Media Coverage Archive

2021

  • The Year in Pandemic Lessons: 10 things we learned – and relearned – about Covid-19 [Buffalo News]
    12/29/21
    The Buffalo News published a roundup of pandemic lessons learned during the year and cited a UB study funded by the National Science Foundation to analyze risk perception during the pandemic, which found that sociodemographics are influential. The story noted that people who are older, white, have school-age kids and lean Republican are more likely to believe in conspiracy theories about the pandemic and vaccination. The story discussed how masks prevent infections, quoting Tom Russo, chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, who said, “If you both stuff the virus if you’re infectious, and you block the virus if you’re trying not to get infected, it’s going to work, right?”
  • NY becomes the last state to allow air ambulance blood transfusions [WBFO]
    12/29/21
    WBFO broadcast a story about a new state law that allows transfusions to be administered to patients on medical flights and quotes Kaori Tanaka, assistant professor of emergency medicine in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences and Mercy Flight medical director. "Blood transfusions that would be started in the field would be best served for patients that we would categorize as in hemorrhagic shock or having severe blood loss," she said, adding that the ability to provide blood while en route to the hospital in ambulances is often nothing short of lifesaving. The story says that New York State was the last state in the nation to allow this.
  • OBGYN, who’s expecting her first child soon, has a special message about expectant moms and the Covid-19 vaccine [WIVB]
    12/29/21
    WIVB reported on the need for pregnant women to get vaccinated against COVID-19 and featured Elana Tal, clinical assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences and a physician with UBMD Obstetrics and Gynecology, who is also in her ninth month of pregnancy. She said it is “really frustrating” to hear about her pregnant patients not getting vaccinated because of misinformation they have heard. “I’m scared for my patients who are walking around unvaccinated with the risk factor of pregnancy,” she said. “Naturally, the body diminishes its immune response as a way to have a healthy pregnancy … and we see it across all infections including influenza, that pregnant patients are more likely to get sick.” Tim Murphy, senior associate dean for clinical and translational research in the Jacobs School, was also quoted, noting: “The most important thing we can do to protect infants and children under 5 is to have everybody around them vaccinated.”
  • UB doctors say COVID vaccine is critical for pregnant women
    12/29/21
    WKBW reported that UB physicians are “putting out an urgent plea” to pregnant patients to get vaccinated against COVID-19 as soon as possible. The story quoted Elana Tal, clinical assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences and a UBMD Obstetrics and Gynecology physician, who is also pregnant. She said: “I can look a patient in the eye and without any concern tell them we have studied this in thousands and thousands of people and we know it’s safe and effective and it’s risky to decline the vaccine while pregnant…The science is very clear — that getting the vaccine when you're trying to get pregnant or when you already are pregnant is the safest thing you can do for yourself and your baby.” Other sites including MedicalXpress, Lockport Journal and Niagara Gazette also reported on the plea from UB physicians to pregnant people to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
  • Gibbons Interviewed on New COVID-19 Quarantine Guidelines [WIVB]
    12/28/21
    The CDC updated its guidelines about who needs to isolate and duration of isolation after testing positive for COVID-19. According to the CDC, people who have COVID-19 only need to quarantine for five days if they no longer show symptoms. “It makes sense based on what we know, about this virus, the omicron variant in particular. It makes sense based on what we know about the effectiveness of vaccines, and it makes sense in particular in terms of the demands that we’re facing in terms of our health care workforce,” says Kevin J. Gibbons, MD, associate professor of neurosurgery, who’s the executive director at UBMD Physicians’ Group.
  • UB's Alumni Arena requires COVID vaccinations for those aged 5-11
    12/28/21
    WBFO reported on UB’s updated COVID-19 vaccination policy for spectators at athletic events at Alumni Arena, quoting Allison Brashear, vice president for health sciences and dean of the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, who said, “National health guidelines call for individuals to be vaccinated. So by Feb. 1, the children from 5-11 who want to attend the games must prove that they have completed their vaccination series and for those wanting to attend the games beginning Jan. 8 must prove they have had one injection... It is really part of a multi-pronged strategy and this is falling in line with public policy, in terms of getting children vaccinated.” WKBW also covered it.
  • Town Hall: New COVID guidelines [WGRZ]
    12/28/21
    WGRZ broadcast an extended interview with Tom Russo, chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, who discussed new CDC guidelines concerning how long people should isolate if they have tested positive for the virus, regardless of vaccination status. “I think the changes will actually be helpful, they will help get people out of isolation and back to work sooner,” said Russo. He also discussed the symptoms of COVID-19 including the omicron variant. “Unfortunately,” he said, “COVID can mimic virtually any respiratory virus, including influenza, so it’s critical that if people have any respiratory symptoms at all, that they get tested as soon as possible.”
  • NYS Health Dept issues warning about rising COVID cases in children [WBFO]
    12/27/21
    WBFO broadcast a story about reports from New York City of dramatic increases in hospitalizations of children with COVID-19 and quoted Shamim Islam, clinical associate professor of pediatrics in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, who said that unvaccinated children are the predominant proportion of children who are being admitted to the hospital with COVID-19.
  • What You Need to Know About Paxlovid, Pfizer’s COVID-19 Pill
    12/26/21
    Men’s Health reported on the new Pfizer pill to treat COVID-19 and quoted Tom Russo, chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, who noted that there are many potential interactions that the new drug has with existing drugs. “There are a lot,” said Russo, “It’s well over 100.”
  • Researchers aim to improve diabetes management with low-cost intervention [Augusta Free Press]
    12/26/21
    Augusta Free Press reported on an NIH grant to Virginia Tech that is designed to explore how a low cost intervention called episodic future thinking might help people with Type 2 diabetes; Len Epstein, SUNY Distinguished Professor and chief of behavioral medicine in the Department of Pediatrics in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, is a collaborator on the grant. 
  • Pandemic compounds seasonal mental health concerns [WGRZ]
    12/23/21
    WGRZ interviewed Sourav Sengupta and Michael Cummings, both assistant professors in the Department of Psychiatry in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, about the best ways to handle anxiety during this holiday season. They discussed the challenge of having children at home during the break after the difficulties of remote schooling and getting them back to in-person school this year.  “It's going to be important to give them free time and be flexible,” said Cummings, “but also kind of keep them a little bit on schedule so they can go back smoothly again."
  • Couldn't test before a holiday gathering? Local health expert offers some tips to stay safe [WGRZ]
    12/23/21
    WGRZ-TV interviewed Nancy Nielsen, senior associate dean of health policy in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, about tips that people need to know about COVID-19 home testing. It will take a little bit of time before the test kits are widely made available to Western New York. In the meantime, Nielsen urges people during the holiday season to know who they are gathering with, wear a mask (and make it fun), and stay home if you are a person is experiencing symptoms. "Obviously anyone with symptoms, this is so important, anybody with symptoms, first of all, stay home and Zoom with everybody in your family and order a meal in. There are ways to do this," Nielsen said.
  • What you should know about testing at home to keep Covid-19 at bay [Buffalo News]
    12/23/21
    The Buffalo News spoke to Thomas Russo, chief of infectious diseases in the Department of Medicine in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, about what people should know about home COVID-19 testing. Getting tested before getting together is a good way to minimize risk.  Russo said, "That would be a good use of these home tests, right? They're not perfect. But if everyone's asymptomatic, and everyone tests negative – if you're positive, you don't show up at the festivities – that will be an extra layer of protection for those who are vulnerable.”
  • The unvaccinated have at least a 10x greater chance of COVID infection, but that was before Omicron [WBFO]
    12/23/21
    WBFO reported on what population comprises the majority of COVID-19 patients in local hospitals and quoted Peter Winkelstein, executive director of UB’s Institute for Healthcare Informatics, who said, "What we're seeing in the hospital is the unvaccinated and the vulnerable. So the people who have not had the vaccine and then the people who are particularly vulnerable to getting ill from COVID. That includes people with immunocompromised conditions, of course, but also includes the elderly.”
  • Here’s Why Most Monoclonal Antibody Treatments Don't Work Against Omicron [MSN.com]
    12/22/21
    MSN.com reported on why some of the current treatments for COVID-19 don’t work against the omicron variant and quoted Tom Russo, chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, who said: “The Eli Lilly and Regeneron monoclonal antibody treatments are directed against the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2, and Omicron has 32 mutations and a deletion in the spike protein. Because of this, those treatments no longer bind with the virus.”
  • First case of Omicron variant identified in Western New York
    12/22/21
    Several media outlets reported on the detection of the Omicron variant by UB scientists. The Buffalo News, WGRZ-TV, WIVB-TV and WKBW-TV were among outlets reporting on this story, as well as WBEN, which quoted Jennifer Surtees, associate professor of biochemistry, co-director of UB’s Community of Excellence in Genome, Environment and Microbiome, and head of the COVID-19 sequencing team at UB. Surtees said, “People who are 6 months past the second dose of Pfizer or Moderna, or two months after one dose of the J&J vaccine, are poorly protected against Omicron. The good news is that third dose, a booster, brings that protection way up again.” Thomas Russo, chief of infectious diseases in the Department of Medicine, told WKBW that, "Given how infectious Omicron is, given that immunity from prior infection and vaccination has been waning, the risk of getting infected is greater than ever."
  • Is it safe to travel right now? What health experts are doing for the holidays this year
    12/22/21
    USA Today interviewed Thomas Russo, chief of infectious diseases in the Department of Medicine in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, in a story about safely traveling during the holidays. If food or drinks are available to passengers while flying, Russo suggests waiting at least 10 minutes to unmask and eat. This gives the other passengers more time to finish their food and mask up before your own mask comes off. “If it’s a short flight, I recommend just keeping your mask on the whole time,” he said. “If it's a longer flight, if you feel you have to go ahead and do that, what you can do is you can take that sip or bite and then sort of pop that mask back on while you're chewing.” The article also appeared on Yahoo! News.
  • When a bus station becomes a doctor's waiting room [WBFO]
    12/22/21
    WBFO spoke to Peter Kowalski, clinical assistant professor of family medicine in the Jacobs School, in a story about how UB medical school students are hitting the streets to help provide low-level medical care to the homeless. As part of the UB HEALS program, students try to assist homeless people with basic needs and a health check-up, often done on the streets or in the downtown bus station. Kowalski said he takes students around in the summer as well to show them where to find people who are homeless and offer their skill and care. “Some of them have other doctors. But, yes, we do a little primary care for them,” Kowalski said. “We check their blood pressure. We check their sugar. We look at their rashes. We look at their feet. We provide them with the socks and the hats and the gloves and some of the clothing they need for the outside.”
  • Town Hall: Just how accurate are at-home COVID tests? [WGRZ]
    12/22/21
    WGRZ-TV interviewed Timothy Murphy, SUNY Distinguished Professor and senior associate dean for clinical and translational research in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at UB, at length about at-home tests for COVID-19. Murphy said, “A positive at-home test means it’s highly likely that you are infected. A negative test does not necessarily rule out that you have the virus.” He noted that it is recommended that people take a test every day for a few days prior to a holiday gathering.
  • Can You Find Out What Strain of COVID-19 You Have? It's Trickier Than You Think
    12/20/21
    Thomas Russo, chief of infectious disease in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences was included a Prevention story on how health officials know what strains of COVID-19 people have. When the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention releases information on percentages of variants in the U.S., they’re not analyzing every single positive test in the country to get those numbers, explained Russo.
  • Royal Caribbean Reported a COVID-19 Outbreak on the World's Biggest Cruise Ship [Health]
    12/20/21
    A Health article on COVID-19 and cruise ships featured Thomas Russo, chief of infectious diseases in the Department of Medicine in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. Even with the testing protocols that the most recent Royal Caribbean cruise had in place, it's still not totally unexpected that cases would pop up. Russo said, "There could be people on the boat who were infected and were asymptomatic but not infectious enough to be picked up on a test at boarding. You could test negative when you get on the boat and subsequently develop an infection."
  • The CDC Wants Your Masks to Meet New Standards
    12/20/21
    Thomas Russo, chief of infectious disease in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences was quoted in a Yahoo! News story about how the CDC now has very specific recommendations on what, exactly, to look for in a face mask. That includes newer designations issued by ASTM International and National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) that help specify exactly which masks in the U.S. are considered high quality. Russo said it’s slightly tricky.  “This is imperfect because the ASTM and NIOSH hasn’t been able to review and inspect all masks that are widely available,” said Russo. “But, if your mask does have the standard of approval, at least you know what you’re getting.” The article also appeared on MSN Canada.
  • Gene Variant May Have Helped Ancient Humans Survive Starvation [Scientific American]
    12/20/21
    Scientific American highlights UB-led research on the evolution of the growth hormone receptor gene. The findings suggest that a variant of the gene called GHRd3 may have helped humanity's ancestors survive periods of scarcity. The study was led by Omer Gokcumen, associate professor of biological sciences; Xiuqian Mu, associate professor of ophthalmology in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at UB and the Ross Eye Institute; Skyler Resendez, a postdoctoral fellow in biomedical informatics in the Jacobs School; and Marie Saitou, a researcher at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences and a former postdoctoral researcher in Gokcumen’s UB lab.
  • Researchers almost certain Omicron variant is in WNY, should know for sure next week [Buffalo News]
    12/18/21
    The Buffalo News interviewed Jennifer Surtees, associate professor of biochemistry in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, about when the omicron variant is expected to be found in Western New York. Delta variant continues to fuel rising Covid-19 case numbers across the Northeast, including Western New York. But Surtees expects omicron will arrive in force during the coming weeks. “I believe it's here,” said Surtees. “We just need to get the sequence data to back up that suspicion. We are anticipating another wave, this time with omicron."
  • Some universities shift to remote learning as COVID-19 cases rise on campus; school's entire 6th grade class quarantines after outbreak [Yahoo! News]
    12/17/21
    In a Yahoo! News story about colleges switching to remote learning, Thomas Russo, chief of infectious diseases in the Department of Medicine in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at UB, said that he’s “not sure if it’s necessary” to shift to remote learning at this point. But, he added, “it will help curb the spread of COVID right now.” Russo said that infectious disease experts are “concerned” that college campuses with high vaccination levels are seeing large numbers of breakthrough COVID-19 cases. “Unfortunately, we’re learning that Omicron is causing a significant erosion of that protection if people haven’t had a booster shot,” he said. The article appeared on international Yahoo! News websites.
  • Erie County legislature 'tables' decision to distribute free COVID self-test kits, health officials discuss how accurate [WKBW]
    12/17/21
    Thomas Russo, chief of infectious disease in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences spoke to WKBW-TV about Erie County tabling decision to distribute free COVID self-test kits. "The advantage of home test kits for COVID is that you can diagnose infection much more rapidly. Rapid diagnosis can be an important mitigation measure for some of those that are infected,” said Russo.
  • Why new COVID-19 treatments have been so slow to develop [National Geographic]
    12/16/21
    National Geographic quotes Thomas Russo, chief of infectious diseases in the Department of Medicine in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, in a story titled, "Why new COVID-19 treatments have been so slow to develop." “What people have to realize is that things often could look good at these earliest stages,” Russo explains, “and then they could flop in the very last lap.” Russo also emphasizes the importance of vaccines, noting that, "It’s always better to prevent a disease than to try to treat a disease."
  • Americans Did Indeed Buy More Alcohol During the Pandemic
    12/16/21
    Thrillist, The Miami Herald and other outlets continued to report on University at Buffalo research that looked at alcohol sales in over a dozen states early in the COVID-19 pandemic. During that time, people stocked up on alcohol — but not all kinds of drinks, the Miami Herald reports. Sales of wine and spirits, in particular, increased, the study found, though trends varied by state. The research was conducted by Yingjie Hu, assistant professor of geography; Brian Quigley, research assistant professor of medicine in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at UB and Clinical and Research Institute on Addictions; and Dane Taylor, assistant professor of mathematics.
  • Just Add Water: Super Stable Freeze-Dried COVID Vaccines [Labroots]
    12/16/21
    Labroots published a story describing UB-led research that advances technology for freeze-drying liposome-based COVID-19 vaccines. The study was led by Jonathan Lovell, SUNY Empire Innovation Associate Professor, and Moustafa Mabrouk, PhD student, both in the Department of Biomedical Engineering.
  • Medical student shares her $10,000 prize-winning research [AMA]
    12/16/21
    The American Medical Association published a video interview and podcast in its Moving Medicine series with Marielisa Cabrera-Sánchez, a second-year medical student at the University of Puerto Rico School of Medicine and this year's AMA Research Challenge winner. This is the largest national research competition among medical students, residents and fellows in the country. She conducted the research remotely, with guidance from supervisors including Tim Murphy, SUNY Distinguished Professor in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at UB.
  • Masks and Omicron variant: Are cloth masks still effective? Should you double mask? Experts weigh in. [Yahoo! Life]
    12/16/21
    A Yahoo! Life article on wearing masks protecting against the Omicron variant quotes Thomas Russo, chief of infectious disease in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, who said cloth face masks have a role in protecting you. “Not all cloth face masks are created equal, and having features like a metal nose wire, three layers and insertable filters will quickly ramp up protection,” according to the article. "I favor using the highest quality mask that fits well and you are comfortable wearing for a prolonged period of time," Russo says. The article ran in Yahoo! News affiliates throughout the world.
  • What to Know About COVID-19 Breakthrough Infections as Omicron Cases Rise
    12/16/21
    Prevention interviews Thomas Russo, professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases about breakthrough variants and the Omicron variant of COVID-19. He says “there is zero doubt” that more breakthrough infections will happen as a result of the spread of the Omicron variant. “We’re already seeing this happen,” he adds. In a separate story in Yahoo! Life on COVID-19 and the holidays, Russo says, “We’re in between the twin peaks. Omicron is spreading rapidly and there will be a bump in cases of Delta, which is still the dominant COVID-19 variant. As people interact for the holidays, cases will pile on.” Russo also spoke to WGRZ-TV for a story on how to use at-home COVID-19 tests, and to Health.com about recommended vaccines.
  • What it means to be 'fully vaccinated' could soon have a new meaning [Buffalo News]
    12/16/21
    With COVID-19 boosters widely available, The Buffalo News quotes UB medical experts in a story on what it means to be "fully vaccinated." That conversation is happening at the national level right now, said Peter Winkelstein, executive director of UB’s Institute for Healthcare Informatics and clinical professor of pediatrics in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at UB. "So far, they have not changed that definition. They are debating about what the term 'fully vaccinated' really is," he said. Thomas Russo, chief of infectious diseases in the Department of Medicine, said it's understandable to be confused and frustrated by changing guidance. However, he said, "It's another example that we have to adjust. Yes, we do. We're learning more."
  • We really did buy more alcohol during the early pandemic, study finds
    12/15/21
    CNN reported on a UB study examining alcohol sales in over a dozen U.S. states in the pandemic's early months. While trends varied by location, the research identified spikes in wine and spirit sales, and signs of potential panic buying. Yingjie Hu, assistant professor of geography, said such insights could "help our society as a whole address problems related to excessive alcohol use during a public health crisis." "Understanding how alcohol purchase behavior is changed by events such as Covid is important because heavy alcohol use is known to be associated with numerous social problems, especially within the home," said Brian Quigley, research assistant professor of medicine in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at UB and Clinical and Research Institute on Addictions. Dane Taylor, assistant professor of mathematics, is also a study author. TV news websites nationwide carried the CNN item, and News-Medical, Bioengineer, Earth.com and other outlets also had stories.
  • Never Do This When Eating on a Plane, Flight Attendants Warn
    12/15/21
    Best Life quotes Thomas Russo, professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases in a story on factors to take into account while eating on a plane during a pandemic. According to Russo, you shouldn't eat at the same time other passengers are getting their meals. Russo said it's a good idea to dig in after those around you finish their meals. This gives passengers time to put their masks back on before you take yours off to eat. Yahoo! Life also carried the story.
  • New pill could be game changer for hospitals bursting with COVID patients [WBFO]
    12/15/21
    WBFO quotes John Sellick, professor of medicine, in a story on a new pill developed by Pfizer to treat COVID-19. Merck is also developing a pill. "Neither of these has had the data published in a scientific study where everyone can look at it," said Sellick. So while results announced by Pfizer seem promising, "We have to be careful. As you know, it certainly is plausible that these would work," Sellick said.
  • Pandemic Lessons: How likely are you to run into Covid at a party? [Buffalo News]
    12/15/21
    Thomas A. Russo, MD, professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases, was interviewed by The Buffalo News in a story titled, "How likely are you to run into Covid at a party?" There are nuances in any calculation, but “It’s pretty likely right now,” Russo said.
  • UB grad's success shows value of strong support network [Buffalo News]
    12/15/21
    The Buffalo News published a feature on Rasheen Powell II, an expert in the neurobiology of pain, who earned his doctorate from the Jacobs School in August. Powell is currently a postdoctoral fellow at Boston Children’s Hospital. Powell says part of research including discovering a way to “silence molecules responsible for inflammatory pain that is not an opioid.”
  • The Omicron COVID-19 Symptoms That Infectious Disease Experts Want You to Know About [Prevention]
    12/14/21
    Prevention discusses the symptoms of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 with Thomas Russo, professor and chief of infectious diseases in the Department of Medicine in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. “I haven't heard a lot on people losing their sense of taste and smell with Omicron, but I’m willing to bet that this variant can do that, cause shortness of breath, and all of the other symptoms of COVID-19, particularly in the unvaccinated,” Russo says. “We just don’t have a lot of data yet.” He says he’s concerned about talk of Omicron being a mild infection, when the majority of cases have been in people who are vaccinated or younger. “I’m really worried about people becoming complacent,” he says. “If Omicron ends up causing more infections, it will likely cause more damage. We could be setting ourselves up for a bad situation.”
  • Pfizer Says Its COVID Pill Is Effective in Protecting Against Severe Disease—Here's What We Know So Far [Health]
    12/14/21
    Health.com quoted Thomas Russo, chief of infectious diseases in the Department of Medicine in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, in a story about the Pfizer pill, which is not yet authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. A COVID pill is an antiviral medication that can help lower the risk of severe COVID-19 in people who catch the virus, Russo explained. He compares the COVID pill to Tamiflu, an antiviral medication that's designed to help lower the risk of severe illness in people who contract the flu.
  • Infectious disease specialists urge New Yorkers to report positive home COVID test results [Spectrum News]
    12/13/21
    In a story in Spectrum News, Thomas Russo, professor and chief of infectious diseases in the Department of Medicine in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, urged people to report their positive over-the-counter COVID-19 test results. “Home tests can be very helpful when there are family or social gatherings, and if someone is not optimally protected via vaccination or a booster,” Russo said. “If it’s positive, many individuals are not reporting or do not realize that that positive result should be reported. And as a result, probably cases that are diagnosed with a home test are being underreported at this time.”
  • Omicron, the New ‘High Global Risk’ COVID-19 Variant, Can Have Symptoms Similar to the Common Cold
    12/13/21
    Prevention quoted Thomas Russo, chief of infectious disease in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, in a story about Omicron, the COVID-19 variant the World Health Organization has labeled a variant of concern. “The reason people are paying attention to this variant is there are concerns that it may possess properties that may be problematic,” Russo said. “South Africa, like the rest of the world, is dominated by Delta cases. Omicron could potentially outcompete Delta, which none of the other variants have been able to do.” Yahoo! and MSN.com also carried the story.
  • New study examines benefits of exercise in older military veterans [Spectrum News]
    12/10/21
    Spectrum News reports on a study that examines benefits of exercise in older military veterans. “We’re trying to figure out a way to help veterans and the population at large get benefits from exercise, but do it in less time,” says Bruce Troen, professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine and director of the Center for Successful Aging, both in the Jacobs School. Troen adds, “It’s not just about the years in our life, but it’s also about the life in our years. And what we’re finding is that quality of life with a high intensity interval training program can be significantly enhanced."
  • Pandemic Lessons: How can we avoid giving (or getting) Covid-19 for the holidays? [Buffalo News]
    12/10/21
    The Buffalo News quoted the Jacobs School’s John Sellick and Thomas Russo in a story on how to avoid giving or getting COVID-19 while getting together with loved ones this holiday season. A group with more varied levels of immunity can still gather with a reasonable degree of safety if you add in proactive measures like testing and preventative strategies such as opening windows or using an air filtration system, and masking when people are close, vulnerable or both. “Some combination of vaccination, testing, trying to optimize ventilation, and to protect the vulnerable is the best strategy,” Russo said. Some strategies are smart on a scientific level but may be difficult on a social one. At a dinner party, for example, you could spread out or separate unvaccinated people to minimize risk. “If that was my family, the answer would be, ‘Sorry, but you’re not invited,’ ” Sellick said. “That’s all there is to it. Which I know is hard.”
