Keeping tabs on pharma: Merck releases survey results highlighting importance of mental wellbeing during the pandemic and workplace Covid testing technology is launched in London

Find out how Merck intends to support the wellbeing of caregivers during the Covid-19 pandemic and learn how a breakthrough technology in virus detection will allow workers to return to normality with confidence

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Merck study shows Covid-19 has taken a significant toll on the wellbeing of caregivers

Results from a global survey by Merck Group shows that Covid-19 has increased demands on informal carers, severely worsening their mental, physical and financial wellbeing.

Globally, during the height of the pandemic, the average time carers spent caregiving grew by 7.6 hours per week compared to before the pandemic hit; an increase of 46 per cent. In addition, 33 per cent of caregivers said that they believed they would spend an average of 31 or more hours per week caregiving in the future due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Merck’s report highlighted a clear need for public and private healthcare businesses and facilities to implement a structured plan to alleviate the increased pressures placed on carers since the outbreak of Covid-19.

Heather Connor, Global Head of Communications for the healthcare business sector of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, said: “Carers play a critical, underappreciated role within the global healthcare ecosystem, often at the sacrifice of their own health and wellbeing.

“We aim to use this study as a resource for government leaders, employers, community organizations and people around the world seeking to better understand the needs of carers, and provide recommendations on how to best address this unmet public health priority.”

More than 90 per cent of all carers surveyed globally agreed that it was important to have increased access to health care services to ensure they would be able to provide the care required, pointing to the important role both the public and private sector can play in better supporting informal carers.

World’s first virus screen technology identifies Covid-19 symptoms in 20 seconds

The Instant Covid Tests London association (ICTL) is trialing a new Covid-19 screening technology in the UK that gives coronavirus test results in 20 seconds. ICTL claims that rapid technology can produce accurate results for a workforce of 500 and more in less than an hour.

ICTL has partnered with i-Abra, a computer software company, to create a Covid-19 screening technology that uses microscopic holographic imaging and artificial intelligence (AI) software to detect the Covid-19 virus at the exact time of testing.

Unlike conventional lateral flow tests, which require a swab to the back of the throat and upper nasal cavity, ICTL’s test uses a less intrusive saliva swab test from around the wisdom teeth and the back of the tongue, which the screening technology analyzes.

Simon Lockwood, Marketing Director at ICTL, said: “Our screening technology will allow workers in London to quickly and safely return to their offices and workplaces. The technology is government-registered, the first of its kind and a breakthrough solution in the battle against Covid-19.”

The UK’s Medicine and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency has registered the screening technology for sale and use in the UK, and ICTL has also been accepted by the UK Department of Health as a registered private provider for Covid-19 testing. 

Greg Compton, Founder of i-Abra, said: “Most Covid-19 testing technologies are based on chemistry, but ours is based on physics. It successfully utilizes AI to image and identify the presence of a virus at a microscopic level in just seconds, without the need for a laboratory. This is a major step forward in the fight against Covid-19."

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