Parting Words for 2020
(We gave it our best shot!)

December 30, 2020

This year, I’ve heard words uttered by family and friends that I never thought would leave the confines of my work. Having spent the past decade working on vaccines and antivirals, these words make up my common parlance, a second language of sorts to be used only with coworkers and clients. But in 2020, in the throes of a global pandemic, they are everywhere. On my social media feed, on the news, discussed on the street with neighbors from a 6-foot distance. Scientific jargon is now commonplace in times of Covid, forming our new viral vernacular: immune response, viral load, asymptomatic carriers, antibodies, PCR. We’re all quoting epidemiologists and following the CDC, debating herd immunity, vaccine efficacy, and the inevitability of virus mutation.

For all its challenges and devastation, 2020 has been an unprecedented year for scientific breakthroughs and the pharmaceutical innovations that bring them – quite literally – to life. In March, we wondered if vaccines were possible. In September, we hoped they would be effective. In December, we now have two vaccines, and our lives and livelihoods depend on them. We’ve all consumed more data in the lay press on clinical trials than ever before. And with this burst of scientific ingenuity comes great responsibility – for all of us in the business of conveying clinical data to others – to sure it is clear, concise, accurate, and tailored appropriately for the audience.

2020 has taught us all to slow down, to stop yearning for the outside and spend time looking (and being) inside. We’ve found creative ways to make the best of a tough situation, and to find bursts of inspiration and ingenuity in corners where we previously did not have time to look. We’ve cut the clutter and focused our energy on the people and things that matter most. And we’re dreaming big for 2021.

Goodbye to 2020, in words as plain and simple as can be: We gave it our best shot(s), so 2021 can be so much better.

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