  • Everyone Age 16+ In the U.S. Is Now Eligible for a COVID Booster Shot
    12/10/21
    Shape Magazine, Yahoo!life, and MSN quoted Thomas Russo, professor and chief of infectious disease in the Jacobs School, about confusion surrounding COVID-19 vaccination booster shots. “I get asked all the time who is eligible,” he said. “With this, six months out if you’ve had the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine, and two months out if you’ve had Johnson & Johnson, all adults will be able to get one.”
  • What Are the Side Effects of COVID-19 Boosters for Pfizer, Moderna, and J&J?
    12/10/21
    Prevention in a story on possible side effects of booster shots for COVID-19. “As a general rule, people feel similar to how they felt after they got their second shot,” says Thomas Russo, chief of infectious disease in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. The article ran in Yahoo! Life and MSN.com.
  • There's a Plant-Based COVID-19 Vaccine and It’s 75% Effective—Here’s What You Need to Know
    12/9/21
    An article in Prevention on the effectiveness of a plant-based COVID-19 vaccine quotes Thomas Russo, chief of infectious disease in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. Russo called the news “exciting.” He added: “Is it going to take center stage for COVID vaccines? Not yet. But it may prove to be an important alternative platform in the future.” The story was published on MSN.
  • How to handle holiday gatherings as COVID cases tick upward: 'The host has the full authority'
    12/9/21
    A widely reprinted article in Yahoo! Life on how to handle holiday gatherings amid COVID-19 quotes Thomas Russo, chief of infectious disease in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. "The first thing everyone needs to do is assess the relative risks and benefits of a gathering, and the risks are largely going to be about the vulnerable people attending — those who are elderly and immunocompromised," says Russo.
  • MRNA Flu Vaccines Are in the Works, and They're Already in Clinical Trials [Prevention]
    12/9/21
    Prevention magazine published a story about new flu vaccines and quoted Thomas Russo, chief of infectious disease in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. “The flu vaccine process begins with a group of researchers analyzing the data, trying to determine which strain of flu will be the most predominant in the next flu season at least six months ago,” Russo said.
  • What Is PrEP? CDC Recommends Doctors Talk to All Sexually Active People About HIV Prevention Medication [Health]
    12/9/21
    Health magazine published a story about the HIV preventative medication pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) quoting Seth Glassman, an assistant clinical professor of medicine at the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. "For primary care doctors who don't deal with a lot of HIV or deal with people with high-risk lifestyles, having the CDC give the green light and say that this is an expected and routine part of your care potentially gives license to providers who otherwise might not have had this conversation," said  Glassman, an infectious disease expert who focuses on HIV.
  • How Deadly Is the Omicron Variant, and Is It More Infectious Than Previous Variants? [Prevention]
    12/9/21
    Thomas Russo, chief of infectious disease in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences was quoted in another widely circulated Prevention article on how deadly the new COVID-19 variant Omicron is. Many of those mutations are in the spike protein, which is what helps the virus latch onto your cells, Russo said. “Because of this, it may infect people more easily than other variants,” he says.
  • MRNA Flu Vaccines Are in the Works, and They're Already in Clinical Trials
    12/9/21
    Prevention magazine published a story about new flu vaccines and quoted Thomas Russo, chief of infectious disease in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. “The flu vaccine process begins with a group of researchers analyzing the data, trying to determine which strain of flu will be the most predominant in the next flu season at least six months ago,” Russo said. The story was widely reprinted in outlets including WBPF in Florida.
  • What Is PrEP? CDC Recommends Doctors Talk to All Sexually Active People About HIV Prevention Medication [Health]
    12/9/21
    Health magazine published a story about the HIV preventative medication pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) quoting Seth Glassman, an assistant clinical professor of medicine at the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. "For primary care doctors who don't deal with a lot of HIV or deal with people with high-risk lifestyles, having the CDC give the green light and say that this is an expected and routine part of your care potentially gives license to providers who otherwise might not have had this conversation," said  Glassman, an infectious disease expert who focuses on HIV.
  • Officials cite 'encouraging' signs boosters may neutralize omicron variant
    12/8/21
    Sinclair Broadcasting Group ran an article on existing booster shots offering protection against Omicron that quotes Timothy Murphy, senior associate dean for clinical and translational research in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. “I think an important message is these are very, very preliminary with small numbers...,” said Murphy of the studies. “The encouraging part is, with boosters, it seems like that raises the level of protectiveness in the laboratory.” The story ran in dozens of regional outlets nationwide, including ABC St. Louis and FOX11 News of Wisconsin.
  • New Research Shows Pfizer's Booster Shot Helps Protect Against the Omicron Variant
    12/8/21
    Thomas Russo, chief of infectious disease in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences is quoted in Shape magazine about Pfizer’s booster helps protect against Omicron. “Early data suggests that Omicron is more infectious than previous strains, according to the WHO. It also has several mutations in its spike protein, which is the part of the virus that's used to latch onto your cells,” says Russo. The article appeared on Yahoo! News, among other outlets.
  • Worsening of Disability Evident in Older Patients Who Stop DMTs [Multiple Sclerosis News Today]
    12/7/21
    Multiple Sclerosis News Today reports that while older multiple sclerosis (MS) patients whose conditions are stable commonly stop using disease-modifying therapies, a study indicates that for a significant number of them this decision can shortly lead to a marked worsening of their disease. “Our results raise important questions about the accepted practice of discontinuing medications once MS patients are in their 50s and 60s,” said Dejan Jakimovski, research assistant professor of neurology.
  • Marilla passes resolution rejecting Erie County mask mandate [WKBW]
    12/7/21
    WKBW, which reported on the Town of Marilla challenging Erie County’s mask mandate "Masks unequivocally work, if properly used," said Thomas Russo, chief of infectious disease in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.
  • A US Cruise Ship Had a COVID Outbreak Even Though Full Vaccination Was Required—Here's What You Should Know
    12/6/21
    Health quoted Thomas Russo, chief of infectious disease in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, in an article about a U.S. cruise ship leaving from New Orleans, whose passengers developed COVID-19 despite being vaccinated. "Even if everyone is fully vaccinated, the vaccines are not perfect," he said, noting that he personally now considers "fully vaccinated" to mean having three doses of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine and two doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, according to the article. The story also appeared in MSN.
  • 9 Reasons Why You're Always Tired, and What You Can Do About It Right Now
    12/6/21
    An article in Prevention about chronic fatigue quotes Thomas Russo, chief of infectious disease in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, on people being tired from post-COVID or “long COVID” symptoms. “There are a lot of different potential symptoms you can experience if you have long COVID, but tiredness and fatigue are common,” says Russo. “It can be incredibly disruptive. Some people aren’t able to make it through the day without taking a nap. That can be difficult to navigate if you need to be at work or school during that time.” The article was posted on Yahoo! Life and elsewhere.
  • Freeze-dried COVID vaccines? UB is working on it [WBFO]
    12/6/21
    WBFO reported on UB’s biotechnology that could be used to freeze-dry vaccines. “A major problem with COVID-19 vaccines is the need to refrigerate them as they are shipped and stored,” according to the article. The article quoted Jonathan Lovell, associate professor of biomedical engineering: "The basic premise is very well established. You freeze something and then you dry it, basically. The finding that we had in this work was that if you tried to just freeze the nano-particle vaccine, when you try to add water back to it to reconstitute it, it wouldn't form properly, it would clump up. So we took an approach to add a small amount of sugar."
  • Upstate New York Hospitals Are Overwhelmed as Covid Cases Surge [New York Times]
    12/3/21
    An article in The New York Times quotes Thomas Russo, chief of infectious disease in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, in a story on upstate New York hospitals being overwhelmed by surges of COVID. “It’s hard to ignore what’s going on with cases, but the social resolve of the population to continue the good fight with mitigation measures is a bit broken,” said Russo.
  • Minn. school district extends winter break over staffing issues, Tenn. universities can no longer require masks or COVID-19 vaccinations
    12/3/21
    Thomas Russo, chief of infectious disease in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, was quoted in Yahoo! Life in a story about school districts extending winter breaks because of staffing. "Schools are going to have continued issues at least between now and January," Russo said. "I expect we're going to have a significant community burden of disease, independent of what happens with Omicron. With Delta, we still have our hands full."
  • As Biden pursues new COVID strategy, omicron adds to winter worries
    12/3/21
    Thomas Russo, chief of infectious disease in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, was quoted in a story by Sinclair Broadcasting on President Biden’s new COVID-19 strategy. He expects vaccines and booster shots will offer reliable protection against severe illness from the omicron variant, even if defense against mild infection declines. “At the end of the day, that’s the most important thing,” Russo said. The article was widely reported by affiliates, including FOX11 News and KOMO News.
  • Over 1 Million Americans May Have Lost Sense of Smell to COVID [Very Well Health]
    12/2/21
    Verywell Health quoted Thomas Russo, chief of infectious disease in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, in a story reporting that more than 1 million Americans may have lost their sense of smell due to COVID-19. “Everyone has been looking at COVID in terms of whether you live or die, and there’s a lot more to it than that,” he said. “Individuals that have symptoms post-COVID can have them dramatically impact their lifestyle and activities of daily living.”
  • State, local leaders respond to President Biden's push for free at-home COVID tests [WGRZ]
    12/2/21
    WGRZ-TV quoted Thomas Russo, chief of infectious disease in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, in a story on a new requirement by the Biden administration that health insurers cover the cost of at-home COVID-19 testing. “Testing is a critically important tool for us to minimize the number of new infections,” he said.
  • UB experts reviewing positive COVID samples for latest variant [WKBW]
    12/1/21
    WKBW-TV reports that UB experts are reviewing positive COVID-19 samples in Western New York in an effort to monitor for the omicron variant and quotes Jennifer Surtees, co-director of UB’s Genome, Environment and Microbiome Community of Excellence. “So far, we have not seen the omicron variant in Erie County or Western New York,” Surtees said. Surtees says they are reviewing hundreds of COVID positive samples that have poured into the lab over the last couple of weeks, trying to detect the new variant. “We have literally hundreds of samples that are in our pipeline right now. We’re cranking through those samples and we're obviously keeping an eye out for not only delta but the omicron variant as well.”
  • This New Formula Can Help Us Vaccinate Poorer Countries
    12/1/21
    Yahoo! News and the The Daily Beast reported on a breakthrough by UB scientists who report that they have successfully freeze-dried a liposome-based liquid vaccine formula that could be developed for potential use in COVID-19 vaccines. “During the initial rollout of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, there was a lot of attention given on the ultracold storage required for those vaccines,” Jonathan Lovell, SUNY Empire Innovation Professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering, who led the new study with UB doctoral student Moustafa Mabrouk, told The Daily Beast. “We asked ourselves whether freeze-drying could be a way to eventually bypass some cold-storage limitations.” Technology Networks and the Medical News also provided coverage
  • Omicron vs. Delta COVID-19 Variants: Do We Need Another Vaccine? [Prevention]
    12/1/21
    Prevention quoted Thomas Russo, chief of infectious disease in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, in a story on what travelers should know this holiday season. Russo stresses the importance of being fully vaccinated before traveling, especially internationally. “If you test positive for COVID before flying home, you’ll be in an isolation situation for 10 days,” he says. “The likelihood of you testing positive is much higher if you’re unvaccinated or haven’t gotten your booster.”
  • What to Know – and What Remains Unknown – About Omicron [U.S. News & World Report]
    12/1/21
    U.S. News & World Report quoted Nancy Nielsen, senior associate dean for health policy in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, in a story on what to know about the new omicron variant of COVID-19. “The important thing that an individual should do is be vaccinated and boosted and wear a mask when you're indoors in public,” says Nielsen. “It's that simple.”
  • WNY group planning weeklong demonstration opposing Erie County mask mandate, health professionals discourage idea [WKBW]
    12/1/21
    WKBW-TV interviewed Nancy Nielsen, senior associate dean for health policy in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, for a story reporting on plans by a group called the Constitutional Coalition of New York State to stage a series of protests against Erie County’s mask mandates the week of Dec. 6-10. Nielsen explained that there is clear evidence that masks work and that “protesting against masks is really not very smart.” She added: “If everybody listened, we wouldn’t be in this situation but right now, Erie County is in a desperate situation with the hospitals filled to overflowing and we just cannot let this go on.”
  • UB, Indian Researchers Develop Mathematical Models To Study The Effects Of Non-invasive Brain Simulation
    12/1/21
    India Today, Higher Education Digest and The News Himachal reported on a study co-authored by Anirban Dutta, assistant professor of biomedical engineering in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. Researchers developed mathematical models to study the effects of non-invasive brain simulation. The study can help brain and neuro-specialists plan patient specific restorative neurorehabilitation activities for stroke, post traumatic brain injury, mild cognitive impairment, dementia, and other neuropsychiatric disorders. The article was picked up by several international research news outlets.
  • 'It is going to help': Infectious disease expert supports Biden's plan to slow omicron [The National Desk]
    12/1/21
    Thomas Russo, chief of infectious disease in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences lent commentary in an article from The National Desk about President Biden’s plan to slow down COVID-19. Biden is going to be sending out 500 million home test kits to U.S. residents in the upcoming weeks. “I think it is going to help,” Russo said. “Having access to home testing kits has the potential to decrease the number of cases and break the transmission chain. Of course, this assumes that individuals test promptly when they develop symptoms and if the test is positive, they go ahead and isolate.” The article appeared on the websites of more than 100 daily newspapers.
  • What makes omicron such a threat? Infectious disease expert explains [WJLA]
    12/1/21
    Thomas Russo, chief of infectious disease in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, joined The National Desk Tuesday night to talk about what makes the omicron strain such an apparent threat. “Two things: First, the rapidly increasing cases in South Africa. Delta was the dominant variant. That [Omicron] was able to out-compete Delta to other variants able to do that,” Russo said. “Second, examination of the sequence supports that this particular variant may be more transmissible, and further, perhaps of further concern, some of the mutations suggest that it may be resistant to immunity acquired for prior infection, vaccination, and protection that individuals can receive with treatment.” The story aired on affiliate stations nationwide.
  • Elderly MS patients who discontinue medication experience exacerbation of their illness
    12/1/21
    An article in Florida New Times quotes Dejan Jakimovski, research assistant professor at the Department of Neurology, on elderly MS patients who discontinue medication experiencing exacerbation of their illness. “Our results raise important questions about the accepted practice of discontinuing medication when MS patients are in their 50s and 60s,” said Jakimovski.
  • Most Monoclonal Antibody Treatments Don’t Work Against Omicron—Here’s Why
    12/1/21
    Prevention magazine included Thomas Russo, chief of infectious disease in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences in an article about which antibodies are working well – and not so well – against the Omicron variant. “The Eli Lilly and Regeneron monoclonal antibody treatments are directed against the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2, and Omicron has 32 mutations and a deletion in the spike protein,” Russo said. “Because of this, those treatments no longer bind with the virus.” The article was picked up by Yahoo! Life and MSN Canada.
  • Omicron variant concerning for Western New York, which is already seeing large surge from Delta [WBFO]
    11/30/21
    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.
  • Researchers Predict Whether COVID Vaccines Will Protect Against Variants [Very Well Health]
    11/29/21
    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.”
  • Covid-19: Ciclesonide Failed to Accelerate Recovery in Mild Disease [Physician's Weekly]
    11/26/21
    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.
  • Here’s How Often You Should Really Change Your Pillowcase [Self]
    11/24/21
    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.
  • Test program connects on-scene first responders to overdose referral network [WBFO]
    11/23/21
    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.”
  • Pandemic Lessons: Are we too Covid hot to trot, disco and shop? Not necessarily [Buffalo News]
    11/23/21
    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.”
  • Doctor discusses recent spike in COVID-19 cases [WIVB]
    11/23/21
    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.”
  • What Is Hepatitis A, the Virus Now Linked to a New Jersey Starbucks?
    11/22/21
    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.”
  • Twenty-year study shows no adverse impacts for pediatric cancer patients treated with dexrazoxane [Medical Xpress]
    11/22/21
    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.”
  • Inhalable asthma treatment does not reduce number of days it takes to clear COVID-19 symptoms - but does lower risk of hospital visits linked to the virus
    11/22/21
    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.
  • ASH1L: Here is the gene related to ASD and seizures
    11/22/21
    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.
  • Doctor says COVID increase in schools is due to low vaccination rates in children
    11/18/21
    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.
  • How Long Is the Flu Contagious, and How Long Should I Stay Home?
    11/17/21
    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.
  • Why You Might Want to Drink Water Before You Get Your COVID-19 Vaccine or Booster Shot [Health]
    11/15/21
    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.
  • Dr. Fauci Warns This is the Biggest Risk When Traveling Right Now
    11/14/21
    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.
  • Your 4-Step Psoriasis Flare Action Plan [HealthCentral]
    11/14/21
    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.”
  • Covid cases are rising in younger people. So are urgent calls to get them vaccinated [Buffalo News]
    11/12/21
    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.
  • Vermont college says Halloween parties led to campus COVID outbreak, states consider ending school mask mandates
    11/12/21
    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." 
  • WNY breast cancer screening truck in need of upgrades [Spectrum News]
    11/12/21
    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.
  • Moderna Reveals Slightly Higher Rates of Myocarditis in Young People Who Received Its COVID-19 Vaccine
    11/11/21
    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.
  • Different COVID rates in NYC and Erie County attributed to attitudes on masks, vaccines [WBFO]
    11/11/21
    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.”
  • CDC and WHO Warn of Measles Outbreak Risk After 22 Million Babies Missed Their Vaccines During Pandemic [Health]
    11/11/21
    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."
  • The Importance Of A COVID-19 Vaccine Booster [Huffington Post]
    11/9/21
    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.
  • Another Voice: Resistance has been a constant in history of vaccines [Buffalo News]
    11/8/21
    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.”
  • UB looking to expand COVID-19 genetic sequencing [Spectrum News]
    11/8/21
    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.”
  • UB holds foot clinic for homeless on Buffalo's west side [Spectrum News]
    11/7/21
    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.”
  • Let Babies Eat Eggs to Avoid Egg Allergy Later: Study [HealthDay]
    11/5/21
    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.
  • Pandemic Lessons: Childhood vaccinations aren't just about your kid [Buffalo News]
    11/5/21
    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.”
  • An October puzzle: Why can't WNY get over the Covid hump? [Buffalo News[
    11/5/21
    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's superstar surgeon [Buffalo Business First]
    11/5/21
    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.”
  • WNY's Covid-19 rate climbs: 'We just can't really shake this plateau of cases.' [Buffalo News]
    11/5/21
    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.”
  • Hooked on Primary Care with Patrick D. Glasgow, MD [Healio]
    11/4/21
    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.
  • Are You (And Your Kids) Using The Right Mask To Prevent Covid-19? [Romper]
    11/4/21
    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.
  • New Study: Pfizer and Moderna Shots Are Less Effective in People with Lowered Immune Systems [Prevention]
    11/3/21
    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.
  • Disagree with your co-parent about getting your young child the COVID vaccine? Here's what experts say. [Yahoo! Life]
    11/3/21
    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.
  • Study: COVID Can Infect the Inner Ear [Verywell Health]
    11/3/21
    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?”
  • CDC and FDA Formally Recommend Pfizer’s COVID-19 Vaccine for Children 5 to 11; Vaccinations to Begin This Week
    11/3/21
    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.
  • What Is Mononucleosis (Mono) and How Does It Spread? [Prevention]
    11/2/21
    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.”
  • The Worst Thing You're Doing in Public Bathrooms, Infectious Disease Doc Warns
    11/1/21
    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.
  • School districts close Thanksgiving week for mental health, Maryland reports over 10,000 student COVID cases since start of school year
    10/29/21
    Yahoo! News interviewed Tom Russo, chief of the division of infectious disease at the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at UB, about how Maryland has had over 10,000 COVID cases this school year. The state had a mandatory face mask mandate in place and it will be revisited in December. Russo expects the mandates to eventually lift. “Kids won’t be masking in school forever,” said Russo. The article also appeared in Yahoo! Singapore, Yahoo! New Zealand and Yahoo! Malaysia.
  • The “PodoSighter” uses AI to identify a key indicator of early kidney disease [Technology.org]
    10/29/21
    Technology.org reported on how UB researchers are using the power of digital pathology and computational modeling to develop a new approach to detecting and quantifying podocytes (a specialize type of kidney cell). Pinaki Sarder, associate professor of pathology and anatomical sciences in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at UB, spoke about how the project is an example of how advanced computational capabilities are allowing scientists to glean new information from complex images an anatomical structures. “In the medical domain, understanding human systems depends on analyzing huge amounts of very different types of date,” said Sarder “The question is, how do we combine all these data to try and understand fundamental human systems and disease?”
  • Antidepressant Fluvoxamine May Cut the Chance of Hospitalization from COVID-19, Study Shows
    10/28/21
    Thomas Russo, chief of the division of infectious disease at the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at UB, was interviewed by Prevention magazine about how the antidepressant fluvoxamine may cut the chance of hospitalization of COVID-19. It’s somewhat of a mystery on why fluvoxamine might work against COVID-19. “It’s not clear what the mechanism of action is,” said Russo. He points out that fluvoxamine isn’t an antiviral medication, and that “early on, antivirals make a little more sense for treatment of a virus like COVID-19 because they tamp down on replication.” The article also appeared onMSN.
  • More vaccinated people are dying of COVID-19. Here's what that means
    10/28/21
    Sinclair Broadcast Group reported on the rise in breakthrough COVID-19 infections among vaccinated people, especially in the wake of Colin Powell’s death. The story noted that experts say the rise isn’t surprising given the increase in people getting vaccinated and that the breakthrough infections typically are happening in people with weakened immune systems. The story quoted Tim Murphy, director of the Clinical and Translational Science Institute, who said, “Colin Powell was probably at as high risk as you could possibly be for a breakthrough infection with COVID.” The article appeared in numerous additional media outlets.
  • Red Cross Real Heroes: Former UB med student inspires racial equity [Spectrum News]
    10/28/21
    Spectrum Local News reports that recent Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at UB alumnus Karole Collier, now a surgery resident at the Hospital of the University at Pennsylvania, received the American Red Cross Real Hero Medical Award for her activism in medicine. The report quotes Steven Schwaitzberg, professor and chair of the Department of Surgery, who explained the legacy Collier has left on the community since her graduation in spring 2021. "She is one of these rare individuals that walks into a school, an organization, and changes it," he said. "Karole helped us write a curriculum around social justice and health equity. Karole kept us motivated to stay strong to inspire others."
  • Never Do This on a Plane, Infectious Disease Doctor Warns
    10/28/21
    Best Life spoke to Thomas Russo, chief of the division of infectious disease at the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at UB, about how to stay safe on a plane. Russo offered suggestions about being patient, waiting to eat only after other passengers have finished, and replacing your mask during the flight. The article appeared on Yahoo! Life, MSN Singapore and elsewhere.
  • An Opiate-Free, Durable, Non-Addictive Pain Killer For Inflammatory Pain ... in Rats
    10/27/21
    A Forbes article highlighted research conducted by Arindam Bhattacharjee, assistant professor in the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology at the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at UB, about inflammatory pain in rats and a new non-addictive painkiller that was created from the research. While pain information gets electrically conveyed from pain neurons to the brain, the communication between an injury site and a pain neuron is molecular. The molecular communication depends upon a specific type of pain neuron and a specific type of protein, and it can be interrupted. “Within an hour or so of application, bodily enzymes destroy whatever peptides didn’t make it inside the cells,” said Bhattacharjee. “This means that the peptide is not in the bloodstream long and not entering the heart, the brain, the liver, or the kidney, and it’s not causing addiction or systemic side effects,” he said. The research was covered in a separate article by Drug Target Review.
  • Income inequity persists in COVID-19 vaccination rates [Roll Call]
    10/27/21
    An article in Roll Call says that “despite state and national efforts to address inequalities in COVID-19 vaccination, most states still show lagging vaccination rates among people of lower incomes and education levels, even as gaps for racial and ethnic groups have largely disappeared in recent months.” The article quotes Timothy Murphy, senior associate dean for clinical and translational research in the Jacobs School, and director of the Community Health Equity Research Institute. He said: “Even looking at an entire ZIP code number, you know, doesn’t tell the whole story. I do think that having, having access to more localized and more specific data would be very helpful and very important in terms of addressing this issue.”
