It’s only Thursday but this week in particular felt very long. Our black-hole ennui is no doubt a by-product of the conflicting chaotic directives coming at us daily: reopen/do not reopen, lift lockdowns/extend lockdowns, go back to work/stay home. Even the most independent among us, the type A personalities who demand control at all times, are seeking guidance.

Today’s Coronavirus Briefing is 971 words and will take you five minutes to read. Register for the newsletter here.

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The Takeaway:

Kids in school in history class studying the rise and fall of this terrible era can’t come soon enough.

Drugs and trials

The medical world agrees that tests, treatments and vaccines are paramount. It just has different ways of finding them.

  • As the pandemic becomes the sole focus for nearly every major drug maker and government regulator, clinical trials have been suspended, sales reps benched and drug launches reevaluated. Medical Marketing & Media’s Alison Kanski takes a look at two pharma companies’ plans — one a major player, one smaller — for moving forward.
  • Remdesivir, a drug made by biopharmaceutical company Gilead that has emerged as a potential COVID-19 treatment, was granted orphan drug status by the FDA. Loosely defined, the status is granted to drugs that treat a condition affecting fewer than 200,000 people and includes waived clinical trial requirements and years of market exclusivity. In early March, Gilead requested to rescind the orphan status, raising questions about the company’s plans to profit from the treatment. Alison Kanski reports for Medical Marketing & Media.
  • A treatment regimen that includes remdesivir and the Janus kinase inhibitor baricitinib is being evaluated in adults hospitalized with COVID-19, reports Monthly Prescribing Reference. The primary point of the study is to assess recovery time, aka, when a patient no longer requires supplemental oxygen or ongoing medical care in hospital. 
  • Elsewhere in MPR, the FDA has cleared the initiation of a phase three trial evaluating INOpulse inhaled nitric oxide therapy in patients with COVID-19. Previous research suggested the use of nitric oxide could prevent viral replication, improve oxygenation, and halt the virus’ progression.
  • Back in March, we wrote about veterinary hospitals donating their ventilators and respirator masks to hospitals. Today, a veterinary school diagnostic lab at Oklahoma State University is running more human coronavirus tests than any other lab in the state. A handful of other veterinary labs across the country are joining the cause, adding diagnostic capacity to a patchworked national testing effort beset by regulatory woes.

The Takeaway:

Doctors, nurses, scientists and veterinarians continue to be true soldiers in this “war.”

Guidelines and productivity

How to be productive, keep it together and shift from product selling to problem-solving.

  • The U.K. publishedits long-awaited guidance for employers looking to bring employees back into the workplace. People Management delves into the details of the government’s industry-specific guidelines, breaking down the stipulations employers need to be aware of.
  • A long time ago, if you said you were overwhelmed with work, just so busy, it meant you weren’t successful enough to do nothing but drink martinis all day. Silicon Valley redefined being busy as proof of superiority — as in, everyone was blowing up your phone all the time because you were Very Important. More recently, non-FDA approvedsupplements and “productivity hacks” promise we can achieve more, in less time. But do we really need to get that much done and sleep so little or are we just getting a lot of meaningless fluff accomplished instead of focusing on the important things? In People Management U.K., Abigail Ireland, executive performance and business coach, examines the difference between being busy and being productive.
  • Unsettling, overwhelming and intimidating are the terms Jim Joseph, global president of PR and communications firm BCW, used to define the vast uncertainties created by the pandemic. In this think piece for PRWeek U.S., Joseph asks brands how they can make people feel seen, protected, and understood, while highlighting the connections that are keeping us together.
  • Claire Gillis, international CEO of marketing service holding company WPP’s health practice, writes in MM&M about our newfound love affair with science and scientists. In a world clouded by misinformation and politicization, people are turning to science for evidence-based answers.

The Takeaway:

“We’re letting the science lead us” has become something of a catchphrase, but also something of a Catch-22 for those who do not believe the evidence proffered.

Let us now pause 

We need a break. You need a break. Let’s take a break!

The Takeaway:

That was truly necessary and we’re not ready to go back to work so…


Some cherry cola earworm songs with videos cribbed from movies to take you into the weekend. 

We’re not here tomorrow, so have a good one; we’ll see you Tuesday.