID-19

Scientists at Berkeley Lab and Stanford have joined forces to aim a gene-targeting, antiviral agent called PAC-MAN against COVID-19.

UNLV Vaccination Expert Explores How Vaccine Refusal Might Change in Light of COVID-19

As governors across America begin to unveil and deploy plans to reopen their respective states, at the center of the debate a question has emerged: how soon is too soon? Some states, including Nevada and neighboring California, are taking a…

Coronavirus – study finds methods for preventing global disease spread through airports

As coronavirus spreads across the globe via infected air travelers, authorities are looking for ways to contain the outbreak and avoid a pandemic. This study, published in Risk Analysis, analyzes the impact of implementing disease mitigation strategies at airports across the globe. The study finds that increasing traveler engagement with proper hand-hygiene at all airports has the potential to reduce the risk of a potential pandemic by 24-69 percent. The researchers also identify ten critical airports, central to the air-transportation network. If hand-washing mitigation strategies are implemented in just these ten locations, the pandemic risk can drop by up to 37 percent.

New Tool Monitors Real Time Mutations In Flu

A Rutgers-led team has developed a tool to monitor influenza A virus mutations in real time, which could help virologists learn how to stop viruses from replicating. The gold nanoparticle-based probe measures viral RNA in live influenza A cells, according to a study in The Journal of Physical Chemistry C. It is the first time in virology that experts have used imaging tools with gold nanoparticles to monitor mutations in influenza, with unparalleled sensitivity.

Flu Preparedness Hearing Opens Opportunities for Vaccine, AMR Action

Today’s subcommittee hearing on U.S. preparedness and responses for the 2019-2020 flu season offers an important opportunity to examine and act on gaps and challenges exacerbating the public health threats of seasonal influenza outbreaks.

Journal Articles Explore Fatal Consequences of Immigrant Detention Policies, Conditions

An analysis and related commentary published in Clinical Infectious Diseases today provide in-depth examination of the deplorable and dangerous conditions in U.S. immigrant detention centers where seven children have died in the last 10 months. Together, the articles underscore an urgent imperative repeatedly cited by ours, and other societies of medical professionals, to investigate and remedy violations of human rights and the most basic standards of public health, infection control and medical practice that have been demonstrated in these facilities.