Joseph Cornicelli, PhD, Russell Garland, PhD
What's Hot in 2021: COVID-19's New Normal
Next year, look for more partnering between academic labs and CROs, and how the life sciences field can promote vaccines
Thinking more strategically about preserving translational research
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on academic research. When the virus struck few, if any, universities had continuity of business plans in place. All but the most essential research was halted, resulting in loss of valuable assets AND momentum. Budgets have been hard hit and the competition for local and federal funding is fierce. Worse, we found ourselves amid another peak of infections just as many institutions were getting back to “normal” (whatever that is!).
Might this also be the time for universities engaged in drug discovery and translational research to reset their thinking and look to establish strategic partnerships with contract research organizations, which do have well-established business continuity plans, can pick up repetitive jobs and rote tasks, and preserve precious models. In fact this new partnering paradigm is taking hold a bit. Look next year and beyond for academic centers to begin pursuing these kinds of outside partnerships as they think more strategically about how to preserve their translational research.
--Joseph Cornicelli, PhD, Senior Director, In Vivo Pharmacology, DSA, Charles River
The bioscience field's significant role in vaccine education
The biomedical landscape in 2020 has been dominated by efforts to diagnose, monitor and treat the Sars-Cov-2 virus in the context of a global pandemic. Whilst clinical improvements have been made in the management of patients using existing drugs, multiple international collaborations have been focused on developing vaccines, which are being evaluated for safety/clinical efficacy by the regulators. Having come this far, the new vaccines now progress to the mass roll-out phase. As an immunologist, I am keen to see how these developments are communicated to the public.The bioscience community has a significant job to do in convincing people of the scientific merits of vaccines, in the face of skepticism in some quarters. Numerous diseases are now thankfully rare which used to be prevalent, due to widespread immunisation in childhood. Let us hope that the new vaccines are effectively implemented so that COVID-19 can soon be added to that list.
--Russell Garland, PhD, Group Leader, Analytical Services, Charles River