What's in the 547-page climate crisis report?

July 2, 2020
Before we log off for the holiday weekend, we’re taking a closer look at the House Democrats’ climate report, and how biotech will play a role in cleaning up the planet. We also have details on recent developments on COVID-19 vaccines. Here are 800 words, 4 minutes. …
BIO

Before we log off for the holiday weekend, we’re taking a closer look at the House Democrats’ climate report, and how biotech will play a role in cleaning up the planet. We also have details on recent developments on COVID-19 vaccines. Here are 800 words, 4 minutes.

Good Day BIO is taking a quick break for Independence Day. We’ll be in touch if there’s major breaking news, but otherwise, we’ll resume regular publication on Monday, July 6. Have a happy July 4th—and wear a mask.

How to deploy biotech to solve the climate crisis

Earlier this week, House Democrats released their climate crisis action plan—which includes several goals made possible by biotechnology innovation.

The 547-page plan, Solving the Climate Crisis: The Congressional Action Plan for a Clean Energy Economy and a Healthy, Resilient, and Just America, was developed by the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis and “touches nearly every sector of the economy” says The Hill.

The roadmap points to several goals made possible by biotech, including:

  • accelerating the use of zero-carbon energy sources;
  • enhancing human health by reducing greenhouse gas emissions;
  • coordination of programs in sustainable chemistry;
  • promoting sustainable farming practices that protect soil, air, and water quality;
  • making food crops more resilient to extreme weather such as drought; and
  • building a durable clean energy economy.

The report adopted a number of BIO’s recommendations, which we included in comments to the committee last year on public policy measures that could help deploy biotech climate change solutions across many sectors—from transportation, to agriculture, to manufacturing.

Specifically, the report calls for building off of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) with a National Low Carbon Fuels Standard, tax incentives for Sustainable Aviation Fuels, and a performance standard for chemicals, among other recommendations. 

It also recommends adoption of the Sustainable Chemistry Research and Development Act of 2019, which would establish a national framework to support research, development, demonstration, technology transfer, and commercialization of sustainable chemistry technologies.

In fact, the sustainable chemistry bill was included as an amendment last night to the defense funding bills making their way through both the House and Senate. Stay tuned to Good Day BIO as we'll have the latest as both bills as they move forward in Congress. 

Stephanie’s Sage Words: Biotech companies that develop and manufacture sustainable fuels and other biobased products are helping to decarbonize the transportation and manufacturing sectors, reducing air pollution, mitigating other harmful environmental impacts, and improving public health. A national low carbon fuel standard can build off the worthy intentions of the RFS. We’ve seen how such policies implemented at the state level at BIO’s urging have invigorated the use of clean fuels and helped to achieve a reduced climate footprint. – Stephanie Batchelor, VP of BIO’s Industrial and Environmental Section

 

More Agriculture and Environment News:

Novozymes: New enzyme to advance surgical device cleaning
“Remify Everis 100 L represents a brand-new enzyme class for detergents that can be used to help prevent [Healthcare Associated Infections].” 

 
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I am BIO
Meet Julie: Arthritis Patient & Advocate
I am BIO: Julie Eller, Patient Advocate

In the latest installment of I am BIO, meet Julie Eller, who discovered as a young child that she had a rare form of arthritis.

Now, Julie is the Director of Patient Centered Strategies at the Arthritis Foundation

By sharing her story, she’s become a strong advocate for patients suffering from different forms of arthritis—and using it as fuel for good.

Visit www.bio.org/iambio to learn more and share your story!

 
 
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More progress in the vaccine race

As we reported yesterday, experts say we’re about 1/3 of the way to a COVID-19 vaccine and return to normal life—thanks to the unprecedented speed on the part of the biotech industry. And this week, several more BIO members announced progress.

Pfizer and BioNTech announced this week that their messenger RNA experimental vaccine “spurred immune responses” in a study of 45 healthy patients, reports STAT News.

The vaccine generated SARS-CoV-2 antibodies, including some neutralizing antibodies, at levels 1.8 to 2.8 times higher than the level of antibodies in recovered patients.

What’s next: “Pfizer will need to conduct large studies that aim to prove that people who have received the vaccine are at least 50% less likely to become infected. Those studies are expected to begin this summer, mostly in the United States. Pfizer and BioNTech are testing four different versions of the vaccine, but only one will advance to larger studies,” continues STAT News.

What they’re saying: “[W]hat we can say at this point is there is a viable candidate based on immunogenicity and early tolerability safety data,” said Philip Dormitzer, Pfizer’s chief scientific officer for viral vaccines. 

This comes on the heels of similar news from Inovio, which announced its experimental synthetic DNA vaccine produced “immunological response rates” in 34 of 36 patients in the Phase 1 clinical trial. The biotech plans to expand the trial and prepare for Phase 2/3 later this summer. 

The bottom line: “This is an unprecedented response by the industry. We’ve never seen anything like this before. It’s the companies driving it; the academic institutions that are developing these are under 10%,” said Dave Thomas, BIO VP of Industry Analysis, during BIO Digital. “In terms of the number of shots on goal, this bodes very well…for success in getting something to market.”

Learn more about what’s in the COVID-19 pipeline.

 

More Health Care News: 

Reuters: From Parkinson's to peanut allergy, pandemic puts brakes on new drugs
“Launching drugs is an expensive and complicated process that includes sales representatives talking to doctors, coordinating supplies and treatment with pharmacies and clinics, and advertising campaigns—many of which have become harder during lockdowns or other restrictions to tackle the pandemic.”

 
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President Trump’s Thursday: Today, he’s delivering remarks at something called the “Spirit of America Showcase,” while VP Pence is in Florida to talk about the COVID-19 response with the governor. Tomorrow, Trump’s planning to head to South Dakota for fireworks at Mount Rushmore. 

What’s Happening on Capitol Hill: Two hearings of note before heading home for the holiday weekend: House Small Business Subcommittee on Economic Growth, Tax, and Capital Access hearing on supply chain resiliency, and Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies hearing on Operation Warp Speed.

 
 
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