Thomas Russo, professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases, was quoted in a SELF story about how frequently people should change their pillowcase. While fabrics like pillowcases and sheets can potentially be contaminated, they aren’t generally ideal places for most microorganisms to grow and propagate effectively, Russo said.
Physician’s Weekly reported on UB research finding that treatment with the inhaled corticosteroid ciclesonide did not shorten time to COVID-19 recovery among non-hospitalized adolescents and adults with mostly mild symptoms, according to findings from a randomized clinical trial; however, the study authors found that the drug many still have a use in treating COVID. “Ciclesonide did not achieve the primary efficacy end point of reduction of time to alleviation of all Covid-19-related symptoms,” wrote UB’s Brian Clemency and colleagues.
A Verywell Health story on whether COVID-19 vaccines will protect against variants quotes Thomas Russo, chief of infectious disease in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, who said “it makes sense” that people may be able to get a year’s worth of protection with a booster shot, similar to how people get an annual flu shot booster. “It’s not a big to-do if we need to get an annual booster for COVID.” But, Russo said, “we have to track things out to see how long neutralizing antibodies last after this booster shot. It may be more than a year.”
WBFO interviewed Thomas Russo, chief of infectious disease in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, about the omicron variant. “Right here in Western New York we're suffering an increased wave of infections and hospitalizations due to the Delta variant. The last thing we want to hear about is another variant on the radar screen that may further extend this pandemic, which all of us are quite weary of and ready to put in our rear-view mirror,” he said.
The Buffalo News reports that as local COVID-19 cases continue to rise among children, area health professionals are urging parents to get their kids vaccinated. “What we find is that parents are accepting this quite well, recognizing that it’s probably the best and most comprehensively tested vaccine ever given to children. It’s a dose reduction of a vaccine that’s been given to over a billion people," said Steven E. Lipshultz, chair of the Department of Pediatrics at the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at UB.
Best Life reports on how to travel safely during Thanksgiving and the holidays. The story quotes Thomas Russo, professor and chief of infectious disease in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, from a previous story. "When the food first comes, the reaction is everyone drops the masks and eats the meal or the snack that they give you," Russo said. "What you should do instead is actually be patient. You wait until everyone's done and puts their mask back up, which usually takes somewhere between 15 and 30 minutes, and then that's when you should go ahead and eat your meal." The article was carried by Yahoo Lifestyle.
Yahoo Life reports that a recent COVID-19 outbreak that led to 89 new cases at Saint Michaels College in Vermont was tied to several Halloween parties. The article quotes Thomas Russo, professor and chief of infectious disease in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Science, who said: "Presently, indoor parties pose a significant risk in most communities since the burden of disease remains high with this never-ending Delta wave. Mask use is impossible when food and drink are involved, and ventilation is often poor."
Spectrum News reported that the WNY Breast Cancer Imaging bus needs to be upgraded and that a new bus will cost $875,000. The story quoted Steven Schwaitzberg, chair of the Department of Surgery in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, who discussed the importance of the bus in communities where access to care is a problem. “We have to bring the solutions to where the people actually are,” he said.
Health magazine reports on why you might want to drink water before getting a COVID-19 vaccine or booster shot. The article quotes Thomas Russo, professor and chief of infectious disease at the Jacobs School. "It makes sense that you'd want to be well hydrated if you developed symptoms like a fever," he says, adding that dehydration can also "exacerbate a headache." Still, Russo stresses that "there is no data to support that this will help with the COVID-19 vaccine." Still, Dr. Russo says drinking a good amount of water before your vaccine "can't hurt"—so there's really no reason not to down a glass before your shot, just in case.
Karl Yu, a clinical assistant professor of pediatrics at the Jacobs School at UB, told WKBW the increase of local COVID-19 cases in schools is because vaccination rates are the lowest among children. "If the vaccine were going anywhere, it would be going to those people who didn't have prior vaccination or infection with COVID-19. Children happen to be the largest group of this," Yu said. The story was reposted by Yahoo! News.
Prevention reports that after being practically non-existent last year, the flu is slowly coming back across the country. Things like taking oseltamivir (Tamiflu) and being vaccinated against the flu should also shorten the amount of time you’re sick—and infectious, says Thomas Russo, professor and chief of infectious disease at the Jacobs School. Still, he says, “there’s not a lot of literature on this. I like to consider people infectious up to seven days, just to be safe.” The article was reposted on Yahoo! News, MSN and elsewhere.
