A shot in the arm

March 3, 2021
Today we have details on yesterday's significant announcement from Merck and Johnson & Johnson, as well as a look at the sustainable genetically engineered salmon that might be coming to a supermarket near you this spring. (724 words, 3 minutes, 27 seconds)P.S. Don't…
BIO

Today we have details on yesterday's significant announcement from Merck and Johnson & Johnson, as well as a look at the sustainable genetically engineered salmon that might be coming to a supermarket near you this spring. (724 words, 3 minutes, 27 seconds)

P.S. Don't miss what Dolly Parton had to say—and sing—about getting her COVID-19 vaccine.

 

A shot in the arm

 
 

We have details on yesterday’s huge COVID-19 vaccine announcement by two BIO members—yet another example of the unprecedented collaboration we’ve seen in the industry over the past year.

The news: Merck announced it will manufacture Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine.

The funding: Merck will receive $268.8 million in funding from the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) “to adapt and make available a number of existing manufacturing facilities,” says the announcement. “This funding is in addition to Merck’s continued investment in its global vaccines manufacturing network as part of its planned capital investments of more than $20 billion from 2020 through the end of 2024.” 

The impact: “We’re now on track to have enough vaccine supply for every adult in America by the end of May,” said President Biden when announcing the agreement yesterday.

What they’re saying: “We are steadfast in our commitment to contribute to the global response to the pandemic as part of the remarkable efforts of the entire medical and scientific community,” said Mike Nally, EVP of Human Health at Merck.

Why it matters: “This is the type of collaboration between companies we saw in WWII,” said President Biden—and it’s another shining example of the unprecedented collaboration between companies large and small and the public sector to come together to beat this pandemic. 

Do you have questions about COVID-19 vaccines? BIO’s Dr. Michelle McMurry-Heath answered a few FAQs for The Bakersfield Californian—and you can learn more at www.COVIDVaccineFacts.org.

 
 
 
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A deliciously sustainable solution

 
 

BIO member AquaBounty’s genetically engineered salmon could be coming to your plate soon—and we explain why it’s a sustainable solution that can help us reduce carbon emissions and build a resilient food supply.   

AquaBounty Technologies developed genetically engineered salmon that can grow more efficiently and sustainably—and it’s the first genetically engineered animal approved for human consumption in the United States.

After COVID-related delays, the company’s inaugural U.S. harvest is underway, with the salmon expected to be available for consumers by April, reports NPR.

The salmon is sustainable—able to grow “free of disease and antibiotics, resulting in a reduced carbon footprint and no risk of pollution to marine ecosystems as compared to traditional sea-cage farming,” as we’ve explained

The company’s land-based Recirculating Aquaculture Systems allow the fish to swim and school naturally—and bring fresh salmon closer to the consumer, resulting in a lower carbon footprint.  

And this salmon could help us build a more resilient food supply. “As the global population increases, we are seeking better ways to efficiently feed a hungry world with a sustainable source of nutritious food,” said AquaBounty’s CEO Sylvia Wulf

Learn more about the benefits of agricultural biotechnology.

 

More Agriculture and Environment News:

Bloomberg Green: After historic fall, carbon emissions are now coming back fast
“In December, global emissions were higher than during the same month in 2019, according to new data from the International Energy Agency.”

 
 
 
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BIO Celebrates Women's History Month
Marie Daly.jpg

Dr. Marie Daly (1921-2003) overcame both racial and gender discrimination to become the first African American woman to earn a Ph.D. in chemistry and further our understanding of human biochemistry.

A New Yorker who loved science from a young age, she completed her Master’s degree at New York University in just one year and her Ph.D. in chemistry at Columbia in three.

Dr. Daly made many important discoveries, including the relationship between high levels of cholesterol and high blood pressure, as well as the makeup of chromosomes. “Her work contributed to our basic understanding of histones and, ultimately, the organization of our DNA,” explains Harvard University.

BIO is particularly inspired by Dr. Daly’s commitment to increasing the number of minority students in graduate medical and science programs—something we're also trying to do with the BIOEquality Agenda. Dr. Daly established a scholarship fund for African American science students at Queens College in New York, in honor of her father who couldn’t finish his graduate degree.

 
BIO Beltway Report
BIO Beltway Report
 
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President Biden’s Wednesday: Holding a bipartisan meeting on cancer, then a virtual event with House Democrats. Meanwhile, Biden withdrew the nomination of Neera Tanden for director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), reports CNBC, and Biden’s Interior Department is “reversing Trump” to move “swiftly on climate change,” explains The New York Times.

What’s Happening on Capitol Hill: The Senate could begin debating the COVID-19 relief package today, reports USA Today. Meanwhile, the Senate Finance Committee will vote on the nominations of Xavier Becerra (HHS) and Katherine Tai (USTR).

 
 
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