Collaborating in the fight against COVID-19

The founder of Apple, Steve Jobs, once said: “Great things in business are never done by one person; they’re done by a team of people.”

This is true now more than ever as medical device manufacturers and companies from a range of industries work together in the fight against COVID-19. Here, Ramya Sriram, Digital Content Manager at Kolabtree, the freelance platform for scientists, explores three ways companies are collaborating in response to COVID-19.

With nearly three million confirmed coronavirus cases around the world, everyone understands the negative impacts that COVID-19 is having.

The virus doesn’t discriminate and has no geographical or socioeconomic barriers. Consequently, everyone is changing their outlook and industries need to work together if they’re to find a solution to the pandemic and keep the number of cases to a minimum.

While some medical device manufacturers are revising age-old policies and finding new ways to adapt, others are forming partnerships to help find solutions to the virus. Here are some of the ways they’re doing this.

Consortiums

Large consortiums are forming around the world to bring together the skills and knowledge of leading manufacturers, pharmaceutical and medical device companies. Some consortiums include at least a dozen businesses, many of which are competitors, who have decided to come together in the fight against coronavirus.

The Ventilator Challenge UK is one of the biggest UK consortiums, created in response to the government’s order to manufacture around 20,000 ventilators that will support healthcare facilities. The consortium consists of 14 firms, including industry leaders such as Airbus, Siemens and Rolls-Royce, as well as seven UK-based F1 teams.

“This consortium brings together some of the most innovative companies in the world,” explained Dick Elsy, chief executive of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult and Ventilator Challenge UK.

“Every day, their highly-skilled staff collaborate to create solutions that help millions of people, and this project is no different. They are working together with incredible determination and energy to scale up production of much-needed ventilators and combat a virus that is affecting people in many countries. I am confident this consortium has the skills and tools to make a difference and save lives.”

Public-private partnerships

With more than one million confirmed cases of COVID-19, the United States (US) is one of the most affected areas. In response, public health agencies across the country joined forces with leading pharmaceutical companies to develop potential vaccines and arrange clinical trials to test the treatment.

The Accelerating COVID-19 Therapeutic Interventions and Vaccines (ACTIV) project, led by US National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Foundation for the NIH (FNIH) is an example of one of these partnerships.

Bringing organisations like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) together, ACTIV aims to standardise preclinical evaluation methods, accelerate clinical evaluations and maximise clinical trial capacity and effectiveness by connecting existing networks.

Freelancers

As well as large medical device and pharmaceutical manufacturers, many small and medium sized companies are working on projects aimed at tackling COVID-19. These smaller manufacturers may lack the inhouse experience and skills required to complete a project on time, so can recruit a freelance specialist qualified in a relevant scientific field to tackle any problems.

If you hire a freelance formulation chemist, for example, they can help develop a disinfectant to sterilise scalpels, endoscopes or any similar medical device.

Their insights will help determine what biocidal agent to use, such as ethanol, and at what concentration to avoid spreading the virus during treatment.

Kolabtree’s global pool of specialists also include freelance biostatisticians that can design clinical trials for new treatments or devices intended to tackle COVID-19. Their skills include setting the boundaries of the study, identifying samples and populations and monitoring how long the patients should be observed.

Companies