In a Prevention article, Thomas Russo, chief of the division of infectious disease at the Jacobs School, commented about an advisory committee to the Food and Drug Administration that overwhelmingly voted in favor of recommending the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children ages five to 11. “This is going to be extraordinarily helpful, and will no doubt be a relief for many parents,” Russo says. “Some families will finally be able to be fully vaccinated.” The article also appeared on MSN.
HealthCentral reported on psoriasis flares and quoted Jason Rizzo, research assistant professor in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, who said: “It’s a complex multifactorial disease, where both genetics and environment play a role. As far as the psoriasis flare, trauma to the skin can actually trigger it.”
The Buffalo News reported on the persistent level of COVID-19 infections in WNY, quoting Tom Russo, chief of the division of infectious diseases in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, who said:“We just can’t really shake this plateau of cases that we’ve had and really turn the corner on the Delta wave. The good news is our hospitalizations have come down, and they’ve come down in the last couple weeks.”
MSN.com and Yahoo reported on ways to be safe from infections lurking in public bathrooms and quoted Tom Russo, chief of the division of infectious diseases in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, who said try not to use your bare hands to operate handles. “Depending on the direction of the doors, I usually use my elbow if possible, or the inside of my jacket, but I try not to touch those surfaces with my hands so that I don't have to worry,” he says.
Prevention reported that COVID-19 and mononucleosis have similar symptoms and quoted John Sellick, associate professor of medicine in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, who said, “Could this be COVID or mono? It’s sometimes hard to tell.”
Yahoo reported on tensions between couples on vaccinating kids against COVID-19 and quoted Tom Russo, chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, who said:“The data looks good, and the efficacy of 90 percent is excellent.” He noted that the risk of myocarditis — a big concern for parents — is significantly higher when you contract COVID-19 than from getting the vaccine. “There weren't even any cases of myocarditis in the group that was studied for the vaccine for 5- to 11-year-olds,” he said. The story was republished in numerous outlets worldwide.
Prevention reported on how immunity against COVID-19 after vaccination can wane for the immunocompromised and quotes Tom Russo, chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, who said that these people “just don’t have optimal protection from the vaccines.” He also noted that there is a broad range of immunity that people in this category demonstrate. Media outlets worldwide published the story.
Verywell Health reported on a study that found that people with long COVID have reported hearing problems, including tinnitus and quoted John Sellick, DO, associate professor of medicine in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, who said “Tinnitus, in particular, seems to be fairly common with long-haulers. The question is, is this going to resolve or not?”
HealthDay reported on preliminary results of a study by Giulia Martone, a fellow in the Department of Pediatrics, and Xiaozhong Wen, associate professor of pediatrics, both in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, that found that introducing eggs to babies early can help prevent egg allergies. “Current evidence suggests that early introduction of egg during infancy, followed by consistent and frequent feedings, seems protective against development of egg allergy,” Wen said.
Healio published a piece by Patrick Glasgow, clinical assistant professor of family medicine in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, describing why and how he chose family medicine as his specialty, in a series on primary care.
Romper published an article on masks to wear as the weather cools and people head indoors, noting that Tom Russo, chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases, warns that if parents and children are still wearing the same cloth masks that were purchased in April 2020, it’s time to reconsider.
The Buffalo News reported on reasons why children need to be vaccinated against COVID-19 and quoted Tom Russo, chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, who said: “My major concern is potential for long-term consequences” from COVID infection. “Every child we protect who doesn’t get infected is a positive thing.”
The Buffalo News quoted Tom Russo, professor of medicine and chief of infectious disease, in an article on why the daily positivity rates for COVID-19 in Western New York remained above 5% over the past several weeks, higher than other areas in the state. “Cases are going to be dictated by a combination of exposure and the proportion of the population that’s susceptible,” said Russo. “As we go more from outdoor activities to indoor activities, that increases exposure. As, over time, for people that were previously infected and/or vaccinated, protection will wane and susceptibility will increase. If you get new people vaccinated and/or boosters, that decreases the proportion of the population susceptible.”
