Rosalind Walter passed away earlier this month. She was the inspiration behind “Rosie the Riveter,” the patriotic song that told the story of how female factory workers rallied during World War II to keep the war effort—and therefore the economy—humming.
Like they were eight decades ago, the nation’s manufacturers are working overtime. Many are shifting operations to make essential medical devices, from ventilators to protective gloves. Liquor distilleries are producing hand sanitizer instead of spirits. The apparel industry and independent seamstresses are making facemasks and everyone is working together to get these products in the hands of doctors and nurses. (Check out this story from Crain’s Chicago Business to see how the Illinois Biotechnology Innovation Organization is working with manufacturers in that state to get supplies to medical providers.)
Rosalind Walter would be proud of these efforts—which includes the drug industry’s work to find new therapies, treatments, or vaccines for COVID-19. We hope she would agree with former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, who, in The Wall Street Journal this week, said:
“America is home to a vast, dynamic life-science industry. This is its moment. This is why decades of drug investment and development matter so much. … Pharmaceutical companies are pulling antiviral drugs off the shelf and testing them rapidly.”
According to CNBC, the World Health Organization (WHO) has at least 20 potential coronavirus vaccines on its “radar.” And though a vaccine is likely still 12 to 18 months from hitting the market, some of these drugs already are undergoing clinical trials. In Forbes, political strategist Doug Schoen wrote, “[T]he pharmaceutical industry is doing its absolute best to find treatments as well as, possibly most importantly, a vaccine to the coronavirus during this time of national emergency.”
Like the WHO, The New York Times and STAT News is tracking all of the vaccines that are in development and lists them according to how far along they are in the process. Additionally, STAT News is tracking the development of new treatments and therapies to help patients who already have the novel coronavirus, and provides an outlook for when certain treatments might be ready.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce (USCC) also has compiled the drug industry’s work into one resource. The USCC takes a broader look at COVID-19 efforts too, identifying what all U.S. industries, including the manufacturing sector, are doing to keep the American public safe.
Yes, somewhere Rosalind Walter is smiling.