Good Day BIO: Narcan inventor saves another life – in person

October 11, 2021
Start your week with this must-watch story of a BIO Board member who saved a stranger’s life with his own invention. Meanwhile, the government’s quiet today but we take a look at climate contingency plans released by 26 government agencies last week—and the important…
BIO

Start your week with this must-watch story of a BIO Board member who saved a stranger’s life with his own invention. Meanwhile, the government’s quiet today but we take a look at climate contingency plans released by 26 government agencies last week—and the important role for biotech. (661 words, 3 minutes, 18 seconds) 

RIP “biotech giant” Alan C. Mendelson, who passed away over the weekend. The former BIO Board member was “one of the all-time great legal minds in biotech,” as former chairman Dr. Jeremy Levin put it. Mendelson was recently appointed to the Boards of Coherus BioSciences and the National Kidney Foundation. Our thoughts are with his family and friends.

 

Narcan inventor saves another life – in person

 
 

Roger Crystal’s invention Narcan, a nasal spray to treat opioid overdoses, had already been credited with saving thousands of lives—and he personally used his drug to save one more last week in an amazing story you have to see. 

Here’s what happened: BIO Board member Roger Crystal was driving with his wife Michelle in Los Angeles last Thursday when they spotted someone lying on the sidewalk with an anxious dog nearby—and they sprang into action

Crystal leapt out of the car and administered his own invention Narcan, while Michelle called 911—watch the footage of the rescue via NBC News Los Angeles. Firefighters arrived on the scene administered more Narcan, and the victim was revived.

“If you see someone unresponsive, lying on the street in this country, it's an opioid overdose until proven otherwise,” Crystal told NBC News.

During an opioid overdose, the body’s automatic drive to breathe can be eliminated. Naloxone, the active ingredient in Opiant’s Narcan nasal spray, binds to the opioid receptor and blocks negative effects of the opioid.

Approved by the FDA in 2015, Narcan is easy for anyone to administer, meaning family members—or complete strangers on the street—can use it to save lives. 

“You can probably see from the shot that anyone can put the nasal spray up someone’s nose,” said Crystal, who earlier Thursday became a U.S. citizen. “It's been an extraordinary day.” 

Read: Meet Roger Crystal 

In context: The U.S. opioid crisis impacts millions, causing 70,630 fatal overdoses in 2019 alone, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Thanks to biotechnology—and a quick-thinking innovator—one more life was saved this year.

 
 
 
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Federal climate contingency plans outline challenges and solutions

 
 

The reports of 26 federal agencies and offices offer a frightening preview of the climate challenges we face—and the potential for science-based solutions.

Released Thursday, the Federal Climate Adaptation Plans detail current impacts and future risks of climate change, as well as possible solutions.

The reports cover nearly every aspect of life—from wildfires and floods causing students to miss school (Education), to extreme weather canceling military exercises (Defense) and flights (Transportation), to catastrophic climate events worldwide causing an increase in migrants (Homeland Security). 

The impact on health is particularly dire: “Those most susceptible include communities of color, older adults, children, pregnant persons, people with lower incomes, those who live or work in areas with greater exposure,” says the Health and Human Services report. “Existing health disparities are likely to be exacerbated.” 

But the reports also note science and biotechnology can help agencies build resilience.

We need to promote energy innovation, says the Department of Energy report, including by “helping to create a sustainable clean energy economy.”  

Biotech can help—such as with low-carbon or zero-carbon fuels for automobiles and airplanes

To address threats to agriculture—which range from damage to crops and forestlands to a reduction of pollinating insects—we must “[i]ncrease support for research and development of climate-smart practices and technologies to inform USDA and help producers and land managers adapt to a changing climate,” says the Agriculture report

Here, too, science offers solutions—from gene editing allowing us to breed plants more resilient in the face of drought and disease, to ag technology like carbon sequestration that can eliminate carbon from the air. 

As BIO’s Dr. Michelle has said…we have to “science our way out” of climate change.

 
 
 
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Dr. Elena V. Rios is President and CEO of the National Hispanic Medical Association (NHMA) and the President of the National Hispanic Health Foundation. As head of NHMA, she represents 50,000 Hispanic physicians in the United States, while simultaneously directing the educational and research activities of the National Hispanic Health Foundation.

Meet more Hispanic and Latinx scientists and innovators you should know.

 
 
 
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The federal government is quiet today, due to Columbus Day/Indigenous People’s Day. Tomorrow, we can anticipate continued talks between President Biden and Congress about the key votes on Biden’s agenda. Meanwhile, The New York Times looks at the outlook for climate provisions in the infrastructure and social spending bills.

 
 
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