Swiss drugmaker Novartis has created a $20 million global fund to support communities affected by the coronavirus outbreak.
In a statement Sunday, the company announced the measures it has taken against COVID-19, which was declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO). The measures include the decision to establish a global fund to support communities affected by the outbreak around the world and participate in intersectoral research and development initiatives.
Under the "COVID-19 Response Fund," Novartis will provide a $20 million grant to help communities manage the pandemic challenges and support public health initiatives.
The fund was created for the “strengthening of local and national health infrastructure, including the financing of additional health care personnel, provision of medicines and medical supplies, remote data collection of COVID-19, and the dissemination of important public health information effectively.”
Novartis, which announced that it will support the COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator, initiated by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Wellcome and Mastercard, against the coronavirus pandemic, along with collaborating with the European Union's initiative in pharmaceutical research.
These cross-sectoral collaborations are set to bring together many pharmaceutical companies and specialized academic institutions, enabling them to research in a coordinated manner.
In addition to these studies, Novartis contributes by offering a variety of components that are considered suitable for in vitro antiviral testing in response to an emergency call by the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA) in the field of research and development against coronavirus.
Novartis Global Chairman Dr. Vasant Narasimhan, whose views were included in the company statement, said the world “is facing an extraordinary and unprecedented public health crisis that requires incredible participation and collaboration between the government, the community and the business community.”
“As a company serving in more than 140 countries, we take our first steps to provide additional financial support to communities in critical condition or national programs that can help to fight the virus. We share the capabilities of our industry-leading R&D organization with these initiatives,” Narasimhan said.
Novartis continues to deliver its medicines to patients and health care providers around the world and foresees the supply chain to continue without delay while the company also launched action plans to ensure continuous drug supply to more than 500 clinical trials and to ensure that operations are carried out smoothly.
As part of efforts to protect employee health, Novartis employees, in the U.S., Europe, and Canada, including in Turkey – like many other office workers worldwide except for those working in laboratories, production sites, and field workers – have started to work from home, beginning March 16.