As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve in Year 2, so too does ACSH's need to cover it as comprehensively and accurately as possible. Further, we're gratified and appreciative to USA Today, which for the second time in three weeks published one of our Op-Ed columns, allowing another of ACSH's public-health messages to reach millions of Americans. This premier placement highlights the varied media exposure ACSH received during the month of February.
Closed Borders Will Not Keep Out More Infectious Forms of COVID -- Early in the month, Drs. Alex Berezow and Josh Bloom co-authored an Op-Ed that ran in USA Today, illustrating flaws in a policy tailored to keeping variant strains of the coronavirus from entering the country.
"The pervasive belief that there is something uniquely different about Great Britain or South Africa that caused these particular viral variants to arise there is wrong," they wrote in the Feb. 1 piece that reached a national audience. "Therefore, any policy that involves closing the border to these countries to prevent the spread of the new variant will automatically be faulty. Even if B.1.1.7 [one of the variants] can be prevented from entering a country, a more infectious variant of coronavirus will almost certainly evolve there on its own."
The Coronavirus Vaccine Doesn’t Cause Alzheimer’s, ALS -- PolitiFact, a fact-checking website operated by the Poynter Institute for Media Studies, cited the American Council's work on Feb. 26 one week after we debunked a paper that was published in January by the journal Microbiology & Infectious Diseases. Finding total fault in the paper Politifact completely agreed with ACSH, amplifying our contention that "The research article is baseless — there is no evidence that the coronavirus vaccine causes Alzheimer’s, ALS or prion diseases."
Americans Still Can't Get AstraZeneca Vaccine Despite Availability in Europe and WHO Endorsement -- Shortly after AstraZeneca's vaccine was pulled from use in South Africa because it was less effective combating an emerging variant strain, the Washington Examiner asked our Dr. Chuck Dinerstein why, despite being available in Western Europe, the vaccine remained unapproved in the U.S.
“Let’s assume for a moment that it is approved — who’s going to want it?” said Dr. Dinerstein, ACSH's Director of Medicine. "If the South African variant becomes more widely seen in the population here, then the vaccine has no efficacy. So from that piece of science, I think there is going to be some reluctance on the FDA’s part to approve it.”
'Education Crucial': Proposed Bill Would Require Heat-related Illness Training for High School Coaches -- In a Feb. 13 story by the Stamford Advocate, an article ACSH published was referenced in the report, which called attention to the spate of football players who tragically died after succumbing to exertional heatstroke. Our article advocated for teams to have ice-bath immersion tubs available at practice facilities, so that stricken players could quickly access this life-saving measure, if necessary.
What You Should Know About Creating Oral Cannabis Products: A Physician’s Perspective -- A marijuana-centric article posted to the website Green State on Feb. 9 cited detailed chemical analysis presented by Dr. Bloom, which he did in an April 2019 piece. Dr. Bloom's CBD And THC: The Only Difference Is One Chemical Bond was cited by Dr. Leigh Vinocur, whose writing credit reads that she's a board certified emergency physician, and a member of "the inaugural class for the first Masters of Science in the country in Cannabis Science and Therapeutics at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy."
Michael Dourson: What Do Toxicologists Do? -- A toxicologist and president of the nonprofit Toxicology Education Foundation, Dourson also serves as an ACSH scientific adviser. On Feb. 1 he was featured as a guest columnist in the Mansfield News Journal, based in Mansfield OH.
The Idiot's Guide to Viral Mutation -- We were pleasantly amused to be contacted by the Titanic Lifeboat Academy, a website that asked us for permission to re-publish this article by Dr. Bloom, ACSH's Director of Chemical and Pharmaceutical Science.
Yes, you're wondering: What's with the name, and what's the website all about? (We're with you.) The TLA addresses these questions, describing its mission thusly: "The Titanic is probably one of the best examples in history of the tragedy of being unprepared. Our organization's purposes have one goal: creating resilience -- in ourselves, in our local community, in those who study with us -- so that we all are more capable of responding positively to the challenges we face."
And with that, on Feb. 19 our article went up (not down) on Titanic, in a collaborative effort to reach more people about COVID-19 variants, and to help us all be better prepared during this trying time.