Sector News

AstraZeneca tackles COPD, asthma patients’ COVID-19 concerns in new YouTube series

May 19, 2020
Life sciences

AstraZeneca wants to answer questions chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma patients might have when it comes to COVID-19. A new, unbranded TV ad invites people with respiratory conditions to a YouTube channel AZ created with a series of explainer videos specific to the novel coronavirus.

The six different videos offer tips and suggestions on topics including monitoring breathing changes, figuring out new exercise options, and navigating telemedicine visits and grocery shopping.

AstraZeneca created the awareness videos and TV commercial after hearing from concerned patients over the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warning that people with respiratory conditions are at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19.

“We heard loud and clear that many people with respiratory conditions were looking for timely, relevant and easily digestible information on how to navigate a challenging and somewhat confusing time,” Mina Makar, AstraZeneca senior vice president of respiratory and immunology in the U.S., said in an email interview, adding, “COVID-19 is scary for everyone, but for those with asthma and COPD, they are at an increased risk of becoming very sick. If there was ever a time to prioritize respiratory health, it’s now.”

The TV ad began running in late April and will continue on major networks for the next few weeks, he said. The YouTube channel and other social media resources will continue to add information as needed to support people with respiratory conditions, give relevant and relatable advice, and provide directions for possible financial support.

AstraZeneca’s recently reported first-quarter sales haul of $1.56 billion for its respiratory portfolio, a 22% increase year over year, was fueled by Symbicort and Fasenra sales in the U.S. In a call with analysts, AZ noted it saw increased demand across its respiratory portfolio related to COVID-19.

Among AZ’s overall COVID-19 efforts, the pharma inked a deal two weeks ago with University of Oxford to secure global manufacturing and distribution rights for the university’s adenovirus-based COVID-19 vaccine, scheduled for late-stage trials by mid-2020.

The British drugmaker is also testing BTK inhibitor Calquence as a potential treatment of COVID-19 cytokine storms in severely ill patients in a phase 2 trial, as well as its diabetes drug Farxiga as a possible treatment to protect against organ damage, now in a phase 3 trial.

By: Beth Snyder Bulik

Source: Fierce Pharma

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