Why COVID-19 has made Earth Day and antibiotics more significant

April 22, 2020
Microsoft has teamed up with BIO members Takeda and CSL Behring to recruit patients who have recovered from COVID-19 to donate their plasma—yet another shining example of how the industry is coming together to collaborate in innovative ways to defeat this thing. In…
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Microsoft has teamed up with BIO members Takeda and CSL Behring to recruit patients who have recovered from COVID-19 to donate their plasma—yet another shining example of how the industry is coming together to collaborate in innovative ways to defeat this thing.

In other news, today we're celebrating 50 years of Earth Day—and we’re taking a look at the links between humans, animals, and the environment and what it means for the pandemic. We’ve also got an update from Pew on the antibiotic pipeline and why even patients fighting a virus need to worry about superbugs. Here are 780 words, around 4 minutes.

Happy Earth Day from biotech

 
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It’s Earth Day—and we’re joining the organizers in flooding the digital landscape with hope, optimism, and action with a look at what BIO’s agriculture and environment members are doing to fight the coronavirus

COVID-19 has made Earth Day even more significant, knowing what we know about the links between human health, animals, and the climate, the origins of the disease, and how the health impacts are exacerbated by air pollution.

The biotech industry is coming together to create solutions to many of the environmental and structural issues that have exacerbated the pandemic, from developing innovative vaccines and therapies, to meeting demand for sanitizers and PPE in a sustainable way. 

Today, we want to spread good news about how the industry is helping the fight—because the industry is collaborating and innovating like never before, across all sectors. 

Many companies are creating renewable sanitizers:

Others are manufacturing much-needed PPE. Bayer and Scotts Miracle-Gro are making and distributing face shields for health care workers and first responders. 

They’re also getting in on the vaccine action, with Amyris working on vaccine adjuvant using their fermentation process, as one example.

And still others are working on amazing therapeutics and diagnostics, like Twist Bioscience’s collaboration to produce antibodies using synthetic DNA, and Zymergen using AI and robotics to drive and scale COVID-19 testing.

Learn more about the agriculture and environment sector’s coronavirus response. And tell us how you’re celebrating #EarthDayatHome by tweeting us @IAmBiotech.

 

More Agriculture & Environment News:

Reuters: G20 agriculture ministers say corona measures should not disrupt food supply
“The G20 ministers said they would guard against any measures leading to excessive food price volatility in global markets or that threaten food supply.”

 
 
 
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Why antibiotics still matter in a viral pandemic

We're all focused on the coronavirus, but there’s another, major threat still lurking: superbugs. And the pandemic is a stark reminder of the need to be prepared for public health crises, particularly the growing danger of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, says Pew in new analysis

Fact: We need new antibiotics. Superbugs killed 160,000 Americans in 2010—and unless we take action, they’re expected to kill 10 million people per year by 2050.

But there aren’t enough antibiotics in the development pipeline. “According to Pew’s most recent assessment of the antibiotic pipeline, far too few drugs are in development with even the potential to treat the most dangerous superbugs,” writes Pew

Why are we talking about antibiotics in the context of a virus? “Antibiotics are needed to protect COVID-19 patients who have weakened immune systems (and who may be on ventilators) and are therefore at risk for secondary bacterial infections. Likewise, antibiotics are also critical for patients fighting cancer, receiving dialysis, undergoing surgery, and requiring countless other medical treatments and procedures,” Pew explains.

Jim's Judgment: The need for the administration and Congress to act by helping stimulate innovation has never been more important. We can win this fight by incentivizing innovators to produce new antimicrobials. The recent bipartisan efforts in Washington will help take us closer to this goal. – BIO President & CEO Jim Greenwood

Dig in:

Learn more at www.workingtofightamr.org.

 

More Health Care News: 

BioCentury: Bright ousted as BARDA director, joins NIH
“Rick Bright has left his position as director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority and deputy assistant secretary for preparedness and response and has joined NIH to work on the development of COVID-19 diagnostics.” 

Chemical & Engineering News: Scaling up remdesivir amid the coronavirus crisis
“If any of the five late-stage clinical studies underway show that remdesivir works, Gilead will need to make a lot of it, and fast.” 

POLITICO: NIH panel issues first guidance on coronavirus drugs
“Coronavirus treatment guidelines issued by a government panel conclude there is not enough data on some of the most touted drugs—including hydroxychloroquine, which the panel said should not be used outside clinical trials when paired with antibiotics.”

 
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President Trump’s Wednesday: Planting trees to recognize Earth Day and Arbor Day (Friday), then lunch with Secretary of State Pompeo. The Coronavirus Task Force is scheduled to hold a press briefing at 5 PM ET.

What’s Happening on Capitol Hill: Recess until at least May 4. Yesterday, the Senate passed $484 billion more in relief for small businesses and funding for hospitals and testing, which the House is expected to pass later this week. But Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said they won’t pass any more legislation until they’re back in session in person, reports POLITICO.

 
 
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