Animal health company provides component key to fight against COVID-19
Feed Strategy asked Betsy Bowman, of Elanco’s Manufacturing and Quality Communications, for more details about this effort.
Feed Strategy: Tell me more about how Elanco became involved with the Community Health Center of Fort Dodge, Iowa, and what the company did to help.
Betsy Bowman: Elanco was approached by Webster County health officials that knew we had laboratory facilities and potentially had the expertise and capability to supply viral transport media.
FS: Can you explain what viral transport media is and how it is used?
BB: Viral transport media (VTM) is a preservative solution that keeps a virus active until it can be tested. When a health care worker conducts a swab test for the COVID-19 coronavirus, the swab is sealed in a vial of the VTM so it can be shipped to a hygienic lab or other testing facility.
FS: Does Elanco normally manufacture viral transport media? Is it usually used for human health or animal health or both?
BB: Elanco does not normally manufacture viral transport media. However, our laboratories do use most of the components used to make it. Viral transport media is used for both human health and animal health viral diagnostics.
FS: Has Elanco been able to help in any other COVID-19 relief efforts? If so, how?
BB: The Elanco Foundation pledged $700,000 to combat heightened food insecurity caused by the outbreak. The funds will support organizations and food banks in communities across Elanco’s footprint to help the food insecure access high quality protein, including Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana; the European Food Banks Federation and food banks in Winslow, Maine; Fort Dodge, Iowa; Clinton, Indiana; the Kansas City area; and Greenfield, Indiana, communities.
Additionally, we are engaging our global employee workforce to donate to their local food banks, with matching gifts available through the Elanco Foundation. Also, we (recently) announced that we’re collaborating with VetNOW to help make accessing veterinary care easier during this time. Furthermore, there have been local employee-driven efforts to donate personal protective equipment and supplies to hospitals and first responders.