  • Walmart Recalls Aromatherapy Spray the CDC Has Linked to 2 Deaths From a Rare Bacteria—Here's What to Know [Health]
    10/27/21
    Health Magazine interviewed Thomas Russo, chief of the division of infectious disease at the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at UB, about Walmart recalling an aromatherapy room spray that been linked to two deaths from a rare bacterial illness called melioidosis. "We know that Burkholderia pseudomallei is endemic in the environment in soil and water in Southeast Asia," he said. "I would presume that one of the parts of this formula got contaminated, and something about the conditions of the spray may have allowed it to grow."
  • Dr. Allison Brashear, UB's new dean of medicine: 'It's not just growing research, but diversifying the portfolio' [Buffalo Business First]
    10/26/21
    Buffalo Business First profiled Allison Brashear, the new vice president for health sciences and dean of the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at UB. Brashear said a big appeal for taking the UB job was President Satish Tripathi’s intense focus on growing research funding. “President Tripathi’s vision for expanding research at UB was a big driver in my interest,” she said. “The position incorporates the other schools of health, so it’s a great opportunity to build interdisciplinary research at a time when that is critical for medicine to begin work in more teams that span not just medicine but nursing, dentistry, public health and others.”
  • What to Know About Donovanosis, the 'Flesh-Eating' STI That's Getting Global Attention
    10/26/21
    Prevention featured Thomas Russo, chief of the division of infectious disease at the Jacobs School, in a story about a flesh-eating sexually transmitted infection (STI) that is gaining attention. Donavanosis is a disease caused by the bacterium that causes ulcers around a person’s genitals. Even though donovanosis has been described as a flesh-eating STI, it’s not quite as gruesome as it sounds, explained Russo. “There is a great fear factor surrounding this but, at the end of the day, it’s an ulcerative sexually transmitted disease,” he says. “There are others like this as well, such as syphilis. This isn’t going to be like the zombie apocalypse where parts suddenly start falling off.” The article also appeared on Yahoo! News, International Business Times and other news websites.
  • Best Places for Halloween [WalletHub]
    10/25/21
    Wallethub interviewed Mark Hicar, associate professor of pediatrics in the Jacobs School, about financial and health aspects of Halloween this year. In terms of staying safe from COVID-19 he said: “The highest safety would be outdoor events. If the local spread is very high, this will add risk to any of this, and mask-wearing for anyone trick-or-treating should be strongly considered. Again, if there is lots of community spread, if you are unvaccinated or have high-risk persons in your family, you may want to forgo trick-or-treat activities. I would check with your local public health officials for guidance. Trick or treaters should use hand sanitizer or wash after the event. Last year, we were not really sure of how safe it was to handle candy. If there is a concern, candy can be wiped down.”
  • Pandemic Lessons: How has Covid changed us for good? [Buffalo News]
    10/24/21
    In an article about lessons learned from the pandemic, The Buffalo News interviewed John Sellick, professor of medicine in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at UB, about lessons individuals might have learned during the pandemic. “We’re going to be thinking about this more in the future, especially in the winter, when we’re in respiratory season: ‘Maybe I should be wearing a mask every time I go to the grocery store,’” said Sellick. “Even if I’m vaccinated, a mask is a good idea because there are all these other viruses floating around.”
  • Why is fentanyl so dangerous? The illicit drug has ruined lives during COVID pandemic
    10/23/21
    USA Today quoted David Dietz, professor and chair of pharmacology at the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at UB. He commented on the 40,000 Americans who die every year with toxic levels of opioids in their body, a problem exacerbated by a hard-to-detect synthetic version of the drug that experts warn is flooding the market. "This has been a real issue with pills being sold on the internet and down the street," said Dietz. The article also appeared in Yahoo! News and other media outlets.
  • New biosensor method eliminates need for biosafety lab containment in screening drugs against coronavirus
    10/22/21
    MedicalXpress and Niagara Frontier Publications report on a new, high-throughput screening method designed to quickly screen antiviral candidates against the SARS-CoV-2 virus. It was developed by a team of UB scientists led by Rama Dey-Rao, first author and research assistant professor, and Thomas Melendy, senior author and professor, both in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology in the Jacobs School.
  • Mixing coronavirus vaccines? What you need to know about mix-and-match booster shots.
    10/21/21
    The Washington Post quotes Thomas Russo, professor and chief of infectious disease in the Department of Medicine at the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, in a story on COVID-19 boosters. With regard to the timing of boosters, scientists are utilizing knowledge from other viruses and applying it to the coronavirus, but they’re still on the steeper end of the learning curve, said Russo. “We learned you need a tetanus shot every 10 years, but there was a point where we didn’t know that,” he said. “We’re learning on the fly with COVID.” WGRZ-TV also interviewed Russo with regard to boosters.
  • The Campus Roundup: October 21, 2021 [The Business Journals]
    10/21/21
    The Business Journals' national Campus Roundup summary of weekly higher education news reports that Allison Brashear has been named vice president for health sciences and dean of the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at UB.
  • Cold Vs. COVID: How Do I Tell The Difference In Symptoms?
    10/20/21
    Women's Health quotes Timothy Murphy, senior associate dean for clinical and translational research in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at UB, in a story titled, "Cold Vs. COVID: How Do I Tell The Difference In Symptoms?" Murphy says it’s hard for even doctors to tell the difference from just an examination or hearing about symptoms. There is one symptom, though, that makes it more likely that you have COVID-19: losing your sense of taste and smell. “Though that does occur sometimes with colds, it’s far more likely with COVID,” Murphy says. “With colds, you would typically get really stuffy first before you lost your sense of smell. With COVID, many people just lose their sense of smell altogether.” MSN, Yahoo! Life and other outlets also ran the story.
  • UB taps California for new Medical School dean
    10/19/21
    WBFO and Business First reported that Allison Brashear, dean of the University of California, Davis, School of Medicine, will join UB in December as vice president for health sciences and dean of the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at UB. Brashear will also continue long-standing research on a rare disease that can leave a patient unable to walk, talk or participate in daily life, WBFO notes. Among other priorities, Brashear spoke to WBFO about the importance of diversity in medicine. "Clearly, medicine is making strides, some areas more quickly than others. But it is very important that we have a diversity both of experience, gender, race in all areas of medicine, and it's probably one of the most important things we can do to advance health in the country, is to have a diverse group of providers," she told WBFO. The Buffalo News' Good Morning Buffalo newsletter also notes Brashear's appointment, and links to a story published yesterday​, in which Brashear expressed her excitement about joining the university. "I just love the opportunity to build interdisciplinary research," Brashear said. "I have heard a lot about President Tripathi and others from colleagues and friends. I'm really excited about the opportunity, the energy. And I've met some community leaders. They were so enthusiastic about all of the great work going on at UB. I wanted to be a part of it."
  • Answering your questions: Mixing and matching COVID-19 booster shots [WKBW]
    10/19/21
    WKBW 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, "Answering your questions: Mixing and matching COVID-19 booster shots." "The FDA has already approved boosters for Pfizer. We anticipate the FDA will approve boosters for Moderna and the Johnson and Johnson vaccine," Russo said. "The FDA will also approve of a mix and match strategy. Which means, regardless of which vaccine you initially received, you can receive a booster of any of the other vaccines."​
  • UB lands new medical school dean with reputation in neurology, research [Buffalo News]
    10/18/21
    This is example copy. Thomas A. Russo, MD, SUNY Distinguished Professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases, is an international expert on the diagnosis, nature and treatment of bacterial infection.
  • Light Exercise in the Days After a Concussion May Shorten Recovery Time
    10/18/21
    Bicycling quotes John J. Leddy, clinical professor of orthopaedics and director of the UB Concussion Management Clinic at UBMD Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine, in a story on how light aerobic activity — such as walking, running, stationary cycling, and swimming — may play a valuable role in shortening recuperation time during post-concussion recovery. “Although this strategy has not been studied as extensively in adults, I suspect that it applies to all ages,” says Leddy, first author of a recent study in The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health. “This clearly demonstrates that strict physical rest until symptoms spontaneously resolve is no longer an acceptable way to treat sport-related concussion in adolescents.” The new findings are the result of a large body of work by Leddy and colleague Barry S. Willer, PhD, professor of psychiatry and research director in the Concussion Management Clinic. MSN, Yahoo! Life and other publications also carried the story.​
  • The CDC Just Released New Safety Guidance Ahead of Holiday Season—Here’s What You Need to Know [Well + Good]
    10/18/21
    Well + Good quotes Thomas Russo, chief of infectious disease in the Department of Medicine in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at UB, in a story about COVID-19 safety measures during the holiday season. "You need to think about who will be there, and who will be vulnerable," he says. He also suggests using rapid home COVID-19 tests on the day of your gathering. "These tests aren't perfect but, if everyone gets tested and they're negative, people will be significantly less likely to get sick," he says.
  • Colin Powell Has Died of Complications of COVID-19—But Is That Different Than Dying of the Disease Itself?
    10/18/21
    This is example copy. Thomas A. Russo, MD, SUNY Distinguished Professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases, is an international expert on the diagnosis, nature and treatment of bacterial infection.
  • FDA Panel Approves Moderna COVID-19 Booster—Here's What That Means and What Happens Next [Health]
    10/15/21
    Health.com interviews Thomas Russo, chief of infectious disease in the Department of Medicine in the Jacobs School, in a story about COVID-19 vaccine boosters. Russo says the half dose of the Moderna vaccine may be more appealing to some people, given that it's less likely to cause side effects.
  • Wait, Can You Get A Flu Shot When You’re Sick? An Expert Weighs In
    10/14/21
    An article published in Women’s Health on about whether to get a flu shot when you are sick quotes Timothy Murphy, SUNY Distinguished Professor and senior associate dean for clinical and translational research in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.  “In general, if you have a little cold or the sniffles, it’s okay to proceed with a flu shot,” says Murphy. “To a certain extent, it’s a judgment call, depending on how bad you’re feeling. … A reasonable guideline is when you’ve been fever-free for 24 hours,” he says. “But it really comes down to judgment. When you’re feeling good, just go for it.” The article was widely reprinted including articles in MSN Canada, Yahoo! Life and elsewhere.
  • Wait, Can You Get A Flu Shot When You’re Sick? An Expert Weighs In
    10/14/21
    An article published in Women’s Health about whether to get a flu shot when you are sick quotes Timothy Murphy, SUNY Distinguished Professor and senior associate dean for clinical and translational research in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.  “In general, if you have a little cold or the sniffles, it’s okay to proceed with a flu shot,” says Murphy. “To a certain extent, it’s a judgment call, depending on how bad you’re feeling. … A reasonable guideline is when you’ve been fever-free for 24 hours,” he says. “But it really comes down to judgment. When you’re feeling good, just go for it.” The article was widely reposted on MSN Canada, Yahoo! Life, KSBW (California), WLKY (Kentucky) and elsewhere.
  • Sabres open season tonight following tumultuous offseason highlighted by Eichel fiasco [WBEN]
    10/14/21
    WBEN reported on the injury status of Jack Eichel of the Sabres and his possible surgery options, quoting Jeff Mullin, assistant professor of neurosurgery in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, who discussed spinal fusion. “A lot of time when we’re doing that surgery, the patient has already degenerated and worn out the discs and there’s not that much level before surgery,” he said. “There’s some down sides to that. It puts more stress on the other levels above or below where you do surgery and there could be more degeneration in other levels in an accelerated fashion, which could mean more surgery down the line.”
  • UB doctor urges pregnant women to get the COVID-19 vaccine [Spectrum News]
    10/13/21
    An article on Spectrum News recommending pregnant women get the COVID-19 vaccine interviews Sarah Berga, professor and chair of UB’s Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. “You have a 15-fold increased risk of dying,” Berga told the station. “That’s huge. And you have a markedly increased risk in having your baby early, in needing life support particularly respiratory support, you know, intubation.”
  • New painkiller: local and long-lasting relief [The Naked Scientists]
    10/13/21
    The Naked Scientists, a science podcast based at Cambridge University, reported on the research by Arin Bhattacharjee, associate professor of pharmacology and toxicology in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, and colleagues, who have developed a long-lasting, non-opioid pain reliever. “We found a specific type of pathway in a very important type of pain neuron that encodes ongoing pain,” he said, “and by looking at the molecular level, we were able to understand how neurons become overactive. We developed a pharmacological tool… that could actually block that signal and when we did, we saw a strong reduction in pain behavior.”
  • Will the vaccine be mandated for school entry? [WKBW]
    10/13/21
    An article on WKBW-TV on whether the COVID-19 vaccine will be mandated to attend schools quotes Thomas Russo, chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, who said he believes there will need to be a mandate to get kids vaccinated. “There will be parents reluctant to get their children vaccinated, and if it takes a mandate to do it, so be it,” he said. “Dr. Russo says this to parents who are fearful of long-term vaccine effects,” according to the article. “In the history of vaccination, all adverse effects have happened during the first several months, so I do not think that is a valid concern for not getting vaccinated,” he said.
  • Pandemic Lessons: We never thought it would last this long. What's next?
    10/12/21
    A story in The Buffalo News on lingering effects of the pandemic quotes John Sellick, professor of medicine in the Jacobs Schoolof Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. “It wasn’t any fun to begin with,” said Sellick, a Buffalo-based infectious diseases physician who has been treating patients – and acting as one of the region’s de facto spokespeople on Covid issues – since the start of the pandemic,” according to the story. “But now a year and a half later, it’s really no fun.” The story was also reprinted in numerous publications including the Marietta Daily Journal.
  • How Americans feel about medical jobs in light of pandemic [PBS NewsHour]
    10/12/21
    PBS NewsHour featured the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences in a story on the surge of interest in health sciences programs since the pandemic began. The report notes that applications jumped 40% at the Jacobs School, a phenomenon often dubbed the “Fauci effect.” But in an on-camera interview, Dori Marshall, MD, director of admissions in the Jacobs School, noted that such an effect was unlikely since applying to medical school is a lengthy process. “It’s really a process that takes years to get themselves ready to apply to medical school,” she said. The increase in applications, she said, more likely relates to medical schools moving the entire application process, including interviews, online due to the pandemic. Also interviewed was Ming Lian, a first-year student at the Jacobs School. She said: “Being able to do it virtually and at home saved me quite a bit of money” and allowed her to apply to more schools. That helped boost the numbers of applications from first-generation college students, like Lian. The story stated that last year UB saw a 59% jump in the number of applications from first-generation college students, a demographic long been underrepresented in medical schools.
  • Aerobic exercise may help teen athletes recover faster, better from concussions
    10/10/21
    An article in The Washington Post on treating teenagers after concussions quotes John Leddy, professor of orthopedics in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, and director of the UB Concussion Management Clinic. Leddy says aerobic exercise is "often the only treatment that adolescent athletes need.” “Teens assigned to the aerobic exercise group were much more likely to adhere to their regimen compared with the kids who stretched instead,” according to the article. That "speaks to another advantage of aerobic exercise," the researchers write: "Its appeal to adolescent athletes." The article and the study were reposted in Yahoo! Life, Northwest Arkansas Online, Irish Sun and numerous other outlets in the United States and worldwide.
  • Revenge of the Silent (Vaccinated) Majority [U.S. News & World Report]
    10/8/21
    Thomas A. Russo, MD, SUNY Distinguished Professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases, was quoted in a story about Buffalo Bills receiver Cole Beasley being booed at Bills home games by fans frustrated by Beasley’s anti-vaccine stance. “Cole Beasley – and he’s part of a significant minority – has made mistakes about being public about his tweets. As a result, he has become an object of frustration. Not only is he holding us back, at the end of the day, it’s costing lives,” Russo says.
  • What to Know About the Triple Threat of Respiratory Diseases as Flu Season Starts [Buffalo News]
    10/8/21
    Thomas A. Russo, MD, SUNY Distinguished Professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases, is quoted in an article on what to know about the triple threat of respiratory diseases — seasonal allergies, COVID-19 and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) — as flu season begins. The flu shot won’t prevent or ease a case of COVID-19, but does greatly reduce the odds of having to fight both COVID and the flu back-to-back or together. The vaccine is typically 30 percent to 60 percent effective in preventing influenza depending on strains that circulate during flu season but gives some protection against all of them. “That means those who get the flu are more likely to have a milder case, less likely to be hospitalized and less likely to die,” Russo said.
  • Aerobic Exercise May Speed Recovery From a Concussion, Study Suggests
    10/8/21
    Several news outlets reported on a new UB study that found that exercising within 10 days of a sport-related concussion speeds up recovery and reduces the risk of prolonged symptoms in adolescents. “We based our approach on how patients with heart disease are prescribed exercise, by identifying a safe threshold below which the patient can exercise,” explained John J. Leddy, MD, clinical professor of orthopaedics and first author of the study.
  • A Cup of Joe to Thwart Liver Fibrosis? How About Four [Medpage Today]
    10/8/21
    Medpage Today reported on research that found that people who drink more than three cups of coffee a day are less likely to have liver fibrosis, a risk factor for liver disease. The story quoted Andrew Talal, MD, professor of medicine in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, who said: “These studies support the consumption of at least moderate amounts of coffee for its protective effects against liver scarring and the development or progression of chronic liver disease.”
  • First Malaria Vaccine Approved by WHO: ‘This is a Historic Moment’ [Health.com]
    10/7/21
    An article reporting that the World Health Organization has approved the first malaria vaccine quotes Thomas A. Russo, MD, SUNY Distinguished Professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases, who said researchers have tried and failed many times in the past to create a vaccine that would be effective against malaria. “It’s a tough vaccine to make, and there have been numerous attempts that haven’t worked out.”
  • When Can We Actually Expect COVID-19 Vaccine Rollouts for Younger Children? [Well + Good]
    10/7/21
    Thomas A. Russo, MD, SUNY Distinguished Professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases, spoke to Well + Good for its story on when children will be able to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. “Pfizer first needs to submit the data to the FDA,” he said. “The bottom line is that there is still a significant process that needs to be done. ... It’s far from a done deal.”
  • Sellick Gives COVID-19 Case Outlook for the Holiday Season [Spectrum News]
    10/7/21
    Spectrum News interviewed John A. Sellick Jr., DO, professor of medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases, for a story on the COVID-19 outlook for the upcoming holiday season. “If you are going to go door to door, especially in groups of kids, everybody should be masked, everybody should try to stay as apart from one another as they possibly can,” he said. “And then for people at home, you know, if you choose to answer the door, you should have a mask on and maintain distance.”
  • ICU Beds in WNY Hospitals Filling Up — But Not With COVID-19 Patients [Buffalo News]
    10/6/21
    A Buffalo News story reporting that ICU beds in Western New York hospitals are filling up with patients with other conditions and ailments, not COVID-19, quotes Thomas A. Russo, MD, SUNY Distinguished Professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases. “What could increase ICU bed use? A surge in elective surgeries? A surge in non-COVID admissions and people that have been staying home or dragging their feet addressing medical issues?” The story also quotes John A. Sellick Jr., DO, professor of medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases. “There are definitely COVID patients in the units, but it’s not like it was a year ago, or beginning of this year,” Sellick said.
  • Russo Comments on CDC ‘Urgent’ Health Advisory Directing Pregnant Women to Get COVID Vaccine [Yahoo! Life]
    10/6/21
    Thomas A. Russo, MD, SUNY Distinguished Professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases, was quoted in a story about the “urgent” health advisory the CDC, directing pregnant women to get vaccinated against COVID-19. “Most women will do whatever it takes to protect their fetus and many are afraid of taking any vaccine, drug or medicine during pregnancy,” Russo says. “It’s all about concerns for their baby, but what we know now completely flips that thinking so that getting vaccinated is in the best interest for them and their baby.”
  • Leonard Comments on ‘Gray Area’ Drinking During Pandemic [Healthline]
    10/6/21
    A story on “gray area” drinking — considered the realm between healthy levels of alcohol consumption and a diagnosed alcohol use disorder — during the pandemic quotes Kenneth E. Leonard, PhD, professor of psychiatry and director of UB’s Clinical and Research Institute on Addictions, who cautioned against various surveys on alcohol consumption. “COVID didn’t really strike everybody in the same way. Overall, there was probably some increase in drinking, and [this was] likely among those people who are most at risk of heavy drinking.” 
  • UB Salutes Vaccine Hub Leaders With Executive Award [Buffalo News]
    10/6/21
    The Buffalo News reported that UB’s School of Management will present three co-leaders of the Western New York Vaccination Hub with this year’s Buffalo Niagara Executive of the Year award. They are Michael E. Cain, MD, UB’s vice president for health sciences and dean of the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences; Thomas R. Quatroche, Jr., president and CEO of ECMC; and Mark A. Sullivan, president and CEO of Catholic Health System.
  • Sellick Weighs in on Effectiveness of At-Home COVID Tests
    10/6/21
    John A. Sellick Jr., DO, professor of medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases, was among the experts multiple outlets reached out to for insight into the effectiveness of at-home COVID-19 tests. If you don’t have symptoms of COVID-19 and are just testing to see if you have the virus before doing something like going to a wedding or visiting an elderly relative, there’s a higher chance you’ll get a false reading, says Sellick. “The problem with these tests is that their specificity is not as good as a PCR test,” he says. “You can get false positives, especially in low prevalence settings.”
  • Families Suing Local Hospitals to Administer Ivermectin to Dying COVID Patients [WHEC-TV, Rochester]
    10/5/21
    Thomas A. Russo, MD, SUNY Distinguished Professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases, was quoted in a story about Rochester area families who are suing local hospitals refusing to administer Ivermectin, a controversial drug not approved by the FDA to treat COVID-19. “Some studies have been done and to date, none of those studies have shown that Ivermectin benefits patients with COVID,” Russo said. “There are still some ongoing studies but at this time we do not recommend it to use, it's not recommended by the FDA, it’s not recommended by the infectious disease side of America.”
  • Locally Administered Lipidated Peptides Offer Long-Lasting Pain Relief Without Opioids
    10/5/21
    Multiple news outlets reported on UB researchers who developed a novel local treatment for chronic pain. “Our small peptides are able to penetrate nerve endings and provide long-lasting pain relief after a single administration,” said senior author Arin Bhattacharjee, PhD, associate professor of pharmacology and toxicology.
  • California Is First State to Announce COVID Vaccine Mandate for All Children [Verywell Health]
    10/4/21
    Timothy F. Murphy, MD, SUNY Distinguished Professor of medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases and senior associate dean for clinical and translational research, was quoted in a story about California becoming the first state to announce a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for all children. Murphy was asked about when the vaccines might be approved for children. There needs to be “at least” six months of observation after a vaccine is granted emergency use authorization before it can be fully approved, Murphy said, adding that it will likely be November at the earliest for kids aged 12 and up.
  • Pandemic Lessons: How Effective is Natural Immunity? [Buffalo News]
    10/3/21
    A Buffalo News story answering the question of how effective natural immunity is quotes Thomas A. Russo, MD, SUNY Distinguished Professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases. Some people’s post-COVID immunity “may be as good as vaccination, some may be even better, some may be worse,” Russo said. “There’s a lot of variability. We’re still sorting this out.” The story also quotes Peter Winkelstein, MD, executive director of UB’s Institute for Healthcare Informatics, who said, “From a science standpoint, we don’t have a way to do a test on somebody and know you’re immune for sure. We can test for antibodies, and we can test those levels, but we don’t know what level you need to be immune to COVID.”
  • ‘You’re Making a Difference’: Plea by Mark Hamister’s Children Sways Some of the Unvaccinated [Buffalo News]
    10/3/21
    A Buffalo News story about how pleas by the children of the late Mark Hamister, who passed away recently from COVID-19, are swaying unvaccinated people to get the shot quotes Nancy H. Nielsen, MD, PhD, senior associate dean for health policy. “I thought the children of Mark Hamister coming forward was a wonderful act of charity,” she said.
