Mount Miriam Roche Cares Program
Press Release- Mount Miriam
For Immediate Release
Living With COVID-19:
A New Era with a Multi-Pronged Approach in Response to COVID-19
Kuala Lumpur, December 14 2021 – While the pandemic continues to devastate communities around the world, it is apparent that the COVID-19 virus will be among us for a long time. In Malaysia, the COVID-19 pandemic has not only impacted the economy and the society, but also our healthcare resources. With this in mind, Roche Malaysia recently organized a media round table to focus on the management, interventions and treatment options, aside from the required vaccinations, to help communities, especially the vulnerable patients, cope with living the new normal.
The esteemed panelists included Dr Chua Hock Hin, Consultant of Internal Medicine and Infectious Diseases from the Sarawak General Hospital; Dr Leong Hoe Nam, Consultant of Infectious Diseases at Rophi Clinic, from Mount Elizabeth Novena Specialist Centre, Singapore; and was moderated by Dr. Peter Tok, from the Centre for Clinical Outcome Research, Institute for Clinical Research, Malaysia.
“The public needs to be aware that there are treatment options which are present now and soon to be available which will help to control symptoms, as well as contributing to the prevention and treatment of this disease,” said Dr. Peter. He believes that these tools are needed to prevent and fight future COVID-19 outbreaks and minimize economic shutdowns while ensuring the public feels more at ease living with Covid-19.
“COVID-19 is the biggest global health challenge of our time, but how do we learn to live with it? ” said Dr. Chua. “One of the best ways is to equip ourselves with the necessary knowledge to understand the disease and the variety of treatment options which includes modern medicines, diagnostics solutions and vaccines. As we are all aware, many companies, research institutions and governments are working tirelessly in collaboration to find therapies that have the potential to treat and manage COVID-19, while the search for safe and effective treatments must continue. That is why it is imperative that the healthcare system acts early alongside vaccines with preventive and treatment methods, in order to eradicate the Covid-19 disease.”
He also added that the “most vulnerable" Covid-19 patients need to be protected as these are patients who are unable to build up an adequate antibody response against Covid-19. These patients, although they have been vaccinated, are also susceptible to breakthrough infection due to their underlying medical comorbidities or medications. “There are a number of different treatments available as well as currently being developed, aiming to address the needs of both non- hospitalized and hospitalized sick patients, ranging from prophylactic therapies to treatment. This will hopefully help to prevent them from developing severe illness and offer more treatment options when they are hospitalized, - allowing these patients to have a new ‘normal’ and living with Covid-19.”
Dr Leong mentioned that apart from clinical care, supplemental oxygen and mechanical ventilation, there are several treatment options which have proven effective in treating patients with Covid-19: for example neutralising antibodies (NAbs), anti-virals, immunomodulators. Commenting on NAbs’s, he said “These neutralizing antibodies are naturally occurring antibodies that play an important role in the immune system. They signal the presence of a pathogen in the body so that white blood cells can locate and kill it. Neutralizing antibodies are responsible for blocking the entry of a pathogen into a cell so that it is firstly unable to infect healthy cells, and secondly, it is unable to replicate and cause severe infection1. Antivirals on the other hand, work differently depending on the drug and virus type. Antivirals can block receptors so viruses can’t bind to and enter healthy cells, helping it fight off a viral infection and lower the viral load, which is the amount of active virus, in the body2. Another treatment includes immunomodulators. This is a class of agent that stimulates or suppresses the immune system. We see it used in the fight against cancer, infection, or other diseases3
Dr Leong further commented on NAb’s, stating that, “These NAbs is a state of the art treatment and if given early to patients, we significantly reduce morbidity and mortality of these patients. We have made it this far through-out the pandemic, and we will continue to be resilient to face more upcoming challenges, especially with these innovative treatments.”
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Roche has explored multiple approaches to meet the needs of those affected by the virus. Although vaccination rates are increasing globally, most countries are entering a fourth wave of rising cases, and treatment options for the full range of disease severity and variants of concern are still needed.
Deepti Saraf, the General Manager of Roche (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd said that, “In these exceptional times, we are committed to working with our healthcare system in their fight against COVID-19 and minimising its impact. We have developed a growing number of diagnostic solutions that help to detect and diagnose the infection, and continue to develop and support potential therapies which can play a role in treating the disease.”
“The impact of COVID-19 goes beyond those who contract it. That is why we are working with healthcare providers, authorities and organisations to help make sure patients continue to receive the latest innovation in tests, treatment and care they need during these challenging times. Building on a longstanding tradition of partnerships, we are working together to make healthcare stronger and more sustainable in the future.”
Roche is a global pioneer in pharmaceuticals and diagnostics focused on advancing science to improve people’s lives. The combined strengths of pharmaceuticals and diagnostics, as well as growing capabilities in the area of data-driven medical insights help Roche deliver truly personalised healthcare. Roche is working with partners across the healthcare sector to provide the best care for each person.
Roche is the world’s largest biotech company, with truly differentiated medicines in oncology, immunology, infectious diseases, ophthalmology and diseases of the central nervous system. Roche is also the world leader in in vitro diagnostics and tissue-based cancer diagnostics, and a frontrunner in diabetes management. In recent years, Roche has invested in genomic profiling and real-world data partnerships and has become an industry-leading partner for medical insights.
Founded in 1896, Roche continues to search for better ways to prevent, diagnose and treat diseases and make a sustainable contribution to society. The company also aims to improve patient access to medical innovations by working with all relevant stakeholders. More than thirty medicines developed by Roche are included in the World Health Organization Model Lists of Essential Medicines, among them life-saving antibiotics, antimalarials and cancer medicines. Moreover, for the twelfth consecutive year, Roche has been recognised as one of the most sustainable companies in the Pharmaceuticals Industry by the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices (DJSI).
The Roche Group, headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, is active in over 100 countries and in 2020 employed more than 100,000 people worldwide. In 2020, Roche invested CHF 12.2 billion in R&D and posted sales of CHF 58.3 billion. Genentech, in the United States, is a wholly owned member of the Roche Group. Roche is the majority shareholder in Chugai Pharmaceutical, Japan. For more information, please visit www.roche.com.
Roche has been present in Malaysia since the 1950s, when the sales and distribution of products was managed by a third party distributor. Since then, Roche has established its operations to include Roche (Malaysia) Sdn. Bhd., the pharmaceutical business; Roche Diagnostics (Malaysia) Sdn. Bhd., the diagnostics business and Roche Services (Asia Pacific) Sdn. Bhd. (also referred to as Roche Services & Solutions APAC). With a total staff strength of over 1,000, Roche has grown into one of the leading healthcare companies in Malaysia that provides holistic healthcare solutions to healthcare practitioners and patients. For more information, please visit www.roche.com.my
1 News Medical Net. Available at https://www.news-medical.net/health/What-are-Neutralizing- Antibodies.aspx. Last accessed 8 December 2021
2 Cleveland Clinic. Available at https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/drugs/21531-antivirals. Last accessed 8 December 2021
3 National Cancer Institute. Available at https://www.cancer.gov/publications/dictionaries/cancer- terms/def/immunomodulating-agent. Last accessed 8 December 2021
Expire on 31 Dec 2022 unless superseded by newer version