With WHO declaring coronavirus or COVID 19 a pandemic, it is now essential that organizations and countries that have the ability to troubleshoot come together, share information as much as possible and work together across borders. On the 15th day July, India had crossed 900000 positive cases, with more than 24000 deaths. A cure remains elusive till date. But in the words of famous author Louisa May Alcott, “Be comforted, dear soul! There is always light behind the clouds”. This time the light is mainly from the healthcare sector, especially from the Pharmacy profession.
India is known as the pharmacy of the world. The pharmaceutical sector has deep scientific knowledge gained from decades of experience with similar viruses. As front-line health-care professionals, many pharmacists are playing an important role in patient care during the Covid-19 pandemic in community pharmacies, hospitals and other health-care settings including long-term care.
Indian Pharmaceutical manufacturers cater not only to the demand in India but also to the increasing demand of drug across the globe. Some have donated compounds with the potential to treat coronavirus such for emergency use and clinical trials, including compounds previously tested on other viruses. Others are exploring ways to use existing technology to upscale the production of the potential vaccine candidate.
To tackle this COVID 19, the pharmaceutical sector is working in four different areas that is treatment development, vaccines development, diagnostics and helping the National Health Service on the ground. Pharmaceutical industries are prioritising research and development of Covid-19 related to diagnostics, treatment, health technologies and vaccines, as well as looking at the potential of existing treatment like AbbVie a well know pharma industry is working on the effectiveness of HIV drugs in treating Covid-19 by working closely with various organizations all over the world. Like this other pharmaceutical companies are working continuously to develop a treatment for Covid-19. Some antiviral agents such as Remdesivir, Favipiravir, Arbidol etc are in use as a treatment for this Covid-19
By the end of June, there are 129 confirmed vaccine projects in development and 13 are in a clinical trial from these about 72% of confirmed vaccine projects are led by pharmaceutical industries with remaining 28% by academic, public sectors and other NPOs. Various companies such as GSK, CEPI, CSL Limited, Sanofi, J&J and Pfizer etc. are working on a different project that will help to tackle this pandemic.
To get a nerve of this pandemic diagnosis is as important as treatment. Rolling out diagnostics to detect whether patient is genuinely infected with the new coronavirus is a key step in preventing or slowing its spread. This rapid spread of Covid-19 has drastically increased demand for testing kits around the world as all the governments are trying to ramp up their testing capacities. Various industries like AstraZeneca, GSK, Takeda and Randox etc. are developing various types of fast testing kits for detection.
Along with all the above, all the pharmacy professional are helping the National Healthcare Service on the ground by donating funds to the organisations, donating facemasks and sanitizers to support healthcare workers, helping by providing home delivery of various medicines for chronic conditions, helps in spreading the social awareness of pandemic.
Naturally, Pharmacists are essential in facilitating all the above-mentioned operations, but they are also integral to helping obtain medication through a compassionate use protocol. Pharmacists globally are providing services amidst pandemic, including TRIAGE services, seeing patients and reducing the patients’ burden on health care facilities such as hospitals and GP practices. One of the fundamental roles of a pharmacist is to ensure the availability and timely provision of the safest and most effective therapy. Pharmacists have supported the healthcare team and infection preventionist to stop the spread of disease. Community pharmacists helped to educate patients and the public on effective strategies to prevent further spread of infection. Many such pharmacists are working in the field to handle this pandemic are also alumni of the prestigious SCES’s Indira College of Pharmacy.
Indira Group of institutes have performed social awareness activities that are helpful to prevent the spread of Covid-19. In Lockdown, various posters are released showing the staff giving important information to stop the spread of pandemic Covid-19. After lockdown, various activities like regular sanitization of the institute, wearing of mask and face shield before entering into the campus, to provide sanitizers at the entry gate and social distancing while working was impressively implemented by Indira Group of Institute. Along with all these measures our respected chairperson, Dr. Tarita Shankar has started virtual movement named “COVID CARE CLUB, PUNE” on Facebook. This movement aims to spread positivity amongst the society and celebrating COVID Heroes. This includes counselling for societies, affected families, students, organizations etc., creating mass care movement and digital campaigning.
Prof. Pawar Shubham Vijay
SCES’s Indira College of Pharmacy, Pune