Why cleaner fuels are a matter of life or death

August 18, 2020
We're taking a deep dive into new data on the health impacts of air pollution, and biotech solutions for “the greatest risk to human health.” We’ve also got details on a new COVID-19 product development tool and news from the DNC and Capitol Hill. Here are around 900…

We're taking a deep dive into new data on the health impacts of air pollution, and biotech solutions for “the greatest risk to human health.” We’ve also got details on a new COVID-19 product development tool and news from the DNC and Capitol Hill. Here are around 900 words, 4 and a half minutes. 

P.S. Today starting at noon ET, BIO’s Dr. Michelle McMurry-Heath and BIO members AquaBounty Technologies and Gevo will discuss how to build resiliency in the agriculture value chain during a Leaders of American Agriculture virtual event. Click here for details and registration.

Why cleaner fuels are a matter of life or death

We mentioned this news last week, but it deserves a closer look. New data shows air pollution is even worse for human health than we thought, reports Futurity—and highlights the need to support and strengthen the biofuels sector.

Particulate air pollution reduces average life expectancy by nearly two years, according to new data from the Air Quality Life Index (AQLI), produced by the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago.

The researchers say poor air quality is “the greatest risk to human health” and will “continue to cause billions of people to lead shorter and sicker lives across the globe,” as AFP puts it.

And it’s exacerbated the impact of the pandemic. Several studies, including ones from Harvard and the University of Cambridge, found air pollution increases the risk of serious illness and death from COVID-19.

What they’re saying: “Though the threat of coronavirus is grave and deserves every bit of the attention it is receiving—perhaps more in some places—embracing the seriousness of air pollution with a similar vigor would allow billions of people around the world to lead longer and healthier lives,” said Michael Greenstone, Director of the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago (EPIC). 

So, what do we do? “The reality is, no shot in the arm will alleviate air pollution. The solution lies in robust public policy,” continues Greenstone.

Low-carbon fuel standards can help. California’s standard has helped avoid 52 million tons of carbon pollution—and the American Lung Association and Environmental Defense Fund found low-carbon fuel standard implementation would significantly reduce cases of acute respiratory symptoms.

Biotech can help, too. From using gene editing to develop crops with longer roots to capture and store more carbon in the soil, to turning carbon gas into renewable chemicals and fuels and even turning waste into fuel with zero carbon footprint, biotech can deliver solutions.

But policy needs to catch up. This is why we continue our work on policies that champion the development and growth of the bioeconomy and biotech innovations, like the Growing Climate Solutions Act (a bipartisan Senate bill that would jump-start carbon markets), the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and low-carbon fuel initiatives nationwide, as well as regulation that supports the development of powerful tools like gene editing. 

Learn more about sustainable fuels.


BIO launches new resources for COVID-19 product development

Throughout the pandemic, BIO has been working to better understand where key manufacturing capabilities and capacity lie, and help companies find needed partners. As part of this effort, we launched a new tool to help biopharma companies and contract development and manufacturing organizations (CDMOs) find potential manufacturing partners for COVID-19 products.

BIO’s COVID-19 Therapeutics Manufacturing Capability Search Tool is an online tool to allow companies who are developing COVID-19 therapeutics and need external support to quickly identify a shortlist of potential partners with the required capabilities.

What can you do? Select and search for multiple capabilities at one time, including manufacturing and development capabilities for monoclonal antibodies, sterile injectables, and oral solids.

What do you get? Your search will generate a list of relevant companies matching your criteria, along with contact information. And we will continue to add additional companies as we receive more information. 

To access it, visit the BIO Coronavirus Hub and create a free account.

If you want your company to be part of the search tool, email coronavirus@bio.org

As a reminder, BIO has a suite of COVID-19 resources, including the pipeline trackerbusiness and scientific resources, and a list of patient support programs. If you have anything you think should be added to the site, email coronavirus@bio.org.

More Health Care News:

Axios: America's failed coronavirus response hurts people of color most
“These disparities stem from deep-rooted racial inequities that are baked into every part of American life, and fixing these will take a long time. But bringing the pandemic under control isn't as hard—almost every other wealthy country in the world has been able to do it by this point. America's decision not to follow suit will continue to deepen its racial wounds until it changes course.”

STAT News: Sanofi CEO Paul Hudson on a major acquisition, long-term strategy, and COVID-19 vaccines
Sanofi's new CEO spoke “about the decision to purchase Principia Biopharma for $3.7 billion—as well as Sanofi’s overall strategy and its COVID-19 vaccine candidates.”

The New York Times: Federal study of COVID treatments enters new phase
“A clinical trial showed that remdesivir helped hospitalized patients. Now researchers are asking whether when the drug is paired with another antiviral drug, patients will recover faster.” 

BIO Beltway Report

President Trump’s Tuesday: Marking the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote. Then, hitting the road to talk about disaster recovery in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and immigration and the border wall in Yuma, Arizona. 

What’s Happening on Capitol Hill: Day 1 of the DNC focused on unity, with speakers ranging from Michelle Obama and Sen. Bernie Sanders to Republicans like former Ohio Gov. John Kasich and former New Jersey Gov. and EPA Administrator Christine Todd Whitman explaining why they will vote for Biden-Harris. Tonight, former President Bill Clinton, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), and former Acting U.S. Attorney General Sally Yates will take the virtual stage. Meanwhile, Reps. Lauren Underwood (D-IL), Dr. Kim Schrier (D-WA), and Ann McLane Kuster (D-NH) introduced legislation yesterday to “to develop, scale, and evaluate local initiatives to promote recommended vaccinations during this pandemic,” as well as support preparations for the COVID-19 vaccine, according to the press release.

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