February 2020

Robotic medicine may be the weapon the world needs to combat the coronavirus

Feb. 28 – Viral outbreaks like COVID-19 highlight the growing role new medical technology – in particular, ideas from the field of robotics – can play in fighting the spread of novel infectious diseases.

March 2020

Why containment measures are critical for fighting the spread of coronavirus

Mar. 17 – Social distancing, public shutdowns, and widespread testing are key.

Pregnant in a time of coronavirus – the changing risks and what you need to know

Mar. 28 – Pregnancy causes a variety of changes in the body and results in a slight immunocompromised state which can lead to infections causing more injury and damage.

Aggie Engineers create step-by-step method for making protective medical masks

Mar. 30 – Emergency room physicians asked Texas A&M’s John Criscione for help as supplies diminish.

Texas A&M researchers develop DIY respirators similar to N95s

Mar. 31 – A team at Texas A&M University’s College of Engineering developed a method to construct personal protection masks out of air conditioning filters in preparation for face mask supply shortages.

How TAMU is working to track the community spread of COVID-19

Mar. 30 – As COVID-19 continues to spread, Texas A&M University faculty members are working to create an Infectious Disease Model to track the spread of the virus in communities.

April 2020

Texas A&M team designs professional-quality homemade health masks

Apr. 2 – Biomedical engineering professor and Vice Dean of the Engineering Medicine program Dr. John Criscione led the effort to test do-it-yourself masks for places experiencing shortages in standard protective gear due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Texas A&M chemists working on drugs to treat COVID-19

Apr. 2 – Wenshe Ray Liu’s laboratory has refocused solely to combat the pandemic.

A&M pandemic expert: It’s ‘likely’ the U.S. will see an autumn COVID-19 resurgence

Apr. 8 – Christine Blackburn is the deputy director of the Pandemic and Biosecurity Policy Program at the Texas A&M Bush School of Government and Public Service. For those hoping the novel coronavirus will wane as the weather warms up, Blackburn is hesitant to say one way or the other.

Investigational chimp adenovirus MERS-CoV vaccine protects monkeys

Apr. 17 – An investigational vaccine called ChAdOx1 MERS protected two groups of rhesus macaques from disease caused by Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV).

Antiviral remdesivir prevents disease progression in monkeys with COVID-19

Apr. 17 – The study was designed to follow dosing and treatment procedures used for hospitalized COVID-19 patients being administered remdesivir in a large, multi-center, clinical trial led by NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)

Texas A&M chemist cautiously optimistic regarding remdesivir clinical trial results

Apr. 20 – As a chemical biologist, Texas A&M University chemist Wenshe Ray Liu has a vested interest in preliminary results from a University of Chicago clinical trial using the experimental drug remdesivir to treat patients suffering from COVID-19.

Texas A&M researchers to test tuberculosis vaccine in fight against coronavirus

Apr. 28 – Researchers at Texas A&M University are hopeful a vaccine used to fight tuberculosis and bladder cancer will prove effective in mitigating the effects of COVID-19.

“This ain’t the time to follow rules”: Texas A&M wants to run human coronavirus tests in its animal labs.”

Apr. 29 – A&M officials say they have the largest public lab capacity in the state, but the federal government won’t let them use it for humans.

May 2020

Texas A&M researchers vaccinate 50-plus in COVID-19 clinical trial

May 7 – Tuberculosis drug tested for effectiveness against coronavirus.

Coronavirus in Texas: Death data suggest COVID-19 undercount possible

May 7 – Eyeing reports that more Texans have died in the first three months of 2020 than the historical average, some experts question whether the death toll from the new coronavirus might be an undercount.

Gov. Greg Abbott says Texas ranks high in coronavirus recoveries, but many large states don’t report that figure

May 18 – Texas’ recovery total is not a tally of the patients no longer experiencing symptoms, but rather an estimate based on a string of assumptions about the virus’ longevity.

