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CORONAVIRUS UPDATE

THBI is actively communicating and working with elected officials, state agencies, industry partners and Texas entities to ensure the state of Texas is on the forefront of combating coronavirus, and taking proper action to keep the state safe during the global outbreak. We will be providing our partners regular updates on how our industry is responding to the epidemic. 

   

Updates from the Texas Legislature

Governor Greg Abbott held a press conference at the San Antonio Emergency Operations Center yesterday to update the public on the state's response to the coronavirus.
Governor Abbott highlighted the number of actions taken by the State of Texas since his Disaster Declaration to mitigate the spread of the virus, which include:  
  • Fast-tracking temporary licensing for out-of-state physicians, physician assistants, retired physicians and nurses to assist with in-person and telemedicine services  
  • Distributing an allotment of supplies from the Strategic National Stockpile, which includes surgical masks, respirators, face shields, etc., throughout the state 
  • Waiving certain trucking regulations to streamline the flow of goods and supplies to grocery and retail stores throughout Texas 
  • Waiving laws that prohibit trucks from the alcohol industry from delivering supplies to grocery stores 
  • Waiving regulations to ensure students enrolled in work-study programs will continue to receive critical funding while campuses close due to their response to COVID-19 
  • Waiving STAAR testing requirements for the 2019-2020 school year

Governor Greg Abbott today issued a proclamation setting the special election for Texas State Senate District 14 on Tuesday, July 14, 2020.
The special election will fill the seat being vacated by Senator Kirk Watson. The special election would ordinarily be held on Saturday, May 2, 2020, but the Governor utilized his powers under Chapter 418 of the Texas Government Code to suspend provisions of the Texas Election Code and allow the election to be held at the later date due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

Texas Companies in the News

THBI President Tom Kowalski spoke with Austin American-Statesman on the Texas biotech community's response to coronavirus.

“I think the ability for the Texas life sciences industry to respond specifically to the new coronavirus shows the strength and maturity we have as an industry.”

A few weeks ago, THBI distributed a brief, 4 question survey to the Texas Life Science community to collect feedback on how the industry is responding to coronavirus. If you have not yet participated, we are still collecting feedback.


To receive the survey or share press releases about the work your company is doing, email julia@thbi.com. 

What's Next

THBI President's Call: March 26

THBI will host the monthly Member's only call on March 26. Join the call for insight from THBI Member company working on the coronavirus. If you are interested in hosting a President's call, contributing content, or to become a member, email julia@thbi.com.

Washington's Response

SEC Regulatory changes provide small biotech companies relief from burdensome requirements.

“Biotech companies across the country conduct their research without the certainty of a return on their investment, so they highly value resource efficiency,” said Jim Greenwood, BIO’s President and CEO. “Cost burdens like 404(b) can slow a company’s progress in the lab and lengthen the amount of time it takes to deliver treatments for patients in need. I applaud the SEC for adopting a commonsense approach to ensuring less capital is going into unnecessary compliance and instead into lifesaving science.” 

Our Members Response

U.S. health regulators have approved a new coronavirus test that will speed up by tenfold the ability to test patients, helping solve a significant obstacle to American efforts to contain the virus.

Made by Roche, there are 110 of these tools in the U.S., and Roche has installed a “significant amount” of new ones in key locations in the U.S. in recent weeks mic and prepare the industry to better respond to future global health crises.

On Friday, Pfizer issued a five-point plan calling on the biopharmaceutical industry to join the company in committing to unprecedented collaboration to combat COVID-19.

Pfizer is making five promises that will help scientists more rapidly bring forward therapies and vaccines to protect humankind from this escalating pandemic and prepare the industry to better respond to future global health crises.

Johnson & Johnson announces collaboration with the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center to accelerate COVID-19 vaccine development.

Janssen is optimistic that, in collaboration with multiple global strategic partners, it can initiate a Phase 1 clinical study of a potential vaccine candidate by the end of the year. In parallel to these efforts, Janssen is preparing to upscale production and manufacturing capacities to levels required to meet global public health vaccination needs.

A decade ago, a group of chemists cooked up a compound they simply called 3a and that, in lab experiments, fought off a number of different viruses.

Remdesivir is now being tested in five Covid-19 clinical trials that have been set up at breakneck speed. It’s been delivered through a compassionate use program to some patients, including the first case in the United States.

The biopharmaceutical industry is taking on COVID-19 through research and development into prevention and treatment, in-kind financial contributions and collaboration with public partners.
Currently, there are roughly 80 clinical trials underway for experimental new treatments and vaccines that have the potential to be effective against COVID-19.

Resource Center

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

CDC works 24/7 to protect America from health, safety and security threats, both foreign and in the U.S. They are closely monitoring an outbreak caused COVID-19 and are the go to resource for the U.S.

Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS)

DSHS is responding COVID-19 outbreak that originated in Wuhan, China. For prevention tips, symptoms, traveler information, and healthcare provider resources, see our COVID-19 website.

Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) Coronavirus Business Resource Center

As many BIO members work to develop diagnostics, vaccines and treatments to address the global COVID-19 outbreak, BIO has provided resources to help companies continue their operations with minimum disruption and keep their employees safe and healthy. 

   
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