November 9, 2020
Rick Foristel, Director of Webster University China
Chinese woman in lab in China pursuing a safe COVID-19 vaccine.
Biotech centers across the world are developing and testing a wide range of COVID vaccines. As of this writing, the New York Times Coronavirus Vaccine Tracker reports, “Researchers are testing 49 vaccines in clinical trials on humans, and at least 88 preclinical vaccines are under active investigation in animals,” while the Milken institute is tracking over 300 new COVID treatments. Milken cites an even larger number of vaccines under investigation compared to the New York Times.
By some time, next year, there will be a range of vaccines available. The luxury vaccines will be those backed by large amounts of data. The data will show how effective the vaccine has been. How safe it is? Who created it and who manufactured it.? Can we rely on the distribution chain When I go to my hospital or clinic, can I trust it is the true vaccine, which is backed up by scientific evidence?
Thousands of people are working on cures and vaccines from Beijing to Stanford to Boston and the European research centers.
The Opportunity Degree: BS Biological Science
Mary Preuss, PhD, Associeate Professor Webster University at white board
There are dozens of careers for students who choose the Bachelor of Science (BS) degree at Webster University’s Browning Hall Science Center in St. Louis. The program teaches physical sciences, including areas of biology, chemistry, physics and mathematics.
Bioscience Has Exploded
Fast and accurate gnome mapping that was not available for the SARS epidemic in 2003 was available in China to allow identification of COVID as soon as it was determined that it was not seen before. Wuhan and Beijing were able to tell others around the world what they had discovered. Labs were able to see the virus, and sequence its gene, and compare it to other similar viruses. Clinicians collected data about symptoms, and best-practices for saving patient lives.
Impossible Foods/Climax Foods: More Exploding Bioscience
Dr. Patrick Brown, CEO of Impossible Foods ran a bioscience laboratory at Stanford University for 25 years. The lab focused on genes work. He started Impossible to develop and market meat that is totally plant based. Impossible makes changes in the genome of yeast plants to make yeast make proteins that are meat.
Another California PhD, Oliver Zhan, launched Climax Foods, but does not modify plant genomes. He will be working with thousands of plants, looking for compounds in plants that can be combined to give flavors, nutrition and taste of meats and cheeses. And once again, no animals involved.
R&D at Impossible Foods.
Both companies depend on genes and or plant chemistry to replace or even be better tasting than meat products. Dr. Brown and Dr. Zhan will make it possible to replace live animals and contribute to the environment.
Webster‘s Browning Hall Science Building
BS Bioscience students learn their way up to carry out all the scientific work needed to become team members in all the thousands of groups that have worked to identify COVID and any other pathogens. They will build the skill and knowledge to be able to fit in with others to identify, analyze, and create solutions.
At Browning Hall science students attend small class and have a chance to use advanced equipment in 27 laboratories, including a human anatomy laboratory, and a computational lab.
Go Deeper at Webster: Computational Biology and Emphasis in Chemistry
Computational Biology helped teams to determine that COVID-19 virus genomes belong to a cluster that also contains bat and pangolin coronavirus genomes. This provides evidences strongly supporting scientific hypotheses that bats and pangolins are probable hosts for the COVID-19 novel (Cold Spring Laboratory). There are dozens of other fields in health sciences that depend on computational biology.
Students who focus on Chemistry can use it understanding the chemistry of plants, animals, yeast (like Impossible Foods), algae, bacteria, or even virus.
If they choose, students of the Bioscience BS will be in excellent position to select a master’s program in biology or chemistry fields.
Browning Hall Science Center/Walker School of Business: Bio-Venture Capitalism
Browning Science Hall (L), the Walker School of Bussiness (R).
Webster science students can walk a few meters from Browning Hall and be in the Walker School of Business. In the U.S. there are clusters of biopharmaceutical companies within a given city. The most famous is Boston, but St. Louis, Webster’s Main Campus, is a top-ranked emerging life sciences cluster. Along with scientist and technicians, there are venture capital firms, who get the money together to drive research forward. The product may be a COVID test kit, or a vaccine, or a yeast that turns itself in a steak.