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Understanding COVID-19 and Global Pandemics

Understanding COVID-19 and Global Pandemics

The Academy has a long history of convening experts to address global health crises, including the AIDS epidemic, and the outbreaks of SARS, H1N1, and H5N1. Continuing in that tradition, we're mobilizing our network to share scientific information and resources focused on COVID-19. Below you can find links to our programming and resources focused on the pandemic. We'll be making regular updates to this page.

Table of Contents

An Update on Oxford-AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 Vaccine Trials Reveals Higher Efficacy Than Previously Estimated

Sarah Gilbert of the University of Oxford says the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 Vaccine is most efficacious when the second dose is given three months after the first, and that early data suggest it could reduce transmission.

CanSino Biologics Steps into the Spotlight

The chairman of CanSino Biologics tells an Academy symposium that his China-based company may be just days from filing for emergency use of its COVID-19 vaccine.

New Early Trial Data Emerges From the First Oral COVID-19 Vaccine Candidate in the U.S.

Sean Tucker of Vaxart tells an Academy audience that the range of possibly-protective immune responses in the company’s phase 1 COVID-19 vaccine trial is encouraging, but questions remain about neutralizing antibodies.

What’s Next for the Pfizer/BioNTech Vaccine?

Pfizer’s vaccine R&D leader, Kathrin Jansen, says there is still important work to be done on the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine against SARS-CoV-2, to stay ahead of variants, simplify transport, and bring the vaccine to children.

Moderna Medical Chief Calls Vaccine Similarities “Astounding” and Describes Research That Lies Ahead

Moderna’s Tal Zaks describes some of his company’s rapid progress in the latter part of 2020, and shares with an Academy audience some of the vaccine studies that must still be completed.

A Strong Vaccine Science Foundation is Helping Researchers Face New COVID-19 Challenges

Anthony Fauci says a significant body of vaccine research dating back decades not only led to the quick development of a COVID-19 vaccine, but will also help researchers stay ahead of SARS-CoV-2 variants.

Moncef Slaoui’s “Ambitious Mission” Brought Success and Frustration

The former chief scientific officer of Operation Warp Speed reflects on a year of achievement, shortcomings, and hopes for the months ahead.

Anthony Fauci and Moncef Slaoui to Keynote a New York Academy of Sciences Symposium on COVID-19 Vaccines

More than a dozen pharmaceutical company leaders and chief scientists set aside competition to share data and status updates on their vaccines against SARS-CoV-2.

Pfizer CSO on UK COVID Variant and mRNA Vaccine Development to Fend Off the Flu

Annaliesa Anderson, PhD, the Vice President and CSO of Bacterial Vaccines at Pfizer, recently responded to some of our questions about the efficacy of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine against new viral variants, future pandemics, and other viral targets for mRNA vaccines.

Politics, Checks and Balances, and Trust in COVID-19 Vaccines

Scientists fend off both political pressure and conflict of interest in their race to deliver therapies and vaccines against COVID-19.

Racial Disparities and COVID-19

Insights into the significantly higher infection rates and number of deaths caused by COVID-19 in Black and Latinx communities compared to white communities.

Pandemic Preparedness and Response

World-class leaders in public health, epidemiology, and national security highlight lessons in pandemic preparedness from both the near and distant past, and illuminate the measures needed to shore up the globe for next time.

Reporting on COVID-19: Challenges and Strategies

Journalists in print, multimedia, and broadcast discuss the unique challenges of reporting on COVID-19 during the pandemic.

When Will a COVID-19 Vaccine Be Ready?

Two leaders in the effort to develop a COVID-19 vaccine discuss the challenges they face. They also give an overview of the real timeline for vaccine development—even if it’s fast tracked—and what deployment will look like for the global population.

Advances in Therapeutic Development for COVID-19

Researchers share the latest developments in treatments for COVID-19 and address key questions about which drugs might be effectively repurposed to treat the virus as well as the vision for new therapeutic development and pandemic response in the long term.

Guiding the Reopening of American Business

The second eBriefing in the “Guiding the Reopening of American Business” series features public health and business leaders sharing their hands-on experience in reopening and real-world lessons learned to date. These experts have been on the frontlines helping communities and businesses develop and implement robust and effective plans and procedures for reopening.

COVID-19: Ensuring Food Safety & Food Security

The impact of the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, has rippled through the domestic and global food and agriculture industries, causing disruptions on a scale never seen before. In a crisis like this, ensuring food safety and food security becomes paramount. On May 18 and 27th, 2020, the Academy brought four leading experts to offer their perspective on these issues. Find out what they had to say.

