BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — Hospitals, medical workers, and first responders are dealing with a shortage of supplies like personal protective equipment as they battle the COVID-19 pandemic, but a new partnership launched in Massachusetts is creating a central hub for businesses to donate these supplies to those who need them.
The Massachusetts Biotechnology Council (MassBio), Massachusetts Health and Hospital Association (MHA), Massachuestts Medical Device Industry Council (MassMEDIC), and Conference of Boston Teaching Hospitals (COBTH) have joined forces to create the Massachusetts Life Sciences Emergency Supply Hub.
"We're asking every life sciences and healthcare operation to help by donating supplies and expertise to combat COVID-19," MassBio said on its website.
The hub will help coordinate efforts to supply the state's Department of Public Health with the supplies they need to fight coronavirus—supplies like M95 respirator masks, goggles, and gloves; ventilators, stretchers, and thermometers; laboratory supplies, diagnostic supplies, and instruments; and professional resources.
Bob Coughlin, President and CEO of MassBio, spoke about the hub at a press conference Friday afternoon.
"Massachusetts is home to the highest concentration density of biotech companies, pharmaceutical companies, medical device companies, and diagnostic companies," Coughlin said. "We are currently asking all of those life sciences companies in the state to donate lab testing and diagnostic supplies, general protection equipment known as PPE, and medical and scientific expertise that is needed by folks on the front lines to combat COVID-19."
Coughlin said that in just the first 24 hours the hub was online, nearly 200 companies responded with supplies they had that they were willing to donate—but Coughlin said they need more.
"You'd be surprised, it's not just biopharma and medical device companies and diagnostic companies that are offering to donate, but also dentists' offices, colleges, universities," he said.
He said the hub wasn't distributing supplies; that work will be done by the state.
"We are working on this together, side by side, so that in short order, we can give the real heroes of all this, the folks who are on the front line fighting this fight and keeping us safe—it's so important that we give the equipment, materials, and PPE to them right now, so they can do the amazing work that they're doing in protecting all of us," Coughlin said.