7 influential people who are changing-and saving-lives

I think we all have the power to be influential, for good or bad. Notice who’s following you and consider what they’re learning -and imitating-from your actions and attitudes.

Every year TIME magazine publishes an issue devoted to the world’s 100 most influential people. When I read through the list, I find many familiar names and many that I have never heard of.

TIME calls them “a community of leaders whose energy and commitment we hope inspires others to spring into action as well.

Each nominee is described by someone who knows them well and is often also worthy of being called influential, such as Dr. Anthony Fauci .

Entertainment and sports

The list includes people you might call celebrities-singers, actors, musicians, entertainers, athletes- who I suppose are often influential although I don’t understand why.

As much as I love the arts and sports, I find it odd that they would be the most influential. Certainly their work is, in many cases. Some of these were Scarlett Johansson, Lil Nas X, Tracee Ellis Ross, Kate Winslet, Billie Eilish, and Tom Brady. Simone Biles made the list, I think rightfully so.

Government and politics

Many government officials made the list as you would suppose, after all they run the world, don’t they? So here we have Joe Manchin, Liz Cheney, Xi Jinping, and of course the President and Vice President of the United States, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.

Others in the political realm include Tucker Carlson and Donald Trump. I’ll also include the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, aka Harry and Meghan, although I don’t understand their current position in the British Monarchy.

Science and Technology

So from among their choices my favorites and the subject of this post are those whose work involves science, public health, medical research, and especially the management of the COVID-19 pandemic. I’ve picked 7, so that is 7% of the total.

Of course people in other disciplines addressed the crisis too, so if you include them it would actually be more than 7%, possibly 10-50%. Check out the list in the September 27, 2021 issue of TIME and see what you think.

They are disrupters, fixers, doers, iconoclasts, problem solvers -people who in a year of crisis have leaped into the fray.

Edward Felsenthal, Editor-in-chief

Adi Utarini-public health researcher

The World Health Organization calls Dengue fever, caused by a mosquito-borne virus that infects almost 400 million people world wide, one of the greatest threats to world health,

Adi Utarini developed a technique to render these mosquitoes harmless by inoculating them with Wolbachia, a harmless bacteria that blocks mosquitoes from transmitting dengue with a bite.

“Utarini has survived dengue twice. However, dengue may not survive her”

Melinda French Gates
courtesy of CDC.GOV

Barney Graham-physician-scientist

Barney Graham has researched and designed vaccines for decades, by understanding how viruses and human cells interact. His work on viral proteins led to the development of many of the COVID-19 vaccines used now.

“A thought leader in vaccine design and pandemic preparedness, Dr. Graham has helped save millions of lives and altered the course of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dr. Anthony Fauci
electron microscope image of a 2019-nCoV isolate
Transmission electron microscopic image of an isolate from the first U.S. case of COVID-19, formerly known as 2019-nCoV. The spherical viral particles, colorized blue, contain cross-sections through the viral genome, seen as black dots. credit Hannah A Bullock; Azaibi Tamin, public domain

Lidia Morawska-physicist

Lidia Morawska recognized the importance of aerosol transmission in the spread of the COVID virus. She gathered the data and convinced scientists and public health authorities to change how we measure and lessen our risk of contracting the virus.

“Her advocacy helped change practices from schools to workplaces, making these environments safer for people around the world.”

Scott Gottlieb
Should I increase ventilation in a room to reduce spread of COVID-19?
reduce a

John Nkengasong -virologist

As founding director of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, John Nkengasong has helped save lives during the pandemic. His work led to improved testing, better provision of COVID-19 tools, especially vaccines, and a more transparent approach to sharing data by all African countries.

Nkengasong is a modern-day African hero. Expect to see him charting the course both in Africa and globally.

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala
Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 Spike Protein

3D print of a spike protein of SARS-CoV-2—also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus that causes COVID-19—in front of a 3D print of a SARS-CoV-2 virus particle. The spike protein (foreground) enables the virus to enter and infect human cells. On the virus model, the virus surface (blue) is covered with spike proteins (red) that enable the virus to enter and infect human cells.
 
3dprint.nih.gov/
 
Credit: NIH

Katalin Kariko-biochemist

Katalin Kariko, a senior VP, at BioNTech, began studying RNA when no one else considered it promising. But her research led to the idea of using mRNA (messenger RNA) in vaccines, and their use in developing the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines. This technology has potential application for other vaccines as well as treating autoimmune disorders.

“I admire her dogged pursuit of an idea she was passionate about, and her willingness to collaborate with others.She inspires us with her creativity, persistence, and commitment.”

Jennifer Doudna
How mRNA Vaccines Work?CDC

Rochelle Walensky-clinician-investigator

During her time at Harvard University, Rochelle Walensky made numerous important research contributions to controlling HIV infection. As director of the CDC she again confronts another major public health challenge , COVID-19, leading in its management and addressing health equity and other serious public health issues.

“Dr. Walensky’s calm courage and proven track record of respecting science are restoring the CDC’s prominence in leading us through this pandemic.”

Julie Geberding
CDC is committed to achieving health equity

Dolly Parton- living legend

Although I question why celebrities are on the list, for Dolly Parton I make an exception, because I don’t consider her a celebrity. I think of her as champion of the underdog, being somewhat of an underdog herself. From humble beginnings in rural Tennessee in a large, poor but loving family she used her talent and hard work to achieve a remarkable career in music, movies, and business.

