President's message: Members continue to contribute expertise in the fight against COVID-19

Published: 23 Sep 2020
Category: Editorial

As we enter the autumn months, the UK is seeing the start of the anticipated “second wave” of COVID-19 infections, with local restrictions coming into force to try to slow the spread of the virus again.

We knew from the start of the pandemic that understanding, treating, and controlling the virus would not be a quick process. It is a marathon, not a sprint, and throughout this test of endurance British Pharmacological Society members have contributed their expertise in both clinical and non-clinical settings, despite extremely challenging circumstances.

The COVID-19 hub on our website gives a good outline of the wide range of work undertaken since March. Members have advocated for the importance of clinical pharmacology principles in drug discovery and development, the importance of good preclinical models, and worked closely with the Society in supporting the Science Media Centre to give comments or interviews to journalists about emerging treatments. The work that members have been doing across pharmacovigilance and pharmacoepidemiology, animal research and clinical trials has facilitated the Society to develop policy positions on key areas relevant to pharmacology as the pandemic has progressed.

Recently, clinical pharmacologists have also been appointed to the UK-CTAP group that will identify candidate therapeutics for phase II trials, advising the Chief Investigators of RECOVERY+ on which treatments should progress through developments. This is in line with work we have done (including our evidence submission to the House of Commons Science and Technology Select Committee) to advocate for connectivity across all stages of COVID-19 research.

In response to a call for evidence from the Campaign for Science and Engineering, the Society’s Early-Career Pharmacologist Advisory Group has worked with the policy team to outline the impacts they, and other early-career researchers, have experienced during COVID-19.

The Society’s journals have received a considerable number of submissions relating to COVID-19. The manuscripts have been fast-tracked through peer review by the Editorial teams where possible. Accepted articles have been made free-to-view, and are collected in a joint virtual issue. Look out for a parallel BPS LIVE webinar in October to see more of this work, with interactive Q and A sessions with the authors.

As a Society, we have never been prouder to represent and support your vital work, and to connect you with the pharmacology community while we have been unable to meet as normal. If you have any suggestions or requests for how we can build on this, or any resources or news to add to the COVID-19 hub, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

While we may not be able to meet face to face for our annual meeting in December, I look forward to seeing you online for Pharmacology 2020 and hearing more about your work in this unusual year. And if your experiences have led to an idea for a symposia, workshop or debate at WCP2022, make sure to submit these before the deadline of Monday 28 September.

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