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How US companies are helping India fight coronavirus

April 16, 2020 11:19 IST

A large number of American companies like Google, Uber and IBM are offering their resources to help India successfully fight the battle against the deadly coronavirus pandemic. 

Photograph: Reuters.

Resources range from providing free digital education platform, donating face masks, boosting up ventilator production to converting shipping containers into ICUs. 

The death toll due to coronavirus in India rose to 414 and the number of cases to 12,380 in the country on Thursday, the Union health ministry said on Thursday. 

"So many businesses Indian and US are turning their tools towards specific needs that society has in beating back the pandemic. They are helping to bring all of their resources towards this battle,” Nisha Desai Biswal, president of US India Business Council, told PTI in an interview. 


"So that when you have a surge in critical cases, and a shortage of ICUs house those that you can use other assets to try to do that," she said. 

"(Indian) companies like Dynamitic, Mahindra, Tata are re-engineering their production capacity to make what is necessary. Companies like Abbott is fielding rapid coronavirus testing or Becton Dickenson, Medtronic, which are really boosting up ventilator production," Biswal said. 

Google is partnering to do more online education for students in partnership with Pratham. 

"Everyone is going into this with an attitude of what is the need of the hour and what can we do to help provide that until that critical need,” Biswal said. 

Google has partnered with the Prime Minister's Office to facilitate contributions to the PM CARES fund through Google Pay. 

It is working closely with various ministries to help users to find useful information across its products and platforms and have rolled out an India-specific website on Covid-19 to share comprehensive information such as key helpline numbers, educational content, and a running snapshot of global and Indian statistics. 

Working closely with MyGov, Google is surfacing locations of food shelters & night shelters on Google Maps, Search and Google Assistant, to help migrant workers & affected people across cities. 

Infrastructure company Jacobs is part of an international alliance that is seeking to convert shipping containers into plug-in pods to expand intensive-care units (ICUs) during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Jacobs is working in partnership with the World Economic Forum and individuals from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 

SAP has set up an India Solidarity Fund for migrant labour, vulnerable population, infected patients and senior citizens. 

It has also partnered with United Nations Development Plan (UNDP) India and HelpAge India to strengthen the public health requirements such as ventilators in hospitals, N-95 masks, sanitisers, monthly dry ration and food packets. 

With NITI Ayog's Coalition for Rapid Anti-Covid Response (CRACR), SAP is proposing to build predictive models to showcase various possible pandemic scenarios taking into account multiple variables. 

General Motors has offered manufacturing blueprints for face masks to 600 auto parts suppliers amid virus pandemic. 

3M has increased the production of respirators, surgical masks and hand sanitisers in the range of 35 per cent to 40 per cent and almost exclusively directing supplies to a large number of government and private healthcare providers, front-line healthcare workers and nodal agencies in India. 

Uber has partnered with Flipkart and BigBasket to deliver essential items. 

Pfizer in India donated 40,000 N95 masks to healthcare workers, ventilators to hospitals and food packets through NGOs. It is also conducting anti-viral compound screening. 

GSK Pharma has announced to provide 40,000 Augmentin Duo, 3K Augmentin IV 300 mg, 3500 PPE kits with N95 mask, 2 proton plus critical care ventilator. 

Gilead Sciences has announced that it will donate 1.5 million individual doses of its Covid investigational drug, Remdesiir. 

Cepheid, which has developed an automated molecular test for the qualitative detection of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, has already introduced it in India. 

The test can provide rapid detection of the current pandemic coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 in approximately 45 minutes with less than a minute of hands on time to prepare the sample. 

ZoHo is providing free software (11 pieces of software) for all companies going remote to encourage remote work to avoid the spread of the virus. 

BP is mobilising Rs 11 crore to help fight the outbreak. It is providing select government hospitals with personal protective equipment. 

IBM is offering the agritech start-ups a 30-day free trial of its Operations Dashboard from The Weather Company (TWC) to help these firms with supply chain operations. 

Farmers in India are getting ready to harvest rabi crops like wheat, barley, mustard, sesame and peas, but many agritech companies who manage supply chains are facing complex challenges due to the lockdown. 

"The Dashboard can help supply chain managers make faster, more-informed decisions by combining our accurate weather forecasts with their unique business insights, the company said. 

JP Morgan Bank has extended benefits to customers who have been hurt by the ongoing coronavirus crisis by introducing measures such as waivers for late fees and a 90-day grace period for mortgage and auto loan payments. 

MSD in India (a subsidiary of Merck & Co Inc, USA) has contributed Rs 3.5 Crore to PM Cares Fund towards fighting Covid-19 in India. 

Lalit K Jha in Washington, DC
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