The COVID-19 pandemic has sent shock waves through life as we know it. In turn, the biotechnology industry suddenly faces an unparalleled situation, in which the large focus of industry work bends to address the crisis.
On the front lines of research, the race to develop treatments for the disease has sent a ripple effect through biotech. Additionally, the longer but ultimate goal of making a vaccine takes high precedence right now. This massive shift of resources is necessary to address the current threat. However, this has also sent other projects into a phase of disruption.
Some industry analysts are seeing a slowdown in other pharmaceutical areas that are not-COVID-19 related. As patients needing medication are forced to choose between essential and non-essential services, including medical services and treatments, a drop in demand for certain pharmaceuticals has resulted. The difficult choices needed in this time reflect a great deal of uncertainty.
A new alignment of COVID-related work appears to be shaping the industry. Adapting to this scenario requires forward thinking, with an eye always to the human element, and ways in which businesses can help assist in the battle against this pandemic, and try to help prevent future ones as well.
Additionally, businesses in the life science and pharmaceutical industries must be cognizant of messaging. Every business should have clear verbiage to provide customers with information on how they are handling the crisis, what to expect, and to provide auxiliary information to assist in getting customers more information, should they want it.
This is a time in which diplomacy must meld with technology. In biotech, the use of AI can and must be used to help try to find novel treatments for infectious disease, as part of platforms going forward. There is much to be learned, and there are powerful tools to be implemented. AI could also be used by biotech to help guide businesses decide how best to tailor customer needs.
The overriding message for biotech to give to the world is simple: how can we help? How can we help businesses produce necessary products, how can we help consumers, how can we help the person who has more questions than answers, who is worried about the future? Calm, educated, accurate, up-to-date information must be conveyed. This really is an all-hands-on-deck approach we find ourselves in. There is a way forward, and we can provide that.