Everyone’s talking about One Health

September 11, 2020
It’s the 19th anniversary of 9/11; here’s a look at what the memorial ceremonies will be like this year. Today, we have discussions on One Health from unexpected sources, a quick explainer on phase 3 clinical trials, and a look at a busy Friday in Washington, in around…

It’s the 19th anniversary of 9/11; here’s a look at what the memorial ceremonies will be like this year. Today, we have discussions on One Health from unexpected sources, a quick explainer on phase 3 clinical trials, and a look at a busy Friday in Washington, in around 950 words, just under 4 minutes.

Everyone’s talking about One Health

And some of them might surprise you. Here’s a look at the latest on One Health and why it matters.  

We recently came across an insightful interview with the EcoHealth Alliance's Dr. William Karesh—on Goop, Gwyneth Paltrow’s lifestyle platform, which “has come under fire in recent years for supporting unscientific treatments and therapies and promoting gimmicks such as healing jade eggs,” as BIO’s Cornelia Poku explains in a blog post

But we’ll give credit where it’s due because this interview is the real deal—and Dr. Karesh (who also appeared on the I AM BIO Podcast) covered the threat of emerging zoonotic diseases and the role of science in preventing the next pandemic. 

And don’t internalize the stereotype of people in developing nations eating bats, pangolins, and gorillas. “In America, we eat wild deer and bison. Half of seafood is wild-caught. We have a wildlife section in our grocery stores, but we call it the seafood section,” said Dr. Karesh. “Americans eat as much wildlife as anybody else—it’s just that certain species are more high-risk than others. Bats are known to be riskier for transmitting diseases.”

But don't blame the animals—blame climate change, says this long (but very worthwhile) read from Ensia about the links between climate change, migration, and disease.

The story digs into the emergence of “bluetongue,” which has killed more than 1 million purebred merino sheep due to “climate change expanding both the range and transmission season” of a certain species of midge (a biting fly) carrying the disease. 

“The bluetongue story shows how easily diseases can emerge from a background of climate change augmented by globalized trade and travel,” says researcher Daniel Brooks of the Harold W. Manter Laboratory of Parasitology at the University of Nebraska State Museum. “The planet is a minefield of evolutionary accidents waiting to happen.”

All of this is to say that we must continue to advocate for One Health policies—and explore the links between human, animal, and environmental health. Learn more.


More Agriculture and Environment News: 

Zymergen: Zymergen takes aim at $3 trillion chemical & materials industry with $300 million in new funding
BIO member Zymergen announced “[o]ne of the largest deep tech investments of 2020 to fuel additional product releases and development of breakthrough materials.”


A quick explainer on phase 3

There’s been a lot of buzz about phase 3 vaccine trials lately—but if you’re not intimately involved in the drug development process, you may be wondering what happens during this phase & why it is so important. BIO President and CEO Dr. Michelle McMurry-Heath recently joined CNN to discuss it.

So far, several vaccine candidates are in phase 3 trials, including candidates from BIO members Moderna and Pfizer. (Check out the BIO COVID-19 Therapeutic Development Tracker to learn more about them and others.) 

Why phase 3 matters: “It’s the only way you can tell whether or not a vaccine is effective, and it’s really the only way you can tell if it’s safe in tens of thousands of people,” one expert told CNN

What happens in phase 3? The vaccine is tested in a larger group of healthy people. Some are given the vaccine, while others are given a placebo, and they’re all monitored to determine whether it’s safe and effective in real-life conditions. 

But there’s a challenge right now: Trials need to recruit enough minorities and other vulnerable populations to participate because it is critically important to get them involved since they’ve been hit especially hard by the virus. 

Our industry is committed to diversity in trials. And BIO is working on solutions. The BIOEquality Agenda is our action plan to find ways to address inequitable health care delivery and eliminate economic, nutritional, and environmental disparities. 

Dr. Michelle’s Diagnosis: I know that some communities have some resistance and some lack of trust of biomedical research, but if we really want to see a future that doesn’t have the health disparities that we witness today, then we all have to make sure that all of our communities are involved in the research process. – BIO President and CEO Dr. Michelle McMurry-Heath 

Listen to Dr. Michelle’s recent conversation with Moderna’s chief medical officer on the clinical trial process.

Learn more about BIO’s commitment to clinical trial safety and science.


More Health Care News: 

The New York Times: Coronavirus can be deadly for young adults, too, study finds
“The research letter from Harvard found that among 3,222 young adults hospitalized with COVID-19, 88 died—about 2.7 percent. One in five required intensive care, and one in 10 needed a ventilator to assist with breathing.” 

USA Today (Opinion): We're following the science to protect public health in pandemic, say senior FDA career executives
“We will work with agency leadership to maintain FDA’s steadfast commitment to ensuring our decisions will continue to be guided by the best science,” write eight career executives at the agency, including Peter Marks and Janet Woodcock.

BIO GOTV Countdown: 53 Days Until Election Day
BIO Beltway Report

President Trump’s Friday: A Bloomberg correspondent has a detailed account on Twitter of yesterday’s Michigan rally. Today, Trump’s heading to Johnstown, PA, for another rally, then to the Flight 93 Memorial in Shanksville, PA. (Democratic candidate Joe Biden will head to the memorial later this afternoon.) In other administration news, CNBC published an op-ed by FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn and Deputy Commissioner Dr. Anand Shah on bringing drug manufacturing back to the United States.  

What’s Happening on Capitol Hill: As expected, no progress yesterday on COVID-19 relief, reports POLITICO, which was likely the “last chance” before the election. Today at noon ET, House Ways and Means will hold a hearing, Consequences of Inaction on COVID Tax Legislation.

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