The COVID-19 Report is a compilation of coronavirus news, analysis, and insights from around the world to help life sciences and health care companies stay current in this challenging time.

In this week's Report: FDA issues response to omicron variant and funds project to expand ARGOS bioinformatics database; and an analysis of U.S. antitrust enforcement trends in labor markets.

Wednesday, 1 December 2021 

  • Yesterday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a statement that it is actively working with federal partners, international regulators, and medical product companies to quickly address any potential impacts of the new omicron variant on the tools to fight the pandemic. And in a new project funded by the FDA, Embleema and George Washington University will conduct bioinformatic research and system development to expand the FDA-ARGOS database. FDA-ARGOS contains curated, quality-controlled genomic sequence data to support research and regulatory decisions. For example, researchers can use the FDA-ARGOS along with bioinformatics tools to validate the performance, sensitivity and specificity of diagnostic tests with computer modeling. Building on expansions during the COVID-19 pandemic, this project aims to further improve the utility of the FDA-ARGOS database as a key tool for medical countermeasure development and validation. (Authored by Randy Prebula)

  • The COVID-19 pandemic has caused upheaval across labor markets and resulted in what some have termed the “Great Resignation.” In the midst of these challenging labor market conditions, employers should be aware that the Department of Justice Antitrust Division and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in the U.S. continue to expand their scrutiny of agreements that restrict the solicitation, wages, or movement of employees. It is important to stay up to date on these developments and to understand what circumstances may separate common, lawful business practices from possible antitrust violations. Online here we have analyzed how U.S. antitrust enforcement actions in labor markets continue to evolve in response to the pandemic and other global trends. (Authored by Benjamin Holt)