As the world continues to suffer from COVID-19, the pharmaceutical industry is working intensively and globally to combat the pandemic. This unprecedented danger has caused impacts across different sectors in the industry.
Risk of shortage
China is one of the largest active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) suppliers in the world, which is an essential component in manufacturing medicine. To control the spread of the deadly virus, the country implemented nation-wide city lockdowns and transport restrictions. These unexpected, large-scale measures have significantly curtailed the production of API, setting export-dependent pharmaceutical manufacturers at risk. Even manufacturing activities has been gradually resuming when seeing the glimmer of success of the fight, companies are ordered to follow strict regulations when advancing the resumption of production. All these are making it challenging to resume production in full swing within a short period of time.
Worse still, India, the world’s largest supplier of generic drugs, also banned the export of 26 pharmaceutical products as local manufactures grinded to a halt in response to the lockdown orders.
A race against time
Coronavirus cases still surging around the globe, drug companies and governments are working closely to look for cure that can hopefully stop the pandemic. The US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has taken unprecedented actions in these challenging times. The regulator has allowed the emergency use of an experimental drug for the treatment of hospitalized patients in severe condition.
Realizing the seemingly impossible fade away of the virus anytime soon, the world shifts its attention to vaccine development. Pharmaceutical manufacturers are now in a race against time to develop a vaccine, but consensus is that the first approved vaccine will not be available until early 2021. Shortening the development timeline is the immediate action for vaccine producers. Scaling up the production and increasing batch sizes are some of the measures undergoing now.
Overcoming challenges for translation sector
Facing the fast-changing development and surging demand from the pharmaceutical industry boosted by COVID-19, special aids are adopted to keep up with the pace for the translation world. Pharmaceutical companies are required to translate all documents into different languages for registration. Timely delivery is crucial as various translations are required only a few days after approving the source document. Computer-assisted translation (CAT) software is then an indispensable aid to improve efficiency as translation memory (TM) provides an accurate translation instantly for the translators. TM also guides linguists on terminology and provides a clear indication of how the sentence was translated earlier, collapsing timeline.
Cloud technology has been embraced and is widely proven as vital in the pharmaceutical industry especially during the lockdown. Elite Asia possess its own Cloud system to enhance functionality and increase capacity without incurring high cost. Cloud technology allows translators across the globe to work from home on the same project, updating the progress simultaneously. It also provides an easy-to-access platform for translators to look for regulations and guidelines for different countries.
Although the virus has sickened millions of people and it seems, sadly, endless, the world is making every endeavor to combat the virus with the help of science and technology. It perhaps is an unparalleled opportunity to reset and build back the world better and smarter.
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