6 Impactful Ways Johnson & Johnson Is Helping in the Fight Against COVID-19
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n the days after the World Health Organization (WHO) first revealed that it had identified a new coronavirus, now known as COVID-19, Johnson & Johnson mobilized quickly in response—both on the ground in China, where the company helped provide healthcare workers with personal protective gear and other support, and in its labs, where scientists at the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson began work on an investigational vaccine candidate.
As the novel coronavirus has spread throughout the world, Johnson & Johnson has continued to provide support to healthcare workers battling the crisis on the front lines, to hospitals caring for the sick, and to research partners who are equally racing to find solutions that could help bring the COVID-19 pandemic to a halt.
From its work on a potential vaccine to a unique benefit that enables employees who are trained medical personnel to take time off to help on the front lines, we've rounded up the many ways the company is delivering on its mission to help care for the communities in which we live and work and to the world community.
Working on COVID-19 Treatments and an Investigational Vaccine Candidate
In January, Johnson & Johnson announced it was launching a multipronged response to the outbreak that would include efforts to develop a vaccine candidate against the disease and identify existing medicines that might be used to help treat COVID-19.
Building on that commitment, Johnson & Johnson announced in February that it would expand its existing partnership with the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), part of the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) at the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, to work together on these research efforts.
And those efforts have been fruitful: On March 30, Johnson & Johnson announced that a lead vaccine candidate had been selected, and that together with BARDA, the company had committed $1 billion dollars to co-fund vaccine research and development, plus additional funding to further its ongoing work to identify potential antiviral treatments against COVID-19.
Johnson & Johnson also announced plans to scale up its global manufacturing capacity with a goal of providing the world with 1 billion doses of a safe and effective vaccine for emergency pandemic use on a not-for-profit basis.
In July the company began early-stage testing of the vaccine candidate in humans. In September, based on positive interim results from a Phase 1/2a trial and discussions with regulators, the company launched a pivotal Phase 3 trial to evaluate the safety and efficacy of a single vaccine dose versus a placebo in preventing COVID-19.
Another area of promise may be in medications called immunomodulators, which Janssen scientists believe might have the potential to help reduce overactive immune responses to viral infection that may occur in those with the most severe cases of COVID-19, often leading to acute respiratory distress syndrome and other life-threatening complications.
“We are prioritizing potential therapeutics based on data indicating their potential to manage the deleterious hyperimmune response to SARS-CoV-2 virus infection that leads to moderate and severe COVID-19," says, Global Therapeutic Area Head, Infectious Diseases, Janssen Research & Development, LLC. "Immune modulation is an area in which we can bring our long legacy and deep expertise to bear.”
In October the National Institutes of Health launched a Phase 3 clinical trial evaluating the safety and efficacy of three immune modulator drugs—including one developed and manufactured by Janssen—in approximately 2,000 hospitalized adults with COVID-19 in the U.S. and Latin America to determine if balancing immune response can help reduce patients' recovery time. The trial is expected to last until April 2021, with results to follow shortly after completion.
In March, the company committed an additional $50 million earmarked specifically to support doctors, nurses, midwives and community health workers who are fighting COVID-19.ShareDid you like reading this story? Click the heart to show your love.
Supporting Healthcare Workers Through a $50 Million Commitment
In January, Johnson & Johnson announced it would provide $250 million over 10 years to help inspire, recruit, train, retain and mobilize frontline health workers through its Johnson & Johnson Center for Health Worker Innovation.
In March, the company committed an additional $50 million earmarked specifically to support doctors, nurses, midwives, community health workers and others on the front lines fighting COVID-19.
The latest contribution includes support for the American Nurses Foundation; the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund, which will support the World Health Organization’s work to prevent, detect and respond to the pandemic; the CDC Foundation’s All of Us Campaign aimed at understanding priority response needs and directing resources where they are needed most; and Dimagi, one of the world’s largest providers of mobile technology in support of frontline health workers.
Providing New Medical Devices and Training for Doctors and Nurses
In support of healthcare providers treating patients with COVID-19, Ethicon, a Johnson & Johnson Medical Devices Company, and not-for-profit company Prisma Health announced a collaboration in early April to manufacture and distribute a device developed by Prisma Health that allows a single ventilator to be fitted for use by two rescuable patients for ventilatory support during the COVID-19 pandemic until individual ventilators are available. Ethicon will use 3-D printing technology to manufacture and distribute the device at no cost to healthcare providers in the United States during the pandemic.
Prisma Health received an emergency use authorization for the device from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in response to the urgent need for ventilators at this time, and is working with national healthcare providers and state and local health authorities to identify the areas of greatest demand for the device.
