Freelancing in times of Covid-19

According to the FinTech Times, there’s around five and a half million self-employed people in the UK and about half of these are freelancers. As medical device manufacturers across the world react to the outbreak of Covid-19, these freelancers could offer manufacturers the vital skills needed to tackle the virus. Here Ramya Sriram, digital content manager at Kolabtree, the freelance platform for scientists, shares three examples of Covid-related projects that freelancers can help with.

While the coronavirus pandemic has sparked uncertainty for many companies, medical device manufacturers and other critical industries must continue operations to limit the negative impact of the virus. The novelty of Covid-19 means that little research about the virus already exists and manufacturers may lack the inhouse skills needed to conduct projects related to the virus. So, how could hiring freelance specialists ensure the success of new projects? 

Decontaminating workspaces 

The UK Government has issued detailed guidance around decontaminating and cleaning non-healthcare related settings, including workplaces such as laboratories and offices. Specifically, businesses must disinfect surfaces that symptomatic people could have touched, such as objects “visibly contaminated with body fluids” or “all potentially contaminated high-contact areas”, including door handles and phones. 

As a result, dedicated cleaning companies and decontaminators now require an effective solution that can disinfect surfaces, including electronics, safely and has a residual killing effect for use in any work environment. 

Research from the Journal of Hospital Infection suggests that ethanol with a concentration of 78 to 95% is one of the most effective biocidal agents in reducing coronavirus infectivity. So, hiring a freelance expert qualified in formulation chemistry or a similar field, can help manufacturers find the most effective agent and achieve the best concentration for a new product. 

Clinical trial design

The UK Government recently pledged £52.5 million to Oxford University to fund clinical trials for a Coronavirus vaccine. It can take months to develop vaccines, so working with freelancers to design effective clinical trials can streamline the process.  

For example, over 100 Covid-19 vaccines are currently in development that manufacturers must test to gain approval from regulatory bodies. A freelance clinical trial expert can effectively design the trial by selecting population/sample size, deciding the length of the trial and designing the phases and parameters.

Reviewing research papers

Since the outbreak in Wuhan, China last December, there’s been a huge growth in the number of journals and research papers dedicated to understanding the coronavirus. To illustrate this, a simple Pubmed search of “Covid” generated 4,090 reports between December 1, 2019 and April 16, 2020 alone. These include editorials, expert insights into the pandemic and reports on clinical data. 

Journals will always review and evaluate research before publishing to check that it stands up to academic scrutiny. The sudden surge in Covid-19 research means there’s now an even greater need for research like this to be evaluated while it’s relevant because of the continuous developments in our understanding of the virus. A freelance medical writer can check over your work and confirm that it’s ready to submit to a journal. 

At these unprecedented times, medical companies may need support to successfully complete product development, testing or research projects. The expertise they require could exist in the millions of freelancers across the UK and further afield. 

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