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Fighting COVID-19 Misinformation

FAS is fighting misinformation about the COVID-19 pandemic, translating the most updated science for the public, and serving as a resource for policymakers all over the country.

If you have expertise in public health, science communication, or other fields critical to pandemic response, join dozens of specialists who are already taking action to provide the best information to the public and federal and state legislators.

How We're Serving the Community During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Answering the public’s questions about COVID-19

The Coronavirus Misinformation Project is waging a grassroots fight against misinformation. To do this, the team launched Ask a Scientist, a project which recruited hundreds of volunteer scientists to answer thousands of the public’s questions about everything from social distancing to virus transmission to new treatments and vaccines. Our volunteer scientists worked to debunk misinformation directly for the public and create a thoughtful and informative knowledge base about the COVID-19 pandemic that has served millions.

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Advising policymakers on the latest COVID-19 research

The Coronavirus Misinformation Project team is recruiting top scientists in the fields of epidemiology, virology, public health, supply chain management, and others to quickly provide expert counsel to policymakers about the COVID-19 pandemic. This COVID-19 Rapid Response Task Force has already advised multiple Members of Congress regarding cutting-edge scientific developments in new therapeutic options for COVID-19, as well as public health recommendations.

Tackling disinformation on social media

The Coronavirus Misinformation Project is now taking on disinformation at its source, social media. The Disinformation Research Group uses advanced software tools to identify accounts promoting misleading or untrue information about the COVID-19 pandemic and publishes in-depth reports about its origins and influence.

Creating crowdsourced resources for Congress

The Congressional Science Policy Initiative (CSPI) provides timely, data-driven resources and questions from our extensive network of scientists to Members of Congress ahead of hearings about the government’s response to the pandemic. The goal is to provide the best background information so policymakers are equipped to engage hearing witnesses as effectively as possible.

The Team

Ali Nouri, Project Director

Ali Nouri, PhD

CSPI Lead & FAS President

Former Senate Legislative Director

Virologist & molecular biologist

@AliNouriPhD

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Michael A. Fisher, PhD

CSPI Co-Lead & FAS Senior Fellow

Former campaign Field Director

Synthetic biologist & protein engineer

@mykfish

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Lindsay Milliken

CSPI Teammate & FAS Research Assistant

Former government relations staffer

Political science & physics

@LK_Milliken

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Kathryn Kohn, MA

CSPI Teammate & FAS Comms Manager

Former campaign Comms Director

Political theory & communications

@kathrwn

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Amir Bagherpour, PhD

Disinformation Project Lead & FAS Adjunct Fellow

Disinformation risk detection & forecasting

@AmirPredicts

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Rich Takacs, MPA

Disinformation Project Teammate & FAS Adjunct Fellow

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Neekta Hamidi, MPH, MS

Disinformation Project Teammate & FAS Adjunct Fellow

Associate at Schmidt Futures

Biomedical engineer

@neeekta

Selected Team Publications

In the Washington Post, FAS President Ali Nouri and NYU GovLab Director call for FDA to require vaccine manufactures release their clinical trial data as a condition of approval. Opacity in the vaccine process undermines public trust.

“But this pandemic requires all hands on deck. It can be crushed only through a concerted effort that engages policy makers, business and community leaders and a public committed to the fight.” writes Ali Nouri in USA Today.

In The Lancet, FAS President Ali Nouri and other infectious disease experts debunk the notion that herd immunity should be reached through natural infection. Until there is a safe, effective and widely available vaccine, we must be vigilant.

“To defeat the infodemic, we need a strategy for the digital age. Social media companies and public health institutions must come together to stamp out misinformation with dynamic campaigns that make high-quality info go viral,” write Ali Nouri and Amir Bagherpour in Scientific American.

Lindsay Milliken, Mike Fisher, and Ali Nouri write in Scientific American about how Ask a Scientist grew from a small effort to debunk COVID-19 misinformation, to a network of over 500 scientists answering the public’s questions from the U.S. and ten foreign countries.

Mike Fisher was one of the first to talk about the COVID-19 virus’ ability to transmit via aerosols and what to do about it in an op-ed published by Slate.

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