Category Archives: Infectious diseases

Former U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams talks career highlights, COVID lessons at HJ23

Former U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams responds to question by AHCJ Executive Director Kelsey Ryan. (Photo by Zachary Linhares)

Former U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams’ youth and career path, lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic, and advice for journalists were all on the table during his fireside chat on Friday, March 10, at Health Journalism 2023 in St. Louis.

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How the pandemic changed vaccine development

Photo by Chokniti Khongchum via pexels.

The COVID-19 pandemic spurred unprecedented public and private investment in vaccine research and proved that multiple vaccines could be developed, approved, and manufactured for billions of people within a year if there is funding and political will for it to be done.

But could it be done again and for what diseases? Where should research be directed to respond to the next pandemic? What are the lessons learned from the rapid development of COVID-19 vaccines? What do we know now about our immune systems that we didn’t know before? 

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NIH leader highlights disproportionate impact of long COVID on Black and Hispanic adults

Gary Gibbons, M.D.

The disproportionate and long-term effect of COVID-19 on Americans of diverse racial and ethnic communities remains under covered, according to Gary Gibbons, M.D., head of the National Institute of Health’s National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.

Gibbons is one of several NIH leaders who oversee the NIH’s RECOVER initiative — a $1.15 billion federal research project that aims to provide a better understanding of who is at most risk of experiencing long COVID, why it occurs and how to treat it. (The definition of what constitutes long COVID is still evolving, but generally, patients describe it as having lingering symptoms, such as brain fog and fatigue, lasting for months, even years after initial infection from SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 disease.)

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New tip sheet: High-risk pathogen research and resources for coverage

Image of the Lassa Virus by NIAID via Flickr.

A type of research in which scientists alter the genetic code of pathogens with pandemic potential to understand how they might become more dangerous will be in the political and scientific spotlight this year. We have a new tip sheet to help you cover this complex topic.

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Why journalists should follow bird flu closely in coming months

Photo by Italo Melo via pexels.

As you look for infectious disease stories (other than COVID-19), consider getting up to speed on avian flu, which could worsen this spring as birds migrate north with warming weather.

While the present bird flu virus hasn’t yet demonstrated the ability to spread among humans, it is extremely contagious among wild birds and chickens that lay eggs, playing a role in the rising price of eggs. And like all contagious viruses, there is a possibility that a genetic shift in the pathogen could make it dangerous for people at some point in the future. 

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