The unprecedented expansion of the COVID-19 pandemic continuously unfolds complex challenges. This clears one thing: the business community is also on the frontline to fight, with speed, along with intense and vigilant actions against the situation. Hence, in response, large corporations, entrepreneurs, and small businesses are pledging unusual support in sustaining the aggressive demand, disruption in supply chains, and also develop creative solutions to minimize the spreading of the virus.
The aftermath of this worldwide pandemic will require an adequate stage-wise filling of knowledge gaps. Hence, private organizations are collaborating their resources to provide real-time insights and continuous management to empower the sectors, as the challenges continue.
Below are activities and initiatives undertaken by the private-sector organizations to combat the Coronavirus:
The exponential surge in the infected people has compelled the diagnostic sector to adopt a strategic rapid-testing approach. Several International giants from various sectors, such as Amazon, Abbott Laboratories, Alphabet, Ava, Biobot Analytics, carbon, etc. are significantly complementing with their impactful resources and innovative initiatives. For instance, Abbott obtained the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for its new COVID-19 antibody test, and also signed a contract with the Italian government for the supply of the same. Furthermore, Amazon invested $20 million intending to speed the Amazon Web Services Diagnostic Initiative.
Treatments & Vaccines:
The absence of the availability of proper treatments and vaccines for the novel Coronavirus has created havoc in the healthcare sector. However, this has opened doors for fast-track activities, and additional funding in the pharmaceutical industry as several companies are contributing symptoms-based treatments & drugs until an appropriate vaccine is launched in the market. Companies, such as AbbVie, AstraZeneca, Eli Lilly, Fujifilm, 4D Pharma, etc. have received approval to begin trials of their drugs or products on the COVID-19 patients.
On the other hand, based on the WHO listing, as of 2 June 2020, there were 10 candidate vaccines in clinical and 123 candidate vaccines in preclinical evaluations. Companies, such as AstraZeneca, Moderna, CanSino Biological Inc., Oxford University, and Beijing Institute of Biotechnology, are some of the frontrunner developers.
Medical Devices or Equipment:
The high demand for medical ventilators has encouraged manufacturers to work out collaboration with several automakers to supplement the ongoing demand. Several automakers such as, Tesla, Ford, Formula 1 teams in the United Kingdom, General Motors in the United States, & Nissan in Japan have overhauled their operations to employ car parts in the manufacturing of ventilators. For instance, Healthcare manufacturers, 3M & GE Healthcare collaborated with Ford to design ventilators and modified respirators. In addition, Fiat also initiated the production of masks by renovating one of its Chinese manufacturing plants.
Due to the gap in the supply and demand, established distilleries like Anheuser-Busch and Bacardi, 10th Mountain Whiskey & Spirit Company, BrewDog, and others across the world, has associated in the production of hand sanitizers by turning their manufacturing capacities, as well as, raw materials to fulfill the ever-growing demand. Furthermore, some companies are planning to donate pure alcohol, and also free sanitizers to people.
The infected number among the caregiver has skyrocketed as there has been a shortage of personal protective clothing. The market is regularly transitioning, as the demand has reached unprecedented levels. Hence, the sector has witnessed several initiatives by various groups and organizations. For example, Nissan USA, with several other automakers, manufactured protective face shields for healthcare workers in Japan. Also, Gokaldas Exports, Alok Industries, JCT Phagwara, Aditya Birla, etc., are few companies manufacturing PPE kits in India.
Blood Plasma Alliance:
CoVlg-19 Plasma Alliance, is a group of 10 plasma therapy companies, partnered to develop a hyperimmune globulin treatment (HiG) made with convalescent plasma. Presently, companies, such as, Octapharma, Sanquin, BPL, ADMA Biologics, GC Pharma, Biotest, Behring, CSL, LFB, Takeda, BioPharma Plasma, are a part of the alliance. Other tech-giants, namely, Microsoft, is also contributing technical support to the alliance.
In mid-March, the private-sector founded the COVID-19 Healthcare Coalition as a coordinated public-interest response to the pandemic. The coalition has reached 900 member organizations, of which many are operating behind the scenes on research, collaborative projects, and technology. Some of the first to coalesce were Leavitt Partners, Mayo Clinic, Amazon Web Services (AWS), leaders from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Microsoft, LabCorp, etc. The nation’s leading pandemic experts from various levels are also engaged in the effort.
In four months of formation, the coalition has positively influenced the COVID-19 fight. This has encouraged to shift its strategic approach from emergency actions to providing and supporting the essential capabilities to endure the most adverse impacts of the pandemic. The project teams and working groups are actively pursuing to enter the new phase & continue to achieve the solution that will sustain the society.
Support for Healthcare Workers & First Responders:
While some players sprang in action to assist supply chain disruptions, others substantially contributed funding and company resources to support healthcare workers and first responders. These efforts were undertaken through partnerships between government, industry, non-profit organizations, and others. Wellness companies like Headspace provided free services to healthcare workers, and UberEats offered free meals and rides to healthcare workers & first responders. Also, Airbnb hosts volunteered to provide housing for COVID-19 responders around the world. Brooks Running announced to donate 10,000 pairs of shoes to healthcare workers.
COVID-19 & Technology:
In the era of digital technology, it would have been shocking if tech giants and IT pros would not have participated in helping to fight the ongoing pandemic. As businesses are looking to reboot, technologies have lifted the game with a variety of smart solutions & products, and tracking & predicting its spreading, and protecting hospitals from cyberattacks. ViewSonic has offered online support to educators on topics, such as curriculum development, distance learning, video creation, etc. Salesforce unveiled Work.com, a website that guides business and community leaders to re-open and deal with the heels of the pandemic. Arc launched ‘Code Against COVID-19’, an effort of 200 mentors and freelance developer volunteers, connecting with organizations that require development assistance for their projects. Also, several companies have shown interest in Industry 4.0 as it enhances the industrial processes with budding technologies.
The persistent onslaught of the COVID-19 has continually emerged new challenges in every sector. These social collaborative efforts of organizations, academia, technology firms, startups, and non-profits have empowered the healthcare sector with capabilities, expertise, data, and insights, to build strategies for the most immediate, near-term challenges that are evolving based on the shift in priorities and needs.