Thermo acts to support vaccine developers as vendors adapt to COVID-19 crisis

Thermo Fisher Scientific says it is working to support vaccine developers while keeping employees safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to a March 17 statement Thermo has banned travel via air, rail or sea for all employees globally.

Instead the firm will use virtual meeting and online technology to interact with customers, including biopharmaceutical companies that are working on vaccines against the SARS-COV2 virus, which causes COVID-19.

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Spokesman Ron O’brien told us “To meet the global demand for readily available novel coronavirus detection and prevention technologies, Thermo Fisher Scientific has mobilized its scientific and commercial teams to support virus identification, rapid vaccine development and the deployment of personal protective equipment.

“During the duration of this crisis, we are focused on meeting the needs of our employees and customers, including those who are working to contain and reduce the impact of the virus.”

No site visits

Thermo also said it will prohibit all non-essential and non-critical visitors through April 15, citing efforts to minimize disruption to its activities.

O’brien told us “It is important that we avoid unnecessary risk or disruption to our sites which are critical to the ongoing operation of our business.”

Thermo has also set up information websites for its Patheon contract manufacturing and Fisher Clinical Services units.

The aim is to provide customers with information about how COVID-19 is impact operations as the pandemic evolves.

Diagnostic testing

The update comes a few days after the US FDA issued an emergency use authorization (EUA) for Thermo’s diagnostic test for SARS-COV2.

The authorization allows testing facilities to use the assay, which uses Applied Biosystems’ TaqPath Assay technology, to diagnose infection.

The test is designed to provide patient results within four hours of a sample being received by a lab.

At the time Thermo said it has 1.5 million tests available to ship under the EUA label and expects to quickly ramp up to reach 2 million tests per week.

The firm said, “Based on availability of raw materials and an installed instrument base, the company expects to scale production up to 5 million tests per week during the month of April.”

MilliporeSigma

Fellow bioprocess vendor MilliporeSigma has also responded to the global pandemic with similar measures.

While it says all of its 59 manufacturing sites remain open, stringent safety measures have been employed, such as social distancing and enhanced hygiene protocol, and like so many other companies remote working is being ordered wherever possible.

“As a global life science tools and equipment supplier, we are committed to providing researchers with the necessary raw materials, products and services that can aid the global scientific effort to fight this novel virus,” the firm said.

“We have consolidated this product offering on a dedicated COVID-19 Web page, providing a one-stop-shop of approximately 125 products and corresponding information for academic labs and biopharmaceutical companies working to combat the virus.”

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