Chemical makers rally to curb coronavirus spread | Pa. governor vetoes tax credit for chemical projects | Scientists use bacteria to break down PU waste
March 31, 2020
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Business Update
Dow, Olin, Ineos, Arkema, Huntsman, BASF and Shell are among the chemical companies increasing production of hand sanitizer, alcohol-based solutions or isopropyl alcohol to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. "As this virus makes its way to every continent, we will continue to leverage our experience and knowledge in other regions, including the US," says Huntsman CEO Peter Huntsman.
Full Story: ICIS News (UK) (free content) (3/25) 
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Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf has vetoed a bill that would have created a tax credit for chemical projects that create at least 800 jobs and have a capital investment of at least $450 million. A similar measure in 2012 helped attract Royal Dutch Shell's investment in a Beaver County project, and Wolf says he would consider another tax credit bill with an in-depth project analysis.
Full Story: The Associated Press (3/27),  Bloomberg Environment (free content) (3/27) 
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Chemical Technology News
A team of scientists in Germany have discovered a bacteria known as Pseudomonas putida that can break down polyurethane waste. "This finding represents an important step in being able to reuse hard-to-recycle (polyurethane) products," said study author Hermann Heipieper of the Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research.
Full Story: United Press International (3/27),  CNN (3/30) 
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Energy, Sustainability & Safety
Details from a new study suggest that the use of grass-derived biomass fuels could mitigate the effects of global warming significantly through carbon reduction. The data were published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology.
Full Story: Biofuels International (UK) (3/16) 
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Biological Engineering & Pharmaceuticals
Roche has secured FDA approval to launch a late-stage trial by early April to assess the efficacy of its drug Actemra, or tocilizumab, in critically ill patients with COVID-19 who are hospitalized with pneumonia. China approved use of the interleukin-6 inhibitor to treat COVID-19 patients with severe lung damage who have elevated IL-6 levels in the blood.
Full Story: PMLive (UK) (3/24) 
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The FDA approved Gilead's request to grant orphan drug status to remdesivir, an antiviral that is being tested in people with COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. Orphan drugs that are approved get breaks on taxes and fees and get seven years' market exclusivity.
Full Story: National Public Radio (3/24) 
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The FDA announced it will allow the use of plasma donations from patients who have recovered from COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, through emergency Investigational New Drug Applications that can be processed within four to eight hours to treat the sickest patients. Clinical studies are needed to validate the method, which has shown promise anecdotally.
Full Story: Regulatory Focus (3/24),  The Hill (3/24) 
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Education & Government Update
The FDA this week changed how it regulates insulin and other biologics, such as human growth hormone and chorionic gonadotropin, to treat them as biological products rather than drugs. The move means any insulin approved as a so-called "follow-on" is now considered a biosimilar and interchangeable with branded products, which could reduce costs.
Full Story: Medscape (free registration) (3/24) 
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Many US cities and states are temporarily pausing or delaying bans on single-use plastic bags in an attempt to help slow transmission of the coronavirus. New York has delayed the implementation of its statewide ban until at least May 15 and New Hampshire, which doesn't have a policy on single-use plastics, has ordered retailers to exclusively use single-use bags.
Full Story: Argus Media (3/23) 
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Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., has asked the Environmental Protection Agency to withdraw the Strengthening Transparency in Regulatory Science rule, arguing it could impede the agency's response to the coronavirus. The rule "enables independent validation of scientific conclusions is important to advancing the Agency's mission," said the EPA in response.
Full Story: The Hill (3/25) 
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Institute News
AIChE rolls out resources to support the chemical engineering community during COVID-19
The ongoing COVID-19 situation reminds us that, even in uncertain times, AIChE is a diverse community of people who lead, create, and learn -- together. Knowing that many chemical engineers are now working virtually, AIChE is releasing a variety of free online content and other resources, including select AIChE Academy courses and webinars, articles from CEP magazine, and more. Stay connected with AIChE and benefit from these resources.
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Tomorrow's free AIChE Academy webinar offers advice on virtual networking
The notion that networking can only take place in person is a myth. In fact, most networking takes place from afar. On Wednesday, April 1, from 2:00-3:00 PM Eastern, join communication trainer and STEM career consultant Alaina Levine as she discusses strategies, tactics, and tools for finding new collaborators and building mutually-beneficial partnerships with professionals around the world. PDH credits are available. Add this webinar to your calendar.
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Career Focus
Will remote work become the norm?
(Sebastien Salom-gomis/Getty Images)
Companies that have never allowed employees to work from home are finding that it is doable, which could change how many employers view flexible work policies. "Most people will see that it is very possible and start to grow accustomed to the benefits of [remote work], including autonomy, no commute, and less distractions than open offices," says Remote Year CEO Greg Caplan.
Full Story: Fast Company online (3/26) 
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Courage has nothing to do with our determination to be great. It has to do with what we decide in that moment when we are called upon to be more.
Rita Dove,
poet, writer, Pulitzer Prize winner, US poet laureate
March is Women's History Month
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About AIChE
More than 60,000 members in 110 countries have joined the American Institute of Chemical Engineers. It is the focal point for information exchange at the frontiers of chemical engineering, including energy, materials, nanotechnology, sustainability, biological engineering, and chemical plant safety and security. Learn more at or contact us.
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