  • New research on concussions recovery finds exercise better than rest [WBFO]
    10/2/21
    An article on WBFO on treating teenagers after concussions interviews John Leddy, professor of orthopedics in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, and director of the UB Concussion Management Clinic. “The study takes advantage of the determined nature of young athletes, anxious to work really hard to make and stay on a sports team and to work as hard to recover from a concussion, starting within days of the injury, with medical clearance and supervision,” according to the article. "(It’s) a dose of exercise of medicine that's unique to each one of them. And I think that's largely why it works," Leddy said. "Remember you can use that obsession to your advantage because athletes are goal-oriented and now you've given them a goal to work to every day. If they do it every day, they have a goal and they have some control over their recovery."
  • Aerobic Exercise After Sports-Related Concussion Accelerates Adolescent Athlete Recovery
    10/1/21
    Adolescents can speed their recovery after a sport-related concussion and reduce their risk of experiencing protracted recovery if they engage in aerobic exercise within 10 days of the injury, according to UB research. John J. Leddy, MD, first author and clinical professor of orthopaedics, was quoted as part of its coverage. “The study clearly demonstrates that strict physical rest until symptoms spontaneously resolve is no longer an acceptable way to treat sport-related concussion in adolescents,” said Leddy. Barry S. Willer, PhD, professor of psychiatry and senior author, was also quoted.
  • An Examination of the Relationship Between Melatonin and Circadian Rhythms: Impact on Reproduction, Rhythmic Behaviors and Growth [Science Japan]
    10/1/21
    Science Japan reported on a melatonin study involving an international research team that included Margarita L. Dubocovich, PhD, SUNY Distinguished Professor of pharmacology and toxicology and senior associate dean for diversity and inclusion, that revealed how melatonin is involved in the elimination of jet lag and daily lethargy in mammals.
  • These Are the Potential Side Effects From Pfizer COVID-19 Booster Shot
    9/30/21
    Prevention quoted John A. Sellick Jr., DO, professor of medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases, in a story about possible side effects from the COVID-19 vaccination booster. “Overall, what they’ve shown is that, with the third dose, people shouldn’t expect anything much worse than they had with the second dose,” he said. Other media outlets also carried the story.
  • Can You Go on a Cruise if You're Unvaccinated? Here Are the COVID Requirements for the Top Cruise Companies
    9/30/21
    Thomas A. Russo, MD, SUNY Distinguished Professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases, said that cruise passengers should carefully consider traveling on ships that allow unvaccinated guests on board. “The reality is that someone on the boat is likely to be infected with COVID-19, either because they were unvaccinated or are asymptomatic with a breakthrough infection,” said Russo, who pointed out that cruise ships often have indoor dining and entertainment, areas that are ripe for viruses to spread. “S]omeone could contaminate the food buffet and it can spread rapidly … it's all because of people staying and moving around in close quarters.
  • Weed and Depression: Does Marijuana Make for Depressed Brains? [U.S. News & World Report]
    9/30/21
    A U.S. News & World Report story on possible links between depression and marijuana use quoted Samir Haj-Dahmane, PhD, professor of pharmacology and toxicology. There is evidence of a toxic relationship between the two, but there is also evidence of pot helping with some symptoms of depression. “Chronic stress is one of the major causes of depression,” said Haj-Dahmane. “Using compounds derived from cannabis — marijuana — to restore normal endocannabinoid function could potentially help stabilized moods and ease depression.”
  • DNA in Cell Cytoplasm Implicated in Age-Related Blindness [The Scientist]
    9/29/21
    The Scientist quoted Margaret M. DeAngelis, PhD, professor of ophthalmology, about a new study suggesting that DNA synthesized in the cell cytoplasm is responsible for cell death in the retina found in an advanced form of age-related macular degeneration, a leading cause of blindness. “This is a really cool mechanism, and you need … to understand [the] mechanism to design the appropriate therapeutics, however, [as] with anything, you need validation and replication for it to be translational,” said DeAngelis, who wasn’t involved in the study.
  • Meet North American Spine Society’s ‘20 Under 40’ Class of 2021 [Becker’s Spine Review]
    9/29/21
    Jeffrey P. Mullin, MD, assistant professor of neurosurgery, was among the 20 specialists under 40 years old named to the North American Spine Society’s “20 under 40” list of spine care honorees.
  • The CDC Director Says if You Want a Booster, Don’t Do This Right Now [Yahoo! Life]
    9/28/21
    A story in Yahoo! Life about there not being adequate data in the U.S. to support mixing COVID-19 vaccines quoted Thomas A. Russo, MD, SUNY Distinguished Professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases, who mentioned that during the initial vaccine rollout, some people mistakenly got Pfizer for their the first shot and then Moderna for their second with no extreme effects. “I don't anticipate that there would be any issues from a safety point of view or an efficacy point of view in terms of crossing the two mRNA platforms," Russo explained.
  • ECDOH Rolls Out With New Initiative for School-Based COVID-19 Testing Program [WKBW]
    9/28/21
    WKBW interviewed Thomas A. Russo, MD, SUNY Distinguished Professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases, for its story on the Erie County Health Department’s rollout of a school-based COVID-19 testing program. “I think this is important because it adds another layer of protection on top of the mitigation plan to help keep our students safe,” said Russo.
  • Stimulating Pressure Points in Ear Could Help Treat Kids’ Chronic Abdominal Pain
    9/28/21
    Several publications reported on a UB pilot study suggesting that stimulating pressure points in the ear could be a promising treatment for functional abdominal pain disorder (FAPD), which affects 13.5 percent of children and adults. “Our objectives with this study were to determine the level of auricular acupoint activity in FAPD and also to assess how participants felt about this kind of therapy,” said Rachel E. Borlack, MD, clinical assistant professor of pediatrics. More than 85 percent of the FAPD patients in the study reported interest in using self-administered acupressure to manage their symptoms, and more than 40 percent said they would definitely be interested in traveling to a clinic just for auriculotherapy.
  • How Common Are False-Positive COVID Tests? Experts Weigh In [Yahoo! News]
    9/27/21
    A Yahoo! News story about how common it is to get a false positive result from a COVID-19 test quoted Thomas A. Russo, MD, SUNY Distinguished Professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases. It is important to note that there are several COVID-19 tests available, and each has its own level of accuracy. Two of the most common tests are rapid antigen tests (often used for home testing) and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests, which are sent to a lab and are considered the gold standard for COVID-19 testing. As the amount of COVID-19 in a community decreases, there is a greater chance of a false positive “simply because no test is 100 percent,” he told Yahoo. “There is a pre-test probability that if you screen a whole range of asymptomatic people and there is a low disease burden, the majority of positives will likely be false. That’s exactly what happens when you do the math.”
  • How This New Program Is Training College Freshmen About Sexual Misconduct Prevention [Healthline]
    9/27/21
    Healthline reported on new simulation-based programs designed to help college students better navigate issues they may encounter such as substance misuse and sexual assault and violence. The story quotes Kenneth E. Leonard, PhD, professor of psychiatry and director of UB’s Clinical and Research Institute on Addictions, who said that education with skills training geared to reducing risky drinking behaviors can be effective. He noted that the “vast majority” of alcohol education programs, for example, usually “provide classroom instruction about how alcohol is metabolized, the amount of ethanol, or alcohol, in usual alcohol beverages, and the consequences of excessive drinking.” He added that is “no evidence” that this kind of education “has any influence on drinking.”
  • What is Melioidosis, the Rare Bacterial Infection the CDC Is Warning About? [Press From]
    9/26/21
    Press From quoted John A. Sellick Jr., DO, professor of medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases, for information on melioidosis, a rare tropical illness that has infected four people, according to a CDC statement. “Most of us infectious disease doctors have never seen a case,” said Sellick. Melioidosis (Whitmore’s disease) is mostly a disease of tropical climates. The bacteria that causes melioidosis is found in contaminated water and soil and is spread to humans and animals though direct contact with the contaminated surface. Each case was reported in one of four states: Georgia, Kansas, Texas and Minnesota. Two people had no known risk factors for the disease and two have died, according to the story.
  • Answering Your Questions About the COVID-19 Booster Shot [WKBW]
    9/24/21
    Thomas A. Russo, MD, SUNY Distinguished Professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases, was quoted in a WKBW story on recent CDC and FDA approval of COVID-19 vaccine boosters for specific individuals. “To be clear, it’s only Pfizer recipients at this point,” said Russo. “The first group that’s eligible are (those 65 and older) that are more than six months out from the last vaccination,” he said. “The second group that’s eligible is individuals 18-64 that are more vulnerable and susceptible to critical illness if they get infected. The last group that’s eligible are individuals who are 18 to 64 that are front-line workers.”
  • Florida Makes Quarantine Optional for Asymptomatic Students Exposed to COVID-19 [Yahoo! News]
    9/24/21
    Thomas A. Russo, MD, SUNY Distinguished Professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases, told Yahoo! News that he’s among the experts wary of a new policy announced by Joseph Ladapo, Florida’s new surgeon general, that gives parents in the state the choice of deciding whether their children need to quarantine after a COVID-19 exposure. “I think it’s going to result in enhancing transmission cases,” Russo said. “From a public health point of view, I do not think this will be beneficial. I’m not sure that parents are in the best position to judge this.”
  • 3 WNY Hospital Systems to Put Unvaccinated Workers on Leave [Buffalo News]
    9/24/21
    Peter Winkelstein, MD, executive director of UB’s Institute for Healthcare Informatics and clinical professor of pediatrics, told the Buffalo News that most local health care workers are vaccinated. Winkelstein was commenting for the paper’s story on the arrival of a state mandate that went in effect requiring health care workers to be vaccinated against COVID-19. “The vast, vast majority of health care workers understand the importance of getting vaccinated and have gotten vaccinated,” Winkelstein said. “That’s what’s getting lost in this. Most people get it.”
  • Unvaccinated medical workers will be fired says Hochul [North Country Public Radio]
    9/23/21
    An article on North Country Public Radio reporting on Gov. Kathy Hochul’s new vaccine requirements for health care workers includes a photo of her at UB with President Satish K. Tripathi and Michael E. Cain, vice president for health sciences and dean of the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.
  • Uncovering the Mystery of Tachysensia [Psychology Today]
    9/23/21
    An article on Psychology Today on tachysensia, a condition that can temporarily alter sensations of time and sound in troubling ways for people who experience symptoms, includes commentary from Osman Farooq, clinical associate professor of neurology at the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at UB.
  • New scoring system helps identify kids at risk for post-concussion symptoms
    9/22/21
    Medical Xpress, Technology.org, Futurity and other websites report that UB researchers have developed a brief, standardized physical exam for sport-related concussive brain injuries in children and adolescents that can readily identify who is at risk for persistent post-concussion symptoms. “The Buffalo Concussion Physical Exam takes less than 10 minutes to do and uses physician exam techniques that every clinician already has,” said M. Nadir Haider, first author and assistant director of research in the Concussion Management Clinic in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at UB.
  • Advocacy group calls for “Test To Stay” instead of student quarantine [WKBW]
    9/22/21
    WKBW-TV reports that some Buffalo area parents are calling for a Test To Stay model, relying on COVID testing instead of quarantine for school students. Thomas Russo, professor and chief of infectious disease at the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at UB, said Test To Stay is an “interesting concept”, but comes with logistical challenges. “You need to have the availability to be able to do these rapid tests on a daily basis and obviously someone needs to pay for these tests which may or may not be possible depending on the school system,” he said.
  • Lawyer Forces Ivermectin on Hospitals—and Drives Docs Crazy
    9/22/21
    The Daily Beast reports on West Seneca-based lawyer Ralph Lorigo, who claims to be the most in-demand attorney nationwide for people who attempt to force hospitals and doctors to give dying loved ones ivermectin for COVID-19 infections. Thomas Russo, professor and chief of infectious disease at the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at UB, is quoted. “Until we get some sort of signal [ivermectin is] beneficial,” he said, “it’s in our patients’ best interest to hold off.” He added: “It’s not like we’re not treating these patients and don’t have some drugs that work,” he added. Russo said he believes it is dangerous for courts to enter into the argument and force the hand of doctors. The article was carried by Yahoo! News and MSN.
  • Children 18 and younger see sharpest Covid-19 rise in Erie County [Buffalo News]
    9/21/21
    Thomas Russo, professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases, was quoted in The Buffalo News discussing how COVID-19 cases are rising in Erie County due the delta variant. The increase stems from factors entirely within our control: Not enough of those eligible for the vaccine have received it and too many people eased up on public health measures such as mask wearing and social distancing. "It's on us and our behavior," he said.
  • Brad Paisley performing in Bangor even as the region suffers record COVID cases
    9/21/21
    Bangor Daily News of Maine quoted Thomas Russo, professor and chief of infectious disease at the Jacobs School, in an article about a scheduled Brad Paisley concert with few COVID-19 regulations. The article pulls comments Russo made to Health. He said: "The delta variant has added a little bit of uncertainty about outdoor transmission. It's possible that since people shed so much more virus with this variant that it may increase the risk of transmission in outdoor settings." The article was carried by Yahoo! News.
  • Pandemic Lessons: Are we headed for a vaccinated-versus-not existence? [Buffalo News]
    9/20/21
    The Buffalo News reports on disparities among the vaccinated and unvaccinated, and quotes John Sellick, professor of infectious disease at the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at UB. “We’re not asking anyone to go storm a beach,” he said. “We’re not asking anyone to give up a piece of their liver. We’re talking about getting a safe, effective vaccine so we can stop the carnage.” “I don’t see it as a rich man-poor man kind of thing,” Sellick said, “because this is available to everyone.”
  • UB latest to require vaccine
    9/20/21
    News outlets including The Buffalo News, WKBW-TV, WGRZ-TV and WBEN-AM reported on UB’s new rule that requires proof of vaccination against COVID-19 to attend football and basketball games, as well as cultural and other events on campus. “We feel this is in the community’s best interest,” Michael E. Cain, vice president for health sciences and dean of the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, is quoted on WIVB-TV’s website. John DellaContrada, UB vice president of communications, told Spectrum Local News: "We know that COVID-19 cases continue to rise in our region, throughout the state and elsewhere, so we wanted to be proactive and make sure the University at Buffalo is doing its part to prevent future spread of the virus.”
  • Pfizer says its vaccine is safe for kids as young as 5
    9/20/21
    WKBW-TV reports on Pfizer’s vaccine trials in children ages 5-11 and how the company is seeking approval to get that age group vaccinated. Nancy Nielsen, senior associate dean for health care policy in the Jacobs School, says the FDA needs to make a determination. “Let’s let the FDA weigh in,” she said, who added if given emergency use authorization, the vaccine could be available to kids as young as five by Halloween.
  • Can Stress Really Cause Vertigo? Here's What To Know, According To Experts [MBG Health]
    9/18/21
    An article on Mind Body Green on the causes of vertigo attributes information to Mohamed Elrakhawy, resident physician in the Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at the Jacobs School.
  • Brown University Stops In-Person Dining Over COVID Outbreak [Yahoo! News]
    9/17/21
    Thomas A. Russo, MD, SUNY Distinguished Professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases, was quoted in a story about Brown University temporarily halting in-person dining due to a COVID-19 outbreak, a decision he called a “smart move.” “When masks are down, that’s when students are at risk,” he says. “I’ve always worried about transmission in dining halls — kids are talking and no one is cautious. It’s an at-risk setting.”
  • An 8-Year-Old Is Now Paralyzed With a Rare Disorder After COVID Diagnosis—What Experts Say About the Possible Link [Heath]
    9/17/21
    Health reports on an 8-year-old girl in Minnesota that has been in the hospital since March after developing a rare disorder - acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM) - on the heels of a COVID-19 infection. "It's certainly possible that it could be caused by COVID-19," said Thomas Russo, professor and chief of infectious disease at the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. "However, it's very difficult to be absolutely certain."
  • Why Choose the Nasal Flu Vaccine — Or Not, According to Experts [Prevention]
    9/16/21
    Thomas A. Russo, MD, SUNY Distinguished Professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases, was quoted in an article on who should choose the nasal flu vaccine and why. “It’s sort of a niche vaccine, given that there are so many contraindications,” said Russo. “But it can be helpful for people who have a needle phobia.”
  • Pediatric COVID Surge Spurs Push for Vaccination as Regulators Await Trial Data
    9/15/21
    More than 50 news outlets nationwide published a report on the rise of COVID-19 infections among children, and the eligibility of young children to receive COVID-19 vaccinations. Timothy F. Murphy, MD, SUNY Distinguished Professor of medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases and senior associate dean for clinical and translational research, told the outlets that children might be less likely to suffer serious symptoms if infected, but there are still some dangers that appear to justify immunizing children. “I think we’re learning from all these hospitalizations that it is important to get that protection for children,” he said. “Even though the children tend to have milder disease ... when the number of children who get infected is very large, the small percentage of children who have more severe illnesses also increases.”
  • Off Main Street: The lighter side of The News [Buffalo News]
    9/15/21
    The Buffalo News “Off Main Street” column featured the fun story of how Stacey A. Watt, program director in the anesthesiology department at the Jacobs School, gave a LEGO replica of the Jacobs School building to outgoing dean Michael E. Cain. It took Watt about four months and 4,500 bricks to create the structure.
  • Russo Says It’s Safe to Get COVID-19 Vaccine and Flu Shot at the Same Time [Prevention]
    9/13/21
    Thomas A. Russo, MD, SUNY Distinguished Professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases, was quoted in an article on the safety of receiving the flu and COVID-19 vaccines at the same time. Russo, who says receiving both vaccinations together are safe, adds, “The consequences of getting both COVID and the flu are not great. You’ll want to get vaccinated.”
  • Experts Warn of Another Fall COVID-19 Surge in WNY
    9/11/21
    Multiple stories reported that local experts warned that Western New York will likely experience another surge of new COVID-19 cases this fall, according to recent models from UB. “I’m quite concerned that we’re going to see another wave this fall again at roughly the same time, when the weather gets cold and when we enter the so-called ‘respiratory season,’” said Peter Winkelstein, MD, executive director of the UB Institute for Healthcare Informatics and clinical professor of pediatrics. “Added to that concern is that we’re starting out right now at a much higher level of transmission of the virus in the community than we were at the same time last year.”
  • Here’s Why You Still Need to Wear a Mask After Getting a COVID-19 Vaccine
    9/10/21
    Prevention reported on why vaccinated people still need to wear masks and quoted Thomas A. Russo, MD, SUNY Distinguished Professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases, who said: “If you could possibly be infectious to others, it’s prudent for people to wear masks (when required) so they don’t serve as a vector.” It was also carried by MSN.
  • Refresh Takes: The Start of the New School Year Wasn’t So Bad [Buffalo News]
    9/10/21
    The Buffalo News reported on how parents can help ease the back-to-school transition and quoted Michael S. Adragna, MD, clinical assistant professor of psychiatry, who said, “Progress is not a straight line. There are certainly going to be some setbacks along the way. Some people will get sick. Some schools will … probably have kids quarantined. But just because there’s a setback doesn’t mean that the cause is lost and doesn’t mean that it’s not a worthwhile endeavor to keep plugging ahead.”
  • Parsing the Numbers: Why Vaccinated Residents Made Up 40% of Erie County’s Positive COVID-19 Tests [Buffalo News]
    9/10/21
    John A. Sellick Jr., DO, professor of medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases, was quoted in a story on why up to 40 percent of Erie County’s positive COVID-19 tests were breakthrough cases among the vaccinated. “You’re seeing the tiny tip of the iceberg or the mountain,” he said. “In Erie County right now, you’ve got well over half a million people over the age of 18 who are either fully vaccinated or partially vaccinated. And they’re not in the hospital.” Peter Winkelstein, MD, executive director of the UB Institute for Healthcare Informatics, added, “Some people get confused, ‘Oh, the vaccines don’t work.’ But they work. They work, they work, they work — especially for keeping people out of the hospital. The vaccine is not a golden shield. It’s not a magic wand. But it’s really good, and it’s a lot better than nothing.”
  • Sellick Answers Questions About President Biden’s New Vaccine Mandate [Health]
    9/10/21
    John A. Sellick Jr., DO, professor of medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases, was quoted in an article that seeks to answer questions about President Joe Biden’s recent COVID-19 vaccination mandate that requires all federal employees as well as staff at businesses with more than 100 employees to be vaccinated or undergo weekly testing. The hope is that the mandate will get more people vaccinated and the country closer to normalcy, said Sellick. “We’ve been playing nice for months and now we’ve hit a brick wall,” he said.
  • Doctors Say Vaccine Mandate for Eligible Students Could Help Slow Spread of COVID-19 [WKBW-TV]
    9/10/21
    Peter Winkelstein, MD, executive director of UB’s Institute for Healthcare Informatics and clinical professor of pediatrics, suggests a vaccine mandate for students 12 and older could help reduce a potential spike in cases. “We do this all the time. There are vaccine mandates all the time for kids in school. I don’t see the COVID vaccine as being much different,” he said.
  • What Should Thanksgiving 2021 Look Like? We Spoke To Doctors and Etiquette Experts [Yahoo! Life]
    9/9/21
    Thomas A. Russo, MD, SUNY Distinguished Professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases, was quoted in a Yahoo! Life story reporting on how Thanksgiving 2021 gatherings with family and friends may pan out given the delta variant. Russo discussed the categories of people who may be the most vulnerable, including children and those who are vaccinated but whose immune systems are compromised.
  • Is it Unhygienic to Wear ‘Outside Clothes’ on Your Inside Furniture?
    9/9/21
    Self quoted Thomas A. Russo, MD, SUNY Distinguished Professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases, in a story about whether or not germs can be transferred from clothing worn outside to inside furniture and other items. “The risk isn’t zero, but I think the risk is very low,” he said. The story also ran on MSN.
  • Is It Unhygienic to Wear ‘Outside Clothes’ on Your Inside Furniture? [SELF]
    9/9/21
    Self published a story about whether clothing worn outside can carry infectious microbes into the house and infect you. It quoted Thomas Russo, chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, who said the chances of that happening are low, especially if people are diligent about hand-washing. “For many pathogens, including respiratory and GI pathogens, if your hands are contaminated, you then subsequently have to touch the mouth or eyes or nose to get sick,” Russo said.
  • UB Students Have Highest Vaccination Rate Within SUNY School System
    9/6/21
    WKBW reported that UB, which has mandated COVID-19 vaccines for all students attending class in-person, has the highest student COVID-19 vaccination rate in SUNY. The story quotes UB students including Abigaelle Toussaint, who was reluctant at first to be vaccinated but then got the vaccine. She said, “I feel safer here knowing we are all vaccinated.” The story also quoted Nancy H. Nielsen, MD, PhD, senior associate dean for health policy in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, who said: “I think the only way we’re going to stop the virus is for more and more mandates.” A version of the story also ran on Yahoo! News.
  • ‘COVID-22’ Isn't a Real Thing — Even Though It’s All Over Social Media Right Now. Here’s What You Need to Know [PressFrom]
    9/5/21
    PressFrom reported on various pieces of misinformation on social media about COVID-19 and quoted Thomas A. Russo, MD, SUNY Distinguished Professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases, who explained the origin of the term COVID-19.
  • Doctors and a Buffalo Mom Recommend Those Who Are Pregnant Get the COVID-19 Vaccine [Buffalo News]
    9/5/21
    The Buffalo News published a front-page story reporting that physicians are strongly recommending that pregnant women get the COVID-19 vaccine. The story quotes Sarah L. Berga, MD, professor and chair of obstetrics and gynecology, who said, “The alarm bells first sounded when we found out that only 16 percent of pregnant women in the United States, as of May 2021, had been vaccinated with one dose or more of the COVID-19 vaccination. Then we got a louder alarm when we realized how bad things are if you get COVID-19 during pregnancy.”
  • Covid & Children [WIVB]
    9/3/21
    WIVB broadcast a show dedicated to the topic of COVID-19 and children and featured Mark Hicar, MD, PhD, associate professor of pediatrics in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, who said that the best way adults can help children who can’t yet be vaccinated as they return to school is by decreasing community spread through vaccinations, social distancing and masking. Asked about reducing the possibility of co-infections this coming season with both COVID-19 and flu, Hicar recalled what happened last year and said: “With social distancing and masking, we had the best flu season last year that we’ve had in a long time.”
  • Back to school in a pandemic can be 'perfect storm of infection' for pregnant women [WBFO]
    9/3/21
    WBFO broadcast a story about the potential danger of pregnant women getting infected with COVID-19 now that young children are returning to school in-person. The story quoted Sarah L. Berga, MD, chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and president of UBMD Obstetrics and Gynecology, who said that the back-to-school scenario may create a "perfect storm for infections." She said we're learning "terrifying" risks to pregnant women who get COVID including a death rate for mothers that is 15 times higher. "We think of pregnancy as a happy time, but it's not happy if you get COVID-19," she said.