Study estimates 24 states still have uncontrolled coronavirus spread

May 22 – The coronavirus may still be spreading at epidemic rates in 24 states, particularly in the South and Midwest, according to new research that highlights the risk of a second wave of infections in places that reopen too quickly or without sufficient precautions.

June 2020

Texas A&M expert: Future of pandemic difficult to predict

Jun. 1 – “The bottom line is that until we have a vaccine and a uniform containment plan, the future waves of COVID-19 and its effect on our health and economy will remain fairly uncertain.”-Tiffany Radcliff, associate dean, School of Public Health

Why more testing doesn’t explain the rise in COVID-19 in several new U.S. hotspots

Jun. 19 – However, today, these uncertainties are driven primarily by obfuscation—purposeful or accidental—by politicians as they attempt to justify the U.S.’s failure to reduce COVID-19 rates over the past few weeks.

Could a viable coronavirus vaccine be ready to hit the market by the end of 2020?

Jun. 23 – Recording of Dr. Gerald Parker, director, biosecurity & pandemic public policy program, Bush School of Government & Public Policy at Texas A&M, discussing Dr. Fauci claims of speedy COVID-19 vaccine development.

New U.S. COVID-19 cases surpass peak set in April as states rethink strategy

Jun. 25 – As the coronavirus pandemic is about to enter its seventh month, COVID-19 continues to surge in parts of the U.S. — even as it eases in some states and other countries — setting record highs and filling up hospitals across numerous states.

July 2020

Texas A&M, MD Anderson scientists testing inhaled therapeutic to protect against COVID-19

Jul. 7 – Drug developed in Houston has been approved for two human clinical trials by the Food and Drug Administration.

Local health experts weigh in on COVID-19 test with some false positive results

Jul. 8 – Brazos County Alternate Health Authority Dr. Seth Sullivan says he’s not aware of anyone in Brazos County that administers this test. He says even if they did, it’s not something to fear.

Preliminary study suggests tuberculosis vaccine may reduce risk of COVID-19 death

Jul. 11 – Bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG), the tuberculosis vaccine that is routinely administered to children in regions where TB rates are high, might actually contribute to fighting off COVID-19. Principal investigators from prestigious institutions, such as Texas A&M, have initiated major clinical trials to investigate this hypothesis.

Global Hangout: Ask The Experts: Infections & Immunity

Jul. 14 –  Why are COVID-19 infections in most US states still rising? Can you lose your immunity to it and catch it again? Why do some people show no symptoms? And can the virus be spread by pets? Global Hangout puts your questions to the experts.

Texas hospitals appear to be turning a corner on COVID-19

Jul. 22 – The trend over the last 10 days or so suggests that the surge is plateauing, indicating that the state’s hospitals may avoid a worst-case scenario after policymakers and the public scrambled to rein in the spread.


Why Texas’ coronavirus data comes with caveats

Aug. 4 – It’s hard to collect good numbers on an unknown virus, and Texas health officials have made errors. But experts say the state’s coronavirus data is useful as long as users understand its limitations.

Restaurants, bars and breweries scramble to reinvent themselves to get around Gov. Greg Abbott’s bar shutdown

Aug. 10 – Businesses that make up most of their sales with alcohol were closed down by Abbott’s latest shutdown order, leaving them to maneuver through loopholes to reopen.

COVID-19 testing falls in Texas, but spread continues

Aug. 11 – The amount of coronavirus testing in Texas has decreased substantially in recent weeks, just as the rate of positive cases has climbed, state data show, raising concerns about the accuracy of recent trends that show a declining number of new cases.

Five health experts on the state’s coronavirus data backlog and what to expect as schools reopen

Aug. 27 – After state officials this month disclosed hundreds of thousands of coronavirus tests had not been previously reported — a backlog that has distorted metrics used to gauge the toll of the pandemic.

September 2020

COVID-19 Mythbusting with epidemiologists

Sept. 1 – Texas A&M’s Vital Record spoke with two epidemiologists to set the record straight on common misconceptions surrounding COVID-19.

America doesn’t have a coherent strategy for asymptomatic testing. It needs one.

