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COVID Science News

ANSI COVID-19 Member Update: FTC Shares Guidelines to Avoid Fake Tests, NIST Advances Optical Microscopes to Study Airborne Viruses, and More


The ANSI Federation and standardization community are stepping up with guidance, resources, and initiatives to support public health and safety and the nation's recovery. Suggestions for news items may be submitted to [email protected]. All submissions are published at ANSI's discretion.

FTC Releases News: How to Avoid Buying Fake COVID Tests Online

In light of a recent uptick in COVID-related frauds, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has issued new guidelines to help the public avoid purchasing fake COVID-19 test kits and related items online. The FTC warns that using fake products increases the risk of unknowingly spreading COVID-19 to others and may prevent people from getting appropriate treatment—in addition to lost out-of-pocket costs.

The FTC advises:

  • Tests should be authorized by the FDA. Check the FDA’s lists of antigen diagnostic tests and molecular diagnostic tests before purchasing to find the tests authorized for home use. (EUA is “emergency use authorization.”)

  • Research the seller before purchasing a product, especially when buying from a site you don’t know. Search online for the website, company, or seller’s name plus the words: “scam,” “complaint,” or “review.”

  • Compare online user reviews from a wide variety of websites. Such reviews can reveal more about a company, product, or service. Be cognizant of where the review is coming from, i.e.: is the review from an expert organization or individual customers?

  • Opt for credit card payment. If you never receive an order or get a product that's not as advertised, this method ensures that you can contact your credit card company and dispute the charge.

NIST Scientists Boost Accuracy of Optical Microscopes Used to Study Airborne Viruses

Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have improved the accuracy of optical microscopes that are used to study how airborne viruses spread, including those that cause COVID-19. With the advancement, scientists would have the capability of measuring the volume, motion and contents of a spray or cloud of microdroplets. NIST reports that ultimately, these measurements could play a key role in future studies for epidemiological, environmental, and industrial applications.

To achieve the accuracy of the tools, researchers developed new standards and calibrations for the instruments, and devised a system in which they could “simultaneously measure the volume of microdroplets in flight using microscopy and an independent technique, known as gravimetry,” NIST reports.

For the first time, researchers were able to measure the volume of individual droplets smaller than 100 trillionths of a liter with an uncertainty of less than 1%, marking a tenfold improvement over previous measurements.

In addition to studying how airborne viruses spread, the microscopes can measure how clouds reflect sunlight to cool the Earth, how ink jet printers create finely detailed patterns, and how a soda bottle fragments into nanoscale plastic particles that pollute the oceans.

Access more details on NIST’s news page.

Mayo Clinic MD Clears Up Confusion about Vaccinations and Boosters

As the COVID-19 omicron variant sweeps across the nation, the Mayo Clinic has launched a new video featuring Dr. Melanie Swift, co-chair of Mayo Clinic's COVID-19 Vaccine Allocation and Distribution Work Group, to help clear up confusion about COVID-19 boosters.

Dr. Swift notes that the timing of boosters depends upon the brand of your initial vaccination series, and explains how omicron makes vaccines less effective. "We know that in addition to the fact that your immunity just wanes over time, omicron, in particular, is more susceptible to your immune response after the third or booster dose,” she said.

Access the video, available on the Mayo Clinic News Network website.


See more ANSI member efforts in the ANSI COVID-19 Resource Webpage Highlighting Standardization Community Response.


Jana Zabinski

Senior Director, Communications & Public Relations


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Beth Goodbaum

Journalist/Communications Specialist


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