Buffalo Business First published a cover story profile on L. Nelson ‘Nick’ Hopkins, SUNY Distinguished Professor in the Department of Neurosurgery and founder of the Gates Vascular Institute and the Jacobs Institute. The story describes how Hopkins developed novel ideas about stroke treatment during his training at UB. “It was during my neurosurgery training I got this bean-brain idea of how catheters could potentially revolutionize the treatment of vascular diseases in the base of the brain through neurosurgery.” The article quotes Elad Levy, now neurosurgery chair in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, who said Hopkins “created that paradigm shift to stop strokes before they create brain damage.” UB professor of neurosurgery Adnan Siddiqui said of Hopkins, “He molded us in different directions so we all work effectively as a team and yet have room to grow. Neurosurgeons are almost always lone wolves, so for him to create this culture in Buffalo, that’s what makes UB Neurosurgery and Gates Vascular Institute unique.”
SpectrumNews reported that the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences student-run street medicine group UB HEALS held a foot clinic Saturday for people experiencing homelessness. The piece quotes David Milling, senior associate dean for student and academic affairs, who said, “The foot clinic helps us make sure we identify people with foot problems related to disease or just the weather in Buffalo before it gets too cold.”
The Buffalo News published an op-ed by Jerrold Winter, professor of pharmacology and toxicology in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, which states that resistance to vaccines has been constant throughout history. “Resistance to vaccines is as old as vaccines themselves,” says Winter. “The bases for anti-vaccination sentiment have remained remarkably constant over the past century and a half: religious objections, ignorance of medical science and opposition to government intrusion into our lives.”
Spectrum News reported on the sequencing of anonymous samples taken from patients with COVID-19 that Jennifer Surtees, associate professor of biochemistry in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, has been doing since the start of the pandemic. The story quotes Surtees, who says that nearly all the samples currently being sequenced are of the Delta variant, and that samples are being provided by health care providers and KSL Diagnostics. Surtees said, “We’d like to expand our reach even further to get more sequences from around the region and different parts of WNY.”
HuffPost posted a video nearly six minutes in length titled “The Importance of a COVID-19 booster” in which the only experts quoted were Tom Russo, chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases, and Tim Murphy, SUNY Distinguished Professor in the division, both of the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. Russo stressed: “The most important individuals to get a jab are those who are unvaccinated,” while noting that the boosters for those who are vaccinated will provide some incremental advantage. Murphy added: “The level of the antibody against the virus goes way up after a booster and the level of antibody very likely correlates with the level of protection.” The video also covered issues for those who are immunocompromised and whether or not people will need yearly shots against COVID-19.
WBFO interviewed Nancy Nielsen, senior associate dean for health policy in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, about how COVID-19 infection rates are higher in Western New York than downstate, and she noted the differences on a recent trip to New York City: “The contrast you see between what you see in our area and the Big Apple was amazing. New York City has mandated vaccination for admission to so many things. Theaters. Museums. Hotels. We walked on the streets. Most people were wearing masks just walking along the streets... They were going about their business, masked.” That contrasts with WNY, where she said, “Practically, nobody masks on the streets and depending on where you live and shop you don’t see many people wearing masks in retail stores or supermarkets. There are a lot of unvaccinated people here and everybody has sort of gone back to near normal and not wearing masks indoors in public…That’s the problem and that’s the difference.”
Health.com quotes Thomas Russo, professor and chief of infectious disease in the Department of Medicine in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at UB, in a story titled, "CDC and WHO Warn of Measles Outbreak Risk After 22 Million Babies Missed Their Vaccines During Pandemic." "Measles is extraordinarily infectious," Russo says. "We need about 95% of the population to have immunity, and any decrease in immunization could put us at risk of infection."
In a story carried by Yahoo! News, Prevention quotes Thomas Russo, professor and chief of infectious disease in the Department of Medicine in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at UB, regarding myocarditis as a rare side effect of the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines. The story states that Moderna has reported a higher risk of this rare side effect than for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, but that myocarditis risks are actually greater for people who become sick with COVID-19. Russo stresses that rare cases of myocarditis that can develop as a result ofthe vaccine “tend to be very mild and transient — it seems to resolve in a few days.” But while the overall risk of developing myocarditis with any mRNA COVID vaccine is low, Russo says he’s been advising people in the highest risk group —16- to 30-year-old males — to get the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine over the Moderna vaccine. “At the end of the day, the risk is still small, but whatever edge you can get in life, go for it,” he says.
