Teva Responds to the Zika virus 'Public Health Emergency'

Teva Responds to the Zika virus 'Public Health Emergency'
A Teva Cross-functional effort is gaining traction and recognition as an effective response to the Zika virus (ZIKV) which was declared by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) 'a public health emergency of international concern' in Latin America. Collaborating with the International Child Neurology Association (ICNA) and important Brazilian healthcare institutions, ICNA and Teva are launching a groundbreaking series of lectures and educational training workshops aimed at health professionals, with the goal of helping reduce the devastating impact of the Zika virus in South America.

Brazil was identified as the ideal country to host this pilot project, with the country currently dealing with high levels of infection and a significant increase in the number of infants being born with microcephaly (abnormally small head size) and other birth defects. This public intervention is aligned with the World Health Organization and PAHO priorities of Detect, Prevent & Respond. Titled "No to Zika: United in an Emergency", the program already gains wide publicity in local media.

The workshops are targeted at healthcare professionals who work directly with patients and families, to increase knowledge amongst the wider population regarding the symptoms and impact of the virus. In mid-August Teva Brazil held the first series of workshops – organized and led by highly respected child neurologists Prof. Vanessa van der Linden, Prof. Marilisa Guerreiro, Dr. Ana Carolina Coan and Dr. Erasmo Casella - and these will be continuing throughout September and October.

By the end of the initiative, over 1500 healthcare professionals are expected to have been trained. This will result in approximately 2.5 million expecting and post-natal mothers receiving adequate and updated information regarding Zika. Teva is also sponsoring an educational toolkit, to be made freely available for neurologists and other clinicians engaged in community education in South America.

ICNA President, Dr. Ingrid Tein, said: “ We are committed to raising awareness for the diagnosis of ZIKV in infants with congenital microcephaly and providing child neurologists with key information regarding the needed medical infrastructure to deal with the multiple neurologic complications of congenital ZIKV as well as increasing the index of suspicion for testing for postnatally acquired ZIKV in infants and children who may present with transverse myelitis, Guillain-Barre syndrome or other neurologic complications.”

Nicolas Lodola, General Manager of Teva Brazil, said: “I am proud that Teva is leading this important initiative - the bringing together of the public and private sector in the fight against Zika is vital if we are to reduce the number of outbreaks. Playing a positive role in local communities is an important part of the Teva’s ethos and identity, and we will continue to work together with PAHO and ICNA in our efforts to raise awareness of this terrible virus.”

Following the successful pilot launch in Brazil there are plans afoot to roll out the initiative to other countries in the region over the coming months.

From the left to the right: Julio Trincheiro (Teva Brazil), Priscilla Favorin (Teva Brazil), Dra Marilisa Mantovani (UNICAMP university) and André Bortoluci Vicente (Teva Brazil)