Coronavirus

Lilly to donate 400,000 doses of COVID-19 treatment therapy to India, says it’s just the beginning

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Eli Lilly and Company is sending coronavirus relief overseas to India in an effort to assist with the country’s devastating outbreak. The company will donate 400,000 doses of a treatment therapy. 

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On Monday, Lilly received emergency use authorization by the Indian Ministry of Health to provide the struggling country a pill that is shown to be successful in treating COVID-19. 

“As part of this most recent announcement, the government will work directly with Direct Relief to assist to allocate the need allocation in the country,” said Courtney Roberts, director of social impact and global health at Lilly. “Allocation will be based on disease burden and hospitalization rates.”

According to its website, Direct Relief is a humanitarian organization that works in the U.S. and internationally to “equip doctors and nurses with life-saving medical resources to care for the world’s most vulnerable people.”

The drug is called baricitinib. Studies show it is successful in treating severely infected hospitalized patients requiring supplemental oxygen. According to one Indianapolis doctor, this is exactly what the struggling country needs. 

“It’s spreading rapidly,” Dr. Graham Carlos, chief of internal medicine at Eskenazi Health, told News 8. “And India is resource poor in many respects.”

Carlos also says public health and preventive measures–such as social distancing, avoiding large crowds and masking–aren’t at the same level as they are in the U.S. 

Lilly will start with 400,000 tablets, but they won’t stop there. 

“This is just the beginning,” Roberts said. “We are donating [these treatment pills], but we are also working to increase local manufacturing on the ground. So, it’s also about increasing infrastructure on the ground in India.”

In addition to baricitinib, Lilly is working with the Indian government to get the company’s antibody treatments approved in the country. 

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