Sept. 1 – While it battles a virus that can spread quickly via silent carriers, the United States has yet to execute a strategy for testing asymptomatic people.

Epidemiologists uncertain whether long-feared autumn second wave of COVID-19 will materialize

Sept. 21 – The grim milestone of 200,000 reported COVID-19 deaths is a reminder of how quickly the coronavirus can spread and a warning of what could happen as the nation enters autumn.

New metric compares economic health to public health

Sept. 30 – Economists at the Texas A&M Private Enterprise Research Center have created a new way to measure the success of COVID-19 responses across different states and communities.

October 2020

A&M professor, students create COVID-19 spread simulations to aide in university decision making

Oct. 1 – The simulations factor in mask wearing, social distancing, and number of students on campus.

Rapid COVID testing could ‘nip any emerging outbreak immediately,’ experts say

Oct. 7 – New COVID-19 tests that can produce results in as little as 15 minutes are expected to become available in the United States as soon as this month, a development that would help could help companies bring workers back to the office and schools bring students into the classroom safely, doctors said.

Gov. Greg Abbott says bars can reopen next week at 50% capacity if counties opt in

Oct. 7 – “It is time to open them up,” Abbott said in a Facebook video announcing the move. “If we continue to contain COVID, then these openings, just like other businesses, should be able to expand in the near future.”

Coronavirus cases hit 40 million worldwide, may increase with holiday season

Oct. 19 – Coronavirus cases have exceeded 40 million worldwide. Cases of have surpassed 850,000 in Texas, and it does not look like the cases are stopping anytime soon. 

Spreading COVID-19 to more people will not boost herd immunity according to local health expert

Oct. 27- Dr. Clendenin said achieving herd immunity through spreading COVID-19 to more people may be dangerous because it is not yet clear how long immunity lasts.

Scientists Testing Animals in Effort to Understand COVID-19

Oct. 30 – U.S. scientists are testing the spread of the coronavirus not only in humans, but in their pets as well.

November 2020

Pfizer announces they are seeing 90% effectiveness with COVID-19 vaccine

Nov. 9 – As coronavirus cases continue to rise here locally and across much of the U.S., there’s a promising development on the vaccine front. Monday, Pfizer announcing its trial drug is 90% effective.

Texas reports more than 1 million COVID-19 cases, but state officials are slow to act

Nov. 13 – Texas joins California, which has 10 million more residents than Texas, as the nation’s leaders in coronavirus cases.

Local health experts estimate COVID-19 vaccine to be ready for public in April 2021

Nov. 17 –  The wait is almost over. Moderna and Pfizer have announced their vaccines are 90- 94 % effective.  

Will people take COVID-19 vaccine? Doctor concerned over those who won’t

Nov. 18 – There is cautious optimism that vaccines might be able to end the COVID-19 pandemic. That’s promising news from companies like Pfizer and Moderna about their potential breakthroughs offer hope. In order for any vaccine to be effective, people must be willing to take the injections.

Texas A&M being used for making COVID vaccines

Nov. 19 – Two pharmaceutical companies will use Texas A&M facilities to make millions of doses.

December 2020

COVID-19 vaccine FAQ: Can vaccinated people still spread the coronavirus? Should they wear masks?

Dec. 13 – It may sound simple: Get the COVID-19 vaccine and now you’re protected from getting sick. But can you still get infected and transmit the coronavirus, which has claimed more than 300,000 American lives, even after being vaccinated?

Gov. Greg Abbott allows only limited COVID-19 restrictions for Texas’ worst hot spots. Local leaders say it’s not enough.

Dec. 22 – A Texas Tribune analysis of state data shows that in regions with the worst outbreaks, including El Paso, Amarillo and Lubbock, the restrictions have done little to ease an overburdened health care system.

January 2021

Experts say worst may still be ahead with expected holiday COVID-19 surge

Jan. 9 – The first eight days of the new year saw a record number of daily deaths in the U.S. and a daily case count that has exceeded 200,000 new infections each of the past four days.

