Quality Assurance Technicians are invaluable to the pharmaceuticals industry even in the calmest of times. This is especially true now, with society caught in the grip of the novel coronavirus pandemic. While citizens adapt to working from home, purchase personal protective equipment, and adopt social distancing protocols, the pharmaceuticals sector is busy working on developing a vaccine for SARS-CoV-2.
The highly contagious airborne virus continues to spread rapidly, and the only way we will experience a full return to normal is through the development of a vaccine. While chemists and researchers are important when developing a vaccine, quality assurance technicians are just as essential. These professionals work within the pharmaceuticals industry to ensure that products are made correctly, testing them for safety and efficacy, and analyzing the data. Read on to learn why quality assurance can play such an important role during the pandemic.
Develop SOPs Under Resource-Constrained Circumstances
Within quality assurance, developing systems is of paramount importance. The pharmaceutical industry would be meaningless if the ways of developing and assessing medicine didn’t remain consistent. One of the ways that quality assurance does this is by developing and instituting Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs). These are step-by-step guides to the performance of routine tasks that are followed to ascertain consistency.
Because of the constriction of resources and time brought about by the coronavirus pandemic, the pharmaceuticals industry is in need of new sets of SOPs that can accommodate the current restraints. In a quality assurance technician career, you may help to develop and implement SOPs that are adaptable to new circumstances, needs, and requirements.
In a Quality Assurance Technician Career, You Can Help to Verify the Efficacy of a Vaccine
Developers such as Pfizer, Oxford University, and CanSino Biologics have already begun to study and attempt to develop vaccines that will inoculate the population against COVID-19. The issue is that a balance needs to be struck between rapidly developing these medications and ensuring that they’re safe and effective to use.
As an example of where this balance can be wrong, we can look to the malaria medication hydroxychloroquine. The drug was granted emergency use authorization by the FDA based on belief that it may be effective at fighting the coronavirus.
However, the authorization was revoked after a couple months due to studies that showed it was ineffective. Under the guidance of professionals who have been educated in pharmaceutical quality assurance training, this spread of misinformation and popularization of ineffective vaccines can be reduced.
Ensure that Regulations are Met Quickly & Effectively
One of the central purposes of quality assurance is to ensure that products are developed in ways that adhere to the necessary regulations set out by government bodies, such as Health Canada in this country and the FDA in the United States. To facilitate this, quality assurance systems should be set up to ensure that Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) regulations are met, which is more difficult under the current circumstances.
Recently, scores of medical equipment and testing kits for the coronavirus were assessed as not meeting the proper guidelines for safety and efficacy after being delivered to consumers and institutions. This issue with the lack of proper quality control measures being adhered to could bring serious consequences if vaccines aren’t treated with more care. Quality assurance technicians can ensure that medicine adheres to regulations, and that mishaps like this are avoided in the future.
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