  • Oregon superintendent fired after enforcing mask mandate, Liberty University under campuswide quarantine
    9/2/21
    Yahoo! News interviewed John Sellick, professor of medicine at the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at UB, about how some universities that have lax COVID-19 rules are now going on campus-wide quarantines. Sellick points out that schools that do not have good COVID-19 protocols in place will continue to see cases. “It impacts more than the kids and schools. Kids bring that home to people, and then they get sick,” he says.
  • CDC Issues a Labor Day Weekend Travel Advisory Asking Unvaccinated People to Stay Home—Here's What to Know
    9/2/21
    John Sellick, professor of medicine at the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at UB was featured in a Health magazine story of recommendations from infectious disease experts about safely gathering over Labor Day weekend. Experts overwhelmingly agree that outdoor picnics, bonfires and beach gatherings are a better choice than getting together with others inside. "It gets back to the concept of how this virus spreads," said Sellick. "You're less likely to get COVID-19 if you're outside." The article was also published on MSN.
  • What You Need to Know About Melioidosis, the Rare Bacterial Infection the CDC Is Warning About
    9/1/21
    Yahoo! Life interviewed John Sellick, professor of medicine at the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, about the melioidosis. There have been four cases of the rare bacterial infection, which has resulted in two deaths. Despite the uncertainty of how these patients in the U.S. got melioidosis, Sellick said people shouldn’t be too worried. “Most of us infectious disease doctors have never seen a case,” said Sellick. The article also appeared in Yahoo Finance (Australia) and MSN.
  • UB hosts forum on masks before kids return to school [WIVB]
    9/1/21
    WIVB-TV interviewed Dennis Kuo, chief of the Division of General Pediatrics, Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, about the university hosting a virtual forum to educate the public on face masks in the classroom. Kuo says almost all children can safely wear a face mask or a face shield. He’s urging parents to speak with their kids about the best ways to cover the noses and mouths. “We recommend a model of explaining the mask, asking the child what is comfortable and modeling wearing the mask, and finding out what mask may be comfortable for the child,” Kuo said.
  • Hochul's announcement of new Covid measures showcases new style of leadership
    8/31/21
    Local, regional and national news media outlets, including The New York Times, The Buffalo News, News 12 Connecticut, WIVB-TV, WGRZ-TV, News 10 Rochester and more covered New York Governor Kathy Hochul’s COVID-related press event held at the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at UB. During the event, Hochul thanked UB President Satish Tripathi and Michael Cain, Vice President for Health Sciences and dean of the Jacobs School for exceptional leadership during the pandemic. She said people across the state looks to UB for guidance related to the pandemic.
  • UB team proposes genome 'archipelago' as new model of how genomic information influences development & disease
    8/30/21
    Niagara Frontier Publications and Technology.org published the announcement about a UB team has developed a new model of how information in the genome is organized, called the novel genome archipelago model (GAM). The model provides new insights into how a multitude of interactions among genes may affect normal development as well as mutations that lead to cancer and other diseases. “GAM offers a physical basis for the idea of systems genomics, which has begun to emerge in recent years, in which individual genome elements are integrated into an ‘organism-like’ entity,” said Michal K. Stachowiak, professor in the department of pathology and anatomical sciences in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.
  • School begins with Covid rates twice as high as August of last year [WIVB]
    8/30/21
    WIVB-TV interviewed Tim Murphy, senior associate dean for clinical and translational research at the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, about the rising COVID-19 rates in Western New York. “The difference between now and last year is the Delta variant,” said Murphy. He notes that the Delta variant is twice as contagious as the original Covid strain. That helps explain why, even with more than half of the population vaccinated, our local positivity rate is higher than it’s been all summer, and worse than all of last summer.
  • People With Delta Variant Often Experience Earaches As Symptom [BestLife]
    8/27/21
    In a story on earaches and COVID-19, the publication BestLife notes that Thomas A. Russo, MD, SUNY Distinguished Professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases, told Prevention in January that earaches could be linked to COVID-19.
  • UB doctor discusses importance of pregnant women getting vaccinated [WIVB]
    8/27/21
    WIVB interviewed Sarah Berga, chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, about pregnant women, COVID-19 and vaccines. Berga cited a recent CDC report that analyzed one million pregnant women who either had COVID-19 or were vaccinated. “The data were very reassuring in terms of the safety of the vaccines during pregnancy and not very reassuring in terms of what happens to women who get COVID.” She said that data showed that pregnant women “have a remarkably high rate of preterm delivery, which is not good for the baby,” as a result of mothers going into respiratory distress, needing mechanical ventilation and being admitted to an ICU. “Now that we know that vaccination is so safe it really stacks up in favor of getting vaccinated.”
  • Should You Mix COVID-19 Vaccines? Here's What Experts Are Saying
    8/27/21
    Shape Magazine included commentary from John Sellick, professor of medicine in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, in an article about the mixing of vaccine shots when a booster becomes available. Will it be safe for someone who received one brand of shot, to receive a different companies’ booster shot? The effect of mixing vaccines is really "unknown," said Sellick. He also pointed this out: "By the time booster shots come to pass, there will be enough supply of every vaccine for people to be able to get what they had before." The article also appeared on MSN Singapore and Yahoo News.
  • How to Take An At-Home COVID-19 Test and What to Do If You Test Positive
    8/26/21
    Thomas A. Russo, MD, SUNY Distinguished Professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases, was quoted in stories on at-home COVID-19 tests, such as the well-known BinaxNOW and QuickVue tests. Russo commented on situations in which people may want to call their doctor.  
  • UB Holds Special Panel About Vaccinating Pregnant Women [Spectrum News]
    8/25/21
    Spectrum news reported that UB hosted a panel for local providers on how to reach more pregnant women and help them feel safe about receiving a coronavirus vaccine. Among the panelists was Erie County Health Commissioner Gale R. Burstein, MD, clinical professor of pediatrics, who said “people should be able to get this vaccine wherever they get their other vaccines.”
  • Many ERs Fail People Who Struggle With Addiction. These New Approaches Might Help
    8/25/21
    National Public Radio and other outlets reported on innovative treatment programs that have been developed in some of the nation’s Emergency Departments in order to meet the growing opioid addiction crisis, which has worsened during the pandemic. The stories discuss New York MATTERS, the program launched by Joshua J. Lynch, DO, clinical associate professor of emergency medicine, and colleagues, which gives patients access to buprenorphine and quickly links them to addiction clinics to continue treatment.
  • Most Nursing Homes in WNY Report Employee Vaccination Rates Below 75% [WIVB-TV]
    8/24/21
    Thomas A. Russo, MD, SUNY Distinguished Professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases, is quoted in a story that reports that most nursing homes in Western New York report employee vaccination rates below 75 percent. Russo says specific outreach efforts should be the first step to boost vaccination rates among health care workers, especially inside nursing homes. “Going into nursing homes, explaining to them why this is so important, both for staff and residents, and if the desired results are not achieved, then I think that’s when the discussion about mandatory vaccines needs to begin,” Russo says.
  • Is There a Test for the Delta Variant? Here’s What Experts Say [Health]
    8/24/21
    Thomas A. Russo, MD, SUNY Distinguished Professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases, explains that knowing which positive COVID-19 tests are from the Delta variant is useful for public health surveillance and tracking. “It’s important from a public health point of view, but from a personal point of view … there’s no significant reason that you need to know which variant you have,” he says.
  • ‘COVID-22’ Isn’t a Real Thing — Even Though It’s All Over Social Media Right Now. Here’s What You Need to Know [Health]
    8/24/21
    Thomas A. Russo, MD, SUNY Distinguished Professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases, helps to explain where the name “COVID-19” came from. “‘CO’ is for coronavirus, ‘VI’ is for virus, and ‘D’ is for disease,” he said. “The ‘-19’ is the year when it was first discovered.”
  • With FDA Approval, More Employers May Mandate Vaccination [WKBW-TV]
    8/24/21
    Nancy H. Nielsen, MD, PhD, senior associate dean for health policy, was interviewed for a story on the FDA’s full approval for the Pfizer vaccine. “Hopefully this will give people an assurance that the data has been looked at as rigorously as possible, as rigorously as any other vaccine in fact,” she said.
  • Russo Asked About Fights Over Mask Mandates in Schools [Verywell Health]
    8/23/21
    Thomas A. Russo, MD, SUNY Distinguished Professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases, was asked to comment about fights over mask mandates in schools. Russo said that these continued battles are a sign that the honor system recommended by the CDC in April when the agency announced that fully vaccinated people no longer needed to wear masks “failed miserably.” “Everyone stopped wearing masks and most people who were wearing masks were the ones who were fully vaccinated,” Russo says. “Mask mandates get the unvaccinated to wear masks, and they help protect everyone.”
  • Russo Comments on FDA Approval of Pfizer Vaccine [Health]
    8/23/21
    Thomas A. Russo, MD, SUNY Distinguished Professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases, spoke to Health.com about the Pfizer vaccine. Full approval should put to bed concerns that the vaccine isn't safe, Russo said. One more thing that can happen with FDA approval: Pfizer can now advertise the vaccine. “I’m not sure if there is a need for that, but it’s now able to happen,” he said.
  • Sengupta Answers Questions About Easing the Back-to-School Transition [WIVB-TV]
    8/23/21
    WIVB-TV interviewed Sourav Sengupta​, MD, assistant professor of psychiatry and pediatrics, about mental health considerations as students return to school this fall. The Q&A covered several topics, including signs that parents can look out for, and tips for helping children make the transition. “Kids thrive on good positive structure and routine, and that’s a lot of what (the) early school years really teaches kids,” Sengupta says. “And so parents can help kids especially in these last couple of days and weeks before school gets going by just returning back to a nice structured routine as they get ready for school.”
  • FDA Gives Approval to Pfizer’s COVID-19 Vaccine [WGRZ-TV]
    8/23/21
    John A. Sellick Jr., DO, professor of medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases, was interviewed for a story on the FDA’s full approval of the Pfizer vaccine. “We are hopeful that the people who were concerned — even though it was the wrong term, they said it was an 'experimental vaccine' — they will see that we have a very high safety and efficacy record and this will prompt some of them to get vaccinated.”
  • Russo Affirms Taking Ivermectin to Treat COVID a Bad Idea
    8/23/21
    Thomas A. Russo, MD, SUNY Distinguished Professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases, was quoted in stories on why taking ivermectin to treat COVID-19 is a bad idea. “There is no data to support that it works,” he says. “It’s best not to take it.”
  • UB Partners With Jericho Road to Open New Family Medical Center [Buffalo Rising]
    8/20/21
    Jericho Road has announced the official opening of its new Community Health Center, located at 182 Breckenridge Street in Buffalo. The new medical center is made possible thanks to a mutually beneficial partnership with the Jacobs School’s family medicine residency program. “This partnership with UB is really big for us,” says Myron Glick, MD, Jericho Road’s founder and CEO. Roseanne C. Berger, MD, senior associate dean for graduate medical education and associate professor of family medicine, said, “Jericho Road is a sought after training location for UB residents and students. Their work fulfills the desire to provide humanistic care and make a difference.”
  • Is it safe to go to the NY State Fair amid delta Covid surge? Experts weigh in
    8/20/21
    An article Syracuse.com on the dangers of large gatherings during the lingering stages of COVID-19, specifically the New York State Fair,  quotes Thomas Russo, chief of infectious diseases at the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. “If you’re unvaccinated, you’re at increased risk,” said Russo. “The unvaccinated are the main drivers of the pandemic. They’re the ones largely getting infected, largely transmitting the virus to others, and they are the ones landing in hospitals and dying.” The article was widely reprinted in publications including MSN and NYup.com.
  • How to live with the Delta variant, according to disease experts
    8/20/21
    An article on Mashable about living with the Delta variant quotes Thomas Russo, chief of infectious diseases at the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. “If your shields are down, then your likelihood of getting seriously ill is significantly higher," explained Russo, according to the article. “The preventative solution is obvious, just as it was for the crippling disease polio and the deadly malady smallpox: vaccines. You should have a plan to be vaccinated as soon as possible.” “Today, with a far more transmissible respiratory virus, it will be hard for the unvaccinated to avoid eventually getting, and possibly spreading disease,” according to the article. "I don't think there's any hiding from this virus," said Russo.” The article was also published in Jioforme and other media.
  • UB professor: COVID vaccine boosters will be giant leap in protection [Spectrum News]
    8/19/21
    A story on Spectrum Local News about COVID-19 vaccines boosters quotes Timothy Murphy, senior associate dean for clinical and translational research at the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biological Sciences. "We know from the studies that have been done, that this will give an enormous leap and jump in protection,” said Murphy. “Even more than the first booster.” “Murphy says the booster will give 30 to 40 times higher levels of antibodies and therefore more protection against the coronavirus,” according to the article. “Doctors say the recommendation is proving to people that the vaccine is a necessary thing.
  • Third Shot’s a Charm: CDC Recommends COVID-19 Booster Shots [Courthouse News Service]
    8/18/21
    A report on the CDC’s announcement that fully vaccinated people should get a third booster shot quoted Kevin J. Gibbons, MD, senior associate dean for clinical affairs and associate professor of neurosurgery, who discussed how he speaks to unvaccinated patients. “Now, it is you’re either going to be vaccinated, or you’re going to get infected,” Gibbons said.
  • How-To Guide for Creating Mouse-Human Chimeric Embryos
    8/18/21
    SciTechDaily and Jioforme.com reported on UB researchers who demonstrated in a study how to produce millions of mature human cells in a mouse embryo. The articles quote Jian Feng, professor of physiology and biophysics in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at UB. “This paper will enable many scientists to use this new platform to study the human disease of their interest,” said Feng. “Over time, it will transform biomedical research toward a more effective use of the human model system to directly study virtually any inborn condition of an individual. It will stimulate unforeseen discoveries and applications that may fundamentally change our understanding of human biology and medicine.”
  • North Carolina Boy Dies from Rare "Brain-Eating" Amoeba After Swimming in Freshwater Pond
    8/18/21
    Health.com reporting on a North Carolina boy who died from a rare “brain-eating amoeba” after swimming in a freshwater quoted Timothy Murphy, senior associate dean for clinical and translational research at the Jacobs School. "There have been so few cases in the last 10 years, and millions of people swim in warm, freshwater each year," Murphy said. But if you or your loved one is the one person it happens to once in a blue moon, it doesn't matter how rare it is,” according to the article. That's why Dr. Murphy recommends simply being ‘aware that it can happen.’ The article with Murphy’s comments was also reposted in MSN and other national and international news outlets.
  • Study: COVID-19 May Disrupt the Body’s Fight-or-Flight Response [Very Well Health]
    8/18/21
    Very Well Health quotes John Sellick, professor of medicine in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, in an article on whether COVID-19 can disrupt the body’s fight-or-flight response. “You can’t deny any of (the studies),” Sellick says. “The problem is that there’s so much variability from person to person with the sympathetic nervous system.”
  • NY infectious disease professor talks potential for spread of COVID at large gatherings [Spectrum News]
    8/16/21
    Numerous stations under the Spectrum News media group quoted Thomas Russo, chief of infectious diseases at the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, in a story on the dangers of COVID-19 at large gatherings. “Dr. Russo says while the risk is lower being outside than inside, concerns still exist when that many people get together, especially with the delta variant,” according to the article. "So much virus is shed by infected individuals,” Russo said. “So if you're outdoors and you're going to be in close proximity with someone for a prolonged period of time, particularly if there's very little wind to dilute or redistribute the virus, using a mask will afford a certain degree of protection.”
  • Christians on the Frontlines of the Pandemic [Christianity Today]
    8/16/21
    An article in Christianity Today on Christians on the frontlines of the pandemic quotes Christine Loui, a fourth-year medical student at the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. “You’re afraid, yes,” she said. “But when you can show patients ‘I’m also afraid, but I have God, and God is my fearless leader and he fights armies,’ that is something that can be very comforting to them.”
  • COVID-19 may affect long-term 'fight or flight' response in young adults [Medical News Today]
    8/16/21
    An article in Medical News Today on the chances of COVID-19 affecting long-term “fight or flight” responses in young adults quotes Svetlana Blitshteyn, clinical assistant professor of neurology at the Jacobs School. “We have been seeing patients with lingering symptoms of fatigue, palpitations, brain fog and exercise intolerance for months after resolution of acute COVID infection,” Blitshteyn said.
  • Virtually all Western New Yorkers now infected with COVID-19 have the delta variant, UB researchers find
    8/15/21
    The Buffalo News reports on COVID-19 genomic sequencing in Erie County led by UB researchers that found the dominant strain of the virus in Western New York is now the Delta variant. “I was expecting to see a lot of Delta, but I was surprised that it was virtually all Delta at this point,” said Jennifer Surtees, associate professor of biochemistry in the Jacobs School. “It was a quick shift.” The article also quotes John Sellick, professor of medicine in the Jacobs School. “This variant does not escape the vaccine,” he said. “Some people will get a mild reinfection but almost all the deaths and hospitalizations we’ve seen are among the unvaccinated and it’s not a large number.” Also reporting on the research were WIVB-TV, Niagara Gazette, The Lockport Union-Sun and Journal, and Spectrum News affiliates.
  • New study shows encouraging evidence about the effectiveness of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine [KCBS]
    8/14/21
    Thomas Russo, chief of infectious diseases at the Jacobs School was quoted by KCBS Radio (San Francisco) on a new study that shows encouraging evidence about the effectiveness of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine. “The data from South Africa is largely encouraging,’ Russo said. “The J and J vaccine where the delta variant was the dominant strain of the study shows that the degree of protection against bad outcomes and mortality was in the 91 to 95 percent range.”
  • Who Qualifies as Immunocompromised? [Health]
    8/13/21
    John A. Sellick Jr., DO, professor of medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases, noted that any links tying constipation to COVID-19 are not very strong. “Given how prevalent constipation is in the general population of the U.S. (afflicting an estimated at 42 million people), it’s difficult to say if COVID-19 actually causes the condition or if it’s a coincidence when it does happen in COVID-19 patients.”
  • FDA Authorizes Antibody Treatment for COVID-19 Exposure [Very Well Health]
    8/13/21
    Very Well Health quotes John Sellick, professor of medicine in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, in a story on U.S. cities requiring proof of vaccination for indoor activities. Sellick points out these vaccination requirements might not make a difference in some cities. "Places like New York City have reasonably high vaccination rates, so some of it might be preaching to the choir," said Sellick.
  • Doctor says anti-mask crowd was 'uncontrollable' at school board meeting; schools in Fla., Texas defy governors by issuing mask mandates [Yahoo! News]
    8/13/21
    An article in Yahoo! News on militant anti-mask crowds in Tennessee quotes Thomas Russo, chief of infectious diseases at the Jacobs School, on the need and safety for masks. “Vaccination and careful safety protocols like mask wearing are crucial to protect students,” Russo said. “At the end of the day, many K-12 children are yet to be vaccinated, and a critical piece of any mitigation plan until that can happen is going to be mask usage.”
  • Who Would be Eligible to get a 3rd Dose of the COVID-19 Vaccine? [WKBW-TV]
    8/12/21
    Thomas A. Russo, MD, SUNY Distinguished Professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases, was quoted in a report that looks at who is eligible for a third dose of COVID-19 vaccine. “There's an increasing amount of data that exists that (immunocompromised individuals’) response to the vaccination is sub-optimal. There’s also an increasing amount of data that shows that vaccinated people who land in the hospital and get more severely ill these are the individuals that’s occurring with. Lastly, there’s an increasing body that shows if they receive a third shot, it enhances their antibody response.”
  • Sellick Talks About Melioidosis, the Rare Bacterial Infection the CDC Is Warning About
    8/12/21
    John A. Sellick Jr., DO, professor of medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases, was quoted in stories about melioidosis, the rare bacterial infection that the CDC recently issued a warning about. Despite the uncertainty of how these patients in the U.S. got melioidosis, infectious disease experts say you shouldn’t be too worried about this. “Most of us infectious disease doctors have never seen a case,” Sellick said.
  • Russo Comments on Concerns About Johnson & Johnson Vaccine [Washington Post]
    8/10/21
    The Washington Post interviewed Thomas A. Russo, MD, SUNY Distinguished Professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases, for a story about concerns many people who received the single-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine are expressing following a South Africa trial that looked at the effectiveness of the J&J vaccine. “Data suggest Johnson & Johnson is a very solid vaccine that protects against the delta variant. It may not match up as well against the mRNA vaccine, but we need a lot more data on both of these vaccines.”
  • Erie County Hospitals See Uptick in COVID-19 Cases [Spectrum News]
    8/9/21
    Spectrum news quoted Thomas A. Russo, MD, SUNY Distinguished Professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases, in a story reporting that Erie County hospitals are seeing an uptick in COVID-19 cases, which Russo attributes largely to the delta variant. “The delta variant is by far the most infectious,” he said. “In fact, its infectivity rivals that of chickenpox, and it’s due to acquiring mutations that allow it to both attach better and shed more virus for a more prolonged period of time.”
  • Hospice Buffalo to Require Employees to be Vaccinated [Buffalo News]
    8/9/21
    A Buffalo News story reporting that Hospice and Palliative Care Buffalo will require all its employees to be vaccinated for COVID-19 quotes Nancy H. Nielsen, MD, PhD, senior associate dean for health policy, who said Hospice is “doing the right thing in making sure its employees protect the patients they serve.” Vaccination also protects the employees from serious illness and death due to COVID-19, she said. “This is a no-brainer, frankly,” said Nielsen, who is a member of Hospice Buffalo’s board of trustees and executive committee. “Health care workers need to get vaccinated.”
  • Expect Several More Weeks of Rising COVID-19 Cases, Local Experts Say [Buffalo News]
    8/8/21
    A Buffalo News story reporting that there will likely be several more weeks of rising COVID-19 cases includes interviews with Thomas A. Russo, MD, SUNY Distinguished Professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases, and Manoj J. Mammen, MD, associate professor of medicine in the Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine. On a recent day, 70 people were hospitalized with COVID in Western New York. A year earlier to the day, that number was only 29. “At that time, the county was in lockdown in terms of commercial and scholastic and other activities. People, behavior-wise, were just not interacting with each other at all,” Mammen said. “Now we have almost normal business and scholastic and personal interactions. I think that’s the difference.” Added Russo: “For the most part, if you’re fully vaccinated, your concern should be less, but not zero. It doesn’t mean your behavior should be reckless.”
  • New Accreditation For UBMD Pediatrics’ Sleep Medicine Center [In Good Health]
    8/8/21
    In Good Health reported that the UBMD Pediatrics Sleep Medicine Center has received accreditation from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM), making it Western New York’s only pediatric-dedicated sleep center with this accreditation. The story quotes the center’s physicians, Amanda Hassinger and Geovanny Perez, both UB Department of Pediatrics faculty members, and Steven Lipshultz, president of UBMD Pediatrics and A. Conger Goodyear Professor and chair of the department in the Jacobs School.
  • Dealing with Back-to-School Anxiety: What Can Parents Do? [In Good Health]
    8/8/21
    In Good Health reported on back-to-school anxiety and quoted Michael Andragna, clinical assistant professor of psychiatry in the Jacob School, who said: “If the child is anxious about the first day of high school or middle school and a new building, drive to the school a couple times. Go inside, if possible. That takes a lot of the pressure off the first day.” 
  • UB Lab Part of Joint State Effort to Dig More Deeply Into COVID-19 Variants in WNY [Buffalo News]
    8/7/21
    The Buffalo News reported that a UB lab will share a $20 million infusion to identify more COVID-19 variants as part of a partnership between the state and five specialized labs across New York. The effort will help medical providers and the public learn more quickly when a new variant emerges, and which variants become dominant in more pockets of the state. “It allows us to sequence more and to sequence more broadly,” said Jennifer A. Surtees, PhD, associate professor of biochemistry, who co-directs UB’s Genome, Environment and Microbiome Community of Excellence.
