How the pharmaceutical industry is coming together to deal with COVID-19
We are currently facing an unprecedented global sanitary crisis due to the COVID-19. Many European countries have put in place confinement procedures, non-essential activities have been stopped and workers from these industries are whether working from home or on technical unemployment.
One of the sector that is extremely affected by this situation is the Health sector. Not only with workers being in direct contact with patients but also people working in laboratories and pharmaceutical companies, trying to fight this virus with everything they’ve got. They are all putting the fight against COVID-19 as their first priority:
- Takeda is initiating the development of a drug to treat people infected with the novel coronavirus derived from the blood of coronavirus patients who have recovered from the disease
- Johnson & Johnson is partnering with the Rega Institute for Medical Research, University of Leuven (Belgium), to identify existing or new compounds with antiviral activity against COVID-19 that could provide relief to the outbreak
- And many other initiatives from GSK, Sanofi, Novartis, Pfizer…
Furthermore, what we are seeing amid this global situation are more collaboration and partnerships. Pharmaceutical companies, laboratories, biotechnology companies, government agencies and academic institutions are working jointly to be better and go faster.
For example, Pfizer announced a partnership with BioNTech in order to develop a vaccine against COVID-19. Pfizer is sharing lots of resources to all its partners and other smaller companies that don’t have the same experience in vaccine development, but which are dedicated to finding a cure.
Two French companies, LFB and Xenothera announced a partnership to manufacture the first clinical batch of XAV-19, “a mixture of protective antibodies, similar to those produced naturally in humans, that neutralises the virus and prevents it from multiplying, while avoiding reactions in which antibodies rapidly aggravate the infection instead of treating it”.
In a sector that is usually very protective about its discoveries, pharmaceutical companies now understand the seriousness of the situation and realize that“ no one company can go it alone” (Paul Hudson, CEO of Sanofi).
GSK and Sanofi signed a letter of intent to develop a vaccine for COVID-19 together. They will combine scientific expertise, technologies and capabilities to accelerate the development of a vaccine.
Sharing resources, making donations, making manufacturing facilities available for massive production, creating task force to ensure faster responses in case of a similar pandemic, creating a vaccine and searching to cure the effects of the virus on respiratory functions… A number of initiatives are pushed jointly between governmental agencies and laboratories all over the world, to ensure that this global situation doesn’t escalate even more and doesn’t happen again. These companies, with some of whom we partner with, are at the heart of the solution to end this pandemic.
A new way of working is being written by the health sector and we are a part of it.