Therapeutic Areas / COVID-19

COVID-19

During 2020, the world as we knew it was turned completely upside down because of the unprecedented global pandemic. At Cipla, COVID-19 also forced us as a business to adapt and implement numerous changes to remain relevant and deliver on our ethos of “Caring for Life”.

Cipla's Response

As part of our ethos of “Caring for Life”, we’re committed to help find a solution in the fight against this public health pandemic. To this end Cipla has been involved in several initiatives to help in this health and humane crisis.

Focussed on Mental Health

As a result of lockdown, many people are experiencing heightened feelings of uncertainty, unrest and loneliness. It is important for everybody – especially those who are predisposed to mental health conditions – to learn how to cope and manage any added stress being experienced.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has also highlighted the importance of encouraging mental and psychological well-being during the COVID-19 outbreak, stressing “this is not going to be a sprint, but a marathon”.


Whether you are helping a friend, or need help yourself, you can always call the Cipla SADAG 24-hour mental health helpline on 0800 456 789 or via WhatsApp on 076 882 2775 between 9am – 5pm.

Caring for our Carers

In a country with a chronic shortage of healthcare professionals1, and a significant disease burden2, it may come as no surprise to hear that doctors are 2.5 times more likely than anyone else to take their own lives3. As South Africa grapples with an increase in the number of COVID-19 infections4, the challenges faced by healthcare workers are more significant than ever5.

And it’s not just qualified doctors who fall into this category, but also medical students6 – particularly those doing their community service, often in difficult situations where they find themselves dealing with life and death cases daily.

To create awareness about this issue and break the stigma around mental health, Cipla participates in the #Socks4Docs campaign annually.

“Caring for our carers is more important than ever: Healthcare professionals are at the frontline of tackling this pandemic, and in a country where there’s a shortage of medical professionals and a massive diseases burden, they can also become overwhelmed and stressed or experience burnout.”

Paul MillerChief Executive Officer, South Africa

South Africans lean on each other

Following the WHO’s call to take care of one’s mental and psychological well-being during this pandemic, Cipla – supported by 80 well-known SA artists, sports stars, TV presenters and celebrities – recorded a special version of the iconic song, ‘Lean On Me’

Access to life-saving medicine

Cipla through a landmark agreement with Gilead Sciences Inc.1, was granted a license to manufacture and distribute the antiviral medicine, remdesivir, in 127 countries, including South Africa2. As many of these countries are low-income countries and emerging markets that face obstacles in accessing healthcare, Cipla will expand supply to several sub-Saharan African countries.

As part of our ethos of Caring for Life, Cipla always aims to ensure that everyone has access to life-saving medication. In much the same way as Cipla pioneered affordable medication during the height of the HIV crisis about two decades ago and helped to save the lives of millions of people, we’re committed to help find a solution in the fight against COVID-19.

Gesondheid, Prontuit - COVID-19 Prof. Guy Richards Insight

Treatment Options

As part of WHO’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the R&D Blueprint was activated to accelerate diagnostics, vaccines and therapeutics for this novel coronavirus. The Blueprint aims to improve coordination between scientists and global health professionals, accelerate the research and development process, and develop new norms and standards to learn from and improve upon the global response.

A guide to the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator

Managing Asthma amid COVID-19

For people with asthma there’s even greater concern about getting very sick from COVID-19 – a virus which affects the respiratory tract (nose, throat, lungs) possibly leading to pneumonia and acute respiratory disease3.

The Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA) has advised that people with asthma should continue to use their inhaler medication, including corticosteroids as prescribed by a doctor. In acute asthma attacks a short course of oral corticosteroids may be prescribed4. It is imperative also that people with asthma know how to use their inhalers correctly to ensure correct administration of the medication5.

How to use your inhaler correctly

Testing and screening stations

To support the government’s objective of increased testing to help contain the outbreak effectively, the Cipla Foundation in partnership with the Western Cape Government Health Department, rolled out four screening and testing units in the Overberg district. Two screening and testing units are in Grabouw and another two are based in Hermanus.

The Cipla Foundation also distributed protective gear such as masks and hand sanitiser, as well as food parcels to people in under-privileged communities, during lockdown.

References:

  1. Gilead website: Voluntary Licensing Agreements for Remdesivir. Available at https://www.gilead.com/purpose/advancing-global-health/covid-19/voluntary-licensing-agreements-for-remdesivir
  2. Cipla website: Cipla enters into a licensing agreement With Gilead to expand access to COVID-19 treatment. Available at: https://www.cipla.com/press-releases-statements/cipla-enters-licensing-agreement-gilead-expand-access-covid-19-treatment
  3. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention – People with Moderate to Severe Asthma. Available at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/asthma.html
  4. Global initiative for asthma – COVID-19: GINA Answers to Frequently Asked Questions on asthma management
  5. Asthma UK – Using your inhalers. Available at https://www.asthma.org.uk/advice/inhalers-medicines-treatments/using-inhalers/