  • Russo: More Questions Than Answers About COVID Long-Haulers Syndrome [Buffalo News]
    8/6/21
    Thomas A. Russo, MD, SUNY Distinguished Professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases, told the Buffalo News that COVID-19 symptoms that linger after recovery are a reality for some patients. “The sicker you are, the more likely you are to have these symptoms that persist after recovery,” he said. “However, certain individuals who had mild symptoms still have these persistent symptoms. We need to think of it as not just being a virus that affects our respiratory tract. This virus can affect any organ in the body.”
  • Murphy Comments on Delta Variant: A New Chapter to the Pandemic [Oneindia]
    8/6/21
    An article on the what Delta variant of COVID-19 means for the next chapter of the ongoing pandemic quoted Timothy F. Murphy, MD, SUNY Distinguished Professor of medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases and senior associate dean for clinical and translational research. “When we recalculate the percent of the population that we will need to have vaccinated in order to substantially reduce the amount of circulating virus, the number is going to be higher than 70 percent,” said Murphy. “It’s probably going to be in the 85 percent or 90 percent rate, to get what is called herd immunity.”
  • Set Up Your Kids for Back-to-School Success With These Tips From Pediatricians [Buffalo News]
    8/6/21
    Fred D. Archer III, MD, and Sarah J. Ventre, MD, both clinical assistant professors of pediatrics, are quoted in a back-to-school story in the wake of COVID-19. “The biggest concern I hear from parents is, 'If I send my kid to school, are they going to get COVID?’” said Archer. “They’e also worried about all the time their kid has been home and if they’re going to function well.” Ventre said primary care providers are an important resource when considering a vaccine for parents and children over 12. “I don’t think there is going to be a mandate for school, but I think it’s going to be highly recommended,” she said.
  • The Disproportionate Pandemic Strain on Women [Buffalo News]
    8/6/21
    Sarah L. Berga, MD, professor and chair of obstetrics and gynecology, was consulted for a story on how the pandemic has disproportionately impacted women. She said the pandemic exposed and “amplified dramatically” existing gender inequities in health care access. “Health care workers were stretched thin; public spaces were scary. Especially for teens coming of age, the pandemic made things worse,” Berga said. “That’s one of the reasons we were so frantic to get telehealth going right away across the United States. Now we understand its benefits, and we understand its limitations. People who are less savvy are less likely to engage with that.”
  • Sellick on Delta Plus Variant [MSN]
    8/5/21
    John A. Sellick Jr., DO, professor of medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases, was quoted in a story about the “Delta Plus” variant of the coronavirus, first detected in April in India’s state of Maharashtra. “As of now, [the symptoms] seem to the same as [those] of the Delta variant and earlier coronavirus strains,” he said.
  • Is a Nosebleed a Sign of COVID-19? Here’s What Experts Say
    8/5/21
    Multiple news outlets quoted John A. Sellick Jr., DO, professor of medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases, in stories on whether nosebleeds are a sign of COVID-19. Sellick says nosebleeds definitely are not a main symptom of COVID-19, but adds “we’re at the time of year where people get nosebleeds anyway, due to allergies and being in air conditioning.”
  • Is Constipation a Symptom of COVID-19? Here’s What Experts Say [Health]
    8/4/21
    John A. Sellick Jr., DO, professor of medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases, noted that any links tying constipation to COVID-19 are not very strong. “Given how prevalent constipation is in the general population of the U.S. (afflicting an estimated at 42 million people), it's difficult to say if COVID-19 actually causes the condition or if it's a coincidence when it does happen in COVID-19 patients.”
  • Leonard: Workplace Drinking Events Should be Discontinued [Slate]
    8/4/21
    Kenneth E. Leonard, PhD, professor of psychiatry and director of UB’s Clinical and Research Institute on Addictions, is quoted in a story on workplace drinking events. A recent study found that when employers or supervisors initiate drinking events, employees feel obligated to participate. “It is almost universally true that easier access to alcohol increases drinking as well as hazardous drinking,” said Leonard. “Alcohol availability in the workplace certainly has this effect.”
  • Russo Comments on Why COVID Infection Rates in Kids Are on the Rise in Some States, but Not Others
    8/4/21
    Thomas A. Russo, MD, SUNY Distinguished Professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases, was quoted in stories about the rise of COVID-19 infections, including in children. “There’s actually data out there that if adults get vaccinated, to a degree, that decreases COVID cases in children,” he said.
  • Sellick Explains Why the Delta Variant Is So Contagious
    8/4/21
    Multiple news outlets reached out to John A. Sellick Jr., DO, professor of medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases, for help explaining why the Delta variant is so dangerous. The Delta variant has several mutations on its spike protein, the crown-like piece of the virus that latches onto a person’s cells, he said. Thus, Delta “binds very tightly,” compared to other variants, Sellick said, allowing it to “stay attached very well” once it gets ahold of cell receptors.”
  • Vaccine Mandates for Health Care Workers Draw Praise, Criticism [Buffalo News]
    8/3/21
    The Buffalo News quoted Nancy H. Nielsen, MD, PhD, senior associate dean for health policy, in a story on mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations for front-line health care workers at state-owned facilities. “It’s the right thing to do to protect patients and to protect ourselves. Absolutely,” said Nielsen.
  • Nowak Included in Life Sciences Power 50 [City & State]
    8/1/21
    City & State named Norma J. Nowak, PhD, professor of biochemistry and executive director of UB’s New York State Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences, and Venugopal Govindaraju, PhD, UB’s vice president for research and economic development, to its Life Sciences Power 50 list of influential New Yorkers in the life sciences. They share the No. 10 spot.
  • Russo Comments on Mandatory Vaccinations for US Service Members
    7/31/21
    Thomas A. Russo, MD, SUNY Distinguished Professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases, was quoted in stories on mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations for U.S. service members. The exact date for mandatory vaccinations will depend on when the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) fully licenses the available vaccines. As of July 28, the vaccines available in the U.S. all have an “emergency use authorization.” To get full FDA approval, the government agency requires six months of safety data from users, said Russo.
  • ‘World’s First’ Magnetic Robotic-Assisted Surgeries Performed With Levita Magnetics’ Newest Platform [Robotics & Automation News]
    7/30/21
    Steven D. Schwaitzberg, MD, professor and chair of surgery, is quoted in story on a new platform for robotic-assisted surgery. “Levita’s original Magnetic Surgical System has been reported to improve surgical outcomes for patients with less pain and fewer incisions,” said Schwaitzberg. “Further advancing this technology into a robotic surgery platform has the potential to be useful in many procedures by providing a stable visualization platform without the need for an additional assistant.”
  • FDA Urges Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna to Expand Trials for Kids 5 to 11 [Verywell Health]
    7/30/21
    Mark D. Hicar, MD, PhD, associate professor of pediatrics in the Division of Infectious Diseases, is quoted in a new report that vaccine makers Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna are expanding their clinical trials for children aged 5 to 11 at the urging of the Food and Drug Administration. “This expansion is to make sure they aren’t seeing a much higher rate of heart inflammation in younger children,” he said.
  • Covid variant that originated in Colombia has been detected in Miami - accounting for 10% of cases [Daily Mail]
    7/29/21
    The Daily Mail in England quoted John Sellick, professor of medicine in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, from a Washington Post story reporting that COVID-19 variant B.1.621, which originated in Colombia, has been found in South Florida. As of now, experts are unsure of any unique qualities the unnamed variant could have. “The only time it becomes important is if it gives virus selective advantage, which we've seen with delta variant,” Sellick said. “We'll see with this one. . . . What we have to see is two weeks from now, or four weeks from now, is this going to do another trick and wind up being more?”
  • How to navigate the CDC's new mask guidance: Experts' surprising advice [Yahoo! News]
    7/29/21
    Yahoo! interviewed Thomas Russo, chief of infectious diseases in the Jacobs School, for a story explaining the CDC’s new masking guidance. Russo urges people to keep this in mind: “The honor system has failed. Mask mandates will hopefully get the unvaccinated to wear masks. But, at the end of the day, vaccination is our ticket out of this.”
  • Could your body's insulin response influence your food choices? A UB study aims to find out
    7/29/21
    Niagara Frontier Publications reported on a new study underway at UB in which researchers aim to find out whether the body’s insulin response influences food choices. “In general, we know that foods that have a higher glycemic index, that is foods with more sugar, tend to be more reinforcing, motivating people to consume more of them, which is why so many people have difficulty cutting them out,” explained Matthew Biondolillo, study coordinator and a postdoctoral associate in the Behavioral Medicine Lab in the Jacobs School. “We are trying to understand if there are physiological differences that make avoiding those foods more difficult for people who have Type 2 diabetes or are at risk for developing it.”
  • Ask the Experts: Answering your questions about the delta variant [WGRZ]
    7/29/21
    WGRZ-TV interviewed Nancy Nielsen, senior associate dean for health policy in the Jacobs School, to answer common questions viewers have about the delta variant. “What’s happened over these last months is, around the world new genetic mutations of that virus have developed and we are seeing it everywhere. So the delta variant is of the most concern right now because it is so much more contagious than the alpha variant,” Nielsen said. “With the delta variant of the virus, you don’t see nearly as often the loss of taste and smell. Much more upper respiratory infections, runny nose you might think it's a cold.”
  • Insulin, corticosteroids may produce additive anti-inflammatory effect in severe COVID-19 [Healio]
    7/28/21
    An article in Healio about a new UB study finding that a combination of anti-inflammatory and antithrombotic actions induced by IV insulin infusion could provide “potent inhibition” of the effects of COVID-19 in hospitalized patients quotes study co-authors Paresh Dandona, SUNY Distinguished Professor and chief of endocrinology, and Husam Ghanim, research associate professor of endocrinology, both in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. “Our data show that if you combine high doses of steroids with insulin, insulin takes away the pro-inflammatory effect of the steroid. In combination, you have a very nice, additive, potent mixture,” Dandona told Healio.
  • Defense Department Now Requires Masks Indoors, Regardless of Vaccination Status
    7/28/21
    A Newsweek story reporting that the Department of Defense is now requiring people, regardless of vaccination status, to wear masks inside all of its facilities quotes UB infectious disease expert Thomas Russo, who spoke about the process of FDA approval for the vaccines, which is expected soon. WBFO also interviewed Russo in a story about the possibility of the indoor masking requirement returning to Erie County. Russo said the spread of COVID-19 has largely been through the unvaccinated. “We've been using the honor system and it’s clear that at least in certain parts of the country, in certain venues the honor system really hasn't been getting that done,” Russo said. “So the mask mandates is primarily about making sure that the unvaccinated wear masks in high risk scenarios where we know this virus spreads very well.”
  • Another coronavirus variant has reached Florida. Here’s what you need to know. [Washington Post]
    7/28/21
    The Washington Post quoted John Sellick, professor of medicine in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, in a story reporting that a coronavirus variant discovered in Colombia is showing up among patients in South Florida, increasing infections and putting health officials on alert. In the United States, the variant has yet to be named a variant of interest or concern, accounting for just more than 2.1 percent of cases as of July 17, Sellick noted. “The only time it becomes important is if it gives virus selective advantage, which we’ve seen with delta variant,” he said. “We’ll see with this one. … What we have to see is two weeks from now, or four weeks from now, is this going to do another trick and wind up being more?” Sellick noted how quickly the delta variant went from accounting for just more than 10 percent of cases at the beginning of June to more than 80 percent of cases by mid-July.
  • New CDC mask guidance spurs resistance, confusion amid COVID-19 surge
    7/28/21
    A Sinclair Broadcast Group story reporting that the CDC’s new mask guidance has spurred resistance and confusion amid a surge of COVID-19 cases quotes Timothy Murphy, SUNY Distinguished Professor of medicine in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. The guidance appears to be an appropriate response to evidence that vaccinated people might be able to spread the virus, Murphy said. Given the confusion and frustration that greeted the announcement, he suggested the CDC could have communicated it better, but the policy reflects the science. “It’s the reality of the pandemic,” Murphy said. “The pandemic keeps changing.” The story was published on dozens of television news sites around the country.
  • WNY health expert explains CDC’s new masking guidelines [Spectrum News]
    7/28/21
    John Sellick was interviewed for a Spectrum News story explaining the CDC’s new masking guidelines. Sellick noted that even if people are vaccinated, they can still carry and spread COVID-19. “The CDC considers 50 cases for 100,000 population to be at the point at which we’re considered to be a great risk,” he said. “We are still well below that. Our percent positivity is around 2%, so the numbers locally remain quite favorable, but we have to keep an eye on them.”
  • Popular Carrots Recalled Nationwide Due to Possible Salmonella Contamination [Prevention]
    7/27/21
    Prevention reported on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s voluntary recall of several popular brands of carrots due to salmonella concerns and quoted Thomas Russo, professor and chief of infectious diseases at the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. “The carrots could be contaminated at multiple spots, but probably the most likely scenario would be some combination of contaminated ground water or fertilizer when they’re in the ground,” he said.
  • Western New York medical experts and school leaders react to change in CDC guidance [WKBW]
    7/27/21
    WKBW-TV interviewed the Jacobs School’s Dennis Kuo, associate professor and division chief, general pediatrics, and Karl Yu, clinical assistant professor of pediatrics, for a story on local medical experts’ reactions to the CDC’s recommendation on Tuesday that everyone in K-12 schools should wear a mask, regardless of vaccination status. “I think it’s great. Honestly, I think the CDC caught up to what we were saying,” said Kuo, who serves as the medical director for Buffalo Public Schools. Said Yu: “The American Academy of Pediatrics took a stand and said it outright that we should be more aggressive in maintaining masking indoors. We were waiting for the CDC to change their mind and catch up.”
  • Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz: 'We're not out of this pandemic' [Buffalo News]
    7/27/21
    The Buffalo News quoted UB infectious disease expert Thomas Russo in a story on Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz’ public update on COVID-19, during which Poloncarz reported that the region’s seven-day positivity rate has creeped up to over 2%. Still, Russo said it’s not all bad news. “We’re doing pretty well in Western New York,” he said, while noting that the delta variant is to blame for the increase in cases. “It’s crashed our party here in Western New York,” Russo said.
  • When will the COVID-19 vaccines get full FDA approval? [WKBW]
    7/27/21
    WKBW-TV interviewed Thomas Russo for a story on when the COVID-19 vaccines are likely to receive full approval from the Food and Drug Administration. “People should be reassured that the approval in this country for a drug or a vaccine is the most rigorous in the world,” Russo said, adding that full licensing from the FDA requires six months of safety data. “For the people on the fence waiting for full licensing, hopefully this will move them to wanting to get the vaccine,” Russo said. “However, I think the delta variant is being a good inspiration as well.”
  • Delta variant linked to uptick in COVID cases [WKBW]
    7/26/21
    WKBW reports on the uptick of COVID-19 cases throughout the U.S. due largely to unvaccinated people and the delta variant. “It’s pretty clear we’re not out of the woods by any means,” said Nancy Nielsen, senior associate dean for health care policy in the Jacobs School.
  • Russo on COVID-19 Updates [Buffalo News]
    7/23/21
    In Western New York on July 14, the seven-day average for COVID-19 cases was 25. That’s more than four times higher than the lowest figure from early June – but it is significantly less than last summer’s lowest numbers, which hovered around 40 for a seven-day average. “We’re going to have a reasonable summer,” says Thomas A. Russo, MD, SUNY Distinguished Professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases. “Last summer was really pretty good, and we had no vaccination and a small proportion had been naturally infected. … We had a lot more cases than we’re having now.” Russo noted, too, that hospitalization and death numbers locally are at all-time lows, and nearly two-thirds of eligible Erie County residents are fully vaccinated.
  • Vascular disease in women presents differently than it does in men [Medical Xpress]
    7/23/21
    Medical Xpress reports “Vascular Disease in Women: An Overview of the Literature and Treatment Recommendations.” The new book is edited by Linda M. Harris, professor of surgery in the Jacobs School and program director of UB’s vascular surgery residency, and Caitlin W. Hicks, MD, associate professor of surgery at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
  • As Mass Vaccination Sites Close, COVID Fight Shifts to Doctors, Pharmacies, Mini-Clinics [Buffalo News]
    7/22/21
    The Buffalo News reported that with the closure of the Niagara Falls vaccine center, UB’s South Campus hosts the only state-run vaccination center locally and quoted Nancy H. Nielsen, MD, PhD, senior associate dean for health policy, who said: “Now that supply is plentiful and we’ve vaccinated most of the people who really wanted to be vaccinated, we’re now trying to do the hard-to-reach people or the people who are reluctant or opposed.”
  • Parents, Kids Can Sleep Easier With New UBMD Pediatrics Specialty Center [Buffalo News]
    7/22/21
    The Buffalo News reported on the opening of the area’s first child sleep study center run by UBMD Pediatrics at Oishei Children’s Hospital and the center’s recent accreditation by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. The story describes how there was no pediatric sleep study center in the region until North Buffalo native Amanda B. Hassinger, MD, clinical associate professor of pediatrics, took matters into her own hands. Nine days after completing a yearlong sleep medicine fellowship at UB last June, she helped open the UBMD Pediatrics Sleep Medicine Center. Hassinger and Alberto Monegro, MD, attending physician in the Department of Medicine, run the center.
  • UB Genomics and Bioinformatics Core chosen to help state identify COVID-19 variants
    7/22/21
    News outlets statewide, including Crain’s New York Business, WGRZ-TV, WIVB-TV, RochesterFirst, NEWS 10 ABC in Albany, Syracuse.com and CNYCentral, reported on New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s announcement Tuesday about a partnership between the state health department’s Wadsworth Center and five labs, including one at UB, that will help increase the state’s efforts to identify COVID-19 variants.
  • Risks of Delta Variant: Russo Advises [WKBW]
    7/21/21
    Breakthrough COVID-19 infections are being reported across the country, but Thomas A. Russo, MD, SUNY Distinguished Professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases, says vaccinated Western New Yorkers should not be too concerned. “I think the people in Western New York that should be nervous are the unvaccinated,” Russo says. “If you’re unvaccinated, the delta variant is highly infectious, and it will find you.” A new study that has not been peer reviewed yet shows the Johnson and Johnson vaccine may be less effective against the delta variant compared to the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. “The J&J may be more imperfect than the other vaccines,” Russo says. “We will have to see how that plays out. I think the J&J will keep us out of hospitals, and that’s the most important thing.”
  • Sellick Comments on Delta Variant and Vaccines [Spectrum News 1]
    7/21/21
    New York’s COVID-19 cases and percentage of people testing positive have risen over the past month. Data from the state and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows roughly 56 percent of all New Yorkers have been vaccinated. The CDC says the more infectious delta variant of the virus now accounts for 83 percent of new cases in the United States. John A. Sellick Jr., DO, professor of medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases, says it is a worry, but there are some positives to take away. “If you’re completely vaccinated, you have protection against this, especially with the mRNA vaccines,” he says. “The problem is for the people who have not been vaccinated. The vast majority of the high caseload states are states with low vaccination rates. It’s a real lesson for us. The more people we get vaccinated, the better we’re going to be, [the] delta [variant] or not.”
  • Mechtler Comments on Jack Eichel’s Neck Injury [Buffalo News]
    7/21/21
    Speculation has run rampant since Buffalo Sabres captain Jack Eichel announced that he had a disconnect with the team about how best to address a neck injury that has sidelined him since March. People wonder: Should the Sabres keep him? If they trade him, where might he go? What should they expect in return for an NHL difference-maker drafted six years ago at age 18? “This is an unfortunate situation, but not an uncommon situation with athletes,” says Laszlo L. Mechtler, MD, clinical professor of neurology. “The approach to this should be dictated not by agents, patients or athletes, but by physicians who are specializing in this.”
  • Hicar: Traveling With Unvaccinated Children [Health]
    7/20/21
    Children under the age of 12 are not currently able to get any COVID-19 vaccine in the United States, which prompts the question: Is it safe to travel with an unvaccinated child? A lot of it comes down to personal risk tolerance, says Mark D. Hicar, MD, PhD, associate professor of pediatrics in the Division of Infectious Diseases. “The amount of risk one tolerates on a day-to-day basis varies by person, so something that one considers ‘safe,’ others may think is risky,” he points out. Still, there are some other factors to consider. “If the location you are planning to travel is experiencing high rates, I would consider canceling the trip or making sure the location you are staying in and the people you will interact with have been practicing social distancing and optimal safety measures,” says Hicar.
  • Russo Discusses Risk of Outdoor Transmission [The New Daily]
    7/19/21
    Thomas A. Russo, MD, SUNY Distinguished Professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases, says: “If you think you’re safe from the coronavirus just because you’re outdoors, think again. While the wind and the large volume of air make the outdoors less risky than being indoors, circumstances matter.” He says someone who is infectious “can cough or sneeze, or just talk and, if you happen to inhale those respiratory droplets or they plop into your eye, you can get infected”. He advises that, depending on where you are, “maximize the distance between yourself and others.”
  • Murphy Discusses Health Disparities [Buffalo News]
    7/19/21
    The issue of health disparities in Buffalo and Erie County is an old one. But the question of what to do about it keeps getting new answers. The latest answer is the creation of a new Erie County Office of Health Equity. Erie County fares worse on many state and national averages when it comes to premature deaths, lack of preventative care and childhood poverty among African American residents. U.S. News and World Report gave Erie County an overall community health score of 53 on a 100-point scale. But for health equity, the score dropped to 22, due to the racial gap in pollution exposure and premature deaths. Timothy F. Murphy, MD, SUNY Distinguished Professor of medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases and senior associate dean for clinical and translational research, says only five or six ZIP codes in Buffalo account for much of the bad outcomes for Erie County. Without them, the county’s ranking wouldn't be near the bottom, like it is now, when comes to matters of health equity.
  • Kuo Discusses Face Coverings for Kids [Yahoo! News]
    7/19/21
    The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has released updated guidance for the 2021-2022 school year, with an important point that differs from advice from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: The AAP recommends that all students and staff wear face coverings, regardless of vaccination status. “The Delta variant looks like it’s behaving much more aggressively than prior strains of the virus — it’s much more contagious and seems to be impacting kids more,” says Dennis Z. Kuo, MD, associate professor of pediatrics and chief of the Division of General Pediatrics. “As a pediatrician, I want to see the kids in schools with the goals of schools staying open and all kids in schools. Masking can help.”
  • Neuroscience Doctoral Students Create Podcast About Overlooked Medical History [WGRZ-TV]
    7/15/21
    A feature story reported on “Reclaim the Bench,” the podcast developed by Jamal B. Williams and Megan E. Conrow-Graham, students in the doctoral program in neuroscience, about the untold stories of science and medicine. Conrow-Graham explained that the idea for the podcast began as a joke, but became serious when they quickly realized they couldn’t find a podcast dedicated to the topics they were interested in. Williams said: “The mission of our podcast is to uncover those historical roots to inform people about why we may experience these types of discrepancies in health care today.”
  • FDA Panel Nearly Unanimous on Liver Transplant Perfusion Device [MedPage Today]
    7/15/21
    A story reporting that the FDA’s Gastroenterology and Urology Devices Panel approved TransMedics’ Organ Care System liver perfusion device noted that Steven D. Schwaitzberg, MD, professor and chair of surgery, and chair of the panel, said that a core question for the panel was whether or not early allograft dysfunction was a good surrogate for clinical outcomes.
  • Leonard Comments On Why Alcohol Use Among Women Increased During Pandemic [WKBW-TV]
    7/14/21
    A story reported on the increase in alcohol use among women during the pandemic and added that UB’s Clinical and Research Institute on Addictions was recently awarded a $1.7 million grant from the National Institute for Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. The story quoted Kenneth E. Leonard, PhD, professor of psychiatry and the director of the UB institute, who said: “Alcohol is the fifth-leading risk factor in deaths world-wide. It’s responsible for more deaths in the U.S. than the opioid crisis. So, understanding this disorder and being able to treat it is a really important public health issue.”
  • New Accreditation for UBMD Pediatrics’ Sleep Medicine Center [Niagara Frontier Publications]
    7/13/21
    UBMD Pediatrics has received accreditation from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, making it Western New York’s only pediatric-dedicated sleep center with this accreditation. The report quotes Geovanny Perez, MD, clinical associate professor of pediatrics and chief of the Division of Pulmonology and Sleep Medicine, who said: “Our center takes a holistic approach to sleep problems and collaborates with different subspecialties to provide the best treatment approach.”
