October 21, Biomedical Research Day, took on extra meaning this year
In 1993, President Bill Clinton declared October 21 National Biomedical Research Day, marking it as “a day in which we celebrate the central role that biomedical research plays in improving human health and longevity.” He called on states to issue similar proclamations, which Massachusetts did in 2006.
This year, Biomedical Research Day has taken on even more importance and meaning. Faced with nothing less than the greatest public health threat of our time, biomedical researchers have worked tirelessly and relentlessly to develop the three COVID-19 vaccines widely deployed in the United States. medical contexts, informing our responses to this new coronavirus.
We are fortunate to have such a concentration of biomedical research talent here in Massachusetts. Indeed, Moderna (based in Cambridge) and Pfizer (with a significant presence in the state) brought us the revolutionary mRNA vaccines, while virologists at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center worked on the development of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. But there are tens of thousands of other dedicated professionals in the field of biomedical research to whom we also owe gratitude debts – veterinarians and veterinary technicians working with animal models in preclinical research; to bench researchers and investigators looking at new scenarios of viral mutations; clinical staff who have helped ensure the safety and effectiveness of vaccines. (And let’s not forget the mice, hamsters, ferrets, and rhesus macaque monkeys that were instrumental in the development of the vaccine.)
As Clinton noted in 1993, âThrough biomedical research, the relentless whooping coughs of children have been silenced; smallpox no longer claims human lives anywhere on Earth; and vaccines, treatments and remedies are readily available for many diseases. And, as we add COVID-19 to this list, let’s pause and consider those people who have helped us find hope in such a time of discouragement.
– James J. O’Reilly, President
Massachusetts Society for Medical Research