A&M epidemiologist on COVID-19 vaccine delays: “We just haven’t had that time and experience yet”

Jan. 14 –  Yesterday, the Brazos County Health District announced a more streamlined system to administer COVID-19 vaccinations almost a month after the first doses arrived in the Brazos Valley.

Texas A&M students create rapid COVID-19 test prototype using biosensor technology

Jan. 14 – Four Texas A&M biomedical engineering students teamed up to create a prototype for a rapid COVID-19 test that uses a biosensor.

New Coronavirus Variants Emerge as Expected, According to Researchers

Jan. 18 – Health experts are urging North Texans to double down on efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Novavax COVID-19 Vaccine 90% Effective, 60% Against South African Variant

Jan. 29 – Results from two clinical trials evaluating Novavax’s coronavirus vaccine show the shot is nearly 90 percent effective at preventing COVID-19.

February 2021

A&M expert: Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine has “more advantages than disadvantages”

Feb. 1 – The shot only requires a single dose which would make it the first single-dose vaccine available in the U.S. The vaccine has been demonstrated to be 66% effective in preventing moderate and severe disease in a global phase 3 trial, but 85% effective against severe disease. The vaccine was 72% effective against moderate and severe disease in the U.S.

Medical experts: ‘Vaccines probably better than you think’

Feb. 2 – When we talk about these vaccines, we always hear about how you will still need to wear a mask, social distance and that it may still take time to return to “normal.”

A&M expert: “No reason to avoid” any FDA approved COVID-19 vaccines

Feb. 2 – Johnson & Johnson is still expected to ask the FDA for emergency use authorization for its COVID-19 vaccine this week, and Novavax is not too far behind. If granted approval from the FDA, they will become the third and fourth major pharmaceutical manufacturers to produce a COVID-19 vaccine.

Texas Covid-19 Cases Begin to Drop After Fall Surge

Feb. 3 – The state has seen around a 10% decrease in new coronavirus infections over the past two weeks, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of data from Johns Hopkins University. It reported an average of more than 14,000 new Covid-19 cases in the past seven days, down from nearly 18,000 in early-January.

Texas A&M researchers find evidence common water treatment method can eliminate COVID-19

Feb. 10 – Dr. Shankar Chellam and his team designed an experiment using water they made in their lab and a surrogate virus that is similar in structure to the novel coronavirus to see if standard methods used at water treatment plants could be successful in removing virus particles.

False claims tying coronavirus vaccines to infertility drive doubts among women of childbearing age

Feb. 22 – As the rollout of the coronavirus vaccine ramps up across the United States, women of childbearing age have emerged as a surprising roadblock to efforts to halt the pandemic by achieving herd immunity.

Mass ‘real world’ study confirms Pfizer vaccine’s efficacy

Feb. 25 – The Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine proved 94 percent effective in a huge real world study published Wednesday that involved 1.2 million people in Israel, confirming the power of mass immunization campaigns to end the coronavirus pandemic.

Coronavirus expert hopeful third vaccine will get approval soon

Feb. 26 – The FDA may soon approve a third coronavirus vaccine by drug maker Johnson and Johnson. Dr. Ben Neuman, the chief virologist at Texas A&M University’s Global Health Research Complex, joined Good Day to talk about the pros and cons of that new single-shot vaccine.

March 2021

Texas A&M identifies potential drug to treat COVID-19

Mar. 3 – There is an advantage in using drugs already approved by the FDA.

Heart damage caused by COVID-19 could be permanent

Mar. 11 – A&M cardiovascular expert: It’s “hard to say,” if damage caused by COVID-19 can be reversed.

UK virus variant found in Brazos County pets

Mar. 16 – The UK variant was confirmed in a senior black lab-mix dog and a senior domestic shorthair cat from the household where the owner was diagnosed with COVID-19 in mid-February. 

Ask the expert: Is it rare for vaccinated people to spread COVID-19?

Mar. 31 – When it comes to the Covid-19 vaccine, one recent study focuses on whether or not vaccinated people can still spread the virus.