Meanwhile, the Johnson & Johnson Institute—which trains more than 210,000 healthcare providers each year on everything from how to use medical device implants to how to perform ear, nose and throat procedures—has expanded its collaboration with Advances in Surgery (AIS) to help provide the latest information about COVID-19 to surgeons, nurses and other healthcare providers.
The AIS resources, available for free through the Johnson & Johnson Institute online platform, are updated in real time with the latest news and also provides critical virtual training for COVID-19 care, such as an online mechanical ventilation course. There's also a 24-hour chat forum for healthcare providers who have urgent questions.
To date, 1.3 million surgeons and other healthcare providers from 151 countries have visited the site.
To help support then newly built isolation hospitals in Wuhan, Johnson & Johnson Medical Devices Companies China donated a surgical generator and other devices to the Red Cross Society of China Wuhan Branch.ShareDid you like reading this story? Click the heart to show your love.
Donating Nicorette® and Partnering With the World Health Organization to Help Support Frontline Health Workers
There are 1.3 billion smokers around the world, but only 30% of them have access to treatment and services that can help them quit smoking.
It's an especially concerning problem during the COVID-19 pandemic, since, according to the WHO, smoking impairs lung function, making it harder for the body to fend off coronaviruses and other diseases. Tobacco use is also a major risk factor, says the WHO, for cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease and diabetes—conditions that can put people at higher risk for becoming severely ill if they contract COVID-19.
So the WHO and the United Nations Interagency Task Force (UNIATF) on Noncommunicable Diseases called on companies to help them achieve their goal of improving access to smoking-cessation interventions for smokers who are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19, including frontline health workers.
Johnson & Johnson Consumer Health answered the call and donated enough units of Nicorette® Invisipatch, which helps control nicotine cravings, to cover the needs of thousands of people in Jordan, which is one of many countries impacted by COVID-19. The WHO and the UNIATF will work with the Jordanian Ministry of Health to conduct comprehensive smoking cessation programs using such proven methods as a virtual counselor who, through the use of artificial intelligence technology, offers personalized online support; mobile text-messaging programs; and nicotine-replacement therapies (NRT), like Nicorette products.
"Smoking-related diseases remain one of the world's most preventable causes of death, and Nicorette has been helping people to quit smoking for 40 years," says, Executive Vice President, Worldwide Chairman, Johnson & Johnson Consumer Health. "We are proud to provide people with the products and solutions that can help them live every day in a healthy way."
In the coming months, the WHO and UNIATF plan to launch similar programs in other countries around the world both during and beyond the COVID-19 crisis.
Says Maria Cristina Profili, WHO representative for Jordan: "We are grateful for this donation, which builds on existing WHO efforts and a comprehensive program to fight for tobacco control in Jordan. The nicotine-replacement therapy will help thousands of people in Jordan quit tobacco and lead a healthier life."
Securing Protective Gear at the Outset of the Outbreak
In response to the initial COVID-19 outbreak in China, Johnson & Johnson donated over $3.7 million in personal protective equipment (PPE) for frontline health workers, including goggles, protective suits and masks (a team who helped with the dispatch of this PPE is pictured above).
Johnson & Johnson China also donated 1 million RMB, the currency of the country, to the China Red Cross Foundation to purchase masks, protection suits and sanitizer for healthcare workers on the front lines.
And to help support then newly built isolation hospitals in Wuhan, Johnson & Johnson Medical Devices Companies China donated a surgical generator and other devices to the Red Cross Society of China Wuhan Branch.
As part of the company's Covid-19 Medical Personnel Leave Policy, any medically trained Johnson & Johnson employees worldwide can take a paid leave for up to 14 weeks through March 31, 2021, to provide medical services for COVID-19.ShareDid you like reading this story? Click the heart to show your love.
Recognizing the Power of Its Employees
Driven by Johnson & Johnson's shared mission and purpose, each of the company's 132,000 employees around the world is playing an important role in delivering on the company's commitments to those it serves.
This includes many employees helping keep consumers and patients safe and healthy through their work in the company's manufacturing facilities and laboratories. In recognition of these essential on-site workers, Johnson & Johnson is granting a one-time award of $1,000 to eligible on-site employees at its facilities around the world.
Johnson & Johnson is also encouraging medically trained employees to donate their time and expertise by joining the ranks of those on the front lines combating the COVID-19 pandemic.
As part of the company's Covid-19 Medical Personnel Leave Policy, any medically trained Johnson & Johnson employees worldwide can take a paid leave for up to 14 weeks through March 31, 2021, to provide medical services and help diagnose, treat and contribute to public health support for COVID-19. In addition to these efforts, many employees are leveraging the company's existing policies and programs to share their skills and expertise.
Plus, any Johnson & Johnson employee or retiree who donates to the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund or the CDC Foundation’s All of Us Campaign will be matched by the company, dollar for dollar, up to a total match of $1 million for each organization.