CHICAGO | November 10, 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a resounding impact on our lives, with the virus infecting more than 10 million U.S. residents and responsible for more than 239,000 deaths. As the nation’s trusted champion of lung health, the American Lung Association took quick action to address the virus, and on April 9, 2020 announced a $25 million investment to defeat COVID-19 and prevent future respiratory virus outbreaks through the COVID-19 Action Initiative. Today, the American Lung Association announced significant strides on research funding, education, advocacy and coalition efforts to defeat the virus.
The organization announced major strides within the four main areas of focus:
- Research: The Lung Association has funded 12 COVID-19 research grants totaling $2.4 million, with studies ranging from molecular analysis of antibody responses to reducing community spread of COVID-19 in vulnerable communities to novel risk factors and more. In addition, the organization has partnered on the COVID-19 Citizen Science Study to track individuals’ impacted by COVID-19.
- Education: To reduce the spread of disease by increasing awareness and offering trusted resources, including in communities hit hardest by the virus, the organization has hosted the #Act4Impact telecast, virtual Town Halls and patient webinars, provided science-based information on Lung.org and answered thousands of calls through the Lung HelpLine. To advance educational opportunities for healthcare providers, the Lung Association sponsored a new healthcare provider training portal with Cleveland Clinic, and launched “Lungcast,” a podcast that has featured Dr. Anthony Fauci among other COVID experts.
- Advocacy: To advocate for policies that will safeguard public health and support patients’ access to healthcare, the American Lung Association has successfully advocated for legislation that improved coverage of COVID-19 tests and future vaccine, and supported the Quit Because of COVID-19 Act to expand smoking cessation coverage for Medicaid enrollees.
- Coalition: The Lung Association has convened a COVID-19 Advisory Panel, hosted a vaccine roundtable with top-tier medical experts and community leaders, worked with CVS Health to raise awareness of COVID-19 testing at CVS Pharmacy locations, and distributed more than 30,000 masks to communities in need through local partnerships.
“The American Lung Association is the nation’s longest-standing public health organization, and over our 115-year history has saved countless lives,” said American Lung Assocation President and CEO Harold Wimmer. “As our nation faces the COVID-19 pandemic, we continue this legacy by bringing together citizens, trusted partners and the nation’s leading scientific minds to end this deadly disease.”
The American Lung Association’s COVID-19 Action Initiative is initially supported with funding from CVS Health and additional support from corporate sponsors including Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), Merck (known as MSD outside the United States and Canada), GSK, Sanofi Genzyme and Regeneron, 3M, UnitedHealthcare and Optum, AstraZeneca and Novartis Pharmaceuticals.
“While there is a long road ahead, through funding promising research, advocating for healthcare protections, educating the public on preventive measures and the future vaccine and effective treatments, as well as coalition building, we are reaching more Americans to better equip our nation to face not only COVID-19, but also future respiratory virus outbreaks and pandemics,” Wimmer said. “Through our COVID-19 Action Initiative, we will ensure that our nation overcomes this virus and defends against emerging respiratory viruses.”
Learn more about the American Lung Association’s COVID-19 Action Initiative and more about COVID-19 at Lung.org/covid19. For media interested in speaking with a lung health expert about COVID-19 or the Action Initiative, contact Stephanie Goldina at [email protected] or 312-801-7629.
The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease through education, advocacy and research. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to champion clean air for all; to improve the quality of life for those with lung disease and their families; and to create a tobacco-free future. For more information about the American Lung Association, which has a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and is a Gold-Level GuideStar Member, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit: Lung.org.
Guided by its three main pillars of research, education and advocacy, the American Lung Association established the COVID-19 Action Initiative committing $25M to end COVID-19 and defend against future respiratory viruses. Since the inception of the initiative, the organization has built a foundation by expanding COVID-19 research, funding awards and grants for preventative research, vaccines, and antivirals, as well as providing pilot grants to evaluate the effects of COVID-19 on patients with chronic lung disease.
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