COVID-19 – Government and Industry Work Together to Address a Global Health Emergency

Biotech and Medtech innovators are working to find answers and provide support for people impacted by the Novel Corona Virus (COVID-19). As they work for develop and deliver solutions, get the latest on what you should know, situation updates and key information for travelers, healthcare professionals, the businesses from the Centers for Disease Control at the CDC Information Hub


On February 21, 2020, Dr. Nancy Messonnier provided a situational update on COVID-19 with CDC partners and answered questions that some private sector partners provided prior to the call. Topics included travel restrictions, recommended use of facemasks and N95 respirators, and prevention techniques. (Source:Youtube)

Industry Responds

“At AdvaMed, we help industry and government work together to solve problems on behalf of the patients we serve, and that collaboration has never been more important than it is now in the face of this global health emergency,” said Scott Whitaker, President and CEO of AdvaMed. “We’re doing everything we can to help stop the spread of the coronavirus. For the medtech industry, that means donating key medical technologies, providing on-the-ground medical support, and developing new diagnostics, treatments, and vaccines. For AdvaMed, it means connecting industry to public officials and those who are on the front lines fighting this disease. The medical technology community has always stepped up during times of crisis, and AdvaMed is proud of the tremendous work and charity the industry has committed so far.”  (Learn more)

“The truth is, the coronavirus is no match for science and the resilient scientific ecosystem of innovators working tirelessly to combat this emerging public health threat,” stated BIO CEO Jim Greenwood. “Stakeholders from across the industry are providing resources and capabilities to identify scientific solutions and medical treatments to protect individuals across the globe. We will win this fight…” (Learn More)

Below is a collection of some of the efforts undertaken recently by AZBio member companies: 

ASU Biodesign Institute researchers are on the hunt for solutions. Brenda Hogue, a professor at the Biodesign Center for Immunotherapy, Vaccines and Virotherapy specializes in researching coronaviruses and influenza. Hogue synthesizes RNA, or ribonucleic acid, from the genomes of viruses in an effort to find a vaccine. RNA typically acts as a messenger for DNA, sending signals that act as instructions. In some viruses, including COVID-19, RNA contains the genetic material that allows Hogue to create a molecule. (Learn more)

BD has donated medical devices such as catheters, syringes, sharps, blood collection tubes, and flush products valued at approximately $300,000 to the local Red Cross in Wuhan. In addition, BD has donated $50,000 that will be used to supply personal protective equipment (PPE) to frontline health workers. Read more here

Genosenor Corporation has developed a diagnostic kit for COVID-19 at its Tempe, Arizona facility and has commenced clinical trials in China.

Gilead is working closely with global health authorities to respond to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak through the appropriate experimental use of the investigational compound remdesivir. Together with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and Department of Defense (DoD) – CBRN Medical; the China CDC and National Medical Product Administration (NMPA); the World Health Organization (WHO); and individual researchers and clinicians; Gilead is focused on contributing our antiviral expertise and resources to help patients and communities fighting COVID-19. (Learn More)

GSK has partnered with CEPI to provide access to its adjuvant technology.  An adjuvant is added to some vaccines to enhance the immune response, thereby creating a stronger and longer lasting immunity against infections than the vaccine alone. The use of an adjuvant is of particular importance in a pandemic situation since it can reduce the amount of antigen required per dose, allowing more vaccine doses to be produced and made available to more people. (GSK Video) Learn More

“Gaining access to GSK’s world-leading adjuvant technology is a huge step forward in developing a vaccine against the novel coronavirus 2019-nCoV. Coupling GSK’s adjuvant systems with the pioneering platform technology we are funding has the potential to make more vaccine available more rapidly – by decreasing the dose of vaccine antigen required to protect each individual. This “antigen-sparing” effect makes a given supply of vaccine go farther, increasing the number of people who can benefit.” ~ Dr. Richard Hatchett, Chief Executive Officer, CEPI (Source)

Johnson & Johnson has donated one million surgical masks to China and $1 million RMB to the Chinese Red Cross Foundation. They have also donated thermometers, respirators, an electrosurgical generator, 50,000 bottles of isopropyl alcohol, and PPE including goggles and protective suits.

Additionally, to help stay ahead of a potential pandemic, Johnson & Johnson has mobilized quickly to initiate a project to develop a preventive coronavirus vaccine with the potential to protect people against the disease. The company is also expanding on a recent partnership with the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), part of the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response at the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, to advance the vaccine program and screen its library of existing antiviral compounds with the goal of identifying those with antiviral activity against Covid-19. Read more here.  

Medtronic and the Medtronic Foundation are committing $1.5 million to coronavirus relief efforts across the globe. Product donations to Wuhan Huoshenshan Hospital include ventilators, respiratory filters, pulse oximeters, sensors, and centrifugal blood pump systems. View the press release here.  

Roche is working with Chinese health authorities and the government to ensure people can access screening and healthcare. Roche is also working to support the government and local health officials and hospitals in Hubei Province in dealing with the coronavirus. Recently, Roche has donated diagnostic tests, medical supplies, and financial support for the affected region. View the press release here. 

Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccines global business unit of Sanofi, will leverage previous development work for a SARS vaccine which may unlock a fast path forward for developing a COVID-19 vaccine. Sanofi will collaborate with the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), part of the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, expanding the company’s longstanding partnership with BARDA. (Press Release)

TGen researchers believe they can develop a quick, accurate, genomics-based test that could produce results in as little as 15 minutes, and is easily used in a doctor’s office or hospital emergency room. They are developing a test that not only can detect if a patient has a coronavirus, but also tell which type of coronavirus, which can be as mild as a common cold or the more deadly types like SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) and the new virus, which was officially named COVID-19 this month.  David Engelthaler, co-director and associate professor of TGen North in Flagstaff, shared his insights February 12th on Horizon


Posted in AZBio News, COVID-19 News and Info.