• Melita Ball

February 27, 2020 Blog Post

Life Sciences Industry Response to the Coronavirus

Hello Readers!

My LinkedIn feed is filled with the world’s response to the coronavirus threat.  It makes me proud to be in this industry where so many companies are contributing supplies and cash to to fight and contain the outbreak.

Below are a few stories from my feed.  I know many more companies have participated.  Please comment below and on LinkedIn to share your stories.

Three outstanding engineers from The BD Biosciences team in China,  from Shanghai and Hebei volunteered to visit Wuhan Jinyintan hospital on February 7 to install a BD FACSCanto™ auto loader. Wuhan Jinyintan hospital is at the frontline in treating patients with COVID-19, also known as coronavirus.

The FACSCanto instrument will provide both CD4 and CD8 T-cell counts in infected patients, which is important in the assessment of their immune system and its response. The auto loader also helps automate the sample preparation process, boosting healthcare worker safety by reducing manual handling of samples and streamlining laboratory workflow.

BD spokesperson Gwen Gordon said the company has provided product donations, such as catheters, flush products, syringes, sharps and blood collection tubes, valued at a total of $300,000, to the local Red Cross in Wuhan, China.

Becton Dickinson made its donation to outfit two new military hospitals to accommodate coronavirus-infected patients. The company also provided $50,000 in cash to Project Hope, a global health and humanitarian relief organization to supply personal protective equipment (PPE) to frontline health workers of the Renmin and Zhongnan Hospitals of Wuhan University.

Henry Schein, along with several other companies, also contributed to a large donation of supplies to China orchestrated by MAP International. (3M also participated.)

Henry Schein clarified that it made its donation in September, prior to the coronavirus outbreak. However, according to a news release, more than 1.3 million masks were donated, along with 280,000 pairs of nitrile gloves and 10,758 protective suits.

Private foundations are also stepping up.  Jack Ma, Alibaba founder and China's richest man, has donated 100 million yuan ($14.4 million) through his foundation to help find a vaccine for the Wuhan coronavirus. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is dramatically increasing the amount it's spending to combat the coronavirus, pledging up to $100 million to help contain the outbreak. Here is what the FDA posted: Active Supply Chain Surveillance We are keenly aware that the outbreak will likely impact the medical product supply chain, including potential disruptions to supply or shortages of critical medical products in the U.S. We are not waiting for drug and device manufacturers to report shortages to us—we are proactively reaching out to manufacturers as part of our vigilant and forward-leaning approach to identifying potential disruptions or shortages. The FDA has dedicated additional resources to review and coordinate data to better identify any potential vulnerabilities to the U.S. medical product sector, specifically from this outbreak. We have been in contact with hundreds of manufacturers of human and animal drugs and medical devices, as well as syncing up with global regulators, like the European Medicines Agency, to assess and monitor for indications and early warning signs of potential manufacturing discontinuances or interruptions due to the outbreak. It’s worth noting that there are no vaccines, gene therapies, or blood derivatives licensed by the FDA that are manufactured in China. Raw materials used in manufacturing do come from China and other locations in Southeast Asia and we are in contact with biologics manufacturers to gauge any supply concerns regarding raw materials. This remains an evolving and very dynamic situation with respect to potential shortages. We are tracking reports of increased ordering of some essential medical devices through distributors, such as personal protective equipment (PPE) (e.g. respirators and surgical gowns, gloves and masks). If a potential shortage or disruption of medical products is identified by the FDA, we will use all available tools to react swiftly and mitigate the impact to U.S. patients and health care professionals. These tools include closely working with manufacturers and expediting review of alternate supply to prevent shortages, among other measures, with the common goal of minimizing any negative impact to public health in America. The FDA will continue to closely monitor the domestic and global supply chain during this evolving situation. Should the Agency be alerted to a potential shortage of a critical medical product, we will be as transparent as possible in sharing updates as they develop.

If your company makes a contribution let the world know and comment below!

Cheers! Melita Ball CEO and Principal Consultant

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