USDA Secretary to headline first-ever BIO IMPACT Digital

September 10, 2020
Yesterday was a big news day. Here’s what you need to know about vaccine trial safety, plus a big announcement about a headline speaker at BIO IMPACT Digital, in about 640 words, 3 minutes.

Yesterday was a big news day. Here’s what you need to know about vaccine trial safety, plus a big announcement about a headline speaker at BIO IMPACT Digital, in about 640 words, 3 minutes.

USDA Secretary to headline first-ever BIO IMPACT Digital

We’re pleased to announce that U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue will headline BIO IMPACT Digital, our first-ever digital conference for the agriculture and environment biotech industry taking place on September 21-22, 2020.

Secretary Perdue will join Brian Brazeau, Vice-chair of BIO’s Food and Agriculture Section Governing Board and President of Novozymes North America, for a fireside chat on USDA’s Leadership in Driving Innovation in Agriculture on September 22, 10 AM ET.

The session will highlight how biotech applications are supporting USDA’s Biotech Innovation Agenda—reducing the environmental footprint of farms and food production while driving sustainability and economic growth.

And it's one of several sessions that will showcase biotech’s role in building a more resilient economy, featuring speakers from Amyris, AquaBounty, Genomatica, Gingko Bioworks, Zymergen, and more. (The full program can be found here.)

Formerly the BIO World Congress, BIO IMPACT Digital will bring together the agriculture and environment biotech industry for two days of virtual educational sessions and partnering. 

For more information and registration, visit


More Agriculture and Environment News:

DOE: Sustainable Aviation Fuel: Review of Technical Pathways
The U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy released a new report that describes potential pathways to produce sustainable alternative fuels suitable for use by the commercial aviation sector. 

STAT News: Doctors offer guide for teaching the health effects of climate change in medical residency
“Their framework, published in a paper Wednesday in Academic Medicine, includes a breakdown of high-risk populations, including the elderly and low-income families, and a review of the current understanding on how climate impacts health—such as the relationship between air quality and respiratory illness.”


Vaccine safety protections are working, experts say

Among yesterday’s big headlines, AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford paused the phase 3 clinical trial of their COVID-19 vaccine. Here’s what you need to know—and why this a sign that the safety protections are working.

What happened? One participant in the clinical trial of the AstraZeneca/University of Oxford vaccine candidate developed unexplained spinal inflammation, causing the trial to be put on hold, reports The Washington Post

We don’t know yet whether the illness was caused by the vaccine—but it’s “a concrete example of how even a single case of an unexpected illness is sufficient to require a clinical hold for the trial in multiple countries,” said NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins during yesterday’s Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee hearing on vaccine safety.

Is this a setback in the vaccine race? No. “The reason we’re investing not in one, but in six different vaccines is because of the expectation that they won’t all work,” Dr. Collins continued, adding that such a pause is “not at all unprecedented.”  

And more importantly, “it is a sign the system in place to protect participants is working,” as several experts explained.

This is exactly what the biopharmaceutical industry and BIO leadership have committed to in recent statements about vaccine safety. AstraZeneca was among the nine companies that recently signed a joint statement committing to vaccine safety and science, which came shortly after BIO leadership released an open letter articulating principles to ensure the “integrity, transparency, and objective assessment” of COVID-19 clinical data.

Read BIO's latest blog on this initiative. 

What they’re saying: “This temporary pause is living proof that we follow those principles while a single event at one of our trial sites is assessed by a committee of independent experts. We will be guided by this committee as to when the trials could restart, so that we can continue our work at the earliest opportunity to provide this vaccine broadly, equitably, and at no profit during this pandemic,” AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot said in a statement.

Read BIO’s open letter on COVID-19 data. 

Learn more about what BIO members are doing to end the pandemic at  

Catch up on I am BIO
I am BIO -

A vaccine researcher. A biopharma exec who volunteered to treat COVID-19 patients. Teens working on opioid addiction and soil health. Champions for arthritis patients, cancer patients, and future scientists.  

These are just a few of the inspiring people you can meet at I am BIO, our platform showcasing the many faces of the biotech industry. 

Get to know people who are making an impact on society with science, as well as those whose lives have been changed by scientific breakthroughs.

Visit to learn more and submit your video!

BIO Beltway Report

President Trump’s Thursday: ICYMI, Bob Woodward broke major news yesterday on what President Trump knew—and when—about COVID-19. Today, POTUS is meeting with the Secretary of State, then heading to Freeland, Michigan, for a campaign event.

What’s Happening on Capitol Hill: “Odds shrink for a coronavirus relief deal,” reports POLITICO.

Paragraph (normal) - Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Quis ipsum suspendisse ultrices gravida. Risus commodo viverra maecenas accumsan lacus sample link.