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The world is looking up to the life sciences industry for fighting against the pandemic.
FREMONT, CA: Reflecting on these unprecedented times, the chances as a global community to fight the threat that COVID-19 poses to the way of life. All eyes are on the life sciences industry for helping to get life back to normal. In order to do that, life sciences companies will have to collaborate on a scale not imagined previously.
The industry has responded to the current coronavirus threat by marshaling resources and doing its work, such as discovering drugs, developing them, and getting them ready for the market. Several new products are now in the pipeline and being assessed for the impact.
Recent advancements are helping in the response. Previously it used to take two to five years to develop a vaccine. At present, rapid vaccine development technologies must help a vaccine to be ready in 12 months. And the industry can create a scale manufacturing capacity for one billion doses while assessing those doses for safety.
New and old technologies are being utilized to fight this coronavirus—including live-attenuated or inactivated vaccines, subunit vaccines, genetic vaccines, viral vector vaccines.
As the world recovers from COVID-19, the response to this pandemic has taught the world vital lessons about the intersection of data, science, and technology. Here the world has seen the importance of many things like:
• Collaborating through the ecosystem, with friends and competitors alike, on a scale unimagined until now. Government, industry, and universities are collaborating across national borders to further research.
• Bringing in more “big guns” depends on high-performance computing and artificial intelligence (AI) to augment the chance of discovery. US Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory has deployed the most powerful supercomputer, the IBM-built Summit, to fight against COVID-19. Researchers have been granted emergency computation time on Summit, using it to perform simulations with unprecedented speed. In just two days, Summit identified and studied 77 small-molecule drug potential compounds to combat COVID-19. That task, if using a traditional wet-lab approach, would typically have taken years.
• Capturing data and using it. While a cure is being developed, the immediate challenge is to reduce and eliminate the number of cases in our communities. There is an answer to this challenge, and it is data—or as has been highlighted in the media—data related to testing and monitoring.
Learning these lessons is crucial to tackling this terrible disease and defeating it. Applying them in the future will help prevent new pandemics from emerging and promote a healthier future.