First, I hope you remain safe and healthy, and that we can all return to a semblance of normalcy soon. Second, please allow me to share some thoughts on our collective work in anticipation of a return to medical progress at the accustomed pace.
While some biotech companies are committing all their resources to finding COVID-19 vaccines and treatments, others have by necessity put critical medical research on hold. For public health reasons, they’ve been forced to vacate their labs until the pandemic recedes.
When research is on hold, so, in some cases, are patients’ hopes for relief. That’s why it’s important to remember that even if you, as a researcher, are separated from your work, you can continue valuable activities in the background, e.g., project design, planning and preparation.
We know that many researchers will scramble to make up for lost time when stay-at-home guidelines are lifted. They’ll be restarting projects, procuring supplies, and rushing to re-engage – just as their competitors will.
As part of this mobilization, you may be competing for human biospecimens and data and collection resources that your rivals need just as badly. Unfortunately, specimen holdings and collection flows are finite. As with musical chairs, someone will be left without a seat at the table, potentially meaning more delay.
The solution? Let’s not lose time.
Plan your research rebound
If your circumstances permit, this might be a good time to consider how you would like to come out of this less active period. I believe you can return to work at full speed and be making progress in your research as soon as it’s safe to return to the lab.
If that’s your intent, we’re here to help. In fact, we’re still shipping specimens when it’s safe to do so and busily supporting research related to COVID-19. But if you’ve gone quiet, we’re happy to help you plan your rebound. Let’s scope your project, assess your needs, set a schedule, recruit collection sites, design kits, train specimen handlers, do the necessary paperwork, and line you up with just the right tissue, biofluids or cells and just the right data from the specific patients that you need to complete your work in the way you envision. Although we might not be able to meet in person, we can be face to face online whether it’s two of us or a dozen of us. In the meantime, I shared more thoughts about this topic of restarting here.
This won’t be the last public health crisis we face. So let’s keep research moving and do what we can today to keep medical discoveries under way. Call us (781-303-9570, press 2), email us ([email protected]) or visit the iSpecimen Marketplace. With luck, we’ll help ensure crises like COVID-19 never happen again.
Eric Langlois is senior vice president of sales and business development for iSpecimen.