Speed and trust are always of the essence in working through any crisis, and the COVID-19 pandemic was certainly no exception. Ageas believes that as an insurer it has an important role to play in society and working alongside expert partners is also very much part of the DNA of the Group.
As the world came together to search for a vaccine that could be used against COVID-19, Ageas and AG stepped forward to make a meaningful contribution to fighting the worst pandemic in 100 years. With a donation of EUR 750,000 we supported vital scientific research carried out by the team of Professor Johan Neyts at the internationally renowned Rega Institute (KU Leuven University) in Belgium.
As a Group we didn’t have to think too hard about whether to become involved. It was simply the right thing to do, and time critical. We are very proud to have contributed towards the work of the different institutions we have been able to support, and proud of the work they have done for all of us.
The Rega Institute is just one of many scientific institutions that has been engaged in the fight against the corona virus, and their pioneering work focused not just on the development of a high-performance vaccine. They also work on the identification of existing drugs that can help treat patients, allowing people to take up again the thread of a normal life while the virus is still present.
Separately, Ageas UK donated EUR 250,000 towards the PIONEER study, an international research programme focused on potential treatments for mild to moderate COVID-19. The study investigated the efficacy of potential treatments with existing anti-viral drugs that could be effective for early-stage patients, putting less pressure on the need for intensive care facilities.
In a separate COVID-19 initiative, AG freed up EUR 250,000 to support the Belgian research centre imec in the development of a COVID-19 rapid test. Testing has proven to be critical in the fight against the pandemic. The sooner infected people are detected, the better the virus can be contained. Rapid tests play a crucial role in this area. Imec focused on the development of a low-threshold breath test capable of providing a definitive response within five minutes vs other methods that rely on blood or saliva samples that are naturally more complex and time intensive to process. We are very proud to have played a part in supporting the scientific community in this important work.
Also, in the field of COVID-19 prevention, Ageas supported the Red Cross in Portugal in setting up regional test centres allowing more than 60,000 people to undergo a rapid test in all corners of the country. And Etiqa in Malaysia provided more than 68,000 COVID-19 test kits to hospitals.