She established the Imagination Library to provide free books to millions of children. Last year she donated $1 million to help fund the develop the COVID-19 vaccine. And she publicly received a “shot in her arm” to encourage others to be vaccinated.

Have you ever met anyone who doesn’t love Dolly Parton? I never have. She’s my role model because of her steadfast morals and values.”

Miley Cyrus
Imagination Library with Dolly Parton
AT DOLLY PARTON’S STAMPEDE, BRANSON, MISSOURI (PHOTO BY DR ALETHA)

We all have an opportunity to help create a better world..we can choose to be among those who pick up the phone and run toward the struggle.

Edward Felsenthal

exploring the HEART of health

So what do you think about these choices or others on the list from TIME? Are there other people you would have included? I think we all have the power to be influential, for good or bad. Notice who’s following you and consider what they’re learning -and imitating-from your actions and attitudes.

I appreciate all of you who are following Watercress Words, and if you aren’t I invite you to join the wonderful people who are. You can meet some of them in the sidebar, where you can click on their image and visit their blogs. Use the form to get an email notification of new posts. Don’t worry, you won’t get anything else from me.

drawing of a notebook, earbuds, coffee, pens

Dr Aletha

Understanding COVID-19 vaccines in 25 minutes

Learn how vaccines are made and how they work. Review the concept of herd immunity and why it’s so important. Recognize the reasons behind vaccine hesitancy and why it matters and may enable the spread of disease.

Recently I started listening to podcasts from AXIOS, an online news source, and have especially enjoyed their coverage of science in general and specifically the COVID-19 pandemic.

They produced 5 short videos explaining the coronavirus vaccine that I found informative and want to share with you . Each is less than 5 minutes so in about 25 minutes you will learn much about the vaccine and hopefully be more confident in your decision to get vaccinated yourself, as I and my husband have been.

Here’s the intro from AXIOS and a link to the page where you can access all 5 videos. Below I have given you an outline so you know a little of what is in each episode, but I do recommend you listen to all of them in order. They are even appropriate for kids.

(The cover photo is a scanning electron microscope image of SARS-CoV-2 (orange)—also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus that causes COVID-19—isolated from a patient in the U.S., emerging from the surface of cells (green) cultured in the lab. Credit: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases-Rocky Mountain Laboratories, NIH)

BLOGGERS PIT STOP FEATURED
This post was Featured at BLOGGER’S PIT STOP

Vaccines: A short course from Axios

Vaccines have been used for centuries to fight disease but hesitancy and disinformation about them are spreading, jeopardizing the global fight against measles, COVID-19 and other diseases.

Axios’ science and health journalists will help you understand vaccines — how they work, how they’re tested and distributed, and where vaccine technology is headed.

illustration showing the coronavirus which causes COVID-19
This illustration, created at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reveals ultrastructural morphology exhibited by coronaviruses. Note the spikes that adorn the outer surface of the virus, which impart the look of a corona surrounding the virion, when viewed electron microscopically. In this view, the protein particles E, S, and M, also located on the outer surface of the particle, have all been labeled as well. A novel coronavirus, named Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), was identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China in 2019. The illness caused by this virus has been named coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). CDC/ Alissa Eckert, MS; Dan Higgins, MAMS, public domain

1. Vaccine basics

Learn how vaccines are made and how they work. Understand the immune system-T cells and antibodies.

Review the concept of herd immunity and why it’s so important.

These patients’ samples were to be tested for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies, using the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) serologic test. CDC/ James Gathany, PUBLIC DOMAIN

2. Study and testing of vaccines

Find out why the research and development of vaccines costs $100 of millions. See the 3 phases of the process and why this one progressed faster than ever before.

President Joe Biden visited NIH on February 11, 2020, where he met with leading researchers at the Vaccine Research Center to learn more about the groundbreaking fundamental research that enabled the development of the Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines.Credit: NIH/Chiachi Chang; PUBLIC DOMAIN

3. Distribution of vaccines

Understand why vaccine distribution differs from other drugs-including the manufacturing, selling, buying, and transporting.

In this 2020 photograph, captured inside a clinical setting, a health care provider places a bandage on the injection site of a patient, who just received an influenza vaccine. The best way to prevent seasonal flu is to get vaccinated every year. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends everyone 6-months of age and older get a flu vaccine every season. CDC/ Robert Denty, public domain

4. Misinformation about vaccines

Recognize the reasons behind vaccine hesitancy and why it matters and may enable the spread of disease.

5. Next generation vaccines

Explore how scientists are using the power of genetics to create new and better vaccines. Appreciate why vaccines can change our approach to disease prevention.

DNA Double Helix

Credit: National Human Genome Research Institute, National Institutes of Health. Please link to www.genome.gov when possible. PUBLIC DOMAIN

Exploring the HEART of ending the COVID-19 pandemic

I appreciate all of you who are following Watercress Words, and if you aren’t I invite you to join the wonderful people who are. You can meet some of them in the sidebar, where you can click on their image and visit their blogs. Use the form to get an email notification of new posts. Don’t worry, you won’t get anything else from me.

Dr. Aletha inspecting her arm after a COVID-19 shot
Three days after my first vaccination the soreness in my arm was almost gone, and I had no redness or swelling. After the second shot, minimal soreness. No other side effects to report. I feel fortunate.