More than 34 million confirmed cases. Over 1 million people dead. 213 countries and territories affected*. Economic sectors shut down. Countries in recession. These figures are alarming and continue to increase. The COVID-19 pandemic, with its unparalleled scope, has put our healthcare systems and social safety nets to the ultimate test. In response to this health and social emergency, the Air Liquide Foundation implemented the COVID-19 initiative in March 2020. The Foundation has provided for an exceptional additional fund of over two million euros for the next two years. The goal is two-fold: to support scientific research into the impact of the Sars-CoV-2 coronavirus on respiratory systems, and to increase aid to our partner organizations who are active on the ground, working with the populations that have been hit the hardest by the disease and the lockdown. The large number of requests received by the Foundation has led us to hold selection committee meetings more often so we could respond to requests as quickly as possible. The Committee and the Board have reviewed 35 projects and approved 94% of them.
* Figures as of 1st October 2020. Source: Worldometers.
Viewpoints from Professor Pierre Carli, volunteer Board member for the Air Liquide Foundation and Bruno Rostaing-Capaillan, representing the shareholders on the Project selection committee (2018-2020) on the Foundation's response to the pandemic
Advancing science so we can all breathe better. That is one of the Foundation's core missions. With a long track record of supporting scientific research on respiratory diseases, the Foundation got in touch with our scientific partners in the earliest days of the pandemic to find out what they needed and offer our help. To ensure that these COVID-19 research initiatives would be useful and effective, the Foundation set up an elite scientific committee comprising the Scientific director for the Air Liquide group, the Group's medical director and a Medical expert from the Project selection committee.
The Foundation is now supporting ten research projects that fall into three categories:
These two-year projects are overseen by an Air Liquide scientific evaluator, with initial findings expected in the first quarter of 2021.
projects from French and European research organizations: La Pitié Salpêtrière Hospital, Paris; International Center for Infectiology Research, Lyon; the Grenoble Alpes University Hospital Center and Grenoble Alpes University; Institut Pasteur, Paris; Vall d'Hebron Hospital, Barcelona; University of Liège, Belgium; Cochin Hospital & Association Robert Debré for medical research, Paris; KU Leuven, Belgium; François Jacob institute of biology and Institute of Cellular and Molecular Radiobiology (The French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission - CEA), Paris.
This research primarily aims to:
The Foundation is also reviewing other projects from European research organizations that are working on respiratory treatments for COVID-19 and has committed to providing a response as soon as possible.
Acting locally within communities to help the most vulnerable individuals is another of the Air Liquide Foundation's long-standing priorities. In response to the current health and humanitarian disaster caused by COVID-19, the Air Liquide Foundation is now supporting 23 emergency aid projects from organizations that are already partners of the Fondation. Located on every continent, these projects help the vulnerable populations that have been hit hardest by the pandemic. They deliver food or protective equipment and educate people about COVID-19 and ways to prevent the spread of the virus. The Foundation is ready to respond to the new crises set to emerge as part of the second wave.
projects that help vulnerable and at-risk groups:
As with all Foundation projects, this work is monitored by Air Liquide employees.