The end of the coronavirus pandemic has landed on the shoulders of biotechnology, biopharmaceutical and life sciences companies. But instead of crumbling under global pressure, these industries have come together, pooling their resources to fight COVID-19 and keep vulnerable Americans safe.
IES Life Sciences is no exception, furiously working so we can protect our loved ones here in Maryland as well as patients everywhere. Currently, we are developing a test that could dramatically improve how health care providers can identify COVID-19 at an early stage and predict the patient’s risk of dying from it.
The original target for our test was lupus. Yet, we realized early on that it could also identify contagious diseases, such as COVID-19, immediately following exposure with a simple blood test. In the event of an outbreak, the IES test can quickly and reliably identify the source, accelerate response times, and significantly advance efforts to contain and combat the virus.
For COVID-19 patients, the test can measure the severity of the infection and assess the risk of fatal outcomes, even in individuals who have not yet exhibited symptoms.
We are excited about the test’s potential, both as a resource for COVID-19 patients and a tool for health care providers. And when it comes to fighting coronavirus, IES Life Sciences is proud that our work is not an outlier. Numerous biotechnology companies in Maryland are working to combat COVID-19.
Like similar firms in other states, we are sharing resources, conducting scientific research, and exploring both treatments for the disease and vaccines that could protect us against it in the future.
Biopharmaceutical companies are also making significant charitable donations to aid COVID-19 patients and frontline health care workers. They have contributed masks, gowns, and other personal protective equipment, and made financial donations to help health care providers and other support groups.
Moreover, the biopharmaceutical industry is strongly represented in Maryland and makes significant, ongoing contributions to the state economy and job market, which is vital in these unstable times.
The biopharmaceutical sector has helped create nearly 130,000 jobs in different industries throughout the state. It supports over $33 billion in goods and services and generates $2.3 billion annually in state and federal tax revenues.
History shows the industry’s efforts and resources will be critical in defeating the coronavirus and supporting our nation as we rebuild. Diseases like smallpox, once a deadly threat to public health, have been virtually eliminated by American immunization efforts. Childhood vaccines developed by biopharmaceutical companies have all but eradicated 14 major diseases within the U.S., avoiding more than 419 million illnesses and countless other fatalities.
Our government must do everything it can to support the vaccine and treatment R&D process. It must work with America’s biopharmaceutical companies to speed up the approval process and cut through unnecessary red tape. What’s more, the government must avoid implementing new policies that would interfere with supply chains or mandate restrictive purchasing rules.
The coronavirus is a unique threat to public health, but with the right resources, it can be mitigated. On that front, our nation’s biopharmaceutical companies are leading the charge. They are working tirelessly to engineer solutions to the COVID-19 crisis — and we are proud to be a part of the solution.
David Spiegel is CEO of IES Life Sciences.