ALS TDI’s Chief Scientific Officer Fernando Vieira, M.D., talks about how we are allowing more scientists to enter the lab in accordance with Massachusetts Phase 1 reopening guidelines.

Thank you for your support over the last few months, which has allowed us to maintain the pace of promising ALS research amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

This first week of June, in accordance with the Massachusetts phased reopening guidelines, ALS TDI began allowing more of our scientists and researchers to return to our Cambridge-based lab. While we are pleased to be able to resume additional operations the safety of our staff remains a top priority.

Alessandro Calo of ALS TDI's Translational Research team wearing his PPE in the lab

 As I have stated previously, ALS TDI has continued essential activities throughout the COVID-19 pandemic in accordance with state and local guidelines. As the curve has flattened, and Massachusetts has allowed for the re-opening of some business operations, we have also implemented a plan for the careful resumption of additional laboratory operations.

In accordance with those guidelines, we are keeping our on-site staffing below 25% of capacity at all times. Thanks to careful planning, we are able to maintain this capacity while still bringing all bench scientists back into the lab. While doing this we have worked to integrate scientist feedback regarding their COVID-19 risk to self and family.

We are currently taking the following steps to safely reopen more of the lab and continue our ALS research:

  • We have asked many of our scientists to work outside of their traditional hours¬ – coordinating our on-site schedules to distribute lab staff across morning and afternoon shifts and across weekend days.
  • In order to facilitate social distancing, we are coordinating across lab teams to distribute staff density to different work areas, including our general lab space, cell culture suites, robot room, and animal care facility.
  • We are continuing the operations and protocols for animal care, pharmacology experiments, and ongoing drug discovery screens, that we have established and successfully executed since the start of the pandemic.
  • We are strategically deploying scientists to work on our most pressing scientific priorities…those with highest potential to yield clinical development leads.
  • We are encouraging staff to continue data analyses and experimental planning efforts remotely.

I continue to be extremely proud of our science team as they have adapted to these ever-changing circumstances. The team has proven to be focused, resilient, nimble, efficient, and, most importantly, committed – committed to our mission to end ALS.

Again, thank you for supporting our efforts. And, please, stay safe.