A few reasons why we might see COVID-19 solutions soon

November 10, 2020
Can you believe Election Day was one week ago? Today, we look at COVID-19 vaccine and therapeutic news, as well as a biofuels company that shifted its operations to respond to the pandemic. (640 words, 3 minutes, 12 seconds) P.S. Congrats to BIO Board member Jennifer…
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Can you believe Election Day was one week ago? Today, we look at COVID-19 vaccine and therapeutic news, as well as a biofuels company that shifted its operations to respond to the pandemic. (640 words, 3 minutes, 12 seconds)

P.S. Congrats to BIO Board member Jennifer Taubert, EVP and Worldwide Chairman of Pharmaceuticals at Johnson & Johnson, for ranking #34 among Fortune’s Most Powerful Women in Business.

 
A few reasons why we might see COVID-19 solutions soon
 
 

COVID-19 cases have now topped 10 million in the United States—but thanks in part to many BIO members, we have more than one reason to feel optimistic that solutions could be here soon. Here’s an update on the latest developments.

ICYMI: The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is looking good. Early data from the phase 3 clinical trial shows it’s “more than 90% effective in preventing COVID-19 in participants without evidence of prior SARS-CoV-2 infection,” according to the companies.

“If the results hold up, that level of protection would put it on par with highly effective childhood vaccines for diseases such as measles,” explains The New York Times

The Novavax vaccine candidate is also speeding along. It received the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Fast Track Designation, which means it will get expedited regulatory review, according to a statement

The U.S. phase 3 trial is expected to begin at the end of November, and will include at least 15% Black or African Americans, 10% to 20% Latinos, and 1% to 2% Native Americans, Reuters reported last week.

We’re seeing progress on therapeutics, too. Yesterday, the FDA authorized Eli Lilly’s monoclonal antibody treatment bamlanivimab for emergency use

The drug “was shown in clinical trials to reduce COVID-19-related hospitalization or emergency room visits in patients at high risk for disease progression within 28 days after treatment when compared to placebo,” according to the FDA. 

Want to know more about this unprecedented industry response? Get the latest updates from BIO’s COVID-19 Therapeutic Development Tracker.

 
 
 
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Wash your hands, build resilience

 
 

Even when the pandemic is long behind us, we should take two important lessons into the future: wash your hands, and focus on building resilience. BIO member POET is helping us do both.   

POET is the world’s largest producer of biofuels—and they're expanding production of ethanol for hand sanitizer and fuel in Indiana and Ohio, reports Northeast Indiana Public Radio

In recent months, the biofuels industry has faced uncertainty and hardship—due to the drop in demand caused by the pandemic, as well as policies that have undermined the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS)

“POET saw an opportunity,” says the report—and began manufacturing ethanol approved by the FDA for hand sanitizer at the height of the crisis. 

Now, they’re making the change permanent—which will build resilience.  “It supports area corn demand and economics for Indiana farms and enhances the value of Indiana corn and farmland in that process,” said Matt Braun, SVP and General Manager of POET. 

The news is good for people and the planet, too. “This new product is going to grow the availability of cleaner, greener purified alcohol options available to consumers,” he concluded.

This is just one example of biotech solutions creating a more resilient economy and world. Learn more about the agriculture and environment biotech industry’s response to the COVID-19 crisis.

 

More Agriculture and Environment News: 

Reuters: Biden could take quick first steps on long climate policy road
“The agenda to reverse President Donald Trump’s legacy of climate deregulation would likely start with some easy wins, such as rejoining the Paris Agreement, but would become more complex as his administration ventures further into regulating greenhouse gas emissions down toward net-zero.” 

World Economic Forum: Here’s how sustainable aviation fuel can take off in Europe
“15 major companies from across the European aviation sector have codeveloped policy recommendations for delivery to the European Commission and UK government on how Europe can chart the course for an ambitious transition to sustainable aviation fuels.”

 
 
 
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President Trump’s Tuesday: No public events on his schedule.

President-Elect Biden’s Tuesday: He is expected to speak on healthcare. 

What’s Happening on Capitol Hill: Senate Appropriations is expected to release text of spending bills to try to reach a deal before the current stopgap expires in December, reports POLITICO PRO.

 
 
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