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100 coronavirus cases linked to Biogen-hosted event in Boston, State of Massachusetts confirms

Published on 18/03/20 at 01:04pm

It is now known that around 100 of the known cases of the COVID-19 coronavirus can be traced to an event held in Boston, Massachusetts by major biotechnology firm Biogen.

By the end of the first week of March, as the virus slowly seeped through international borders, Biogen joined fellow life science firms Takeda and Eli Lilly in announcing it had discovered that its workforce had been compromised. This was originally identified in three of its employees.

None of these three staff were based in Massachusetts, but they had visited a conference event hosted by Biogen at the Marriott Long Wharf Hotel, not far from the company’s headquarters, at the end of February along with around 175 people. Some of those attending this conference were also known to attend an event at the Boston Marriott Copley Place Hotel at the beginning of March.

By 9 March, the number of infected employees at the company had grown to 15, and Biogen took action by revealing that it had ordered these affected employees, who were based in Massachusetts, North Carolina and even Switzerland, to isolate and work from home.

A number of these affected staff ended up carrying the virus to their home states. Just over a week after Biogen required those affected to work remotely, incidence in the state of Masachusetts had broken 200 confirmed cases of the virus. The state’s government confirmed that around 100 of these cases had been tied to the Biogen-hosted event in Boston.

Biogen employs more than 2,400 staff in Massachusetts and around 7,400 worldwide.

Matt Fellows

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