WuXi AppTec is convening and working together with experts, from our company and around the world, for ongoing analysis of the COVID-19 pandemic. We are also partnering with other industry leaders on actions to address it. As we continue to collaborate with the global healthcare community on this urgent issue, we will update this page with links to our emerging insights and initiatives—along with that of our partners’ and with key coverage of scientific collaboration on the issue globally.
UPDATES FROM WUXI APPTEC
- Harnessing Our Collective Power: WuXi Online Forum II on COVID-19 April 16, 2020
- Urgently Responding to This Outbreak, Vigilantly Preparing for the Next March 20, 2020
- Let Science Lead: A Special Online Forum on COVID-19 March 19, 2020
COVERAGE & INITIATIVES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
April 30, 2020
The Resilience of Global Scientific Collaboration
Axios has a succinct but densely detailed overview of the extent of global collaboration across the scientific community, despite the geopolitical tensions of the moment. Scientists in the U.S. and China, Axios explains, are working together to understand the genesis and spread of the coronavirus pandemic, and most importantly to test COVID-19 treatments and drug candidates, and to develop vaccines.
“The more engagement we have, the more opportunities we have to build relationships and inform our understanding of this emerging infectious disease threat,” Margaret Hamburg, the foreign secretary of the U.S. National Academy of Science and a former FDA commissioner, remarked to Axios. “There is a long tradition of science diplomacy.”
Read the full post here.
April 27, 2020
‘Not Business as Usual’: George Scangos on Vir’s Race Against Covid-19’
San Francisco Business Times recently spoke with George Scangos, the CEO of Vir Biotechnology—who was also, in February, appointed to head up the COVID-19 initiative for BIO, biotech’s largest industry trade group—on his company’s collaborations to address the global coronavirus pandemic. As Business Times assesses the stakes of these efforts: “The quicker Vir proves the value of its library of antibodies, the faster the world might be able to line up new attacks on COVID-19.”
“The strategy is simple,” Scangos says: “Get an effective therapy to patients as quickly as we can. Frankly, that’s the strategy of most companies, to set up those collaborations really quickly because everybody sees the urgency. Every day people are dying. Every day we have to stay in our houses is a day too long.” The key to executing this strategy, he emphasizes, is for the biotech industry to work together as much as possible: “My philosophy in general is, let’s collaborate and do the best science and technology, and let’s not get hung up on ‘ours is better than anyone else’s.”
April 16, 2020
‘Putting … Trust in the Scientific Community’
On April 13, the World Health Organization (WHO) released a public declaration by a group of experts, working with the WHO to help develop vaccines against the coronavirus, to help prevent transmission, protect public health, and “[put] their trust in the scientific community.”
The group’s declaration states that:
We are scientists, physicians, funders and manufacturers who have come together as part of an international collaboration, coordinated by the World Health Organization (WHO), to help speed the availability of a vaccine against COVID-19. While a vaccine for general use takes time to develop, a vaccine may ultimately be instrumental in controlling this worldwide pandemic. In the interim, we applaud the implementation of community intervention measures that reduce spread of the virus and protect people, including vulnerable populations, and pledge to use the time gained by the widespread adoption of such measures to develop a vaccine as rapidly as possible. We will continue efforts to strengthen the unprecedented worldwide collaboration, cooperation and sharing of data already underway. We believe these efforts will help reduce inefficiencies and duplication of effort, and we will work tenaciously to increase the likelihood that one or more safe and effective vaccines will soon be made available to all.
This declaration, and list of signatories, is available on the WHO’s website, here.
April 15, 2020
‘This Is a Global Effort’: The View From Germany
In the hunt for a coronavirus vaccine, according to Professor Klaus Cichutek, “Everybody has been working on a vaccine for everybody. …That’s a global thing we have to do and there’s nothing like ‘only a vaccine for the U.S’., or Germany.” Cichutek is the president of the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut, Federal Institute of Vaccines and Biomedicines, an agency of the German Federal Ministry of Health. He was quoted by CNBC in an article highlighting a consensus that’s growing rapidly around the world on the imperative to work closely together toward a vaccine:
“It’s not really a competition but a collaboration that we’re looking at. We need to spur a global effort to get several vaccine products that are safe and efficacious as soon as possible,” Cichutek added.
