Around the world, more and more people are sheltering in place. Businesses deemed “non-essential” are closing. Many people are out of work. And health care providers are making extraordinary efforts to help patients in dire need. A health crisis such as COVID-19 goes beyond international borders and boundaries, and the global medical technology industry is privileged to serve a critical role in supporting the health care providers who are leading the response to the coronavirus in India and around the world. Make no mistake – nothing short of a global effort by health care providers, industry and governments of all nations will be essential to beating this crisis and getting everyone back to their workplaces, friends and loved ones as quickly as possible.

The doctors, nurses and technicians on the front lines of treating this pandemic are true heroes, and we applaud their ongoing efforts to provide essential care to prevent, test for and treat COVID-19 – in India and elsewhere. Global medical technology (medtech) manufacturers are also working hard, adding shifts and production lines, to provide the urgently needed protective gear and medical devices essential to prevent transmission, and to detect and treat those afflicted. This is especially important in India, which relies on imports for over 80 percent of medtech used for intensive care, like advanced diagnostic tests and ventilators. Accordingly, we commend the United Nations General Assembly’s recent resolution reaffirming its “commitment to international cooperation and multilateralism,” highlighting the need for a global response to the virus, based on unity.

Represented in India by AdvaMed – the world’s largest medtech trade association – global medtech companies recognize and appreciate the extraordinary efforts of the Indian government to address COVID-19. The entire medtech industry is committed to supporting and working with India’s government throughout the related shut-down to prevent any disruption of vital medtech supply chains that will be so essential to beating this disease.

PM Narendra Modi has appealed to the nation to “challenge the darkness” spread by the coronavirus, calling for solidarity. Our hope is that these efforts will not only help ensure quality health care for Indian patients impacted by this disease, but encourage a continued, robust innovation landscape for medtech companies in India and elsewhere that promotes development of life-saving and life-improving treatments and cures – even well after the pandemic ends.

Today and always, the main purpose of medtech innovation is the creation of advanced medical devices and diagnostics that help save and improve patients’ lives. Such advancements also yield savings across the health care system by facilitating early detection of disease, providing appropriate and timely treatment, replacing more invasive procedures, reducing hospital stays and allowing people to return to work more quickly.

As the world comes together to fight COVID-19 – implementing extraordinary measures like physical distancing, stay-at home policies and lock-downs – we take heart from the knowledge that global collaboration and medtech innovation have helped conquer similar challenges in the past, from eradication of diseases like polio and smallpox, to addressing the Ebola epidemic of 2014-2016 and the Zika epidemic of 2015-2016. Such examples also emphasize the importance of policies that support medtech innovation, research and development, and manufacturing for the benefit of patients. Such policies also help support needed health care infrastructure and economic growth, and well-paying jobs in India and around the world.

When it comes to the coronavirus in particular – as World Health Organization Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus stated recently – “Harnessing the power of science is critical for bringing this outbreak under control…. There are questions we need answers to, and tools we need developed as quickly as possible.” The global medtech industry has been proud to answer the call, and continues to do its part. Since the outbreak began, global medtech companies have been racing to develop and distribute urgently needed diagnostic tests to laboratories. Medtech has also mobilized resources to rapidly ramp-up production of masks, gowns and other protective equipment, which help prevent coronavirus transmission, as well as ventilators used to treat patients hardest hit by the coronavirus.

Beyond just addressing COVID-19, now is the time to reprioritize health care investment and innovation that will strengthen and build capacity within the existing health sector in India and elsewhere. Working together, we will meet this challenge.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors’ and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.