August 11 Biweekly Round-Up: NEC Members Contribute to COVID-19 Crisis Response

As our region and our nation continue to grapple with the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) pandemic, The New England Council is using our blog as a platform to highlight some of the incredible work our members have undertaken to respond to the outbreak. Twice weekly, we’ll post a round-up of updates on some of the initiatives underway among Council members throughout the region.  We are also sharing these updates via our social media, and encourage our members to share with us any information on their efforts so that we can be sure to include them in these twice weekly round-ups. 

 You can find all the Council’s information and resources related to the crisis in the special COVID-19 section of our website.  This includes our COVID-19 Virtual Events Calendar, which provides information on upcoming COVID-19 Congressional town halls and webinars presented by NEC members, as well as our Federal Agency COVID-19 Guidance for Businesses page.

 Here is today’s (August 11, 2020) roundup:

 Medical Response

  • Harvard Medical and Boston Children’s Find Two Existing Drugs Could Prevent COVID-19 Infection – Researchers at Harvard Medical School and Boston Children’s Hospital have found that two drugs, vacuolin-1 and apilimod, inhibit the virus that causes COVID-19 from infecting human cells by targeting a large enzyme. Previously, little was known about the role of the enzyme in infection. These initial results will now be tested in human trials, opening up new potential for COVID-19 vaccine therapies. Read more here.

Economic/Business Continuity Response

  • Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts to Issue More Than $100 Million in Premium Relief Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts recently announced that it will issue over $100 million in premium refunds as a result of lower than-expected health care costs during the pandemic. The refunds are in addition to the $116 million the insurer has invested in support for members, customers, clinical partners, and communities over the course of the pandemic, bringing Blue Cross Blue Shields’ total financial contributions to COVID-19 relief to over $217 million. Read more here.
  • BU is Using AI Technology to Keep Covid-19 in Check Boston University will be building its own testing infrastructure, relying on artificial intelligence and ubiquitous testing on campus. BU plans on testing roughly 35,000 students every three days this fall. BU also purchased eight robots from Hamilton robotics to help automate the testing process. Read more here.

 Community Response

  • Mass General Brigham Volunteers Fly to COVID Hotspot in the Southwest to Support American Indian Communities – Volunteer emergency critical care nurses and clinical specialists from Mass General Brigham traveled to Navajo Nation in the last week of July to support Navajo area hospitals and clinics. Small teams of three to four clinicians will be traveling the Navajo Nation—which spans Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah–regularly in the coming months. Read more here.

Stay tuned for more updates each day, and follow us on Twitter for more frequent updates on how Council members are contributing to the response to this global health crisis.

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