Prevention, in a story also posted to Yahoo! Life, spoke with Thomas Russo, professor and chief of infectious disease in the Jacobs School, for background on reports that customers who visited a New Jersey Starbucks between early- to mid-November may have been exposed to hepatitis A. Starbucks says a former employee tested positive for the highly contagious virus. Hepatitis A is a short-term liver infection caused by the hepatitis A virus. Russo said people who get hepatitis A may feel sick for a few weeks or several months, but usually recover without lasting liver damage. “While most people do get better, there’s a very small subset that may develop more severe [liver] disease and, rarely, [liver] failure.”
Daily Mail and Med Page Today reported on UB research suggesting that ciclesonide, an inhalable asthma treatment, did not help lessen the number of days COVID-19 patients experience symptoms. However, the team did find that the treatment group, when compared to the control group, was less likely to visit the emergency room or become hospitalized for reasons related to COVID-19. “Any COVID-19 treatment that can reduce emergency room visits or hospital admissions provides a benefit not just to the patient, but also the health care system and the community at large,” said Brian Clemency, professor of emergency medicine in the Jacobs School and the study’s first author. What’s New 2-Day, Press From, and Niagara Frontier Publications also provided coverage.
WBFO-FM also ran a story about how emergency room physicians affiliated with UBMD have developed a way to improve access to care for people with substance abuse issues. New York MATTERS uses tech to connect first responders to an outpatient treatment program. “The main reason why police, fire, EMS and first responders in general get frustrated with this disease process is that we don't have a ton to offer,” said Joshua Lynch, associate professor of emergency medicine. “But, suddenly, you put a very powerful referral network into the hands of a police officer or an EMS provider. It’s actually very empowering. Now they are able to do something for the patient and it decreases the chance that they are going to get called back again for a similar problem.”
Ruetir, in a story about UB researchers who have revealed the biological mechanisms behind a key risk gene that plays a role in a number of brain diseases, including autism spectrum disorder, quoted Zhen Yan, senior author of the study and a SUNY Distinguished Professor in the Department of Physiology and Biophysics in the Jacobs School. “These results have revealed the critical role of a top-ranking autism spectrum disorder risk factor in regulating synaptic gene expression and seizures, which provides insights into treatment strategies for related brain diseases,” said Yan. Niagara Frontier Publications also provided coverage.
Medical Xpress covered UB research which demonstrates that dexrazoxane, which is administered to pediatric cancer patients in order to curb the cardiotoxicity of a key chemotherapy drug, has no adverse impacts on these patients, even nearly 20 years later. “The longer term effects of dexrazoxane had not been previously established, due to the short time it has been in clinical practice since the late 1990s,” said Steven E. Lipshultz, senior author on the paper and A. Conger Goodyear Professor and Chair of Pediatrics in the Jacobs School. “This is why this paper is so important, because it examines, for the first time, these longer term effects of dexrazoxane.”
WIVB-TV interviewed Nancy Nielsen, senior associate dean for health policy and medicine in the Jacobs School, for perspective on WNY’s latest surge of COVID-19. There are currently 411 COVID hospitalizations locally, the first time since January, when the vaccine rollout began, that the patient census has been above 400. “We still have a very large pool of people who haven’t been vaccinated. That combined with the [fact that the] Delta variant is so much more transmissible. Those are the two issues: lots of people still susceptible and a much more transmissible virus.”
The Buffalo News spoke with two faculty members in the Jacobs School — Thomas Russo, professor and chief of infectious disease, and John Sellick, a professor of medicine who specializes in infectious disease — for its story on COVID-related concerns surrounding two large-scale annual events on the calendar for Thanksgiving week: The Turkey Trot and The World’s Largest Disco. Russo said even those who have been vaccinated should not be complacent. “I’m not sure it’s widely appreciated that our vaccines have not held up as much as we initially hoped for and we initially talked about,” he said. The World’s Largest Disco is an indoor event that has a vaccination requirement for guests. But the Turkey Trot is an outdoor footrace with no such requirement. “Like most outdoor activities, it’s probably going to be fine,” said Sellick. “The problem is all the milling around at the beginning and the end.” Coincidentally, the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center is both the post-race site for the Turkey Trot and the venue for the World’s Largest Disco. Despite the facility’s spacious floor and high ceilings, Sellick still suggested caution, with people gathering in tight spaces, “dancing and huffing and puffing,” he said. “It probably would be safer to wear a mask in that setting.”