This issue has been created by editors living in over-the-top levels of wildfire smoke here in Oregon’s Willamette Valley. Although all of us have been safe, we are appalled at the widespread loss of property and lives over these past two weeks. Amid those losses, and against the backdrop of political and social upheavals, the coronavirus continues to wreak its own havoc on just about every aspect of our lives. Adding natural disasters and subsequent loss of homes and possessions seems like the unkindest cut of all for so many people who already have lost employment and health benefits because of the pandemic.
For the past several months, we have prioritized content relevant to the international biopharmaceutical industry’s focus on coronavirus mitigation. We know that effective preventative vaccines as well as antibodies and/or other treatments for COVID-19 infections are prerequisite to the return to some kind of normal routine around the world. For many of us, we need those medicines before students and teachers can meet safely in actual classrooms, before business people can travel and network in ways that feel more direct and comfortable, and before members of organizations can stop struggling with spotty Internet speeds in Zoom-style calls. Without access to effective vaccines and treatments, and without plans and access for fair and adequate manufacturing and distribution, large portions of the world’s population cannot realize the equity and justice long due to them.
My soapbox always has rested on a desire to promote understanding about the interconnectedness of our global civilization(s). Now we’re seeing such confluences of cause and effect that any one new crisis can tip the scale chaotically into further catastrophic disruption of human lives. Confidence in the safety and efficacy of fast-tracked treatments will be essential. Progress may seem slow to the general public, but the industry already has made remarkable, groundbreaking strides toward accelerating development of treatments and vaccines. I’m pleased to see leading companies resist political pressure to rush the development process and pledge to let science be their guide through this endeavor.
As I write, the BioProcess International Conference and Exhibition is taking place — 100% virtually for the first time. Here too, the pandemic is getting an understandable amount of attention. In an industry already focused on “speed to clinic” and “speed to market” concerns, SARS-CoV2 has intensified such concerns and encouraged creative ideas to address those goals. Lessons learned through COVID-19 vaccine and treatment development might well provide solutions for development and manufacturing of other products as the industry moves on.
Over the past few months, our Informa Connect colleagues have devoted themselves to creating a dynamic and interactive online program for the BPI Conference and other events familiar to life-science professionals. We hope you joined us and tuned in. But if you couldn’t, don’t miss our editorial coverage of the discussions coming to you soon in eBook form online at https://informaconnect.com/biotech-pharma. See the same site for October and upcoming events as well.