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COVID-19 Disrupts Biotech Collaboration.

The COVID-19 pandemic ironically could undermine Defense Department efforts to collaborate with international partners on R&D, according to a top scientist at the Air Force Research Laboratory.

Biotech is a major focus area where AFRL wants to expand cooperation with allies, Dr. Rajesh Naik said at NDIAs Pacific Operational Science and Technology Conference in Honolulu, Hawaii.

"That's clearly an area where there's investments across the world in that space because it's such a foundational enabling technology," he said. "We want to tap into that."

Even small nations such as Singapore have expertise to offer, he noted. "There are smaller partner nations that are investing in very unique aspects of that research that we would like to partner with."

However, COVID-19 could make such cooperation more difficult. "The coronavirus is canceling a lot of events across the world, lots of... meetings and other things, which does become a challenge because it's the boots on the ground--the [subject matter experts]--that really build those relationships," Naik said.

(See stories on pages 10, 12, 20, 30, 34, 50 and 51)

COMPILED BY STEW MAGNUSON

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Title Annotation:UP FRONT
Author:Magnuson, Stew
Publication:National Defense
Date:May 1, 2020
Words:182
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