Protecting your lungs - one breath at a time

Umang Vohra

June 17, 2020

Today Covid-19’s ravages have reiterated the significance of lungs in overall well-being. It isn’t the first time that a pandemic has impacted communities by targeting this organ. The fatal influenza pandemic of 1918 and more recent outbreaks like swine-flu and bird-flu started with symptoms of lung-deterioration. It is also primarily affected in tuberculosis which is air-transmitted and impacts hundreds of thousands of Indians annually.

The lung is delicate. Yet, unfortunately, we are inclined to be indifferent to it. As gateways for breathing life into us, they are exposed to a spectrum of illnesses including infections, allergies and chronic diseases from pollutants and cigarette smoke. Data shows that uncontrolled respiratory diseases tangibly impact economies - healthcare outlays soar, deaths devastate families and overall productivity bleeds. We’re witnessing the same with COVID-19.

A FIRS report shows the intensity of DALYs (Disability Adjusted Life Year) and deaths globally by respiratory diseases.

Controlling incidences of respiratory diseases and understanding their exact prevalence is imperative besides overall improvement of lung-health. This must be prioritized in joint international decision-making and across the health sector. According to WHO global-monitoring methods for Non-Communicable-Diseases, better lung health requires a systematic implementation of therapeutic guidelines and lifestyle-modifications against risk-factors. A proper framework and its stringent implementation can help save lives (through healthier lungs), even in pandemics.

As leaders in respiratory therapy, Cipla understands the critical role of lungs in major disease-outbreaks. However, combating an all-pervading pandemic like COVID-19 is difficult in isolation. In the ‘90s, Cipla was at the forefront in the fight against the deadly HIV/AIDS and partnered with Governments and global bodies like WHO, UNAIDS, Global-Fund, Médecins-Sans-Frontières and DNDi (Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative), to democratize access to essential life-saving drugs. One of our key learning in managing this health crisis - besides collaboration between Government, pharmaceutical companies and industry bodies, communities play a vital role in enabling the transition from hope to cure.

Today, we’re yet again at the forefront of care, in the fight against COVID-19 - strengthening the entire care continuum. Be it partnering with local administration for advance testing, pioneering indigenous drug-development with Government-labs, in-licensing partnerships for key therapies, protecting frontline-workers, setting up isolation units in hospitals, creating knowledge hub for healthcare practitioners and ensuring uninterrupted supply and access of life-saving drugs for patients.

A threat anywhere is a threat everywhere. By saving lives, we all win. As we begin to unlock, we gear ourselves to step out a new world – all whilst upholding the beacon of hope for a cure. In a post-pandemic world, while people resume their re-calibrated lives and nations begin to revive their economies, we at Cipla will continue our mission to not only help the COVID-affected lungs recover better but also do everything it takes to better-prepare the world to fight such a health crisis in the future.

Until then, Stay Healthy, Stay Safe. Breathe. Think Cipla.