  • Xia Awarded $1.6M to Enhance Imaging-Driven Leg Ulcer Care [Health Imaging]
    7/13/21
    UB researchers have received a $1.6 million National Institutes of Health grant to study photoacoustic tomography and improve its ability to assess post-surgical blood circulation in those with chronic leg ulcers. A story quoted principal investigator Jun Xia, PhD, associate professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering, a joint program between the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences and the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, who said: “We’ll compare the results with the imaging acquired before the surgery to see if there is any change in the blood perfusion to the ulcer. If there is a positive change, then we know the surgery was successful.”
  • New Treatments Could Transform the Way Migraine Headaches Are Treated
    7/13/21
    Multiple outlets reported on an editorial published in JAMA co-authored by Melissa L. Rayhill, MD, clinical assistant professor of neurology, discussing new treatments for migraine headache. “There are so many good, migraine-specific acute treatment options now. For some patients, the quest to find something that works can take months or longer. Many will find a safe and effective acute treatment for their migraine headaches after just one visit to their physician’s office, though typically it may take a couple of medication trials over a few weeks to find a good fit.”
  • Almost Two Weeks Since Last COVID-19 Death in Western New York [Buffalo News]
    7/10/21
    The Buffalo News reported that it was almost two weeks since the last COVID-19 death in WNY despite jumps in infections worldwide due to the more transmissible delta variant. The story quoted Thomas A. Russo, MD, SUNY Distinguished Professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases, who said, “If you want to minimize deaths, keep pushing vaccinations.”
  • WNY COVID-19 Deaths Continue to Decline, But ‘Some Work to be Done’ Preventing Spread [Buffalo News]
    7/9/21
    The Buffalo News reported on the improving mortality picture in the region, quoting Thomas A. Russo, MD, SUNY Distinguished Professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases, who noted: “We’ve done a pretty good job vaccinating the most vulnerable. We still have some work to be done.”
  • Russo Says No Need for COVID-19 Vaccine Booster Shot at This Time [Spectrum News]
    7/9/21
    A report on meetings between Pfizer and U.S. health officials regarding the need for a COVID-19 vaccine booster shot noted that Thomas A. Russo, MD, SUNY Distinguished Professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases, said that no booster is needed at this time, which is also the position of the CDC and the FDA.
  • Get Back on Track: What to Expect During Your Next Health Care Visits [Buffalo News]
    7/9/21
    Vijay S. Iyer, MD, PhD, associate professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, was interviewed by the Buffalo News regarding COVID protocol in surgery centers. Iyer said protocols in health offices, surgery centers and hospitals may be inconvenient but are necessary during a waning pandemic in which a sizable number of adults remain unvaccinated or have health conditions that limit vaccine effectiveness.
  • WHO Says Certain Arthritis Drugs Can Be ‘Life-Saving’ Against Severe COVID-19
    7/8/21
    Prevention Magazine interviewed Manoj J. Mammen, MD, associate professor of medicine in the Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine, about two arthritis drugs — tocilizumab and sarilumab — that are being recommended by the World Health Organization for use on critically ill COVID-19 patients. The drugs have worked well on severe cases, but are not as effective on mild COVID cases. “There is less evidence that there is an abundance of interleukin-6 activity with less severe cases of COVID-19, and so it seems less likely it would be helpful,” as the initial inflammatory response would not be as high,” said Mammen. The article was also published in other media outlets.
  • What Experts Say About COVID-19 Vaccine Booster Shot Probability [WKBW]
    7/6/21
    WKBW interviewed Timothy F. Murphy, MD, SUNY Distinguished Professor of medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases and senior associate dean for clinical and translational research, about the long-range effectiveness of the vaccination shots. It was originally believed that the shots would be effective for six months. Murphy said vaccine data is still being collected and analyzed. “We now know about six months out that they continue to be highly effective,” said Murphy. Thomas A. Russo, MD, SUNY Distinguished Professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases, said we might need a booster if a variant arises where as our initial vaccination does not afford optimal protection.
  • Summertime COVID Respite Provides Vaccine Opportunity [WBFO]
    7/6/21
    WBFO reported on the continued reopening of Western New York after the pandemic and quoted John A. Sellick Jr., DO, professor of medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases, who said the warm summer weather eases the threat of COVID because people are spending more times outdoors and are getting their vaccines. The story also quoted Thomas A. Russo, MD, SUNY Distinguished Professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases.
     
  • UB Students to Study Pandemic’s Impact on Alcohol Abuse [Buffalo News]
    7/6/21
    WBFO reported that UB’s Clinical and Research Institute on Addictions has received federal funding to expand the number of graduate students it trains to conduct research on alcoholism and ways to treat it. The story quoted Kenneth E. Leonard, PhD, the institute director and research professor of psychiatry in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. “Heavy alcohol use was on the increase before the pandemic,” Leonard said, noting that there have also been increases in alcohol use among groups that traditionally were light users of alcohol, including older people and women.
  • Scientists Publish How-To Guide for Producing Mature Human Cells in a Mouse Embryo
    7/5/21
    Scientific news websites published articles on UB research that demonstrated that it was possible to produce millions of mature human cells in a mouse embryo. The ability to produce mature human cells in a living organism is critical if the ultimate promise of stem cells to treat or cure human disease is to be realized. “This paper will enable many scientists to use this new platform to study the human disease of their interest,” said Jian Feng, PhD, professor of physiology and biophysics. Feng added, “Over time, it will transform biomedical research toward a more effective use of the human model system to directly study virtually any inborn condition of an individual. It will stimulate unforeseen discoveries and applications that may fundamentally change our understanding of human biology and medicine."
  • COVID-19 Shows Stubborn Flash in WNY as New Cases Tick Higher [Buffalo News]
    7/5/21
    The Buffalo News interviewed Peter Winkelstein, MD, executive director of UB’s Institute for Healthcare Informatics and clinical professor of pediatrics, about the rise in COVID-19 cases in Western New York. “The virus is not gone,” said Winkelstein, who suspects that the highly contagious delta variant and the easing of COVID-19 restrictions are two factors at play. “The virus, unfortunately, will probably never be gone. It is probably with us for the rest of human history,” he said.
  • A 70-Year-Old Man Had 3 Tickborne Diseases at Once — Here’s How That Happens
    7/4/21
    Prevention Magazine spoke to Thomas A. Russo, MD, SUNY Distinguished Professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases, about how a 70-year-old man had three tick-borne diseases at once. “It’s relatively uncommon for a tick to have all three diseases,” said Russo. “It’s more common for a tick to have two out of three, and most common for a tick to have one.” The article also appeared in other news outlets.
  • Russo: Cases, Hospitalizations Around July 4 [WGRZ]
    7/1/21
    July 4 was one of the main dates mentioned by several lawmakers for when Americans could expect a “return to normal.” Here in New York, with most restrictions already lifted, we’re ahead of the Independence Day goal, but we are not fully post-COVID-19 just yet. Thomas A. Russo, MD, SUNY Distinguished Professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases, reflects on how far we’ve come as a region, but he still urges caution for individuals who are not vaccinated or those who are only partially vaccinated. “I think we’ve done extraordinarily well here in Western New York. We’ve done well with vaccination. Our cases and hospitalizations right now are at all-time lows, and I think if you’re fully vaccinated, you can celebrate the holiday in close to post-pandemic mode,” says Russo.
  • Novak Helps Debunk Myths About Ulcerative Colitis [HealthCentral]
    7/1/21
    There are many misconceptions about ulcerative colitis (UC). Myths include that UC symptoms start in childhood, that there’s only one cause for UC and that treatment options for UC are limited. “Since UC symptoms are due to a dysregulation of the inflammatory response, the question is what determines that dysregulation,” says Jan M. Novak, MD, emeritus clinical professor of medicine. “We know that the immune system is genetically predetermined and that the people that have inflammatory bowel disease largely inherit a genetic predisposition, which is then modified by their environment.” Currently, however, there isn’t one identifiable gene that causes UC. “This looks different from, say, cystic fibrosis where there is a genetic defect,” says Novak.
  • Murphy Discusses Recommendations for Face Coverings [Yahoo! Life]
    6/30/21
    Officials from the World Health Organization have recently said that people — including those who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 — should continue to wear face coverings indoors, and Yahoo asks several health experts about face coverings. “People should assess their own situation and make their own decision about wearing masks indoors,” says Timothy F. Murphy, MD, SUNY Distinguished Professor of medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases and director of the Clinical and Translational Science Institute. “People who have underlying illnesses may want to consider that a mask will give you an extra layer of protection. At this point, it’s really a judgment call.”
  • UB to Expand Alcohol Abuse Research Training Program
    6/30/21
    The National Institute for Alcohol Abuse & Alcoholism (NIAAA) has awarded $1.7 million to the Clinical and Research Institute on Addictions (CRIA) and the School of Public Health and Health Professions. The new NIAAA funding allows the training program to expand opportunities to graduate students pursuing their doctorates at UB. The program’s co-principal investigators are Kenneth E. Leonard, PhD, professor of psychiatry and director of the Clinical and Research Institute on Addictions; and Gregory G. Homish, PhD, of the School of Public Health and Health Professions. “Our successful postdoctoral training program, which has been continuously funded for the past 21 years, demonstrated important strengths that have led to this expansion of our program,” says Leonard.
  • Sellick on China’s COVID-19 Vaccines [Verywell Health]
    6/29/21
    More than 90 countries have launched their COVID-19 vaccination campaigns with shots made by Chinese biotech companies, Sinopharm and Sinovac Biotech. However, several countries including Seychelles, Chile, Bahrain and Mongolia are struggling with new outbreaks despite high vaccinate rates. “We have not really seen a lot of good data on the efficacy of these vaccines published in general peer-reviewed literature,” says John A. Sellick Jr., DO, professor of medicine. Vaccines with a lower efficacy would require vaccinating a higher percentage of the population in order to prevent outbreaks, Sellick suggests. Some countries that have used Sinopharm or Sinovac also tried to reopen too soon. “There are issues of doing too much, too fast, at the same time,” he says.
  • Experts Discuss COVID-19 Precautions We Should Keep [Buffalo News]
    6/28/21
    Even as society returns to normal in the wake of the pandemic, experts say it is a good idea to continue using certain precautions. Keep cleaning “high-touch surfaces” in public settings, says Thomas A. Russo, MD, SUNY Distinguished Professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases. Moreover, wearing face coverings, distancing and sanitizing seemed to render the flu to a near-zero level during the pandemic. “There’s never been a season when I haven’t seen somebody with influenza,” says John A. Sellick Jr., DO, professor of medicine. “It’s just so crazy. And even tracking a lot of the other viruses, they’re really much less than we would normally expect.” Further, Brahm H. Segal, MD, professor of medicine, notes: “When you get vaccinated, you obviously protect yourself. But you also reduce the likelihood of spread within the community. And if you have friends, family, other people, coworkers who are immunocompromised, then I think your need for altruism goes up even more to look out for them.”
  • Surtees Discusses COVID-19 Delta Variant, Vaccines [Spectrum News]
    6/25/21
    The COVID-19 Delta variant has reached New York, according to the Department of Health’s Wadsworth Center. The lab reports 122 cases out of over 12,934 studied virus samples. Researchers at the University at Buffalo say the variant is at least twice as transmissible as the original coronavirus, and it is a concern for people who are not fully vaccinated, as well as children. “Millions of people have been vaccinated, and these vaccines are safe and they are effective,” says Jennifer A. Surtees, PhD, associate professor of biochemistry. “If you are not vaccinated, you should continue to wear a mask. You should continue to distance from people.”
  • Nielsen: COVID Delta Variant ‘By Far the Most Contagious One Yet’ [WBFO-FM]
    6/24/21
    Nancy H. Nielsen, MD, PhD, senior associate dean for health policy, discussed the COVID-19 delta variant as part of her regular appearance on WBFO-FM. She said the delta variant is “really troubling" and a variant that is “by far the most contagious one yet,” as cases double in numbers.
  • Delta Coronavirus Variant: Scientists Brace for Impact [Nature News]
    6/22/21
    Jennifer A. Surtees, PhD, associate professor of biochemistry, was quoted in a story on the delta variant of the coronavirus and its rapid global spread. Surtees noted that while 70 percent of people in New York State have had at least one shot, there are areas of the state where fewer than 40 percent have been vaccinated. “These are populations that are really at risk of a localized outbreak from delta, so I think it’s really important to still keep tracking and watch this as much as possible,” Surtees said.
  • CDC Releases New Long COVID Guidelines [Verywell Health]
    6/20/21
    Thomas A. Russo, MD, SUNY Distinguished Professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases, is quoted in a story reporting on the CDC’s interim guidance for health care providers on how to treat patients with post-COVID-19 conditions, commonly referred to as “long COVID.” The guidance is “particularly helpful” to let providers know that patients with post-COVID conditions “will have a wide range of symptoms,” Russo said. The guidance stresses that “really, any organ in the body can be affected with this,” he adds.
  • Russo Comments on Jamestown Canyon Virus, the Rare Mosquito-Borne Infection Confirmed in New Jersey [Prevention]
    6/20/21
    An article about Jamestown Canyon Virus, the rare, mosquito-borne infection confirmed in New Jersey, quotes Thomas A. Russo, MD, SUNY Distinguished Professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases. “It’s important for people to realize that many people are infected with this virus and either have no symptoms or have very mild, nonspecific symptoms,” Russo says. “Progression of the virus to more severe disease involving the brain probably represents a small fraction of individuals who are infected.”
  • Delta Variant of COVID-19 Found in Erie County, UB Scientists Say
    6/20/21
    Multiple outlets reported that UB scientists have discovered the highly contagious delta variant of COVID-19 in a sample from Erie County. “I would predict we will see more of it in more recent samples,” said Jennifer A. Surtees, PhD, co-director of UB’s Genome, Environment and Microbiome Community of Excellence and an associate professor of biochemistry.
  • Commentary: Revising math curriculum for racial equity is itself racist [Albany Times Union]
    6/18/21
    An opinion article in the Albany Times-Union on changing math curriculum was written by Mark R. O’Brian, professor and chair in the Department of Biochemistry. O’Brian writes, “I feel certain that an airplane passenger would find considerable comfort knowing that the math that went into engineering that plane was done with objectivity and perfectionism in mind. Getting it right matters. None of these allegedly toxic traits has anything to do with white supremacy, and the proposed curricular revisions do not meaningfully address racism.”.
  • Summer cold season outlook for Western New York [WGRZ]
    6/17/21
    A report on WGRZ about the coming summer cold season and COVID-19 interviews Thomas Russo, chief of infectious disease at the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. “Dr. Russo says all of the COVID-19 precautions we have gotten used to taking should help us protect ourselves and others from respiratory viruses, and he says we shouldn't let our guard down,” according to the report.  "Since we've now had restrictions lifted in most states in this country,” Russo said, “those measures that protected us not only from COVID, but these other respiratory viruses, are no longer in effect, and therefore, it's likely we're going to see a bump in these non-COVID respiratory infections.”
  • Scientists find the highly transmissible delta variant in New York state
    6/17/21
    A story in Medical Xpress on the delta variant of COVID-19 in New York State reports scientists at UB sequencing the genome of the COVID-19 sample have found “a delta variant of the coronavirus was detected in Erie County,” according to the article. “The delta variant, first identified in India and now responsible for its significant outbreak in the United Kingdom, is believed to be 200%, or twice as contagious, as the original coronavirus strain.” The article quotes Jennifer Surtees, associate professor with the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, who said, “This is especially problematic for unvaccinated or unvaccinated individuals. [one shot].. Due to the distribution of this variant, these people, including children, are really at risk. I am particularly concerned about school. We have already seen an increase in cases among children — they are a large unvaccinated pool. Delta variants can exacerbate this.” The article also ran in the California New Times. A similar report ran on WGRZ-TV.
  • The Editorial Board: A day to celebrate, though the unvaccinated and some others remain at risk [Buffalo News]
    6/16/21
    An editorial in The Buffalo News on celebrating New York State’s 70% vaccination rate quotes Thomas Russo, the chief of infectious diseases at the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. “The people who haven’t been vaccinated are still at risk,” said Russo, “and the virus will find them.”
  • What Is RSV? The CDC Issued a Warning About This Infectious Disease-Here's What Experts Say
    6/16/21
    An article in Health on the rising incidence of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) quotes Timothy Murphy, an infectious disease expert and director of UB’s Community Health Equity Research Institute. "RSV normally is seen in the late fall and wintertime," Murphy said. "It peaks in the winter and reduces dramatically in the springtime. But that didn't happen this year. It may be that RSV levels were low in the winter because of masking and reduced interactions among people - the virus wasn't transmitted as much.” “Now that the COVID-19 vaccine has been used more widely and people are resuming some sense of normalcy, the virus has more opportunity to pass from person to person,” according to the article. "Kids are going back to daycare,” Murphy said. “And families and folks are getting together more-that can cause RSV to spread.” The article was posted on numerous national and regional publications, including MSN.
  • Migraine Prevention Drug Shows Rapid Benefits During Attack [Medpage Today]
    6/15/21
    An article in Medpage Today on migraine therapies associated with improvements in short-term outcomes cites an editorial written in JAMA by Melissa Rayhill, clinical assistant professor and adult neurology residency program director for the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. “The eptinezumab trial is the first study to report rapid, acute benefits of a CGRP monoclonal antibody started for prevention, thereby serving as a possible inflection point for how clinicians conceptualize the role of CGRP monoclonal antibodies as migraine therapies," according to the editorial Rayhill wrote with Rebecca Burch of Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston.
  • CDC Updates COVID Travel Guidance for 120 Countries Ahead of Summer [Verywell Health]
    6/14/21
    An article in Verywell Health on CDC’s updates on COVID travel guidance for 120 counties quotes Thomas Russo, chief of infectious disease at the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. “If you’re fully vaccinated, I think international travel is OK,” Russo said. “But one should be a little more cognizant of countries that have variants of concern, like India.” Russo says that “while the consequences for fully vaccinated individuals might not be as bad” as they would be for those who aren't vaccinated, there is still a chance that they can bring the variants back home after traveling, according to the article. “We’re trying to minimize importing those strains,” he says.
  • UB doctor on vaccine milestone: 'Still work to be done' [Spectrum News]
    6/14/21
    A report on Spectrum News about Governor Cuomo’s reporting 70% of adults in New York having received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine quotes Thomas Russo, chief of infectious disease at the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. "Those individuals that have only gotten one shot, it's critical that they get that second shot,” said Russo. “Some of the variants that are circulating in Western New York and the rest of the state require two shots for optimal protection. For those individuals that are unvaccinated, this is the moment to get vaccinated during the summer months, because as we shift to the fall and the cooler weather months and activities move indoors, the virus spreads quite well. Those that aren't vaccinated … this virus will find you.”
  • COVID-19 infections rise in several states where vaccination has stalled
    6/14/21
    A report on numerous local TV stations including FOX News KFXL in Nebraska, CBS Austin in Texas and ABC 33/40 News in Alabama on COVID-19 infections rising in states where vaccinations have stalled quotes Timothy Murphy, an infectious disease expert and director of UB’s Community Health Equity Research Institute. “What’s happening nationally, really, when you think about it, is quite striking in terms of how effective the vaccines have been,” said Murphy.
  • The newest Alzheimer's drug is coming to Western New York. What you should know [Buffalo News]
    6/11/21
    The Buffalo News quoted Bruce Troen, chief of the division of geriatrics and palliative care in the Jacobs School, for a story on the immunotherapy drug recently approved by the FDA for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. A Swiss plant is ready to produce the drug for the American marketplace, but questions about the drug’s risks, costs and benefits have complicated the rollout. “We all want a disease modifying agent, but in the absence of a home run, we need to proceed with caution,” said Troen. “This therapy is not a home run.”
  • Some States Make Masks in Schools Optional Come Fall
    6/11/21
    An article in Yahoo! Life on universities mandating students to have COVID-19 vaccines quotes ohn A. Sellick Jr., DO, professor of medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases. “While vaccine mandates are controversial,” according to the article, “doctors say they’re helpful at preventing the spread of disease. “Yes, the vaccine should be mandated,” Sellick said. “This is a group situation and, even though people will say, ‘This is my personal preference,’ you’re potentially putting other people at risk.” The article also appeared on AOL.com.
  • Can COVID-19 Cause Diabetes? Here’s What You Need to Know [Health]
    6/11/21
    An article on a link between COVID-19 infections and new cases of diabetes quotes Thomas A. Russo, MD, SUNY Distinguished Professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases. “For a world that's been ravaged by COVID-19 for more than a year now — and since, to date, the virus has infected 175 million people worldwide — this is big news,” according to the article. “Obviously, having COVID is much more than whether you live or die,” says Russo. “People need to think more in terms of the long-term potential health consequences of getting infected. If you get diabetes, that will affect you for the rest of your life.”
  • Nielsen Provides Expertise on Delta Variant [WBFO]
    6/10/21
    Locally and across the country, COVID-19 infection rates are dwindling. It is welcome news, but health officials remain concerned about the spread of the Delta variant that has emerged from India. The variant is widespread in the United Kingdom, says Nancy H. Nielsen, MD, PhD, senior associate dean for health policy. “It is already responsible for six percent of the cases in the U.S.,” says Nielsen. “It’s spreading primarily among younger people. It is highly transmissible,” says Nielsen, adding that current vaccines are effective against the Delta variant. “So, the key is to get vaccinated,” she says.
  • 'Delta' variant is spreading in the United States
    6/10/21
    A report on WBFO about the “Delta” variant of COVID-19 spreading in the U.S. quoted Nancy Nielsen, senior associate dean for health policy at the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at UB. “It's already responsible for six percent of the cases in the U.S. It's spreading primarily among younger people. It's highly transmissible,” said Nielsen, who added that current vaccines are effective against the Delta variant, according to the report. “So, the key is to get vaccinated.” Nielson was also quoted on WGRZ on New York State about to achieve a 70% vaccination rate weeks before President Biden’s goal of all states reaching this level by July 4. Nielsen said this is “terrific” news.
  • Pilot program to test wastewater for COVID pleases health officials
    6/10/21
    The Buffalo News, WGRZ-TV, Spectrum News andWIVB-TV quoted Erie County Health Commissioner Gale Burstein, clinical professor of pediatrics in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, in stories about a pilot program in Erie County to test wastewater for presence of the virus that causes COVID-19. The program could display outbreaks in certain geographic areas served by a specific sewer district. If an area “lights up,” Burstein said it would give public health officials a chance to more quickly respond with resources, such as pop-up testing clinics and other methods to stay ahead of a potential outbreak.
  • UB doctor confident vaccinations could help reopen U.S.-Canada border [Spectrum News]
    6/9/21
    Spectrum News quoted Peter Winkelstein, executive director of healthcare informatics in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, for a story on the possibility of agreement by the U.S. and Canadian governments to reopen borders between the two countries, which have been closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Canadian officials say a policy change might be considered when the country reaches a vaccination rate of 75% of its total eligible population. “We have to continue to work very hard on the vaccinations and I think the Canadians feel very much the same way,” said Winkelstein. “This is a policy approach that they have to decide how cautious they want to be, and they're certainly being cautious. In my opinion, people who are vaccinated, who are fully vaccinated, are at low risk of either getting serious disease or of spreading the virus.”
  • Tackling vaccine hesitancy in 15 languages
    6/7/21
    Niagara Frontier Publications and New York Patch reported on the Clinical and Translational Science Institute’s downloadable infographic that makes COVID-19 vaccine information available in 15 languages. “An important underlying reason for COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy is lack of access to reliable information about the vaccines,” said Timothy Murphy, SUNY Distinguished Professor and director of the UB Community Health Equity Research Institute. “Reaching community members who speak languages other than English with clear, understandable and reliable information will be enormously valuable in addressing vaccine hesitancy.”
  • Study: Cystic fibrosis center prioritized screening for depression and anxiety [Technology.org]
    6/6/21
    Technology.org covered a UB story about mental health screenings in place since 2013 for patients with cystic fibrosis and their caregivers. “It can be challenging for people with CF and their families to sustain daily therapies and to live with a life-limiting disease,” said Danielle M. Goetz, clinical associate professor of pediatrics in the Jacobs School. “Our team began to feel that mental health screening was an important part of care to look at.”
  • How Healthy is Your Gut? Find Out How it Affects Your Immune System, Brain and More [Parade]
    6/4/21
    Your gut affects your entire cardiovascular system in ways we’re learning more about every day, says Andrew H. Talal, MD, professor of medicine in the Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition. The digestive tract itself is home to over 100 trillion microorganisms (known as the gut microbiome). Most of that bacteria is healthy, but when your balance of good and bad bacteria is off, you can experience a build-up of cholesterol in your bloodstream, Talal says.