“If you look at phase one trials currently going on, there is one in the U.S. and one in the U.K. and there seem to be two in China, and I hope Germany will be one of the next ones.
The article also cites Sanofi CEO Paul Hudson, who stated, “As the world faces this unprecedented global health crisis, it is clear that no one company can go it alone.”
Read the full article at CNBC.com.
April 7, 2020
An Ebola-Vaccine Pioneer on the Unprecedented Worldwide Initiative Against COVID-19
PRI spoke with Gary Kobinger, the director of Laval University’s Infectious Disease Research Center at in Quebec, Canada—and a special-pathogens expert who contributed to the development of an Ebola vaccine—about progress against COVID-19. “In relation to a lot of other vaccine efforts, this is going extremely fast,” Kobinger told PRI. “We’ve never seen several vaccines entering clinical trials within three months from the emergence of a pathogen.” While Kobinger emphasized the importance of matching speed with caution in vaccine development, he also noted that the level of global collaboration on a COVID-19 vaccine is unprecedented:
Right now what’s, I think, unique is the level of global collaboration, at least at the [scientific] level. Actually, there’s so many conference calls, there’s not enough hours in a day to follow everything that is happening. But it’s to tell you there is a lot of collaborative approaches now. It’s not about my vaccine, your vaccine. This is why we’re also, on our side, trying to help as many as possible. It’s not about our vaccine. We have one in-house … but it’s it’s not as a big priority because we are not as equipped as others and we prefer to make others benefit from what we can do to fast track their vaccine rather than ours.
The full interview can be heard here.
April 1, 2020
How COVID-19 Is Changing Global Scientific Collaboration
In The New York Times this week, the Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Matt Apuzzo and international correspondent David Kirkpatrick report on how scientists around the world are ignoring political and geopolitical tensions—working together, across disciplines and across borders, to share research and brain power in unprecedented ways:
While political leaders have locked their borders, scientists have been shattering theirs, creating a global collaboration unlike any in history. Never before, researchers say, have so many experts in so many countries focused simultaneously on a single topic and with such urgency. Nearly all other research has ground to a halt.
Normal imperatives like academic credit have been set aside. Online repositories make studies available months ahead of journals. Researchers have identified and shared hundreds of viral genome sequences. More than 200 clinical trials have been launched, bringing together hospitals and laboratories around the globe.
“I never hear scientists — true scientists, good quality scientists — speak in terms of nationality,” said Dr. Francesco Perrone, who is leading a coronavirus clinical trial in Italy. “My nation, your nation. My language, your language. My geographic location, your geographic location. This is something that is really distant from true top-level scientists.”
The article illustrates the spirit of urgency in working together against the pandemic that we are experiencing with our colleagues and partners around the world—and that governed WuXi AppTec’s recent online forum, “LET SCIENCE LEAD: A Special Online Forum on COVID-19.” Reaching more than 5,000 people globally, the event featured 18 industry and academic leaders.
March 23, 2020
MassBio’s New Emergency SupplyHub Initiative
The Massachusetts Biotechnology Council (MassBio), a 35-year-old non-profit organization that represents, serves, and supports the life sciences industry in and around Boston, U.S., has launched the Massachusetts Life Sciences Emergency SupplyHub. The purpose of the initiative is to coordinate donations from the area’s life sciences and healthcare organizations of lab testing, diagnostics, and safety supplies, as well as medical and scientific expertise, to address the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to MassBio, its program will work closely with state authorities:
We will share this information with the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) and the state’s Department of Public Health, who are coordinating and triaging all requests for supplies.
With all this information centralized, state government will be able to more efficiently match requests with available supplies. This is in no way meant to replace the current structure the state has in place for resource requests from healthcare institutions to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health but is meant to augment it.
Read the organization’s full announcement—including its lists of supplies and expertise needed, and SupplyHub FAQs—here.