Author Archives: Bara Vaida

Bara Vaida

About Bara Vaida

Bara Vaida (@barav) is AHCJ's core topic leader on infectious diseases. An independent journalist, she has written extensively about health policy and infectious diseases. Her work has appeared in outlets that include the National Journal, Agence France-Presse, Bloomberg News, McClatchy News Service, MSNBC, NPR, Politico and The Washington Post.

Ask the experts: What do you want to know about COVID-19?

webcastThe COVID-19 pandemic is quickly evolving and finding up-to-date answers to questions from experts has been challenging for many journalists.

On Friday, March 27, join two experts from Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security who will be answering your questions about what is known about the virus, how the health system is responding, how the outbreak might end and strategies for journalists to combat misinformation.

To ensure that we address your questions, you are invited to submit them ahead of time using this form. Continue reading

AHCJ fellow learns about global vulnerability in midst of COVID-19 outbreak

Map of the COVID-19 outbreak as of March 19, 2020.

Image: Pharexia and authors of File:BlankMap-World.svg

Michele Cohen Marill is one of three journalists glad to be back in the U.S.

Marill, an Atlanta-based independent journalist, is one of four 2020 AHCJ International Health Study fellows and was in Germany conducting interviews for her fellowship when President Trump announced the unprecedented travel restrictions from Europe to the U.S. on March 11. Continue reading

Despite pronouncements, no quick turnaround likely for COVID-19 treatments, vaccines

An inaccurate statement that President Trump made during a March 19 news briefing — that the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine had been approved as a COVID-19 treatment — demonstrates how skeptical journalists should remain when covering the unfolding story about treatments and preventative measures.

While there are more than 85 trials for vaccines and treatments underway for COVID-19, scientists don’t expect them to be available to the public soon, despite what some headlines suggest. Continue reading

Panelists advise journalists on how to vet specialists as COVID-19 sources

Webcast Journalists racing to cover the unfolding COVID-19 outbreak in the U.S. should carefully vet sources they are quoting to minimize misinformation, two infectious disease experts a journalist told AHCJ members this week.

It’s particularly easy for broadcast and social media to inadvertently amplify the voices of people who may not be experts on COVID-19. That makes it harder for the public to decide how best to protect themselves and their families from contracting COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus SARS-CoV-19. Continue reading

Drug companies ramp up development of COVID-19 prevention and treatment products


Photo: NIAID-RML via FlickrAn electron microscope image of SARS-CoV-2 — also known as 2019-nCoV — which is the virus that causes COVID-19.

With the number of COVID-19 cases expanding exponentially, the story about the potential for treatments and vaccines remains a top priority. So does the story of drug pricing.

At a March 5 media briefing on Capitol Hill, biopharmaceutical company executives updated legislaters on potential medical countermeasures for stopping the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes the disease COVID-19.

One of the most promising drugs is remdesivir, an antiviral under development by biotech company Gilead Sciences. Continue reading

Infectious disease rates rising with opioid epidemic

As the opioid crisis has continued to plague the nation, a less-reported story for journalists to consider is the surging number of bacterial and viral infections threatening to make the crisis worse.

The rise includes an increase in bacterial infections caused by Staphlococcus aureus, a pathogen that is often resistant to antibiotics – and a climb in new HIV, hepatitis, sexually transmitted diseases and skin and soft tissue infections.

“A converging public health crisis is emerging because the opioid epidemic is fueling a surge in infectious diseases,” said the Journal of Infectious Diseases in August 2019. Continue reading