  • Russo Answers Questions About Vaccine Passports [Yahoo! News]
    6/3/21
    Yahoo! News reports about questions people may have regarding vaccine passports. Digital passports “incrementally add to the public health and safety,” says Thomas A. Russo, MD, SUNY Distinguished Professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases.
  • Russo Explains What to Know About Babesiosis, the Rare Tick-Borne Illness That Attacks Red Blood Cells [Prevention]
    6/3/21
    Thomas A. Russo, MD, SUNY Distinguished Professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases, is quoted in an article about babesiosis, the rare tick-borne illness that attacks red blood cells. Russo says the diseases occurs in “parts of our country where one would contract Lyme disease. He notes, however, that babesiosis is much less common.
  • In the Era of Remote Learning, Tips on Reducing Your Child’s Screen Time [WKBW-TV]
    6/2/21
    A report notes that home confinement due to the COVID-19 pandemic is associated with a significant shift of nearsightedness for children ages 6 to 8. James D. Reynolds, MD, Jerald and Ester Bovino Professor and chair of ophthalmology and a practicing pediatric ophthalmologist, says when kids are in a virtual world they are doing things that involve more nearsightedness. He listed examples such as reading a book or looking at a screen for six to eight hours a day rather than being in school when there would be more of a mix.
  • Cuomo: NY Has Lowest COVID-19 Positivity Rate in the Nation [WGRZ-TV]
    6/2/21
    Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced New York has the lowest COVID-19 positivity rate in the nation. “Well, we are doing extraordinarily well, because we have an increasing number of people who have been vaccinated and largely we have shifted to outdoor activities where the virus doesn't spread particularly well,” said Thomas A. Russo, MD, SUNY Distinguished Professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases.
  • What Is the H10N3 Bird Flu? Experts Explain First Possible Human Case Reported in China [Prevention]
    6/1/21
    A story notes Chinese officials have reported what is thought to be the first human case of the H10N3 strain of bird flu in the world. The virus infected a 41-year-old man who was hospitalized on April 28. If any type of bird flu happened to start spreading among people, John A. Sellick Jr., DO, professor of medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases, says that scientists “would be able to make a vaccine pretty quickly” by modifying an existing flu vaccine, but he cautions that “nothing is ever absolute.”
  • Lovell Says Nanoparticles Designed to Enhance Seasonal Flu Vaccines [Lab Roots]
    6/1/21
    The new website Lab Roots reports on a new experimental flu vaccine under development at UB and partner organizations. The technology behind the vaccines comes from the lab of Jonathan F. Lovell, PhD, SUNY Empire Innovation associate professor of biomedical engineering.
  • British Tech Tycoon Tells of Heartbreaking Battle to Solve Mystery of Son’s Illness [Daily Mail]
    5/28/21
    An article in the Daily Mail about a family whose son was diagnosed with an extremely rare genetic condition called FDXR, claimed that UB’s Taosheng Huang, MD, PhD, professor of pediatrics and chief of the Division of Genetics, is the only doctor in the world known to research FDXR. The family has donated 700,000 pounds (approximately $952,000) to FDXR research, including to help Huang set up a lab to study the disease, which affects 32 people in the world and has no cure or treatments.
  • Cruises are Coming Back. Experts Weigh in on How to Stay Safe. [Yahoo! News]
    5/27/21
    Yahoo! News quoted Thomas A. Russo, MD, SUNY Distinguished Professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases, in an article on how to remain safe from COVID-19 on cruise ships. “I think it’s safe to go on a cruise right now if everyone is vaccinated and if the cruise ship puts all the appropriate public health measures in place,” said Russo. “The fly in the ointment is shore excursions on the cruises. You’re going to get out and interact with people who are not vaccinated, so you should still bring masks.”
  • What’s the Difference Between Being Vaccinated and Having COVID Antibodies? [WGRZ-TV]
    5/26/21
    WGRZ-TV interviewed Thomas A. Russo, MD, SUNY Distinguished Professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases, for an article on the difference between being vaccinated against COVID-19 and having COVID-19 antibodies. “There’s no question that the optimal immunity is achieved with vaccination,” said Russo. “And in fact, the absolute best immunity is achieved if you’ve been previously infected and then vaccinated, it’s like a boost to supercharge antibody response, so we strongly recommend individuals that have been previously infected to go ahead and get vaccinated as well, and that will afford the maximum degree of protection moving forward.”
  • Study Shows Mild COVID-19 Induced Lasting Antibody Protection [WKBW]
    5/26/21
    WKBW quoted Thomas A. Russo, MD, SUNY Distinguished Professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases, in an article on a study from Washington University in St. Louis that found people who experienced mild illness from COVID-19 developed long-lasting antibody protection. Russo says the study is encouraging, but adds getting vaccinated will provide the ultimate degree of protection. “The key thing to follow is whether these individuals eventually get re-infected, particularly from some of the variants that are circulating at this time. And presently we just don’t know,” he said.
  • Flu Fighter: Nanoparticle-Based Vaccine Effective in Preclinical Trials
    5/26/21
    Various media outlets reported on UB-led research that found an experimental nanoparticle-based flu vaccine consisting of disease-fighting proteins was proven effective in preclinical studies. The technology could boost the effectiveness and accelerate the production of seasonal flu vaccines. The study was co-authored by Jonathan F. Lovell, PhD, associate professor of biomedical engineering, and Bruce A. Davidson, PhD, research associate professor of anesthesiology, and led by Zachary Robert Sia, a trainee in the doctoral program in biomedical engineering.
  • Sellick: COVID-19 Vaccines and Immunocompromised People [Health]
    5/25/21
    Yahoo! News quoted John A. Sellick Jr., DO, professor of medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases, in an article on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s latest report on breakthrough infections in the U.S. among people who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.The report found 10,262 COVID-19 breakthrough infections occurred in nearly 101 million fully vaccinated people between January and April 2021.“For those of us who are of average health, are fully vaccinated and don’t have severe underlying medical problems, breakthrough infections are unlikely to be a huge problem,” says Sellick. “But highly immunosuppressed people have to be careful, just in case.”
  • ‘Vaccines Are Working Exactly as Advertised’: What Experts Say CDC’s Latest Report on Breakthrough Cases Means [Yahoo! News]
    5/25/21
    Research is ongoing, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says those who are immunocompromised may still need to take extra precautions, even after vaccination. In general, people who are immunocompromised may not respond to vaccines as well as those who aren’t immunocompromised, says John A. Sellick Jr., DO, professor of medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases. “We knew this was going to be a problem with the COVID-19 vaccine all along,” he says. It’s unclear at this point what will be done to make the COVID-19 vaccines more effective in people who are immunocompromised. “Maybe we’ll do what we do with dialysis patients and give booster doses,” Sellick says. “We also have high-dose vaccines for influenza that give you more antibodies — a higher dose could be a possibility for COVID-19.”
  • The Editorial Board: Overcoming Myths, Conspiracy Theories is a Key to Raising City’s Inoculation Rates [Buffalo News]
    5/25/21
    An editorial in the Buffalo News on overcoming misinformation to raise vaccination rates in Buffalo, quoted Thomas A. Russo, MD, SUNY Distinguished Professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases, who cautioned that the pandemic isn’t over yet, but is morphing into a less threatening form. “In Western New York and in most of the state, we’re beginning to leave the pandemic stage,” said Russo. “Now we’re entering the endemic phase: a percolating background noise of cases.”
  • You Can Now Read Doctors’ Notes. Here’s What That Means [The Paper Gown]
    5/24/21
    The Paper Gown quoted Peter Winkelstein, MD, executive director of UB’s Institute for Healthcare Informatics and clinical professor of pediatrics, in an article on new provisions in the 21st Century Cures Act that expands patient access to electronic health records. “A lot of people have adopted the idea that patients should have access to this, and that it improves care because a patient can say, ‘That’s not quite what I meant,’ and it makes patients more comfortable that nobody is keeping things from them,” says Winkelstein.
  • End of Pandemic ‘Close’ as COVID-19 Enters ‘Endemic’ Phase, UB Expert Says [Buffalo News]
    5/23/21
    The Buffalo News quoted Thomas A. Russo, MD, SUNY Distinguished Professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases, in an article on the potential final stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. “The pandemic is not quite over yet, though we’re getting close,” said Russo. “In Western New York and in most of the state, we’re beginning to leave the pandemic stage. Now we’re entering the endemic phase: a percolating background noise of cases.”
  • Parents: Welcome To Decision Fatigue Summer [Romper]
    5/22/21
    Romper quoted Thomas A. Russo, MD, SUNY Distinguished Professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases, in an article on how vaccinated parents can protect unvaccinated children from COVID-19. It’s more risky to take an unvaccinated child to a grocery store or restaurant after mask orders and capacity limits are rescinded, said Russo. But it’s important to note that “more risky” does not mean dangerous, he said.
  • Every COVID-19 ‘Variant of Concern’ Found in Erie County
    5/22/21
    Various Western New York media outlets reported that UB scientists have detected that all of the COVID-19 variants identified as variants of concern by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are now present in Erie County. “The virus is still out there and it is different than what we started with,” said Jennifer A. Surtees, PhD, co-director of the UB’s Genome, Environment and Microbiome Community of Excellence and associate professor of biochemistry. “The great news is that all of the vaccines available in the U.S. — the Pfizer vaccine, the Moderna vaccine and the Johnson & Johnson vaccine — they all protect against all of the variants of concern.”
  • Discussion: Unvaccinated Students; Banning Face Covering Mandates [Yahoo! News]
    5/21/21
    Southfield Regional Academic Campus in Southfield, Mich., is coming under fire after stating that it will charge unvaccinated students to attend prom. “We’re seeing mostly carrots in terms of getting people vaccinated, but this is a bit of a stick,” says Thomas A. Russo, MD, SUNY Distinguished Professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases. “Whether this will encourage people to get vaccinated or avoid prom ... I'm not so sure,” he says. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order this week banning governmental entities in the state from requiring or mandating that masks be worn. “The bottom line is that this will probably result in more cases because if you can’t mandate masks, that will mean you’ll have individuals in school that are infectious and asymptomatic,” Russo says. However, he adds: “Masks will largely protect individuals that wear them,” so students and staff who plan to continue to wear face coverings should be at a lower risk of contracting the virus than those who are unmasked.
  • Lottery Ticket Vaccine Incentive: Will It Work? [WGRZ]
    5/20/21
    Incentives are growing to get people vaccinated. New York State announced that those who get a COVID-19 vaccine at any of the 10 New York State mass vaccination sites between May 24 and May 28 will receive a scratch-off lottery ticket for a chance to win cash prizes. The value of the lottery ticket is $20. Thomas A. Russo, MD, SUNY Distinguished Professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases, says incentives are an effective tool to get people vaccinated. “I am a big fan of incentives. The more people we can get vaccinated the better, and I think there is a large number of people out there that for a variety of trivial reasons are yet to get vaccinated, and incentives such as this will certainly inspire them to greatness,” he says.
  • Kuo Comments on New CDC Guidelines for Face Coverings [WBFO]
    5/20/21
    New guidelines provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have been put into action by New York State, allowing vaccinated individuals to access some public spaces without masking. Dennis Z. Kuo, MD, associate professor of pediatrics and chief of the Division of General Pediatrics, points out that there may be some confusion about what this announcement actually means. “There were some at the individual and at the public health level that may be interpreting this as we’ve made tremendous strides, and we don’t need to take those precautions that have worked. And there's certainly a balance we need to strike with, we need to get out, we need to get our kids in school, we need to get our businesses reopened, fully reopened, we’re not talking partial, we need to get back to that level of activity.” He adds that reopening must occur “in ways that continue to be safe and continue to protect the rights of all of those who deserve that level of protection, and can utilize these businesses and utilize these public spaces and return to school.” 
  • CDC: COVID Testing Isn’t Necessary For Fully Vaccinated People [Verywell Health]
    5/20/21
    Verywell Health quoted John A. Sellick Jr., DO, professor of medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases, in a report on updated Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance that states people who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 do not need to be tested for the virus, even after known exposure. “When you have a very low presence of infection and many people are vaccinated, testing is largely unnecessary in the vaccinated population,” said Sellick. “I would not ask fully-vaccinated people to pursue testing, unless they have extenuating circumstances, like someone at home who is immunosuppressed.”
  • Sethi Discusses Focus of Large COVID-19 Studies [Clinical Trials Arena]
    5/19/21
    An article in Clinical Trials Arena has interviewed Sanjay Sethi, MD, professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine. The article discusses the fact that ongoing COVID-19 trials are adopting different strategies to sequence patient samples to identify the impact of emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants on the efficacy of monoclonal antibody cocktails. The trial setting — treatment or prevention — is driving the sequencing strategy. While trials are collecting participant samples to ascertain the impact of emerging variants of concern, the immediate focus remains mainly on clinical outcome measures, with sequencing data expected to be available later. 
  • Nielsen Discusses Message from CDC on COVID-19 Vaccines
    5/18/21
    More than 900,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in the past seven days. Overall, more than 17.3 million doses have been administered across the state. More than 61 percent of New Yorkers ages 18 and up have had at least one dose, and 51 percent of that same group have completed their vaccine series. Nancy H. Nielsen, MD, PhD, senior associate dean for health policy, recognizes that some people may not want to get their vaccine, but she notes that the message from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is: “If you’re vaccinated, you’re golden. If you’re not vaccinated, you’re taking a terrible chance,” she says. She notes: “Just as long as you’re immunocompetent and you’re fully vaccinated, even if a non-vaccinated person comes in without a mask, they’re the ones at risk, not you,” explains Nielsen. “Anybody who is not vaccinated, if you want to be safe, go get the vaccine. The quicker the better.”
  • Russo on COVID-19 Vaccination and CDC Guidelines [The Healthy]
    5/18/21
    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has announced that fully vaccinated people can forgo wearing face coverings, for the most part. “The CDC wants to send a message that if you’re fully vaccinated, you’re largely prevented from getting infected and have a reduced risk of spreading it to others,” says Thomas A. Russo, MD, SUNY Distinguished Professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases. “And, if you do get COVID-19, you will be asymptomatic or experience trivial disease.” He notes: “This isn’t like smallpox, where we cured that disease. Even if we do great in this country, until the world gets vaccinated, it will be imported into this country.” Ultimately, due to vaccine hesitancy and vaccine refusal, it is possible we may never reach herd immunity. “As long as there are COVID-19 cases out there, the virus is able to evolve and change,” Russo says.
  • COVID-19 Updates: Medical Experts Comment [Buffalo News]
    5/18/21
    The Buffalo News reports on the COVID-19 pandemic and various approaches to boosting U.S. vaccination rates. “Hopefully the decreased recommendation for masking will give further incentive for vaccine-hesitant individuals to vax up. That’s more of a carrot than a stick approach,” says Alan J. Lesse, MD, associate professor of medicine and senior associate dean for medical curriculum. More than half of states have dropped virus-prevention mandates. Jeffrey M. Lackner, PsyD, professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Behavioral Medicine, visited Nashville two weekends ago for his son’s graduation, a Tennessee city where pandemic restrictions have ended. “We went down Broadway and 20 rooftop bars were filled to the brim,” says Lackner. “No one’s wearing a mask. I felt at the end of my time there like I was being gaslighted.” Thomas A. Russo, MD, SUNY Distinguished Professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases, says: “The unvaccinated pose a risk to themselves, other unvaccinated individuals, and to a subset of the fully vaccinated that are immunocompromised.”
  • Russo Advises on CDC Face-Covering Announcement [Spectrum News]
    5/18/21
    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has announced that people who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 no longer need to wear face coverings indoors or practice social distancing. However, some people still cannot get vaccinated and many have chosen to forgo vaccines, so Thomas A. Russo, MD, SUNY Distinguished Professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases, is urging them to continue wearing their face coverings for themselves and others. “In the short-term, I think some businesses will require people to wear masks,” says Russo. “But I think as cases continue to go down, they will feel increasingly comfortable and likely that mandate will be lifted.”
  • Cain Discusses Role as Dean, Vice President for Health Sciences [Buffalo Business First]
    5/18/21
    Michael E. Cain, MD, will step down in August 2021 after 15 years as dean of the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. Additionally, Cain will give up his position as vice president for health sciences. “When I came here, I was presented with the vision of building a medical symphony. I’m a strong believer in academic health centers and the added value they bring for the multiple missions they have,” says Cain. He also discusses the biggest challenge for his successor. “The financial basis for supporting an academic health center relies heavily on (National Institutes of Health) and heavily on revenue generated from clinical care. The biggest thing that faces any dean in a school of medicine is the desirability of having the business of health be much simpler and not as complicated as it is today,” says Cain.
  • New CDC Guidelines on Face Coverings: Murphy Gives Insight
    5/17/21
    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention surprised most people last week when the agency announced that those who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 do not need to wear masks indoors or outdoors in most situations to protect against the virus. If you have children at home but you’re fully vaccinated, you should also be OK to go into a store without a mask, says Timothy F. Murphy, MD, SUNY Distinguished Professor of medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases and senior associate dean for clinical and translational research. “Children don't seem to acquire COVID-19 as easily and don't transmit it as easily,” he says. “When they do, the illness tends to be mild, although you don't want to expose your child to the virus.”
  • Russo Comments on New CDC Guidelines for Face Coverings
    5/17/21
    Plenty of people were surprised and even caught off-guard last week when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that those who are fully vaccinated no longer need to wear a face covering in most situations. Thomas A. Russo, MD, SUNY Distinguished Professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases, says he has been "advising a lot of people" about how to handle the new guidance. “People are nervous about this — I've heard it a zillion times,” he says. “The mask has been their security blanket for 14-plus months.” The big concern, Russo says, is that “unvaccinated people won’t be wearing a mask.” He says you should be “just fine” to go out in public without a face covering if you’re fully vaccinated, as long as you're not immunocompromised. If you are, he recommends continuing to wear a face covering, just in case. He points out that if you are not vaccinated, you still should be wearing a face covering.
  • Sellick and Russo: Reminders About Basics of COVID-19 Safety [Buffalo News]
    5/15/21
    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now says fully vaccinated people can be without face coverings in most places. So what are COVID-19 facts to remember in a world with fewer masks? Airborne transmission is far more common than surface transmission, which is why cars and indoor spaces are more dangerous than breezy outdoor areas that disperse virus particles. John A. Sellick Jr., DO, professor of medicine, likes to put it this way: “Whose air are you breathing?” Also, it is clear vaccines drive down virus numbers and keep people from getting serious infections. “Imagine a dance or a concert with 100 people, and COVID-19 shows up,” says Thomas A. Russo, MD, SUNY Distinguished Professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases. “If only one or two people are not protected through vaccination, the virus is going to have a hard time finding those susceptible hosts.”
  • COVID-19 Precautions in Schools: Russo Gives Insight [Yahoo! Entertainment]
    5/14/21
    Students are headed back to class amid the coronavirus pandemic. Even though COVID-19 cases are falling across the country, masks are still important to prevent the spread of COVID-19, says Thomas A. Russo, MD, SUNY Distinguished Professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases. “If you have people indoors who are unmasked, they pose a risk to themselves and to others,” Russo says. “They should wear masks.” Russo says that mandating the vaccine “makes a lot of sense,” noting that this would help protect children and others. “Kids are part of the transmission chain and have the potential to infect others that are higher risk,” Russo says. “From a public health point of view, the safest way to go for the children and community overall is to have everyone vaccinated.”
  • Lipshultz and Murray Discuss Innovations [Buffalo Business First]
    5/14/21
    Innovative research and procedures are underway in Western New York. Steven E. Lipshultz, MD, A. Conger Goodyear Professor and Chair of pediatrics, led a study at 14 centers across the country that found a genetic cause in most children with cardiomyopathy. “It’s the leading cause of death around the world of children who need heart transplants when the medications don’t work anymore, and if they don’t get a heart transplant they’ll die,” he says. Also, Erie County Medical Center has been growing its work on the research side to better treat patients with viral illnesses, including those with COVID-19. That’s what led to a new collaboration last year with the Mayo Clinic and the Food and Drug Administration tied to using convalescent plasma from people who have recovered from the virus to treat others. “Everyone realizes that trials are the only way we get definitive answers to whether a therapy is valid,” says Brian M. Murray, MD, associate professor of medicine.
  • Murphy Comments on New CDC Guidelines
    5/14/21
    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has announced that people who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 no longer need to wear a face covering indoors or practice social distancing, “except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance.” Timothy F. Murphy, MD, SUNY Distinguished Professor of medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases and senior associate dean for clinical and translational research, calls the new guidelines a “huge, bold change.” After all, there’s no way to know if strangers are vaccinated. “When you go into a crowd and there are many people not wearing masks, it’s a very safe environment if they’re all vaccinated,” says Murphy. But that level of safety dips if there are plenty of unvaccinated people not wearing masks, so he “understands why people might be a bit nervous” about the lifted mandate.
  • Why Wait? Answering the Big Questions of the Vaccine Reluctant [Buffalo News]
    5/14/21
    Several Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences faculty members are quoted in a story on what kinds of messages resonate most with people still hesitant to take the COVID-19 vaccine. Jeffrey M. Lackner, PsyD, professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Behavioral Medicine, said: “It would be great if everyone struggled with the same kind of health information deficit and we could have a one-size-fits all approach, but this is a really complicated health problem. There are no magic words to change behavior.” The story also quotes Alan J. Lesse, MD, senior associate dean for medical curriculum and associate professor of medicine, and Thomas A. Russo, MD, SUNY Distinguished Professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases.
  • CDC’s New Mask Guidance Prompts Cuomo to Review COVID Restrictions [Buffalo News]
    5/13/21
    A report on the CDC’s latest recommendation that vaccinated people can go without masks in most public places quotes Thomas A. Russo, MD, SUNY Distinguished Professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases, who said: “I still have misgivings in indoor settings, even with our cases down, if individuals are unvaccinated, because I think this virus is going to continue to percolate in our communities, probably with seasonal decreases.” Russo said he thinks unvaccinated people should wear masks.
  • Russell Outlines Rationale for COVID-19 Mucosal Vaccines [Fintech]
    5/12/21
    A report that new intranasal vaccines for COVID-19 are promising because the nose is often where the virus enters the body quotes Michael W. Russell, PhD, professor emeritus of microbiology and immunology, who told MedpageToday: “By generating effective mucosal immune responses, it should be possible to forestall coronavirus infection from the outset, and also more effectively reduce transmission of the virus. Nasal immunization aims to replicate this natural immunization process in a more effective manner.”
  • O’Brian: Studying ‘White Privilege’ Does Not Advance Racial Justice [Buffalo News]
    5/12/21
    The Buffalo News published an opinion piece by Mark R. O’Brian, PhD, professor and chair of biochemistry, who stated: “The term white privilege is divisive. Blacks and other minorities have indeed been historically deprived of rights afforded to white people. Therefore, I cannot understand why this problem is described in terms of what a white person rightfully has rather than what a nonwhite person rightfully deserves, but does not have.”
  • The Incentives Keep Coming to Win Over the Unvaccinated. Will They Be Enough? [Buffalo News]
    5/12/21
    A report on the incentives being used to get Western New Yorkers vaccinated quotes Thomas A. Russo, MD, SUNY Distinguished Professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases, who said: “There’s no serious safety concerns at this point at all, and over 400 million doses have been given worldwide,” he said. “These vaccines are better than we could have possibly dreamed.”
  • COVID-19 Vaccine and Kids: What Parents of 12- to 15-Year-Olds Need to Know [Yahoo! Life]
    5/12/21
    A report on the CDC advisory committee’s recent endorsement of COVID-19 vaccines for 12-15 year olds quoted John A. Sellick Jr., DO, professor of medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases, who said: “I hope that most parents will jump on this right away. Getting this group vaccinated is a good deal all the way around.”
  • The Ognomy Plan: $700K Raise Will Support National Expansion [Buffalo Inno]
    5/12/21
    An report in Business First’s Buffalo Inno on Buffalo-based startup Ognomy raising $700,000 to develop home-based testing and treatment technology for sleep apnea, states that the technology is based on the research of Daniel I. Rifkin, MD, clinical assistant professor of neurology.