Will the coronavirus rebuild life sciences?
The world’s fastest supercomputer has quickly identified an initial 8,000 possible chemicals that might, in more time, lead to one that could stop coronavirus and is safe to use on humans, so there is hope from several areas (both policy and biotech) that we can stop Coronavirus.
Governments have started exercising fiscal stimulus, along with monetary stimulus, which will have a quicker effect in the short-term on world economies and global markets. A fiscal stimulus (cutting taxes, interest rates, mortgages, etc.) will increase spending (the amount of disposable income) in the economy from consumers and businesses, which will boost economic growth. Although the COVID-19 pandemic will be a shock to the markets and economies, it will be a temporary shock.
The pandemic has the potential to rebuild the credibility of the life sciences sector in general and specifically biotech (e.g. antiviral, vaccines, diagnostics, health data processors, remote health monitoring). Investors had become a little jaded with biotech over the last two decades due to the vast sums of capital required to bring products to market and the failure rate even into the very last steps before bringing something new to market. If the life sciences industry can neutralise the effects of Coronavirus in a short space of time, we believe it could become a hot sector all over again with both government support and investor enthusiasm.
An unexpected effect may well be to unblock the road to producing new antibiotics, currently in the doldrums, but something for which the world is almost now desperate. Antibiotics are of no use against viruses, but bacteria are just as able to cause a pandemic (Yersinia Pestis – the Black Death bacteria). The cost to governments and the public after this crisis is going to make the development of both vaccines and antibiotics a key focus.