Post - Helen Branswell (@helenbranswell)

background image

Helen Branswell


a purveyor of news on infectious diseases


Senior writer, infectious diseases at STAT. 2020 Polk winner. Nieman '11. She/her. I write about & other things. πŸ‡¨πŸ‡¦ Also found at: and

145 Posts

  1. Frontotemporal dementia or FTD is a cruel, cruel disease. But as it robs sufferers of many of their capabilities, in some it ignites a passion to create art. Bree Iskandar reports.
  2. The CDC is a national security asset that needs adequate funding to do its job, new director Mandy Cohen said when asked about a GOP proposal to zero out funding for the new Center for Forecasting and Analytics.
  3. "Treating patients in the emergency department involves a hefty dose of science mixed with a whole lot of art" β€” Craig Spencer on a recent patient interaction that shows why AI may augment but can't replace clinical judgment.
  4. New CDC Director Mandy Cohen has an impressive track record of working across the aisle to get support for health initiatives. Can she make those skills work for CDC? Joanne Kenen explores.
  5. Your annual reminder: mid-summer is way too early to get a flu shot. Got a press release today from GSK announcing it has started shipping flu vaccine doses. You may start seeing signs in pharmacies about availability soon. Better to be vaxed closer to when flu starts spreading.
  6. The good news: Therapies for sickle cell disease are expected to to approved later this year. The bad news: High expected price tags will likely put them out of reach of African sickle cell sufferers.
  7. Wondering when you'll be able to get a dengue vaccine in advance of travels to a dengue-endemic locale? In the U.S., not any time soon, it seems.
  8. Lessons from Covid

    "We can do hard things: 91% of Americans 12+ years have the primary COVID-19 vaccine series. That’s absolutely huge." Terrific column on lessons of the pandemic from Katelyn Jetelina, aka Your Local Epidemiologist.
  9. ICYMI: How does this make sense? Taking money from an underfunded field β€” control of sexually transmitted infections.
  10. Come for the story about how GLP-1 receptor agonists β€” the hot new diet drugs like Wegovy β€” were developed. Stay for the cocktail-nicking vervet monkeys & what they tell us about the drugs' addiction curbing capacities.
  11. Scratching my head here

    With 2024 just around the corner, it's hard to fathom why Democrats aren't pushing this nomination through Congress. STAT's Sarah Owermohle on the slow roll of the confirmation of NIH director nominee Monica Bertagnolli.
  12. West Nile season has started

    Massachusetts reports its first finding of the season of West Nile virus-positive mosquitoes; good time to start thinking about applying DEET-containing repellant outdoors. 10 states have already reported human cases in 2023.
  13. Lights and sirens have been found to only save seconds or minutes at most β€” and almost triple the chance of crashing with a patient onboard. Some ambulances are starting to "run hot" much less.
  14. Summer's here

    Got some down time coming up and looking for books to read or pods to listen to?'s summer reading (and listening) list has some great suggestions.
  15. Mpox: Faded from the headlines, but not gone

    New #mpox data from UKHSA. In 2023, the UK has confirmed 29 new cases of mpox β€” 14 infected in the UK, 12 abroad & 3 yet to be classified. This is the post-2022 reality of mpox. The virus' global footprint is much, much larger.
  16. TB: Some good news

    The world needs a much better #tuberculosis vaccine. There's good reason to hope that one is within sight. My colleague Jason Mast explains.
  17. Polio progress?

    Gavi has approved adding a 6-in-1 vaccine to the roster of jabs it helps countries buy. There's hope this one will help in the effort to end #polio transmission & keep it gone after eradication. I wrote this last week.
  18. CDC advisory committee issues a soft recommendation for RSV vaccines for seniors

    #ACIP foregoes a stronger "should" recommendation, votes that adults 60 & older "may" get an #RSV vaccine if they & their health-care provider deem it of value to them. This would not have been the recommendation #GSK & #Pfizer were hoping for.
  19. This past flu season was hard on kids

    The toll the 2022-23 #flu season took on kids continues to rise. CDC reported today that it had been informed of 3 more deaths, which took place in Dec., Feb., & the week ending June 3. The current total for the season is 158 deaths among kids. Data is CDC's; chart is mine
  20. Mpox: It's not gone

    The UK was going to close down its #mpox vaccination program at the end of July. But with 11 new cases of late, UKHSA is extending the program in London.

You are viewing a robot-friendly page.Click hereto reload in standard format.