As lockdown continues in the UK, the Biovault team are settling into the “new normal” of life at a social distance. We are fortunate that the South West of England, where Biovault is based, continues to be one of the least affected areas in the UK, but we were heartened to see the drive through Covid-19 testing facility set up in Plymouth just metres from Biovault and Derriford Hospital.
As I alluded to in my last update the South West Peninsula Transplant Service had reduced its activity as a result of the lockdown, but cancer has no appreciation of a Pandemic, and delayed collections of stem cells and transplants are now being rescheduled to allow these important treatments to continue. Our communication links with the hospital teams are strong so the service continues to run smoothly and efficiently, which is so important at the current time.
Whilst people movement has been so greatly impacted, the movement of goods including human tissue and cells is unaffected. Cord Blood and Tissue collections from Europe and the Middle East continue to arrive for processing and storage. We are in regular contact with our partners in these countries who are having a similar experience to us here in the UK, life at a social distance. But like ourselves despite talking to customers about umbilical cord stem cell banking, they are also providing advice and guidance to nervous parents who are so concerned about giving birth during the Pandemic.
At Biovault Family in the UK, we have always strived to provide parents with accurate and honest information about stem cell banking. As part of this close relationship we develop with mothers to be we find our team regularly share experiences of birth and new-borns. In these unsettling times these conversations have increased and our insight into the delivery and collection process are informing parents how they can get the best collection of cells when access to hospitals and maternity units can be restricted. It is challenging and ever changing, but our team are giving the best support possible, advising parents when approaches suggested by other organisations may be outside of the legal licensing framework.
In our isolated world, despite technology and media we can easily miss positive stories. After my last communication it was lovely to hear about experiences in the wider community in Plymouth, particularly the collaboration of Plymouth University, Plymouth Science Park and others who are 3D printing visors for the local NHS and care organisations, a great use of a capability based here in the City of Plymouth. It is also great to receive the regular updates from Plymouth City Council on how they are supporting local businesses in this difficult time.
The team at Biovault remain diligent and motivated and I wanted to extended particular thanks to the laboratory and administrative teams who attend work each day to ensure our service can continue. Whilst I know they are enjoying the shorter commute time, I am sure they look forward to when the Biovault Family is reunited. As a wider team we work together virtually and always approach the daily challenges guided by our ethics, standards and commitment to quality.
As before many thanks for taking the time to read this, feel free to share it with others and please get in touch with any thoughts or comments.
Chief Executive Officer
Biovault Group - Pioneering Stem Cell and Tissue Banking