Guiding the Reopening of American Business

The first eBriefing in the two-part “Guiding the Reopening of American Business” series assembled scientific, technological, risk, and operations experts to discuss guidelines and protocols for businesses to follow as they transition from modest reopening to full-scale operations.

Flattening the Curve: How Different Countries are Tackling COVID-19

International public health experts discuss the global approaches taken to combat COVID-19 and consider strategies for lifting isolation measures as infections decline.

Rallying to the Fight against COVID-19

As thousands of scientists work to stop the spread of the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, we checked in with a number of former recipients of the Blavatnik Award for Young Scientists who are at the frontlines of predicting and detecting disease spread, as well as identifying effective treatments. Find out how they are helping to end this pandemic.

Frequently Asked Questions About Food During the COVID-19 Pandemic​

What precautions should you take while preparing food? Does cooking kill the virus? Should you wash reusable grocery bags? Find answers to your most pressing concerns about food and the pandemic from the best experts.

COVID-19: The Road Ahead

The novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 has infected millions of people around the globe, impacting individuals, healthcare systems, countries, and economies. How do we move forward from here? On April 22, 2020, the Academy gathered three leading experts to offer their perspective on topics ranging from transmission to testing and treatment of COVID-19. Find out what they had to say.

Empowering New York’s Nurse Heroes to Handle the Worst of the Pandemic

Shortages of protective supplies and equipment have made headlines during the COVID-19 emergency. Another big problem has been a shortage of nurses trained to work with ventilators in Intensive Care Units. To help address the problem, the Academy teamed with a company in Sweden to bring an artificial-intelligence-based learning program to New York’s Mount Sinai Hospitals.

How Scientists and STEM Professionals are Helping to Fight the New Coronavirus

From the very beginning of this pandemic, it's been clear that the work of STEM professionals across sectors is of enormous value. Find out how researchers, technologists, business people, educators, and students are helping communities meet the challenges presented by COVID-19.

The New Coronavirus: What Science & Experience Can Tell Us

On March 12, 2020, the Academy hosted a webinar with infectious disease and biosecurity researcher, Michael Osterholm, PhD (University of Minnesota), and Julie Gerberding, MD, MPH (formerly Director of the Centers for Disease Control, now at Merck). Read about what they told us based on their experience dealing with past pandemics as well as the challenges presented by this new and highly transmissible coronavirus.

RNA Viruses and the Immune System

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought forth the importance of understanding how RNA viruses work and how the immune system fights them. This 75-minute webinar will explore how various organisms have evolved to fight RNA viruses, how cells detect RNA viruses, and how to track antiviral responses in real time.

The Long Term Health Effects of COVID-19

This 75-minute webinar will explore the symptoms and epidemiology of Long COVID, with a focus on current knowledge of demographics, risk factors, and prognosis.

Tracking Coronavirus

The lack of syndromic surveillance for coronaviruses has exposed the global and local preparedness for pandemics making us vulnerable as well as putting extreme stress on our government, healthcare facilities, medical supply demands and economies. This innovation challenge asks participants to design a syndromic surveillance system to help us understand the current pandemic and prevent future outbreaks. This challenge was open to students 18 years of age or over pursuing undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral degrees. Learn more about the Challenge Grand Prize Winner and Finalists, announced August 7, 2020, here.

Combating COVID-19

The Academy is engaging students in the global response to the new coronavirus by issuing a call to action for young people. This work-from-home Innovation Challenge fostered critical thinking and collaboration skills as students, aged 13 to 17, worked together through a virtual platform to develop technologies to address the global outbreak. Learn more about the Challenge Grand Prize Winner and Finalists, announced June 15, 2020, here.

Resources for Teachers (and Parents) in the Time of COVID-19

Adjusting to remote teaching and learning in a very short time period presents significant challenges for both educators and students. We've compiled some of our favorite teaching resources to help teachers (and parents) during this transition.

STEM Resource Library for K-12 Educators

Explore our collection of free lesson plans, slide decks, and videos, focused on bringing STEM to life in the classroom. Use these materials to help your students develop the skills they'll need to thrive in the modern workplace.

To find the latest public health information on COVID-19, we encourage those in our network, both locally and internationally, to visit to following websites:

Our Response to COVID-19

We are working hard to support the research community and health experts in the worldwide response to the COVID-19 crisis. Find out more about what we're doing.