Almost every country in the world has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and, in response, industries have joined forces to provide solutions and support. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the medical sector is being assisted by veterinarians and veterinary scientists in a bid to find a vaccine that can halt the devastation caused by coronavirus.
Infectious disease specialists have been working around the clock to learn more about the virus. Now supported by leading veterinary researchers, the sharing of information is critical to success. In the same way that scientists from different regions are joining forces to collaborate, scholars, researchers and analysts from across various sectors are sharing their knowledge.
However, veterinary experts aren’t only involved in the effort to find an effective vaccine for COVID-19. As potential exit strategies are being hotly contested, many vets believe the four pillars of disease control – biosecurity, biocontainment, surveillance and resistance – should be used to navigate an end to the current lockdown procedures that are in force.
As NHS and private hospitals continue to expand their facilities, the need for additional support is on-going. While emergency medical refrigeration units and temporary cold rooms enable widespread testing to be carried out, for example, additional personnel, testing kits and analysts are also required.
Vets Join the Frontline to Fight COVID-19
According to HSJ, the Torbay and South Devon Foundation Trust has already recruited 150 vets as ‘respiratory assistants.’ With well-honed skills and extensive knowledge, it’s believed their contribution on the frontline could be invaluable for hospitals and patients.
Similarly, Hampshire Hospitals FT are taking on veterinarians, dentists and other skilled practitioners as ‘bedside support workers’ in an attempt to cope with an influx of patients with COVID-19 symptoms.
As demand for intensive care beds continues to increase, a significant number of NHS workers have been forced to self-isolate. With many hospitals operating with a skeleton staff, the additional support of qualified veterinarians is designed to provide critical care to patients in need.
While the temporary addition of veterinarians to the voluntary workforce on the frontline is not yet a national strategy, it’s highly likely other Trusts will follow suit if the initiatives are successful. Indeed, the transferable skills vets can bring to the frontline could prove too invaluable to overlook.
Veterinary Industry Donates Critical Medical Supplies
As well as providing human resources to the COVID-19 response effort, vets are also donating essential equipment to hospitals and healthcare centres that are running low. The South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust has already received breathing systems and filters, as well as syringe drivers, from the Willows Veterinary Centre and Referral Service, for example.
In addition to this, veterinary laboratories are now offering their services in a bid to significantly increase the number of COVID-19 tests that can be carried out in the UK. As current testing levels fall well below the target goal, the willingness of companies and industries to offer their facilities and services is vital.
Cross-industry Collaboration Required to Defeat COVID-19
Since the start of the outbreak, companies and organisations across a wide variety of sectors have worked together to deliver support and logistics where it’s needed. From supermarket chains sharing fleets of vehicles to clothes manufacturers switching production lines to supply scrubs to medical workers, the global response effort has drawn support from every sector.
While companies operating within the healthcare industry have been well-placed to provide immediate assistance, even enterprises originally unrelated to the medical sector have been providing essential services and support.
Many alcohol producers and distilleries have used their existing facilities to produce hand sanitiser, for example, while electronics manufacturers have modified their own lines to produce life-saving ventilators.
Although a significant number of organisations have been integral to the response effort thus far, there are many more who are eager to provide support and services. In fact, it appears that many firms are coming up against a great deal of bureaucracy, which is hampering their efforts to provide critical support.
As the battle against COVID-19 continues to rage on, it is this collaborative approach that will enable us to overcome the threat we face. While there’s no doubt the devastation caused by this outbreak of the virus will have a long-lasting impact, even worse horrors have been avoided by sharing of knowledge, resources and facilities.
Fortunately, industries remain committed to working together to curtail the outbreak and end mass lockdowns. As everyone in the medical industry continues to work tirelessly, healthcare workers can be certain that companies, charities and communities are willing and able to provide the support they need.