Missouri Partnership CEO, Subash Alias, takes a look back at the past month and discusses how Missourians are stepping up in the fight against COVID-19.
Today marks exactly one month since our team transitioned to full-time remote working due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As I sit here in my home office, I’m reflecting on everything that has happened in the world over the past month. I never could have imagined any of it. The coronavirus hit the U.S. hard, leading to so much uncertainty. But through it all, our state has remained united in the fight against coronavirus.
I have lived in Missouri for most of my life, so I knew that the people in our state were resilient, innovative, hard-working, and thoughtful. But until this past month, I never knew just how deep-rooted these values were in Missourians. There are so many examples of businesses, universities, and ordinary people stepping up to rise to the many challenges we’ve faced during this pandemic.
Missouri’s innovative health sector is playing a huge role in the fight against COVID-19. Missouri is one of just two states selected for the clinical trials of a new vaccine to combat coronavirus. The Center for Pharmaceutical Research in Kansas City injected the first patient last week. Researchers across the state are investigating whether transfusions of blood plasma from people who have recovered from COVID-19 can prevent or treat the disease. The Cortex Innovation Community in St. Louis was recently named a key innovation district leading the fight against COVID-19. I’m so proud of the science and cutting-edge research happening in Missouri, and it’s exciting to think about the impact it will have on the pandemic.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) has been in the headlines, and for good reason. Healthcare workers and everyday people lack access to proper masks and face shields to protect themselves from the coronavirus. So Missourians stepped up to design and manufacture them. Nike and Boeing transformed their Missouri facilities to make PPE. Southeast Missouri State University and Missouri State University joined the effort, as well as St. Louis Fashion Fund. What an eclectic group working toward the same goal.
Ventilators are also in dire need, and Missouri companies such as Husky Corp. in Pacific, have also switched their focus to produce these life-saving machines to ensure Missouri hospitals have the equipment needed to help sick patients. Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine have teamed up to design and build ventilators. There are countless examples of partnerships throughout the state that have been formed to help during this pandemic.
Missouri-made products are on the front lines in the fight against coronavirus. Stranded COVID-19 patients were able to return home to U.S. soil thanks in part to Kansas City’s MRI Global’s biocontainment system that provided a safe way to get infected Americans back to the U.S. Viracor Eurofins, a health innovation company in Lee’s Summit, developed a test for coronavirus that is more than 99% accurate and returns same-day results for more than 1,000 tests per day. Researchers at Missouri S&T in Rolla are developing an airborne-biohazard system that could help screeners spot air travelers with lung diseases due to COVID-19. Missouri’s continuously identifying needs during this pandemic and providing the world with new products and ideas to combat COVID-19.
As I stated earlier, Missourians are resilient, innovative, hard-working, and thoughtful. Those are all impressive traits, but perhaps the most noteworthy is thoughtfulness. This is proven by the random acts of kindness happening across the state. We’re all looking out for one another and keeping a sense of camaraderie. One example is a penpal campaign organized by the staff at Dickerson Park Zoo in Springfield. Children are encouraged to write to the animals, and the zoo staff reads the letters to them. It keeps kids connected to the animals during social distancing, and so far, the zoo has received hundreds of letters from the animals’ human friends. What a great way to keep the community engaged while the zoo is closed to the public!
A lot can happen in a month. As our team heads into the second month of working remotely, I have to wonder what lies ahead. There are so many unknowns, but I am certain that Missouri will continue to play a crucial role in combating coronavirus, and we will take care of one another while doing so.
I hope you stay safe and healthy.