An update on the coronavirus pipeline

September 30, 2020
Today, we have an update on the coronavirus pipeline, plus the role synbio is playing in fighting the virus. Read to the end for our thoughts on the debate. Here are around 730 words, just under 4 minutes.
BIO

Today, we have an update on the coronavirus pipeline, plus the role synbio is playing in fighting the virus. Read to the end for our thoughts on the debate. Here are around 730 words, just under 4 minutes.

 

An update on the coronavirus pipeline

 
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The world has crossed a grim milestone of 1 million deaths caused by COVID-19, but there’s hope—because each day brings news of progress in the race to develop vaccines and therapeutics. BIO’s Dr. Michelle McMurry-Heath recently appeared on CNN to give us an update on where things stand.

On vaccines, there’s a lot of good news to report. Johnson & Johnson recently launched a global phase 3 trial, while Moderna said its candidate demonstrates “potent neutralization responses” in older patients.

These are just two of 180 vaccine candidates, nine of which are in late-stage trials, Dr. Michelle McMurry-Heath told CNN.  

We don’t know yet if a vaccine will provide lifelong immunity or if we’ll need annual shots like the flu vaccine, “but it’s great to have one-dose candidates and two-dose candidates if they get the job done,” she continued.

We’re also seeing progress in therapeutics—including monoclonal antibodies, polyclonal antibodies, and convalescent plasma, all of which could “be incredibly important not just to get us to an eventual vaccine but also to help in the cases of people who break through and have an infection.”

A major challenge? Vaccine hesitancy. An Axios-Ipsos poll found 6 in 10 Americans don’t want to take a first-generation COVID-19 vaccine as soon as it’s available, an increase from the end of August.

Dr. Michelle’s Diagnosis: The American public is seeing that our politicians are sometimes speaking about the vaccine as though it’s a political tool, when in reality, it’s science, it’s medicine. And we need to leave it to the scientists to get this right. – BIO President & CEO Dr. Michelle McMurry-Heath 

Watch:


 
Dr. Michelle on CNN
 

See what’s in the COVID-19 pipeline.

More Health Care News: 

Biopharma Dive: 5 FDA approval decisions to watch in the 4th quarter
“The next three months will be among the most consequential in the Food and Drug Administration's modern history.”

Washington Post: 7 former FDA commissioners: The Trump administration is undermining the credibility of the FDA
"If the FDA makes available a safe and effective vaccine that people trust, we could expect to meaningfully reduce covid-19 risk as soon as next spring or summer. Without that trust, our health and economy could lag for years."

Axios: Drugs aren't the reason the U.S. spends so much on health care
"The U.S. spends twice as much per person as other wealthy nations, according to a new Peterson-Kaiser Tracker analysis — and hospitals and outpatient care are the primary culprits."


 
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Synbio’s unique role in the fight against COVID-19

 
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The entire biotechnology industry is working hard to beat COVID-19—including synthetic biology, or synbio, which is helping us manufacture important materials in a sustainable way. Here’s just one example. 

Squalene can be used as a safe and effective vaccine adjuvant, helping to create a stronger immune response in some vaccines like the flu vaccine. However, in nature, squalene is derived from sharks, and as The Miami-Herald reported, this has some conservationists concerned about the impact on the shark population.

Biotech to the rescue! As you may recall, BIO member Amyris has been making a replica of squalene (which they call squalane) using synthetic biology and sugarcane. 

And they’ve already been using it in the COVID-19 fight—making hand sanitizer and a promising vaccine adjuvant. This is one more way biotechnology is helping to save lives and promote a more sustainable future.

Learn more about Amyris’s technology:


 
https://iambiotech.wistia.com/medias/1ebbwvbgwh
 

More Agriculture and Environment News: 

The Guardian: World leaders pledge to halt Earth’s destruction ahead of UN summit
More than 64 leaders from five continents agreed to a set of commitments including “a renewed effort to reduce deforestation, halt unsustainable fishing practices, eliminate environmentally harmful subsidies, and begin the transition to sustainable food production systems and a circular economy over the next decade.”


 
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WELCOME NEW MEMBERS!

In September, BIO welcomed four new members to the organization:

 
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President Trump’s Wednesday: Today’s all about fundraising in Minnesota, with a rally in Duluth this evening.

If you missed last night’s debate, you missed “disorder,” “chaos,” and “insults,” per Bloomberg. Or, to put it in the words of CNN’s Jake Tapper: “a hot mess inside a dumpster fire inside a train wreck.” STAT News takes a look at what they said about health care and COVID-19.

Here’s the takeaway from BIO’s EVP of Public Affairs and Communications Rich Masters:

 
Masters Message - BIO's Rich Masters on the presidential debate
 

What’s Happening on Capitol Hill: Lots of action in the Senate, as they’re expected to pass the stop-gap funding bill and former FBI Director James Comey is set to testify in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Meanwhile, POLITICO says we’re nearing the final hour to move a coronavirus aid package before the election.

 
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