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R&D and Covid-19

Working in Research and Development currently has a plethora of upsides; being part of a global effort to reach a goal, having a chance to be understood and valued by more people than ever. However, there are some limitations too, for example having restrictions going into the laboratory for vital research, the world expecting answers and treatments sooner than ever before.

We have seen the whole world change, working in a scientific field, the idea of aseptic and sterile environments is automatic, the world has now adopted these standard processes. We have witnessed the world come together, with everyone going through the same situation at once. No matter where or who you are in the world, the current situation is happening to us all.

The return to a new normal?

In the past weeks we have seen the UK returning to a new normal, laboratory based jobs cannot be put on hold for long. ‘Business-as-usual operations are also clearly being affected, as companies report that R&D labs are operating at below 50 percent of normal capacity.’ Moreover, companies have accustomed themselves with working from home and on-boarding staff fully remotely.

There is exciting data coming out of the current clinical trials for Covid-19 vaccines, one example being at the University of Oxford.  It will be interesting to watch the development happen in real-time. If a Covid-19 vaccine is produced in current projections, it will be the fastest vaccine ever developed in history.


The development of treatments does not start or stop at the research stage, it combines a range of expertise including those working in production, statistics, clinical trials, medical communications and operations.

Information sharing is vital, numerous organisations from across the globe are combining insight into this novel virus. In the past months we have seen monuments collaborations, such as GSK and Sanofi and potentially will be seeing Gilead Sciences and AstraZeneca team up.  At the same time smaller companies have shown they are here to make an impact. We have seen a range of different companies moving from their standard products to benefit the crisis, examples being alcohol companies making sanitizers, to car manufacturers making ventilators, to retail companies making masks and PPE.

6 Phases of Vaccine Development

The future

Covid-19 has changed the world but is unlikely to be the last pathogen to evolve in our lifetimes, the increased emergence of antibiotic resistant bacteria could be the next global threat. Thus, we are likely moulding a generation prepared to be one step ahead and ready to understand life sciences better.

Covid-19 is only one present target, the life sciences industry is trying to diagnose and treat a range of disorders, from genetic diseases, to cancer, to neurological disorders, to general malaise.

The current pandemic is not only relevant in R&D, but across the industry. Science communication has always been of paramount importance and this cannot be truer than it is right now. Aiming to reach a vast audience with understandable and factual content is not an easy task.

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