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Making a difference: Life science jobs that are helping to fight COVID-19

Tom Evans our consultant managing the role
Posted by Tom Evans
Published on 10 August 2020

In the fight against Covid-19, life sciences companies are allocating a huge amount of resources towards reliable diagnostics, disease identification, medication to reduce symptoms and many are striving to become the first to deliver a vaccination. As a result, we’ve seen pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca boost their recruitment by 47% while Abcam, a life science company specialising in antibodies, has driven up their recruitment volume by 38.5%.

Though it may seem like a long road ahead, professionals in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries have made great progress in a short time frame, collating information about how the virus spreads among the population and its effect on the human body. Here’s a rundown of the life sciences jobs that are helping to combat Covid-19.

Understanding the virus
Sequencing the coronavirus genome was the first step towards understanding the virus and all 30,000 bases were mapped out by Chinese researchers in just a few weeks. Amongst these researchers were data analysis scientists, laboratory analysts and many more experienced life sciences professionals who have come together to work under extremely tight timelines and deliver hope in the fight against the virus.

The social distancing restrictions in place would seem to impede progress in research laboratories, however, companies have implemented innovative solutions so they can continue in their efforts to develop therapies for coronavirus and enable their employees to continue working. One interesting development is the use of occupancy planning tools which can gather data about the number of employees present at a site and therefore ensure people are able to maintain a social distance at work. So, who are the other dedicated personnel leading the development of Covid-19 therapies?

Keeping the projects on track

Technical scientists are at the forefront, performing laboratory experiments, participating in continuous improvement initiatives and preparing technical documents. Working alongside them are process development scientists who are responsible for optimising the manufacturing process as well as overseeing product development. In the fight against the virus, these product development projects will range from purification development to clinical manufacturing.

It’s estimated that a vaccination may not be manufactured until 2021 but that target requires clinical trials and product development to be run efficiently, meaning that the collaboration between technical scientists, process development scientists and project coordinators have never been more important.

Delivering safe drugs and therapies

Clinical trials at the University of Oxford came to an astounding conclusion that a widely-available steroid drug, known as Dexamethasone, has the potential to reduce the death rate for people with severe coronavirus symptoms. The team of clinical trial assistants, managers and clinical research associates initially tested the anti-inflammatory drug on 2104 patients and after the results came in the therapy has been rolled out to over 11,500 people suffering from Covid-19 across the UK.

Meanwhile, regulatory affairs specialists are helping pharmaceutical companies develop a vaccination by offering their invaluable knowledge of bringing drugs through clinical trials to manufacture safely and efficiently. As many companies move into uncharted territory, the need for personnel with an understanding of registering drugs compliantly is rising, along with a demand for those who can take on the responsibility for all pharmacovigilance functions.

Taking the drugs to market

As more coronavirus drugs make it closer to market, we can expect to see an uptick in demand for pharmacovigilance officers and an overwhelming need for more life sciences professionals to work within drug safety. These professionals have proven essential in the race to develop a vaccine, though which company is the front-runner is hard to know since there are over 170 in development, according to Covid-19 vaccine tracker, which shows a live update of which vaccines have moved into clinical testing. Though there’s uncertainty around when and who will deliver a manufactured drug, Bill Gates has announced that Moderna, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson are the three vaccine candidates he’s placing his confidence in.

In the battle against Covid-19, Quanta have been committed to supplying life sciences companies with the top talent in the market. We’ve organised a Covid-19 Response Team who are on hand to provide free consultation and access to our network of contractors who are ready to mobilise across the globe or work remotely. As vaccines are coming closer to market, we’re seeing CDMOs and biopharmaceutical companies ramping up their manufacturing capabilities. This is a core area where Quanta are delivering a full range of skills from project management, engineering, automation, CQV, and quality. Our support also covers medical writing, pharmacovigilance & drug safety, regulatory affairs and more. Find out more about how Quanta is helping clients develop a Covid-19 vaccine.

Ready for the next leap in your life sciences career?

As the fight against Covid-19 continues, the call for more life sciences professionals must be answered, whether you’re directly working towards a solution for coronavirus or supporting the wider life sciences market. Quanta is currently recruiting for contract and permanent roles, seeking people to work across many functions, including project controls, process & project engineering, validation & quality and automation & IT.

Take a look at our latest life sciences jobs or submit your CV if you’d like to be contacted about upcoming jobs.