Combating the Zika Epidemic: Collaborative Efforts of Council Corporate Members
Recognizing endemic disease outbreaks that urgently need diagnostic tests for the high number of patients with suspected infections, Abbott Molecular has been a pioneer in supporting the population by offering Abbott automation for the extraction of nucleic acids (DNA/RNA) and processing for locally-developed largescale tests. This innovative process enables quick identification of new endemic viruses, such as Zika, dengue, chikungunya and H1N1, transforming the current manual processes into one that’s efficient and fully-automated. This offers citizens greater access to health care by increasing production capacity of tests per hour and raising diagnostic quality by significantly reducing the time of outpatient release while accelerating the time patients spend in the correct therapy, avoiding the errors and delays that come from manual processing.
The Coca-Cola company and its bottling partners, in partnership with the Ministry of Health, have tapped into more than 400,000 points of sale across Brazil to distribute official public health messaging related to fighting against the Zika epidemic. Coca-Cola has capitalized on its pre-existing relationships on the ground to raise awareness of preventative measures to combat the spread of the mosquito and the disease throughout the country.
IBM Brazil, in partnership with the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz), is working on several fronts, using its IT services and expertise in cognitive heath technology. In June, IBM conducted a sentiment analysis on Zika on social media to understand the community’s perception in order to offer subsidies for prevention methods and treatment. In the latter half of this year, IBM Is planning a workshop on the STEM (Spatiotemporal Epidemiological Modeler) tool, designed to help scientists and public health officials create and use models to assist in understanding and potentially preventing the spread of emerging infectious diseases. IBM has a Hackathon (programming marathon) scheduled for November, the theme of which will be health solutions using the “IBM Bluemix,” a cloud platform developed in partnership with the Federal University of Goiás (UFG) and with support from Fiocruz, IBM has also released a study seeking to identify potential drugs that may cure Zika by using its computing platform grid, *World Community Grid,” which allows anyone with a computer or mobile device to contribute to the research process.
Oxitec Ltd., a wholly-owned subsidiary of lntrexon Corp., has pioneered the use of bioengineering to provide a solution for controlling the Aedes aegypti mosquito, the primary vector for Zika, dengue, chikungunya and yellow fever. Oxitec’s OX513A mosquito was developed in 2002 and has two additional genes, one ‘self-limiting’ gene causing descendants to die before adulthood and one marker. In five separate trials, regular releases of OX513A Aedes aegypti have resulted in a substantial and sustained reduction (over 90 percent) in the wild Aedes aegypti population. Three of these successful trials were in Brazil, where OX513Awas approved by CTNBio in 2014. Since April 2015, Oxitec has protected the neighborhoods of Piracicaba, and it is now expanding the control program by constructing a new production facility in the city to serve up to 1.5 million people. In March of this year, the World Health Organization (WHO) posted the conclusions and recommendations of the Vector Control Advisory Group (VCAG), which Issued a positive recommendation in support of Oxltec’s self-limiting OX513A mosquito. In April, Brazil’s National Health Surveillance Agency (ANVISA) announced it would grant a special temporary registration (RET, Registro Especial Temporario) to Oxitec.
Johnson & Johnson, the largest and most diverse health care company in the world, has signed partnership deals with the National Council of Municipal Health Secretariats (CONASEMS), Institute for Research and Support for Social Development (IPAOS) and UNICEF with the goal of developing public health worker training programs focused on improving care for pregnant women, babies with microcephaly and their families in the most critically affected areas in the country. The implementation of the “Health Worker Training in the Context of Microcephaly” training course, jointly designed by Johnson & Johnson, the Ministry of Health, National Council of Health Secretaries (CONASS) and the Brazilian Company of Hospital Services (Ebserh), will initially be offered in five priority areas: Recife (PE), Salvador (BA), Cuiaba (MT), Araguaina (TO) and Campina Grande (PB) with the goal of training 1,650 health professionals.
In addition to its partnerships, Johnson & Johnson is planning extensive work to combat Zika on three main fronts: Research & Development, in which Johnson & Johnson announced its support of the research team led by professor Leda Castilho, Alberto Luiz Coimbra lnstitute of Graduate Studies and Research in Engineering (COPPE) of the UFRJ, focusing on the Zika virus in JLABS in Houston (USA); Information & Prevention, aiming to empower pharmacists across the country with quality information to identify symptoms and educate the public; and Pregnant Women and Newbom Care, already in motion and aiming to develop a program to support pregnant women and the prenatal and neonatal families of babies born with microcephaly in the most critical areas of Brazil.
To help health care professionals, medical researchers and the public understand the outgoing outbreak of the Zika virus, Elsevier, the publishing arm of RELX Group, has created the Zika Virus Resource Center. With content in English, Portuguese and Spanish, the resource center compiles the best available information on Zika to help researchers, policy makers and health workers understand the effects of the outbreak and how best to respond. Decisions affecting the public’s health should be supported by the best available data, so the center will be constantly updated with the latest research from top medical journals, such as The Lancet. For more information, visit: https://www.elsevier.com/connect/zika-virus-resource-center
For more than 60 years, SC Johnson has manufactured pest control brands, such as Raid® and OFF!®, which protect families from mosquitoes and the diseases they may carry. Since the beginning stages of the Zika outbreak, SC Johnson has mobilized all possible resources to assist Brazilians in protecting themselves against mosquitoes that may transmlt the disease, as well as dengue and chikungunya. In addition to expanding production in Manaus to meet demand, OFF!® released an educational campaign about mosquitoes and proper repellent use on all of its social media platforms, which included tips for pregnant women, myths and truths and more. The OFF!® educational social media campaign, which took place from January to May 2016, has reached almost 14 million views.
SC Johnson also donated 125,000 units of OFF!® to the International Federation of the Red Cross and Associação Saúde Criança to help needy families. The donation is part of a global long-term commitment from the company to donate US$15 million to protect families from mosquitoes and the diseases they may carry, such as the Zika virus.More Testimonials