Keeping tabs on Covid-19: Agile rostering system to balance pharma workforces, human antibody library launched and material donations to protect front-line workers

Discover the latest digital trends combating Covid-19 and the most disruptive solutions coming from the world of pharma




Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, manufacturing organizations, healthcare providers and pharma supply chains are experiencing a constant strain on resources. Therefore, it has become essential for the pharma industry to consider new and different ways to stay in touch with healthcare and patient communities by leveraging new digital channels and accelerating their digital transformation.

Pharma IQ’s weekly overview looks at new digital screening tools, software applications and thermoplastic polyurethane polymers (TCP) traditionally used in medical devices, as new and disruptive solutions to combat the spread of Covid-19.

Free app transforms complexities of rostering NHS staff during Covid-19 in an agile and efficient way

Sirenum, a cloud-based software provider, has created a free app to help care home managers and the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) stay on-top of their workforce planning during the pandemic.

Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust in London is one of the first beneficiaries of the app. The joint hospital is utilizing the app to deal with unplanned leaves of absence caused by the complexities of Covid-19, such as staff needing to self-isolate. Sirenum claims the app can also predict and alert management of employees who are at risk of fatigue so they can take steps to reduce the intensity of their shifts and balance workloads more efficiently across the entire workforce.

In a statement, Sirenum said that with the NHS onboarding 750,000 volunteer responders, in addition to hiring former employees, this expansive workforce needs to be managed efficiently to ensure workload is spread and risk of fatigue or burnout is reduced.

Coupled with the unprecedented patient demand and unpredictable staff availability currently facing many the NHS, Benjamin Rubin, CEO and founder of Sirenum, said: “The app ensures teams are monitored efficiently while alleviating some of the administrative burden so that healthcare staff can concentrate on saving lives.”

Dr. Azra Zayad of Guy’s and St. Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Sirenum has been a powerful tool in not only rostering staff dynamically in real time, but also in tracking individual staff outputs. This has allowed us to see how workforce deployment decisions are being made to respond to the coronavirus outbreak in real time. This is invaluable when staff resources need to be deployed in an agile way.”

New human antibody library accelerates discovery of potent antibodies against coronavirus

ProteoGenix, a US-based antibody production company, has launched the first human immune Covid-19 library for the fast discovery of potent antibodies against coronavirus.

The library, created using blood samples from dozens of recovered Covid-19 patients, has been adapted for sample screening with phage display and is intended to fast-track the discovery of antibodies with the strongest affinity, specificity and viral blocking activity.

ProteoGenix claims the library’s vast diversity of cloned samples will help to meet the rising demands for effective antibodies for a broad range of applications during and after the Covid-19 pandemic. Within eight weeks, ProteoGenix’s customers can receive three to 10 antibody sequences with optimal affinity.

Philippe Funfrock, Co-founder and President of ProteoGenix, said: “Highly sensitive and specific antibodies are critical for the development of diagnostics, therapeutics and prophylactics to fight against Covid-19.”

Raphaël Hopfner, Co-founder and CSO at ProteoGenix, said: “Compared to the hybridoma technology, phage display saves time by allowing us to directly screen highly diverse and human antibody libraries. In addition, when developing therapeutic antibodies, this technique also helps us reduce the time-to-market by avoiding complex antibody humanization processes.”

Lubrizol and Nike team up to donate materials to protect frontline medical workers

Chemical specialists, Lubrizol and footwear manufacturing company, Nike, have teamed to donate full-face shields and air-purifying respirator (PAPR) lenses to help protect frontline medical workers against coronavirus. The lenses are being used in situations where medical professionals face the greatest airborne pathogen exposure as they provide critical care to infected patients.

Lubrizol has donated Estane TCP designed to improve the performance of the face shields and protective lenses. The material is also currently being used across the US in several other critical applications such as medical gowns, medical equipment, hospital mattresses, tubing, hoses and medical devices to help combat the effects of Covid-19.

With Lubrizol’s support, Nike has shipped full-face shields and PAPR lenses to health systems in Oregon, where Nike is headquartered, and several US cities, including Cleveland, where Lubrizol’s headquarters are located.

Lara Kalafatis, Chair of Cleveland Clinic’s Philanthropy Institute and patron to Lubrizol’s and Nike’s campaign, said: “We are grateful for the generosity of companies around the country as we build up our supply levels in anticipation of a surge in Covid-19 patients. This collaboration between Lubrizol and Nike demonstrates ingenuity applied alongside compassion and a sincere interest to help thousands of our caregivers.”

Rick Tolin, President of Lubrizol Advanced Materials, said: “We are thrilled to collaborate with Nike to improve lives and support those in need during Covid-19. Every day our employees enable products used across the world, and our team is fully committed to enabling our science and applications expertise to deliver even greater impact during this global crisis.”

For the first time in modern manufacturing, demand, supply and workforce viability have been affected globally at the same time. As manufacturing companies feel the short and long-term effects of the pandemic across their networks it is vital for manufactures to maintain security and business continuity as volumes in data spike. In an exclusive Pharma IQ webinar, Rockwell Automation and Cisco will be addressing how to close the gaps in your cyber security strategy and enhance your threat detection monitoring and response planning to improve your cyber resilience across your manufacturing networks. Sign up now to secure your place for free.

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